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I just received my current (March 2010) First Things magazine in the mail. It is the 20th anniversary issue, and the entire magazine is devoted to excerpts and past articles. I was just browsing through the years, and this one really struck me, so I thought I’d share.

It is by Molly Finn, whose daughter is autistic, from November 1992:

When my autistic daughter Abby was three years old, she grabbed my finger one day and, whining, “cakee, cakee,” in a high distorted voice, pulled me along the hall toward the pantry. Halfway down the hall she stopped. She turned and looked me in the eyes, for perhaps the first time in her life, and said in a normal tone of voice, “I used to say ‘cracker.’” Abby is now thirty-six.

Nothing like that ever happened again. I have sometimes asked myself since whether it really could have happened. But it did. I can offer no interpretation of this event, nor even speculate on how or why it happened, nor do I believe that anyone else can explain this bizarre and mysterious incident.

To say the least.  It is experiences like this—not testable, not repeatable, not falsifiable, but real nonetheless—that convince me that we have no idea what is really going on.

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