27 MAY 2021 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® Through the Back Door! by Jim Kuebelbeck Enigma: “Something hard to understand or explain.” ( Webster's College Dictionary ) When many hear the word “savant” or “savant syndrome”, they think of the fictional character, Raymond Babbitt from the movie Rain Man . Of course there was a spin put on the story by Hollywood producers, but the savant syndrome is a very real human phenomenon. Though extremely rare, some people do possess exceptional abilities far beyond those of the general population. The true cause of savant syndrome is still unknown. There are many theories, but no one theory is able to adequately explain the existence of this unusual condition. While some people demonstrate these conditions in early childhood, others suddenly acquire them later in life, oftentimes after a traumatic injury. The abilities of peo- ple with savant syndrome are varied. Some can multiply and divide large numbers in their head instantly; while others instant- ly provide the correct day of the week on any given date in history; flawlessly play musical instruments without any previous knowledge or practice; measure distance without instruments of any kind; learn complete languages in a few days; or mem- orize huge volumes of information. While Raymond from Rain Man was fictional, the character was inspired by the true story of Kim Peek of Salt Lake City, Utah. Kim's actual memory abilities were astounding. During his life, he memorized over 12,000 books including the Bible, and was an expert on 15 subject areas including geography, music, literature, history, and sports. Leslie Lemke of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was born prematurely with brain damage and cerebral palsy, and had to have his eyes surgically removed due to glaucoma. When Leslie was put up for adoption at six months of age, May, a local nurse who was 52 at the time, with five children of her own, welcomed him into her family. When Leslie was about 14 years old, in the middle of the night, May woke to music playing. Thinking she had left the TV on, she went to turn it off and found Leslie playing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 flawlessly on their piano. He had heard it on TV earlier that day. Despite Leslie having no musical training, he began to play all styles of music from ragtime to classical. All it took for him to play a song per- fectly, was to hear it once. Stephen Wiltshire of London, England, discovered a passion for drawing at an early age. First he drew animals, then buses, then buildings and the city’s landmarks. Throughout his early childhood, Stephen was unable to communicate verbally but instead communicated through his drawings. Today, Stephen is an artist with a unique talent which has led to him being nicknamed the “human camera”. After he sees a city landscape just once (such as from an airplane), he can draw it perfectly from memory - right down to the number of floors and win- Kuebelbeck cont’d on page 28.