I want to write and tell stories.

Monday, March 20, 2006

First there was Numbers...........

the TV show, or you could do a thriller movie, she'd make an excellent witness on the run! :)

Woman declared a 'human calendar'
From: The Daily Telegraph

SCIENTISTS have been left astounded by a housewife dubbed the "human calendar" because of her remarkable ability to remember absolutely every detail of her life from the past 25 years.The woman has such a powerful memory that given any date since 1980 she can instantly remember whom she met, what she did - and even the weather and what she ate for dinner.
Scientists have never encountered anyone with a similar ability before, and have had to devise a name for her condition: "hyperthymesia".

Yesterday, the 40-year-old American woman, who asked to be identified only as AJ, told Britain's The Mail on Sunday: "Let's say someone asks me about March 1, 1981. All they have to say is the date and then - boom - the day appears in my head just like that.

"No tricks, no counting backward or forward. It is as if I put a video of Sunday, March 1, 1981 in the VCR and then watched the day."

Her ability to recall events accurately and in such detail, without the use of any memory tricks, stunned Californian researchers.

Asked for the dates of Easter from 1980 to 2003, AJ produced a faultless list, and even wrote down what she did each Easter. Because she had kept a diary scientists were able to check her recollections.

Given the date October 3, 1987, AJ said: "That was a Saturday. Hung out at the apartment all weekend, wearing a sling - hurt my elbow." She was also able to tell researchers immediately the dates of world events, including a minor earthquake and the final episode of television show Dallas.

AJ first became aware of her skills in 1978, when she was 12.

It was not until 2000 that AJ, fed up with the "running movie" in her head, decided to find out why.

She wrote to James McGaugh, a Californian expert on memory, describing her case: "It is non-stop, uncontrollable and totally exhausting," she wrote. "I run my entire life through my head every day and it drives me crazy."

Although initially sceptical, Dr McGaugh recognised AJ's near-perfect powers of recall were unique. "She never looks at the sky or puts her hands to her forehead, as people often do when remembering something. It is very relaxed," he said.

Dr McGaugh's research has shown humans have vivid memories of emotional or traumatic events because the body releases stress hormones that enhance memory. This explains why people can recall where they were on occasions such as the 9/11 attacks. But it does not explain AJ's case.

Scientists believe she may have a disorder of the same part of the brain affected by autism, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and schizophrenia. They hope brain scans will provide answers.

For AJ, her talent is both a blessing and a curse. "I never forget anything, good or bad, so it is hard to move on - but the flip side is I am comforted by my memory," she said.


At 7:56 pm, Blogger Mac said...

The bit which bothers me is:
'Scientists have never encountered anyone with a similar ability before, and have had to devise a name for her condition: "hyperthymesia".'

How have they achieved anything useful by making up a new name? Has it helped understand the problem? Has it identified the cause?

Medicine hasn't even got a name for the toe between the middle toe and the big one - yet decides to make up a name for something that only one person in the world has ...


At 9:41 pm, Blogger Grubber said...

LOL, you're as cynical as me. One question I had was "how would they know if she was lying about a Sunday back in 1983, where she just lay about the house doing nothing"

Great concept though......a person who doesn't forget anything!

Well we all know our wives never forget anything we screwed up :)

At 9:56 am, Blogger writergurl said...

While I don't have nearly the type of recall this woman has, I can (and have) remembered entire conversations verbatim, as well as being able to recall (instantly) who was present and what peopel were wearing...

I know, I know, I'm a freak.

At 9:58 am, Blogger Grubber said...

You freaky freakster you :)

At 4:08 pm, Blogger writergurl said...


t least I embrace my freakiness and don't run from it! ;)

At 4:36 pm, Blogger Grubber said...

That could rival kabalah as a religion.....embrace your freakiness. LA would be a good place to start that! Something for you to do when you get there.

All freaky people donate to your church. Works for scientology :)

At 9:14 pm, Blogger mernitman said...

sorry to be so late to this party but dude: this is so totally a movie... it's the anti-MEMENTO in a sort of GODOT meets GROUNDHOG DAY kind of way... anyway: thank you for the turn-on and i'd like to post the link and give you a shout-out soon, etc. neat bloggerhia here(creative condition/disease that's anything but singular).

At 11:23 am, Blogger Grubber said...

No worries Billy, better late than never!

I enjoy your blog, and it is already on my list to be added
to my roll, as soon as I get off my lazy butt.

There are so many out there that i enjoy reading, luckily I can
read most of them whilst at work.

I am getting good at listening to Customers and reading writers blogs at the same time. If I lose my concentration it can get a tad confusing sometimes, “so you wanted to order the 3 act structure, upgrade at a later date to the 22 point story structure, whilst installing the 6 character arcs, and you have to have that
all done prior to the deadline of the Third plot point.

No worries.


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