Does that sound wonderful, horrible, unbelievable or all of the above? These people have what is currently known as superior autobiographical memory and were featured on CBS’ “60 Minutes” and “The Early Show.”
On “60 Minutes,” reporter Lesley Stahl interviewed actress and former “Taxi” star Marilu Henner who has this gift. Henner said, “It’s like putting in a DVD and it cues up to certain places. I am there again — seeing things visually as I would have that day.”
Being one of only six people recognized in the world as having this gift, Henner detailed how her memory works on “The Early Show” in December 2010.
“For me, the closest thing to it is kind of like selected scenes on a DVD,” she said. “You know when you see that? OK, so if you name a year, all of a sudden the entire year sort of like lays itself out in chronological order and each day is a different selected scene and some of them are more vivid than others, but I can go to each day and it sort of comes up.”
Dr. James McGaugh, a professor of neurobiology at the University of California, Irvine, who tested Henner and verified this ability, said, “They can do with their memories what you and I can do about yesterday and they can do it every day.
“These people come and display a kind of memory we’ve never seen before and we have to say, ‘Whoa, what is that about?’ So we’re going to take a look and see if we can figure that out.”
Then there is the mathematical genius of Daniel Tammet. This Englishman memorized and recited pi to 22,514 decimal places and then repeated all the numbers back down to one without making a single mistake! He can arrive at the correct answer to 377 multiplied by 795 instantly. How? Tammet says he is able to see numbers as shapes, colors and textures.
“When I multiply numbers together, I see two shapes,” he said. “The image starts to change and evolve and a third shape emerges. That’s the answer. It’s mental imagery. It’s like math without having to think.”
Tammet also learned one of the most difficult languages on earth, Icelandic, in only one week! Professor Allan Snyder, from the Centre for the Mind at the Australian National University in Canberra, believes all humans possess these extraordinary abilities — it is just a question of learning how to access them.
“Savants have usually had some kind of brain damage. Whether it’s an onset of dementia later in life, a blow to the head or, in the case of Daniel, an epileptic fit. And it’s that brain damage which creates the savant. I think that it’s possible for a perfectly normal person to have access to these abilities, so working with Daniel could be very instructive,” Snyder said.
Science fact writer Joel Davis wrote, “The human brain is the last, and greatest, scientific frontier. It is truly an internal cosmos that lies contained within our skulls. The more than 100 billion nerve cells and trillion supporting cells that make up your brain and mine constitute the most elaborate structure in the known universe.”
What if all humans are endowed with a brain to allow them to have such a super memory and perform tasks far beyond their present abilities? Recall how the first man, Adam, was endowed with an amazing vocabulary to create new words for naming countless other living creatures, according to Genesis 2:19, 20?
Do you think his perfect human brain could remember all the names he gave those varied and numerous animals before he fell from grace? What if our brain capacity was hampered by something he did? What if we only get a glimpse of our brain’s true abilities in the genius of some randomly gifted people?
Is this more plausible than humans evolving from apes? Neurosurgeon Dr. Robert J. White said, “To say that the human brain evolved from that of any animal is to defy reason and the facts.
“Far more logical is this conclusion: I am left with no choice but to acknowledge the existence of a Superior Intellect, responsible for the design and development of the incredible brain-mind relationship — something far beyond man’s capacity to understand ... I have to believe all this had an intelligent beginning, that Someone made it happen.”
When it comes to Someone with “Superior Intellect,” consider what Psalm 147:4 says of God: “He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.” — New King James Version.
Such a colossal memory is beyond our comprehension! Let us not forget that the perfect brain of Jesus Christ on earth was able to accommodate all the wisdom and knowledge he possessed in heaven from the very beginning, according to John 17:5.
If you believe humans are made in God’s image, consider your brain’s true potential and what a mind-boggling future God has in store for His people. It truly boggles the mind!