Herrin hypothesis: Simon the Sorcerer was Paul's "thorn in the flesh". Simon converted to Christianity under Philip who baptized him. Simon tried to buy works of the Spirit from Peter, now called Simonism. Simon was in apostasy at that time. We know from early writings of church fathers that Simon Magus (the Sorcerer) was certainly a thorn in Paul's flesh:
Wikipedia (I've seen this in the actual writings mentioned) "Surviving traditions about Simon appear in anti-heretical texts, such as those of Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Hippolytus, and Epiphanius, where he is often regarded as the source of all heresies. Justin wrote that nearly all the Samaritans in his time were adherents of a certain Simon of Gitta, a village not far from Flavia Neapolis. Irenaeus held him as being one of the founders of Gnosticism and the sect of the Simonians. Hippolytus quotes from a work he attributes to Simon or his followers the Simonians, Apophasis Megale, or Great Declaration. According to the early church heresiologists Simon is also supposed to have written several lost treatises, two of which bear the titles The Four Quarters of the World and The Sermons of the Refuter.
In apocryphal works including the Acts of Peter, Pseudo-Clementines, and the Epistle of the Apostles, Simon also appears as a formidable sorcerer with the ability to levitate and fly at will."
Here we have Simon, who the people believed could fly at will, shadowing behind Paul and preaching gnosticism, the "false gospel" which was the major opposing religion to orthodox Christianity at that time in history (During Paul's journeys. Paul spoke often against the heresies propagated by Simon!).
Hence, I rest my case. Simon was Paul's "thorn in the side". Without Simon, however, Paul's preaching would not have been as fervent and Simon could have won the battle for people's souls! Has anyone else ever espoused this? Not as far as I know, but it is viable and likely. Likely because Paul confirms that the thorn was "the messenger of Satan". Simon was certainly Satan's messenger!
Scripture (Paul's own writings)
2 Corinthians 12:7-10: "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."