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Ella, prime numbers and magic



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The Man who mistook his wife for a hat – Oliver Sacks

The Parks were the highly gifted parents of a highly gifted, but autistic child. The Parks’ child Ella was a talented drawer and was also highly gifted with numbers, especially in her earlier years. She was fascinated by the order of numbers, especially primes. This peculiar feel for primes is evidently not uncommon. C. C. Park wrote to me of another autistic child she knew, who covered sheets of paper with numbers written down compulsively. ‘All were primes’ she noted, and added. ‘They are windows into another world’.

Later she mentioned a recent experience with a young autistic man who was also fascinated by factors and primes and how he instantly perceived these as special…..

Some of this seems to go with a sense of formal beauty and symmetry, but some with a peculiar associational meaning or potency. This was often called magical in Ella’s case; numbers. Especially primes, called up special thoughts, images, feelings relationships – some almost too special or magical to be mentioned.

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps