She’s memorized every passage from the Sorcerer’s Stone, can recite the opening line of any chapter, and suffers from a rare neurological condition that enables her to remember it all, down to the punctuation. Becky Sharrock, a Brisbane native, was diagnosed at an early age with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM), a condition that allows her to retain every detail of life in vivid color.
Sharrock began scanning over an atlas when she was two and quickly memorized every country and its capital. Unlike a statistically normal memory, which operates as a sort of sloppy scrapbook with only a handful of flashbulb memories among the predominantly blurred or forgotten, Sharrock’s works more like uncut video footage. Events can be mapped to the day, even the hour. She can recall every piece of her day, and everything she read on those days. Despite the impressive feat of memorizing every HP book and rising to such devout status as a Potterhead, her condition is also debilitating at times.
“At night, I have to sleep with the radio on and a soft light. If it’s too dark or quiet my mind just chatters away with all these memories and I can’t sleep,” Sharrock tells the Deccan Chronicle.
“When I relive memories, the emotions come back. So if it’s something from when I was younger it’s like my mind is an adult but my emotions are the age that I was then.”
To date, Sharrock is the only Australian with her condition, and one of few worldwide known to have both HSAM and Autism.
Featured image courtesy of Good House Keeping.