People With Total Recall
By James Donahue
In watching a televised documentary about people with amazing mental abilities there was a story about
people in the world who can recall what they were doing and what was going on in the world on nearly every day of their lives.
One man who was interviewed could even remember scores of sports events and the names of players in games that occurred 40
years in the past.
Of course when they show such stories there is always the disclaimer. He is usually a scientific
type that claims such amazing abilities can be explained away and that the whole concept of photographic memory is either
non-existent or that people who have this "gift" merely devote their lives remembering the past and make it appear that they
have unusual mental abilities. For me, this is difficult to believe.
I wanted to jump into the television set and confront the man who dared to pooh-poo this kind of psychic
ability. That is because I have been living with people with amazing psychic capabilities, and have personally met others
with so-called photographic memories that literally astounded me.
My late wife, Doris, was one of the best psychics I have ever known. Her three daughters appear to
have inherited her gifts as well. I have written many times about this gifted family that I live with so I won’t go
into this at this time.
The challenge to people with photographic memories is another thing. Over the years I have personally
known and met such people, and have been convinced that they are the real thing.
We knew a woman who lived with us once who could do this. She demonstrated her ability one afternoon
when, on a road trip, she entertained us by quoting the entire text from Aleister Crowley’s Liber el vel Legis
without missing a beat. She did this from memory. It was somewhat spooky having this woman in our home. She could walk into
a room and later describe everything she saw in great detail.
My wife could accompany me to a large gathering of people and later describe in detail what every
woman in the place was wearing.
I knew a man who was the president of a piano and organ manufacturing company in Michigan. He astounded
me one night when, at a gathering we both attended, quoted my personal telephone number. He said he had a problem remembering
names, but always knew people by their telephone number. To prove it he went around the room spewing out the telephone
numbers of various people in the crowd.
My wife’s brother worked in a mental institution in Michigan, where he worked with mentally
challenged adults who were so severely incapacitated they were unable to care for themselves. He told how some of these people
who were unable to tie their own shoe laces still possessed certain mental gifts that set them apart from the "normal" folks.
He told of one young man who liked to watch the C&O railroad trains pass the institution, which
was located right beside the tracks. As a good gesture he began letting the boy stand with him at a window to watch as the
long trains laden with box cars passed each afternoon. One day he heard the boy quoting numbers and realized he was rattling
off the long serial numbers on the box cars as they passed. He began testing the boy and discovered he was able to quote
all of the numbers of each box car from memory after the train passed. He did this consistently every day. Sometimes there
were 20 or more box cars on that train that ran each day between Detroit and Saginaw. This, it appears, was the boy’s
We knew of yet another family that had a son who was somewhat of a genius at the piano. He wasn’t
necessarily a great pianist, but what was unique about this child was that he never had piano lessons. What he could do was
listen to some piano music once and then sit down at the piano in his home and repeat the music. Where did such talent
I have read of cases where people have suffered severe head injuries, or perhaps lapsed into a coma
that lasted for years. After waking up they discovered that they were able to speak in a foreign language or sometimes express
a keen interest in things that never interested them before the brain damaging accident. One person woke up from a coma and
began speaking with a severe cockney accent. He had always lived in the United States and never traveled to England.
Indeed, the human brain is an amazing instrument. We all should do our best to preserve and develop
our mental abilities to their best potential. We have heard it said that most people go through life never using more than
20 percent of their brain power.