Memory is something that varies by person more than just about anything else. Some of us can’t remember what we ate for breakfast, while others can remember a lot of details about their lives dating back to when they were just a couple of years old. It’s quite remarkable to see how much some people can remember, and having a photographic memory helps these people remember important details.
This can help them in both their professional and personal lives, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are some people that can remember things that are so detailed that you would think they had it written down in front of them. Here are five of the most impressive memory feats ever performed by human beings.
Most of us are familiar with Pi, but can usually only name a couple of numbers. Most people can only get to 3.14 and then tail off from there. That’s not the case for Indian native Rajveer Meena. On March 21, 2015, he collected witnesses from the Guinness Book of World Records and sat himself down in a chair, completely blindfolded.
He then started to rattle off the numbers of Pi to those who were marking down his progress and making sure he was correct. Meena didn’t just get 100 places or even 1,000. He went all the way to 70,000 places of Pi, giving him the new record. It wasn’t a short display of his memory, either, as Meena spent nearly 10 hours accomplishing this feat.
These days, almost all records are stored digitally and backed up into some sort of cloud storage. That wasn’t always the case, though, as many records and files were kept in physical paper form, even for large businesses. The Royal Exchange Assurance Company was one of these businesses that relied on physical files in 1838, and the company, unfortunately, suffered a fire in which all of the files were lost.
On the fortunate side, though, they were employing Bartholomew Parker Bidder at the time. Bidder was able to remember everything that was in the company’s files. It took him half a year to get everything from his memory banks, but he was able to pull it off. There hasn’t been a company of that size to have their files pulled straight from memory ever since.
At the Academy Awards in 1989, Dustin Hoffman won the award for Best Actor thanks to his role in the film “Rain Man”. In the movie, he plays a character named Raymond Babbitt. However, Raymond Babbitt is not a real person. Kim Peek is a real person, though, and and writer Barry Morrow came up with the script for “Rain Man” after meeting him.
The late Kim Peek was what was known as a “megasavant” and was thought to have FG syndrome. He had a memory that was nearly unmatched by anyone in his time, and he was able to memorize books, magazines, and any other visual media as soon as he saw it just once. While he lacked physical skills due to his condition, Peek memorized over 12,000 books and was able to recite just about the entirety of the Salt Lake City Public Library.
There are certain landmarks that we try to remember so that we can figure our way out around a city. In the case of Stephen Wiltshire, though, he simply needs to look at a city just once and he can draw the entire thing from memory. Wiltshire, a London native, was diagnosed with autism when he was just three years old and had to grow up without his father.
Wiltshire showed a penchant for drawing as a young boy and began sketching buildings in his home city. After a couple of years, Wiltshire was drawing entire cities, with people putting him to the test by simply showing him a picture of a city for a short period. From there, he could draw the cityscape and it earned him membership to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Boris Konrad is one of the most modern examples of amazing memory as he gives public speeches around the world about improving memory. He’s a neuroscientist who has been able to demonstrate his ability to remember words and names in the span of just a few minutes.
In fact, Konrad holds four titles in the Guinness Book of World Records in the memory category. One of the most impressive was when he was given the names and faces of over 200 people and had just 15 minutes to memorize them. Konrad was able to do it successfully, wowing everyone in attendance.