Thursday, 2 October 2014

Unfamiliar recall

Crows in a treeWhile at Seriously Spooked, I saw someone (let's call them A) that I recognized instantly. I was also sure I'd never met A before. I decided I must have seen their picture on the web. Except, I couldn't think where. A's identity was later confirmed to be who I thought it was. So, how could I recognise someone I'd never seen before, even in a picture? Maybe it was a psychic insight.

I was discussing this puzzle with someone else when they pointed out that A had actually been at Seriously Strange, about a year before. That's when I started to remember that I HAD indeed seen A at Seriously Strange. In fact, I'm now pretty sure I'd actually spoken to A there. So, mystery solved. But then something struck me.

I have mentioned before how people who recall facts, without being consciously aware that they knew them before, may well consider themselves psychic. I have always excluded myself from that group of people because I have a terrible memory! I'd assumed that cryptomnesia is a phenomenon associated with people can remember a great deal of information, some of which perhaps gets 'misfiled'. But now I'm wondering if it's the other way round completely.

I was able to recognise A but could not recall why. I might still think it a possible psychic insight had I not, by chance, mentioned the event to someone else who was able to fill in some gaps. If I'd had a good memory, on the other hand, I would probably have known instantly why I recognized A.

Later at Seriously Spooked, someone asked me a technical question concerning a subject which I don't know well. Instead of saying 'I don't know', I confidently supplied an answer. It felt right at the time but later I wondered if I'd made a fool of myself. So I looked up my 'answer' and discovered I was completely correct! Even though I can't recall how I came by the information. I think it is probably another example of cryptomnesia. I think that some word or phrase in the question acted as a key to a memory I didn't realise I had. That might be why I felt oddly confident in my answer.

It would be interesting to test the memory capabilities of people who get apparent psychic insights versus the general population. I think you can guess what result I would predict.

Regular readers may recall a song called xenonormal (see here). Now there's another musical piece sharing the name.

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