by Rice and D
Individuals that possess eidetic memory, or photographic memory, are able to recall with precision a large amount of information, images or sounds. Whilst many have claimed to possess this ability, it is found in less than 5% of children, most of whom will begin to lose the ability as they mature or grow older.
It is said that monks in the Middle Ages enhanced their memories by creating images to store and use information. Many other famous people are also purported to be in possession of this skill, including Mozart and Monet, however this cannot be proven as he has since passed away. There have been some individuals who earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records for having atypical memory abilities, and people suffering from memory disabilities have been shown to have photographic memories for example, being born with abnormalities or having a freak accident to their head.
Kim Peek (born in 1951) suffers from congenital brain abnormalities, as he was born with macrocephaly, cerebellum damage and agenesis of the corpus callosum. Due to the absence of nerves connecting the hemispheres in his brain, it has been speculated that the neurons make alternative connections, allowing for an enhanced memory capacity. Peek has been known to memorize things since he was 16 months old, and is able to read a book in an hour and recall 98% of what was in it. He is able to memorize information in various subjects ranging from music to sports and history. He can also recall more than 10,000 books from memory.
Orlando Serrell (born in 1968) is an acquired savant, and was an ordinary kid at birth. He suffered from physical trauma to the left of his head when he was 10 years old, causing him to suffer from a prolonged headache. When the headache eventually dissipated, he noticed an improved ability in performing calendrical calculations. For example, he is able to tell you which day of the week you were born on given your birth date. He is also able to correctly recall the weather and every single movement he has engaged in for any given day.
Nikola Tesla was an inventor born in the Austrian Empire in 1856. He is famous for his contributions to electricity and magnetism, and is referred to by some as a “mad scientist”. He has also been dubbed as the man who invented the 20th century. Tesla was able to memorize complete books, and read many works throughout his life. In his autobiography, he shared that he suffered from many illnesses, including hallucinations. His visions were often connected to ideas that he came across, and was able to involuntarily picture it in great detail. This is similar to modern day synesthetes.
There have also been many fictional characters found in books and comics portrayed as having a photographic memory. This include Jason Bourne (The Bourne Identity), Data and Kes (Star Trek), Malcolm (Malcolm in the Middle) and Superman. So much so is the craving to have what is considered one of the most important skill of mankind, a powerful memory.