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  • Interviewer 15th of August 1996.

  • Aurelien Okay. The very first thing I see is this furry

  • banana which I bought on holiday with my family.

  • NARRATOR 20 year old aurelien is remembering a specific

  • day, when he was just four years old. he claims to have a power that scientists didn't believe

  • humans could possess.

  • Aurelien I've never met anyone who's been able

  • to do what I do.

  • NARRATOR put simply, aurelien is the first British

  • man to say that he doesn't forget his past.

  • Aurelien 'Cause I remember the 25th being the day

  • where it snowed in the morning, and I think it was the day that George Best died.

  • Dominic O'Brien 7th of July 2008.

  • Aurelien It's a Monday.

  • Aurelien It just seems like there's no gaps at all.

  • I can just see it all.

  • NARRATOR around the world, other people have come forward.

  • some claim to remember every day of their life.

  • Jill Price Bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing.

  • Jill Price If you could stick a camera in my head then

  • I think everybody would freak out.

  • NARRATOR this summer, we met the people who say they

  • have this unbelievable ability. and the scientists putting them to the test.

  • Giuliana Mazzoni I always claimed that actually this was not

  • possible, because normal memory does not work like that.

  • NARRATOR could the amazing power they claim to have

  • possibly turn out to be real?

  • Dominic O'Brien I can tell within, you know, 30 seconds to

  • a minute if someone's genuine or not.

  • Dr McGaugh (Archive) November 13th 1980.

  • Jill Price (Archive) Was a Monday.

  • Dr McGaugh (Archive) How do you know it's a Monday?

  • Jill Price (Archive) 'Cause I just do.

  • Aurelien Sorry, I didn't wanna answer that question.

  • Can you stop filming? Sorry.

  • Interviewer Sure.

  • NARRATOR aurelien is a university student. we first

  • filmed with him on saturday the 19th may. sceptical about his unbelievable talent, and

  • curious to see how he could prove it.

  • Interviewer How could you demonstrate for me what it is

  • that your memory does that maybe mine doesn't?

  • Aurelien I suppose if someone said what happened, oh,

  • tell me something that happened in, like, June 2008. And I could instantly think of

  • things, whereas most people would not be even able to remember, you know, what they were

  • doing it that year.

  • Interviewer What about the 17th of June 2008?

  • Aurelien Yeah, I can tell you. That was a Tuesday,

  • and it was the first day after I finished my GCSE exams, and my room was an absolute

  • tip, so I had to just clear it all out, and I spent the whole day doing that. I could

  • tell you it was quite a nice day. It got sunnier and we went for a curry in the evening.

  • Aurelien And I remember watching Loose Women with my

  • mum, and Joan Rivers got thrown off for swearing on live TV. Yeah.

  • NARRATOR i checked the date of joan rivers' daytime

  • television outburst. he was right, it did occur on tuesday the 17th of june 2008.

  • NARRATOR aurelien said he couldn't tell me how he

  • did this. but he let me come back and test him on more random dates.

  • Interviewer 19th of September 2008?

  • Aurelien It was a Friday. I remember my dad was like

  • selling his car.

  • Aurelien It was the last that we saw his car before

  • it got taken.

  • Interviewer 30th of May 2007?

  • Aurelien It was a Wednesday. The weather was quite

  • good that day. Which was quite unusual because it rained pretty much for the whole of that

  • May.

  • Interviewer When you tell me all this stuff.

  • Aurelien Yeah.

  • Interviewer How am I supposed to know it's right? How

  • am I supposed to know that you remember this stuff? You claim it's true, but how do I

  • know?

  • Aurelien I suppose the thing is you don't, so. I

  • could be making it up right now.

  • Interviewer Are you making it up?

  • Aurelien No. I don't see why I would bother to be

  • honest with you.

  • Aurelien What do you think about it?

  • Interviewer I think it's a little unusual.

  • Aurelien Mmm.

  • Interviewer And I'm rather curious about how you're

  • doing it.

  • NARRATOR aurelien told me he remembered days way back

  • into his childhood. but he had absolutely no idea how they stuck in his head.

  • NARRATOR i wanted his parents to confirm the truth

  • of his memories, and see what they thought of their son's strange skill.

