Jasmine Li Lysistrata was a child genius from the United States who was born on March 13, 1991. She began reading at the age of one, and at the age of thirteen, she became Montana State University’s youngest student to earn a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. Despite the fact that her life appeared to be nothing short of miraculous and full of bright prospects, an unfortunate tragedy struck her so hard that it nearly destroyed her life.
While waiting for her graduation, she changed her name to a four-part Greek moniker: Promethea Olympia Kyrene Pythaitha, or simply Promethea Pythaitha. Georgia Smith, a Greek immigrant, was 36 at the time and had two children from a failed short-term marriage when she was in her early twenties. She was studying Literature at Montana State University in Bozeman when she discovered she was pregnant for the second time.
Despite being alone and financially strapped, she had decided not to terminate the pregnancy because she saw it as a gift from God, saying, “If God has put it in, let God take it out.” To make matters worse, her doctor warned her that because she had a preexisting medical condition, carrying out the pregnancy would almost certainly result in complications. Her baby’s chances of survival were extremely low, and Georgia’s risk of hemorrhage was extremely high. Despite all of these factors, she was adamant about continuing with the pregnancy.
Georgia gathered all of her strength on March 13th, 1991, Sunday, to notify her midwife that her baby was ready to be born because she had already gone into labor. She waited in her single-story weatherboard home for her midwife to return from assisting her veterinarian partner in the delivery of a calf some miles away. Georgia had lost a lot of blood by the time the midwife arrived, but the delivery went off without a hitch.
She finally welcomed her third child, Jasmine Li Lysistrata, into the world safely, but she discovered that her daughter had developed an infection a few days later. Her suspicions were directed toward the instrument used by her midwife to cut the umbilical cord, which was also used during the calf’s birth. She deduced that it wasn’t sterilized properly, but the couple eventually made it through and recovered with no lasting effects.
Georgia began to realize as the months passed that her child was far from ordinary, as she had extremely high learning abilities. Jasmine was 6 months old when she began speaking in fairly complete sentences, which was incredible given that the average age for an infant to begin speaking is 18 months. Jasmine began to recognize and read words when she was nine months old. She devoured books ranging from illustrated novels to science texts, which she obtained from the MSU library, where she was a full-time student.
She did so to keep Jasmine entertained while she was away, and it also served as a substitute for her inability to home school her daughter due to the fact that she needed to fulfill her role as a student. Georgia knew deep down that her daughter was gifted, which thrilled and worried her because she was a single parent living on welfare, and having to provide for a genius would be difficult.
When Jasmine was two years old, they were forced to leave California because Montana’s Department of Child and Family Services believed Georgia was unable to raise her son Apollo and Jasmine due to financial constraints. Instead of surrendering her children to the authorities, Georgia rented a truck, packed everything they owned, and fled to San Francisco before family services arrived a second time and before she could complete her literature degree.
Vanessa, her eldest child, who was 18 at the time, stayed behind with her newlywed husband. They discovered and rented a filthy shoebox basement apartment with distorted ceilings and veteran mice to keep the three occupants entertained. Georgia also got a job working the night shift at a nearby post office, which paid her a pittance of $7 an hour and required her to work seven days a week. Her tenacity and determination kept her going as she struggled to provide for her family.
While she was at work, Jasmine would stay up late reading whatever she could get her hands on; she was particularly fond of mathematics. She did this because she had difficulty sleeping when her mother was not present, and the books provided some solace for her. Jasmine picked up math as quickly as she did the alphabets, and she was soon mastering fractions, multiplications, and decimals. She grasped mathematical concepts so quickly that by the age of four, she was doing algebra.
Georgia also introduced her daughter to geography, history, literature, and music, specifically teaching her how to play the piano. When Jasmine was old enough to start school the following year, her mother had a difficult time finding a public institution that could accommodate her child’s talents. She then discovered the Nueva private institution, which is solely dedicated to nurturing gifted children.
It was the ideal location for Jasmine to begin her formal education, but the exorbitant fees proved to be beyond Georgia’s means, and she was unable to afford it. Georgia, on the other hand, had paid $200 for her daughter to take an IQ test in the hopes that if the institution saw how brilliant Jasmine was, it would provide her with a scholarship. Jasmine took the test and finished it in an hour; all they had to do now was wait for the results, which would be mailed to them.
The results arrived a few days later, and Georgia was astounded to learn that her daughter had scored in the 99.9th percentile. Though she already knew her daughter had exceptional learning abilities, she now had hard evidence that she was a genius. This joy was short-lived, however, because they learned that Vanessa and her family had been involved in a terrible car accident in which their car had overturned.
Georgia notified her landlord and her superiors at the post office before departing for Montana with Apollo and Jasmine. Vanessa was paralyzed from the chest down, and her husband was declared brain dead as soon as they arrived at the hospital, but Vanessa’s son and brother-in-law, who were also in the accident, escaped unharmed. They stayed with Vanessa and her son until she became accustomed to her wheelchair.
The state also assigned Vanessa a health aide. Georgia drove back to her dingy basement apartment in San Francisco, confident that her eldest daughter had adjusted well, only to find herself in yet another gutter because her landlord had evicted them without their knowledge while they were gone. She also lost her job at the post office because she no longer had a fixed address.
