This video below shows you Kim Peek, an extraordinary individual with an exceptional memory. Kim Peek was born in 1951 and has a condition called Savant Syndrome. His condition causes him to have an extraordinary photographic memory, lack of social skills, and developmental disabilities.
He can read a page of a book in less than 10 seconds (about a book an hour) with his left eye reading the left page and his right eye reading the right page at the same time. Everything he reads he memorizes. He is literally a wealth of knowledge memorizing practically everything he comes across.
As his Kim’s father descries in the video above Kim did a test where he had to read 8 pages of a book, he did it in 53 seconds. Two hours later he had a 98.7% recall of what he read, including the page numbers. His dad took the same test and it took him 23 minutes with a 45% recall which was normal.
Doing some quick rudimentary math of my own I worked out that Kim Peak could read the 1.5 million articles on Wikipedia within a year and remember practically all of the content. Imagine knowing someone who had the whole of Wikipedia in their memory and could roll off fact after fact.
Savant Syndrome is an astonishing condition. There is even research to suggest that the condition can be induced, such as by physical damaging of the brain, which supports the theory that these exceptional abilities are lying dormant within all of us (except Paris Hilton), but are obscured by normal brain activity (normal brain activity not present in Paris Hilton).
The abilities of Autustic savants include:
- Memorizing facts, numbers, maps, dates, statistics etc
- Recalling long sequences of music, speech
- Perfect pitch
- Exceptionally fast arithmetic (considered mental calculators) such as recalling the day of the week for any given date with a range of tens of thousands of years
- Estimating distances by sight
- Guaging the passage of time without a clock
Daniel Tammet is another Savant who has extraordinary memory abilities and can learn a new language in a week. You can see the video below where Tammet meets Kim Peek. During their time together at one point Peek hugs Tammet and tells him "Some day you will be as great as I am."
Kim Peek inspired the Rain Man Movie
Kim Peek inspired Barry Marrow to write the script for the classic Oscar winning 1988 movie, Rain Man, featuring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. Dustin Hoffman played the Kim Peek inspired character of Raymond Babbit, an Autistic Savant. You can watch the trailer here.
As a result of the film Kim Peek is often referred to as the “Real Rain Man”. The fame from the movie gave Kim more confidence helping him to overcome his lack of social skills. However, Kim still displays difficulty with abstractions such as interpreting the meanings of proverbs or metaphorical turns of speech.
Below is a full length documentary of Kim Peek from Google video. Kim peek is truly a remarkable individual. The video clearly shows the wealth of information in Kim’s brain and how he just soaks it up.
The video also explores an ability of Kim Peek that was discovered later in his life. Kim was presented with a piano and asked to play songs from memory. He did so with great accuracy within the scope of his limited physical ability.
Kim is indeed a remarkable character with amazing abilities. He currently travels the world with his father promoting the acceptance of difference and diversity in the world.
Here are some more sources if you wish to learn more about Kim and his condition.