  • Aurelien's Mother We were talking sometimes at the table when

  • we were having a meal, and then I used to say, for instance, oh 'do you remember when

  • we went to Bangkok three years ago', or whatever. He used to say 'no, it was not

  • three years ago, it was four years ago, and it was actually on the blah blah blah',

  • you know, and he gave me the day, the month, and so forth. I used to say 'really?',

  • and then I used to run to look in my diary to see, you know, just to check, and I think

  • that's why I started to think gosh, you know, you memory is not bad.

  • Aurelien's Mother Do you remember what we did on the 30th of

  • Aurelien I know it was a Monday.

  • Aurelien's Mother Yeah.

  • Aurelien Bank holiday.

  • Aurelien's Mother How do you know that?

  • Aurelien I think it could be, I know that we went to the Cadbury factory

  • around that time.

  • Aurelien's Mother Yeah. Well, yeah, that's correct.

  • Aurelien So, I don't know for certain that it was

  • that day.

  • Aurelien's Mother Yeah it is that day.

  • Aurelien But I know that it was around that time.

  • Aurelien's Mother Yes, correct. That's exactly what we did,

  • we went to Cadbury World, we stopped in Ross-on-Wye on the day, and we had a great day eating

  • chocolate.

  • Aurelien's Father And over the years we've learnt to sort

  • of accept that if Aurelien does say that there's a date that's correct, after a couple of

  • years of saying 'oh no you got that wrong', and realising that he wasn't wrong, we tend

  • to accept it now without challenging it.

  • Interviewer What's your explanation for why Aurelien

  • can do that?

  • Aurelien's Mother 'Cause he's just like me, he's bright.

  • I don't know. Because, as I said to you before, it's not something I, you know,

  • I knew he had a good memory, but that was the extent of it really. I never knew he was,

  • you know, something really special and different from most people.

  • NARRATOR it seemed aurelien's memories were surprisingly

  • accurate. but it was hard to know how much of his life he'd got stored in his head.

  • Interviewer So, I'll pick a month at random.

  • Aurelien Okay.

  • Interviewer July 2009.

  • NARRATOR the month i chose was three years ago, 1,080

  • days have passed, since these events took place.

  • Aurelien I can remember 20 of the days. Like that.

  • I can remember all of those days. I suppose there are three things that pop out instantly

  • when I think of July. I went to France one weekend Tool in France, Duke of Edinburgh,

  • and driving lesson in fact. I can put that there. And I think around that time I started

  • reading Tess of the d'Urbervilles.

  • Aurelien Anyway, it's like I could get a diary for

  • 2009 and write it if I wanted to. Retrospectively.

  • NARRATOR aurelien said that his brain stored all this

  • information automatically. but i wondered if he was hiding some secret technique. we

  • went to meet a man who has trained his memory. eight times world memory champion, dominic

  • o'brien.

  • Dominic O'Brien I would be suspicious if someone said that

  • they automatically know what they were doing on a specific day in their life. The day of

  • the week for any date, without involving some sort of technique.

  • Dominic O'Brien I can tell within, you know, 30 seconds to

  • a minute if someone's genuine or not, and most of the time they're not able to do

  • what they claim.

  • Dominic O'Brien Hello, you must be Aurelien.

  • Aurelien Yes, Dominic.

  • Dominic O'Brien Welcome.

  • Aurelien Nice to meet you.

  • Dominic O'Brien How are you?

  • Aurelien Good. You?

  • Dominic O'Brien Come inside we'll share some memories.

  • Aurelien Okay.

  • Dominic O'Brien Come in.

  • Aurelien Thank you.

  • Dominic O'Brien Go.

  • Aurelien Okay. Go.

  • NARRATOR aurelien says he has no technique to help

  • his extraordinary memory. dominic o'brien does, and he can memorise information at a

  • world record breaking speed.

  • Aurelien Okay.

  • Dominic O'Brien Two of hearts, four of diamonds, the jack

  • of hearts, the jack of clubs, seven of clubs, two of clubs.

  • Aurelien Completely right.

  • Dominic O'Brien Alright.

  • Aurelien I'd be interested to know what you do obviously.

  • I honestly, don't know where I'd begin.

  • Dominic O'Brien I mean, the jack of diamonds could be Johnny

  • Depp.

  • Aurelien Right.

