posted on Sep, 11 2007 @ 10:14 AM
When I was 8 years old, the ghost of my thrice great grandfather taught me the Pythagorean Theorem.
I spent most of that summer at my grandparents' summer place where I learned from other summer kids to climb trees, play chess and give purple
Seemingly every night for a couple of weeks, I would walk outside under the moon and beside the lake with my thrice great grandfather Sherman, who had
been dead since my father was a little boy. I didn't know he was dead. I only had the slightest inkling of what "death" even meant, and I had
absolutely no idea that it was supposed to be so bloody final. During my lifetime, I'd never had so much as a pet die on me, so the concept remained
wispy and abstract.
These must have been dreams about walking with Sherman, because there were a few nights when there were terrible storms and, despite being sure I had
gone for long walks outside, I didn't wake up drenched and caked in mud. Sherman and I talked about lots of things, and sometimes he'd explain
things about history or books or art to me. Once I recall very clearly that he spent the entire night drawing diagrams of triangles in the mud with a
stick and explaining the Pythagorean Theorem to me. He started by talking about Pythagoras' views of numbers by arranging and re-arranging dots in
the mud and moved on to the Pythagorean Theorem.
The next morning I was explaining the Pythagorean Theorem to my grandfather, who was taken aback. I explained cheerfully that Grandpa Sherman had
taught it to me the night before. There were some old pictures that I don't think I'd ever seen before in a family album and he asked me to point
out Grandpa Sherman, which I did with no problem.
My grandmother was also there, and she was freaked out by the whole thing. My grandfather, and later my father, found the situation less weird
because my paternal bloodline has always been unusually sensitive, especially in the ability to be in tune with ancestors. Conversations with
"ghosts" are really nothing unusual in our bloodline.
I was 8 years old and blisffully, delightfully ignorant of Geometry. Comments Sherman made about the works of Plato, which I remembered word for word
but did not understand at all (I'd never read Plato of course) would come back to me later while reading through The Republic. The explanation of
Pythagoras' view of numbers came racing back into my brain 10 years later when a professor was trying, rather more clumsily and tiresomely, to
explain exactly the same thing in a Greek philosophy course.
Other things and predictions made by Sherman and some other ancestors have later proven valuable in times of crisis. I know it is pretty common for
younger children to have experiences with the benevolent, doting ghosts of deceased grandparents and great grandparents. This is just the experience
I had early in my life.