by Vincent H. Gaddis

Once upon a time I watched a child prodigy, five years old, play the piano. As her tiny fingers tapped out the complex chords of a Beethoven sonata, a chill passed thru my body. I was in the presence of the Unknown.

It is not necessary to go to India or Tibet to find miracles. They lie all about us. And always, as I have observed the almost too-rapid growth of children's minds, the quick comprehension that springs, orthodoxy tells us, from nothing more than a sensitive mass of nerve cells. I have experienced a profound sense of miracle. As awareness grows by literal leaps, as characteristics emerge from inner sources that cannot be attributed to heredity or environment, one wonders ...

The story of child prodigies is as long as it is puzzling. Voltaire wrote stories from the age of three, and Samuel Coleridge learned to talk when two and started to read when three. Mozart began composing when five, and the master Beethoven himself gave his first public concert at seven. Both Goethe and John Stuart Hill started writing at six. And both Francis Galton and Jeremy Bentham knew all the letters of the alphabet before they could speak.

From what obscure mental depths came the ability of Yehudi Menuhin, the violin prodigy, who at ten, while appearing as soloist with the New York Symphony Orchestra "revealed the insight and feeling of a man who has risen to the heights and plumbed the depths of human experience?" according to a famous musical critic. And Sidney Cherrington, of England, age three and a half, who could duplicate any musical selection he heard on the piano, with only occasional glances at the keyboard?

But the climax of child prodigies is talking infants. There was the baby that spoke five minutes after birth. Born at the Mercy hospital, Mason City, Iowa, in September 1922, a son of Mr and Mrs. Peter Zoutes, who now reside in Florida, the child distinctly pronounced the word mother three times in succession. Authenticated statements and accounts of this astonishing occurrence, by doctors and hospital attaches who were witnesses, are on record. The mother claimed to have had telepathic contact with her child at the time.

But consider the historic case of Maria Isidra Guzman of Madrid, Spain. She spoke at birth. What she had to say upon arriving in this vale of tears is not known to the writer, but she went on to enter the Academy of Madrid at the age of ten, and became a Doctor of Philosophy and literature at seventeen.

Then there was Christian Heinecken, of Lubeck, Germany, who could talk at the age of eight weeks, and knew the Pentateuch and Bible at thirteen months. Several years ago scientists at Stanford University were puzzled by the case of Joan McGlamery, who had a vocabulary [2] of 450 words at the age of 23 months. And there is another case of a baby at Guane that spoke pure Castilian at the age of thirty days, a miracle authenticated by three doctors.

Also there are miracles of memory, and George Santayana, in his Realm of Truth, writes that "memory is a mystery that psychology, so far as I know, has done nothing to penetrate." I might add that Santayana regards memory as "backward prophecy," and does not believe that prophecy is any more remarkable than memory.

There are the mathematical prodigies, who arrive at their solutions of complex problems entirely by subconscious means. Many of them start at an early age, like John Popelka, five year old Slovakian wizard, who correctly gave the number of days since the birth of Christ, within five seconds, and would state without hesitation the number of days and even minutes that had elapsed since the birth of any individual.

That the mental growth of a child is a process of re-learning, with the assistance of a fully-sprung and intelligent subconsciousness seems indicated.§ That points to reincarnation. But in the light of our knowledge of the relative nature of time, there is something wrong with the reincarnation theory as it is commonly held. The flow of time in the beyond is not the same as that which we measure in our daily lives. We would define eternity as the state in which all points of space touch all points in time, and "there shall be time no longer. "

What P.D. Ouspensky calls "Eternal Recurrence and the laws of Manu" in his New Model of the Universe, may well be along the right track, in this writer's opinion. The notion that real progress lies in going backward against the stream of time, toward the great original Source, leaves one breathless and silent. We re-live a life many times, then escape from the wheel of rebirth by a backward step toward the source of all existence. Would this explain the puzzling drive toward the primitive, the eternal call of our childhood and the womb, that conflicts so much with our so-called evolutionary steps forward, and is so abundantly evident in psychological analysis?

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Around childhood gather the wizards of darkness, and they baptize it and change its imagination of itself, as in the Arabian tales of enchantment men were changed by sorcerers who cried, "Be thou beast or bird." So by the black art of education is the imagination of life about itself changed, and one will think he is a worm in the sight of heaven, he who is but a God in exile, and another of the Children of the King will believe that he is the offspring of animals. What palaces they were born in! What dominions they are rightly heir to!

"A.E." Candle . . . .

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§ Note: The word subconsciousness here is certainly inadequate, and the whole concept bristles with difficulties. In the course of a semi-popular article, V.G. has been unable to attend to these niceties, without elaborating the subject beyond our space limits. (Ed)


  1. Santayana, George. The Realm of Truth: Book Third of Realms of Being. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1938. Print. <http://amzn.to/1EPKBDD>
  2. Uspensky, Petr D. A New Model of the Universe: Principles of the Psychological Method in Its Application to Problems of Science, Religion, and Art. London: Alfred A. Knopf, 1931. Print. <http://amzn.to/1NqDVk0>
  3. Russell, George W. The Candle of Vision. London: Macmillan and Co, 1918. Print. <http://amzn.to/1bGrKnm> [Digital: <https://archive.org/details/candleofvision00ae18>]