  • Dominic O'Brien J D, jack of diamonds. The queen of clubs,

  • wherever that is, there we are, the queen of clubs that could be Paris Hilton, 'cause

  • she likes to go clubbing, she's the queen of nightclubs. So, now when I see the cards

  • I automatically see people.

  • NARRATOR mental images are the key to dominic's remarkable

  • memory, and he has a similar method to calculate dates.

  • Aurelien The 1st of June 2004.

  • Dominic O'Brien Tuesday I think. Is that right?

  • Aurelien Yeah.

  • Dominic O'Brien The 3rd of October 2003. Can you do that?

  • Aurelien 3rd of October. I think that was a Friday.

  • Dominic O'Brien Yes, it was, yeah.

  • Aurelien I remember my sister had a friend over.

  • Dominic O'Brien How about the 15th of April 2007?

  • Aurelien Ooh, that was a Sunday, and I went canoeing,

  • I was in Zambia; me, my dad and my sister went canoeing. Just remember that day straightaway.

  • Dominic O'Brien 10th of August.

  • Aurelien Yeah.

  • Dominic O'Brien 2007

  • Aurelien Okay.

  • Dominic O'Brien What's your nearest point of reference?

  • Aurelien My nearest point of reference is the 8th,

  • which was a Wednesday. Actually the 7th. I remember that night I'd eaten way too much,

  • and I threw up. So, for instance, I've known instantly what the 8th of August was.

  • Dominic O'Brien So, you're using a reference point.

  • Aurelien Yeah.

  • Aurelien The 8th was a Wednesday. Yeah.

  • Dominic O'Brien Yeah. That's right.

  • Aurelien So then I think Friday must have been the

  • 10th.

  • Dominic O'Brien You're not making a point of I must remember

  • this day because it's two days before my birthday and I'll remember for the future.

  • So you don't review this? That is fascinating. It is interesting. Don't think I've ever

  • met somebody quite like you. 'Cause that's extraordinary, because for me to do that,

  • I mean, I could do what you do, if I made a conscious effort to do it.

  • Aurelien Yeah.

  • Dominic O'Brien But I would have to review every day at the

  • end of the day, and then think about it the following day, next week, next month, etc.

  • Until I've got it.

  • Aurelien I think of it as, it's almost like there's

  • this imaginary pen writing in events in a sort of mental calendar.

  • Interviewer So, you're convinced are you?

  • Dominic O'Brien I'm 99% sure Aurelien is the genuine article.

  • Dominic O'Brien 99%.

  • Aurelien I don't think that people would meet me

  • and think like he's got something funny about his memory.

  • Friend Yeah, but we had no idea, like, at all. As

  • soon as you suddenly said 'oh, I've got this thing', I was like 'what? Really?'

  • NARRATOR it seemed aurelien had only just started to

  • let others see his hidden talent.

  • Aurelien I'd love to know what you think. I don't

  • know.

  • Friend I think it's weird that I can say a date

  • and you would know what day it was.

  • Aurelien Yeah.

  • Friend Rel do you remember when you lost your virginity?

  • Friend What day was that?

  • Aurelien There are some things which are.

  • Friend Well, do you? If you say you remember.

  • Friend No, I do. It was the 19th of January 2006.

  • Aurelien So, you lost it on a Thursday?

  • Friend What?

  • Aurelien Is it really cool or really weird?

  • Friend Strange.

  • Friend weird.

  • Friend Both

  • NARRATOR i wasn't the only person trying to make

  • sense of aurelien's extraordinary ability.

  • Henry Yeah, masses of memory, here it is. People

  • who can recall exactly what happened on every day of their lives.

  • NARRATOR his boyfriend, henry, had come across a story

  • of people with a suspiciously similar skill.

  • Henry So like do you struggle to remember what you

  • had for breakfast yesterday, let alone what you did last weekend? Yeah, so this is basically

  • what I read.

  • Aurelien And then you watched the documentary.

  • NARRATOR jill price was the first person in the world

  • to come forward with this ability. she's been living with it for almost four decades.

  • Jill Price (Archive) I actually believe I should be like in a mental

  • hospital, because this is, makes me crazy. Like, I still feel bad about stuff that happened

  • 30 years ago.

  • Diane Sawyer (Archive) But we all do, I mean, we can all remember

  • one or two things.

  • Jill Price (Archive) It's not one or two things, everything.