Brad Williams has an astounding memory.
You can give him a date like March 10th 1995, and he can remember exactly what day of the week it was on, even though it was over 20 years ago.
Most of us etch into our minds tragic global events such as 9/11 or when the space shuttle exploded.
We remember exactly what we were doing that day; these events are forever burned into our memories.
But we are unable to remember the specifics of a random day like March 10th 1995 even if that day was significant; say like your birthday. Even then, you may still be unable to remember the specifics.
This is unless of course you are Brad Williams.
“Memory Man” Brad Williams meets Jimmy Kimmel
Brad Williams was born in 1956 in Prairie du Chien in Wisconsin.
His family has always considered Brad’s gift to be a blessing and at the age of 2 when most other children his age were just learning to speak, he had already taught himself to read.
When he was 12 years old, he represented the State of Wisconsin in the National Spelling Bee Contest.
His family began to notice his incredible ability very early in his life and they were amazed that he had the ability to remember events with such detailed clarity.
They started double-checking his facts just to be sure but would soon stop doing so as it became very clear he was right every time.
Journey to Diagnosis
In March 2006, his brother Eric came across a web article that detailed the almost super-human abilities of a woman codenamed AJ.
The article was about how she had the ability to remember events and dates, whether monumental or trivial with unnerving accuracy.
Eric Williams noticed that the description of her abilities had striking similarities with his brother’s abilities.
At the time, AJ was the subject of a research study conducted by researchers at the University of California at Irvine who had concluded that she was a unique case.
They obviously hadn’t met Brad and his brother was determined to change that.
He contacted Dr James McGaugh at the University and they agreed to meet with Brad.
After putting him through a rigorous grilling session that involved questions about various historical events, Dr McGaugh agreed that Brad did indeed have Hyperthymesia.
What Is His Super Power?
Brad Williams is considered to have one of the best memories in the world and is one of the few people to have been confirmed to have hyperthymesia.
It allows Brad Williams to remember almost every day of his life; naming the day, week, month and year of both personal and public events.
His brother through a documentary chronicled Brad’s abilities and how they affected his life.
Unforgettable, the documentary follows Brad and his family and their adventures.
From Scrabble tournaments in Seattle to Brad’s head-to-head battle with Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings.
Learned Or Genetic Superpower?
Because Brad’s memory is not something that could normally be learned, and is caused by a condition we are calling this one a genetic superpower.
What we can learn from the Human Google
Unforgettable is a documentary that was meant to show the world a person who is truly one in a billion.
But it is also very likely that there are other people in the world with hyperthymesia who have no idea what the condition is or even if there are others out there who are like them.
People often think that in a world where we have Google and Wikipedia at our fingertips, there is no practical application to having a remarkable memory.
But his amazing memory does have a “human touch” that Google would lack.
For example, Brad is unable to remember something that he did not learn or something that had no interest to him.
Therefore, while Google or Wikipedia may give you the same dates or events that Brad or any other person with hyperthymesia can, Google lacks the ability to include emotion or basic human interest in the information.
To Google it is just accurate information. To Brad, it is accurate information that actually means something to him and others around him.
Scientists have pointed out that if they can find what makes Brad’s memory so special, they can find ways to combat memory-robbing diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Today, Brad runs an interactive blog known as Triviazoids and has written a book with the same name. He also works as a radio news anchor at WKTY in La Crosse Wisconsin.
Links And Video
Inside Bowers Writers House – The Human Google: Bradley Williams, Hyper-mnemonist