Aitken, Professor Alexander - Perception recall examples
Type of Spiritual Experience
Professor Aitkem effectively acquired additional functions - mathematical ability - the rest of us don't have.
A description of the experience
Breakthrough to Creativity – Dr Shafica Karagulla
I had met Professor Aitken in connection with my experimental work on electrical convulsive therapy at the University of Edinburgh in i950. He was head of the department of mathematics and I needed some help in compiling the statistical aspects of my work.
During our discussions on statistics we moved to other subjects. I discovered that he had a phenomenal memory, and that he could sit down and write a whole symphony from memory when he had seen the score only once. He could scan a book and without making any memorandum he could sit down and dictate it in full from memory. It was his mathematical ability that really astounded me. He could give the answers to the most complicated mathematical problems instantly, and he could do it more quickly than the electronic computer [this was written in 1967].
Professor Aitken was very willing to give me a demonstration of his mathematical ability, and accordingly we met one day for this purpose. He suggested that I write down a long number, twenty to a hundred ciphers or more as I chose. Then I was to read the number to him and he would give me the square root as soon as I finished.
I wrote out a number of some forty-odd ciphers and then read it to him. He immediately gave me the square root.
Then we fed the number into the electronic computer and found that he was correct. It took considerably longer to feed the number into the computer than it had for me to read the number and for him to give the answer. He did this many times with different numbers, and he always came up instantly with the correct answers. I found that he could recall over a thousand numbers that were read out to him and could instantly repeat them backwards or forwards. The average person can remember not more than eight to ten numbers backwards.
Professor Aitken felt that these gifts set him apart in a way that he found burdensome. He remarked to me rather sadly, "It is not normal, Doctor'" In the course of our conversation he informed me that two of his brothers had similar gifts.