"I am astounded. I cannot account for it, no one can. No one understands it," uttered a St Louis man after watching Blind Tom perform in concert in 1866. Few other performers on the nineteenth century stage roused as much curiosity as "Blind Tom" Wiggins. Born a slave in Georgia in 1848, by the time he died Hoboken in 1908, he was an international celebrity and his name was a byword for inexplicable genius.
Blind Tom possessed extraordinary musical gifts. He had an encyclopedic memory and could imitate, either vocally or musically, any sound he heard. These extraordinary powers rocketed him to fame; he hovered somewhere between a respected concert pianist and glorified sideshow freak.
Blind Tom Wiggins: Slave Pianist & Autistic Savant