She felt she had no choice but to send Apollo to stay with some distant relatives and start living in her red minivan with Jasmine, who was completely appalled and destitute. During the day, they would drive around and find a parking lot to park in and spend the night. Georgia wanted to do something for her daughter to distract herself from the series of unfortunate events, and she found the ideal way to do so.
When Jasmine awoke one morning, they were parked in the parking lot of her dream university, Stanford University, which housed the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). Jasmine’s eyes lit up as she literally jumped out of her seat, as she explained in a recent interview, “You know how some kids want to go to Disneyland, because that’s where all the magic happens?” They joined the first tour of the day, which was led by college students and science enthusiasts.
The tour continued to captivate Jasmine with discussions of electrons and x-rays, and it concluded with a question and answer session with one of the university physicists. “Is it okay to ask a question?” Jasmine asked her mother. She raised her hand with a slight nod of approval. She then asked, “How do you keep the accelerator from melting down because of all the heat created by particle collisions?” and the audience fell silent. The speaker took a long pause before answering the question to the girls’ satisfaction.
After the session, the speaker approached the mother-daughter pair and advised them to see a certain Dr. Yearian, to which they agreed. A brief meeting with Dr. Yearian and Jasmine had so impressed him that he suggested to Georgia that her daughter enroll in Stanford’s Education Program for Gifted Youth, a series of distance learning classes designed specifically for gifted children. At this point, the couple returned to Bozeman and found an apartment with the money Georgia won as a settlement for being unlawfully evicted from her San Francisco apartment. An Old Man’s Obsession resulted in a tragic outcome.
Promethea Olympia Kyrene Pythaitha, the name Jasmine had legally changed to, grew in popularity over time, particularly among the Greek-American community. After delivering a speech criticizing the Greek Orthodox Church at the Festival of the Three Hierarchs, she began receiving death threats and fan letters.
Promethea and her mother were involved in a car accident in a Montana mountain pass in 2007, just a few months after giving her infamous speech. Georgia, who had broken ribs, facial bones, and a sternum, pleaded with doctors not to admit her, saying, “You can’t admit me, I’ve got to take my kid to school tomorrow,” but to no avail. Promethea supporters, including 77-year-old Thomas Kyros, chipped in to cover Georgia’s medical bills and even bought her a new car.
Kyros, who had heard Promethea’s speech at the festival, was so taken with her that he offered to sponsor the mother-daughter pair on a vacation, which they accepted. When they returned from their vacation in Greece, Kyros began to show signs of obsessing over the girl. He was emailing Promethea every day, telling her that he despises the fact that she is at MSU when she could be at one of the Ivy League schools, and he also told her to keep in touch with him on a regular basis.
Years later, Promethea stated, “I had to go to an Ivy League college so that I could become famous and well-known, so that I could in part reflect that fame on him.” He referred to himself as ‘pappoulis,’ which was Greek for ‘little grandfather,’ and Promethea as ‘eggnoula,’ which meant ‘granddaughter.’ Because she was troubled by Kyros’ overtures, Promethea turned away large sums of money sent to her for her education. He then continued to write to Promethea, who eventually refused to respond to his emails, and he blamed Georgia for brainwashing her daughter.
He became obsessed with this prodigy’s life, so much so that he spent his days looking for signs that Georgia was indeed treating her daughter as a slave and indoctrinating her. “She’s keeping Promethea in a concentration camp,” he continued, but Promethea paid no attention. That is, until he decided to make his presence known in Bozeman on January 12, 2011. Promethea filed harassment charges against him and obtained a no-stalking order, but this did little to deter him from contacting her again.
A few days later, on Martin Luther King Day, Kyros realized he had no choice but to act in order to’save’ Promethea from her mother, freeing her to reach her full potential. He drove his black Dodge Ram to the girl’s house and began ramming the pickup truck into the green gated residence, causing quite a commotion. Georgia and Promethea were hesitant to approach the truck, but Georgia felt she had no choice in order to calm down the irate driver.
She stepped out of the house and, to her horror, found herself face to face with the man who had been harassing her daughter. She told him to leave them alone and went back inside to arm herself with a phone and a recorder so she could sue Kyros for damages. She noticed something in the pint-sized man’s hand as she emerged from the house and approached him. Before she could react, gunshots were fired in her direction, and she collapsed, bleeding profusely.
Promethea, who was still in the house at the time, witnessed the entire incident, called the police, and ran out to her mother. “Stop!” Promethea yelled. “Stop, you jerk!” he exclaimed, to which he replied, “Why are you crying?” You should be relieved that she is going to die.” Kneeling over her mother, she remained on the phone with the police, frantically pleading with her mother to hold on. What happened next was a frenzied blur of events that occurred in rapid succession.
The police unit arrived and remained in a standoff with the elderly man until Kyros raised his weapon and pointed it at the authorities. They retaliated by unleashing a hail of bullets in his direction, killing him in seconds. Georgia miraculously survived despite receiving five bullets to her neck, torso, and legs. The mother-daughter duo remained unknown after this heinous incident to this day. Promethea still has big plans for the future, but she refused to give herself any attention because she deduced that it was exactly that kind of attention that led to her mother being shot. She refuses to take that risk and endanger herself and her mother ever again.