Professor Gideon Graham was a brilliant philosopher who authored such books as "Anti-Wisdom" and "The Book Of Judges". He had been brought to Morton Memorial Hospital in hopes that he could be brought out of his catatonic state, which he had been in since he and his wife had been struck by lightning while up in the mountains. Although he survived, Mrs. Graham died.
One of the few responses he gave to outside stimuli was to kick off his footwear if anybody tried to put some on his feet. It could be this was some kind of subliminal callback to a past life for his soul, which was tapped into by first the lightning and then by the muting of Gideon's present personality. Perhaps his soul once walked the Earth as Kwai Chang Caine, a former Shaolin priest initiate whose father was a white American and his mother was Chinese.
Caine was burdened by the knowledge that he also had caused the death of another. (In his case, it was the nephew of the Chinese Emperor.) And perhaps as part of his self-inflicted punishment, Caine walked the Earth in his bare feet.
And this could be what rose to the surface in the buried recesses of Gideon Graham's mind.
By the way, Professor Gideon Graham (in an episode of 'Mental') and Kwai Chang Caine (the main character of 'Kung Fu') were both played by the late David Carradine.....