So Sherlock Holmes or more specifically the Sherlock series on BBC television has made the ‘mind palace’ or memory palace that all of us memory experts have been using for quite some time now popular again. Now let me get this straight. I am not suggesting that modern memory experts came up with this. Not at all, and to be candid I am grateful to Sherlock for bringing it back to the forefront of the conversation of memory. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who wrote Sherlock Holmes certainly knew of the mind palace aka memory palace aka method of loci method and now television is making it popular again.
But what is it? What is a mind palace. Here is a quote from Sherlock:
“I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic.”
But how do you do this? How do you build you mind palace and use your brain as a memory attic?
Quickly, do this:
Look around the room and select 5 itmes. (the computer, lamp, desk, bed, window, painting, etc). After you have these 5 items selected then see if you can close your eyes and say them forwards and backwards. Now the next time you want to recall words imagine these words on this furniture in your brain or memory attic. Or as Sherlock refers to it the Mind Palace.
For example, if the first word you want to is Liberty Bell (as in the video above) imagine that on your #1 piece of furniture. If the 4th word you want to recall is Hound Dog (as in video above) imagine that one the 4th piece of furniture. This is using the Mind Palace or memory palace. This is a very basic introduction to what Sherlock was doing. If you want to learn more look up the memory books link on this website.
That my friends is a Mind Palace. How much info can you memorize with a Mind Palace? I once memorize an 800 digit number in an hour at the World Memory Championships and that isn’t even considered a lot! But this is. Check out this: