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Did they question people who were actually present to see the shuttle explosion or people who knew the victims? I'd be curious to see if being more closely involved with the incident made a difference.

Great post, Michael!

Such human limitations are extremely depressing to me. I have been thinking about them a lot lately. I feel that I have a pretty good memory, but it's this core goodness that help reveal just how poor my memory is, regardless of its relative quality.

Like you, Michael, I'm a writer, so I wonder if you've ever had this experience: Picking up a piece of writing of your own and just about remembering nothing in it? Cool! I wonder how this story will turn out! And I wrote the darn thing! Even with things I'm currently working on, I often have to go back and read details (or major plot points!) in order make sure the continuity holds.

I have the same issue with movies. Sometimes I'll rewatch a movie and be able to remember the vast majority of what happens; other times, I wonder, "Did I even watch this in the first place?" It can be a very humbling experience.

I have been thinking about the limitations of memory in the context of "bandwidth": our ability, or lack thereof, to honor people and things with our attention. I think that, especially in the modern world, our mental bandwidth is strained to the limit. We are able to *access* so many people and so much information, but it is hard to juggle it all in the mind; not just in terms of sheer memory but also the attention we pay to things. I also worry about our collective cultural bandwidth in the face of such massive amounts of information being created.

Let me explain better by what I meant by "bandwidth."

I've found that, during meditation, I almost always experience flashes of memory of things I had totally forgotten. Tiny little snippets of things, often unimportant, that happened decades ago.

I find these memories painful not because of their content (they are usually totally neutral), but because I just don't feel I have the mental capacity to deal with them. My mind already feels too full of things to do, things to think about, things to plan, etc.

I have also found that, if I focus on a time, I can remember quite a bit: one detail leads to another. One time I found myself remember quite a lot about Christmas 1976 and Christmas 1977. And there were two types of pain involved: the pain described above, as well as the pain of leaving behind the world I was remembering.

It's a simple fact that remembering anything takes time from one's current life while also causing the recursive memory of a memory (Hansen talks about recursion and its issues too). Even an infinitely powerful computer could not model itself, and we are far, far from infinite.

One further comment!

I also use to feel *very* much in charge of the story of my life, my memories. I had this level of clarity at least until age 30 (I'm now 45). Heck, when you're 30, even though that isn't so very young, 15 years ago you were only 15. But after age 35 or so, I started to find it very, very hard to keep everything organized and "honored," so to speak. There are two reasons for this. One, we probably have limited capacity for, what's the word, memories that we can keep "handled," top-level, etc. Second, there is simply too much of our lives to go over and review at any given time. Again, it's the issue of "paying attention."

"Did they question people who were actually present to see the shuttle explosion or people who knew the victims?"

No, just students at the university who'd seen it in the news or heard about it. But the "Pepsi machine" study did involve events that the students actually participated in. And eyewitnesses to crimes, including victims of crimes, often change their story, misidentify the perpetrator, etc.

"I have also found that, if I focus on a time, I can remember quite a bit: one detail leads to another."

It's an open question, though, how many of those memories are accurate and how many are unconsciously generated to fill in gaps. Maybe we aren't remembering as much as we think.

"I wonder if you've ever had this experience: Picking up a piece of writing of your own and just about remembering nothing in it? ... Even with things I'm currently working on, I often have to go back and read details (or major plot points!) in order make sure the continuity holds."

Yes, continuity is a big problem for me these days. Sometimes I even forget the names of semi-important characters in my current book. Or I forget which version of an earlier scene I'd ended up using (which affects the rest of the plot).

"I have the same issue with movies. Sometimes I'll rewatch a movie and be able to remember the vast majority of what happens; other times, I wonder, 'Did I even watch this in the first place?'"

That happened to me last night, when I watched a 1948 Gothic drama called "The Woman in White." Had I seen it before? I thought maybe I had. Maybe not. After about an hour, I remembered for sure that I had watched it only a year or two ago. (And I hadn't liked it very much.) Until that point I kept going back and forth.

I once wrote a comment to a forum once that got lost in ether space, deleted, censored or otherwise never got posted. My comment basically was that I questioned everything that is reported through the mind of man and I thought that was important to remember when considering reports of any and all paranormal activity either new or old—question it! True to form I probably was being very skeptical of someone’s favorite paranormal activity.

Very few reported paranormal occurrences have ‘hard’ evidence to support them I think. Most of the ‘evidence’ is not even from first-hand accounts; often it is second or third-hand information and often any hard evidence mysteriously gets lost or disappears, e.g., samples of ectoplasm. I think it is hard to believe most of what is written in books published more than 20 or 30 years after a phenomenon occurs and is first reported. Increasingly that seems to be true not only for paranormal activity but also for things that we normally think are historical events.

It is no surprise that the more hands and minds the information goes through and the more time passes then the more the story becomes garbled, misleading and often blatantly untrue. It is like the old ‘telephone game’ where a short story is passed from person to person at a party and when it is repeated by the last person in the chain, it often is not recognizable as the story told by the first person in the chain.

I think there is more than memory at play here. There are some people who just do not comprehend the situation as it occurs and ‘remember’ it in terms that they can relate to and according to their interest or focus for the day. We don’t always see what is in front of us to see in all of its details. I recall the video of the basketball team passing the ball around when a person in a gorilla suit walked among them and actually waved to the camera I think. I have to admit that on my first view of that video I did not see the gorilla. There he was a large as life but I didn’t see him. Once I knew what to look for I saw him easily.

Human memory can’t always be trusted to be accurate, especially as time goes by. And, with the event of ‘fake news’ today, it becomes more and more necessary to question everything. - AOD

This my first comment here and I enjoy your blog very much.....but I just want to point out that you well illustrate your point here since Trump never said he saw footage of Muslims celebrating 9/11 in NYC, he said he saw video of them celebrating across the river in NJ, which, yes, never happened.

Great post Michael! Thank you for your consistently good work. Here's an irony for you. When I clicked on the link for the book Remembering, and I was taken to the Amazon page on this, it seems as though the page had trouble *remembering* which reviews to send me to. When I clicked on the reviews, it sent me to 1000+ reviews about the book Ulysses. Was this the trickster at work? :)

Is memory really as unreliable as your post suggests? Let's do a test!
Seven things I think I remember about this blog:

1. You've mentioned Eusapia Palladino lots of times - possibly more than any other medium.
2. When you make a political post (not often), you are always rueful about doing it.
3. You were once a big fan of Ayn Rand but went off her.
4. You once wrote a post about global warming in which you recommended that we fire up our barbecues because more CO2 was good for plant growth.
5. There used to be a regular contributor called Michael H who had a lot of profound insights, for instance about Parmenides and Buddhism.
6. Eric Newhill used to be called "no one", and before that "Eric".
7. There was once a limerick contest between rival posters which was regarded as childish by some of your regular posters.

I couldn't give you any dates, but I believe my memories are accurate. I haven't checked.

What does this say for the paranormal cause, if anything? First thing I'd point out to sceptics who will inevitably jump on this is that it's equally likely people will have paranormal experiences and forget about them!

"The brain doesn’t work like that. Instead, when we experience something, bits and pieces of its memory are stored in different parts of the brain."

This little bit of materialistic theory sounds kind of dumb to me. Why would parts of memories be stored in different parts of the brain? That seems really inefficient and bad from an evolutionary/survival standpoint. It would be far more difficult to learn anything if the experiences we are drawing from are dismembered and scattered about our hard drive and subject to faulty re-assembly. Of course, there is no proof of any of that and no one has ever shown a memory bit to exist in the brain. That kind of silliness makes me kind of question the study itself. Scientists often design studies and work results to confirm pre-existing theories.

"Yes, continuity is a big problem for me these days." -MP

I am SO glad I'm not the only one! A couple of weeks ago I was telling my wife I was worried about maybe coming down with early Alzheimer's or something similar. I used to have an excellent memory and if I focused on a period of time could recall things very clearly and accurately; verified by then looking at photos, talking to others who were there, going through journal entries that hadn't been read in years, etc.

But since I hit 50, that ability has sharply declined. My wife reminds of entire sections of my life that I had completely forgotten. I have to ask her things like, "How did we travel form here to there? Did we fly or drive?", "What school were the kids in then"...all sorts of huge gaps. Sometimes we'll argue about the veracity of she says happened, but she can usually back it up with some documentation and I have to concede. SCARY!

Her idea is that I have way too much to focus on in my daily life. Too many facts and figures and too much stress and that is causing the memory gaps. ........

......Wait a minute....what were we talking about again?

By way of addendum; Our science based materialistic society places a high value on facts. I've noticed that a lot of the political debates people engage in on line turn into fact slinging exercises. There are links to articles containing facts supporting one side of the argument that are then countered with the same supporting the other side. Neither side can understand how the other fails to be convinced when faced with such "irrefutable" facts.

But people are not convinced by facts and I think this is related to the problem of false or inaccurate memories.

How? I think we intuit at some deep subconscious level that we have a looser grip on factual continuity than we'd like to believe. We also know that we lack the ability to process that vast amount of information that we have absorbed and are absorbing, or could be absorbing if we had the spare energy and time. So we are willing - and do - rely more on a "gut" or emotional understanding of the world than we may like to admit.

We do a quick google-like search of our memory/experience bank, get a couple or three hits and then assemble a gut level response that is consistent with the info/facts that came up in the search. If faced with the same question some time later, we would perform the same process, but might have slightly different "hits" in our search, which results in a response modified from the first one. That's all we have the time and energy to do. It's the underlying *feeling* about a topic that counts, facts less so. But this gets us into trouble in our material science world that wants everything to conform to objective reality.

From an evolutionary/survival standpoint, it doesn't matter if I was with Thak or Gorak when I encountered the cave on the side of the mountain. It doesn't matter which mountain exactly. It doesn't matter what color the saber tooth tiger's fur was or if it had a big scar running down its neck r not. What matters is the feeling of danger and alert I get when I see a similar cave. It matters that something triggers me to have my spear ready or that I quickly walk away from the cave.

This underlines the importance of contemporaneous notes and photos perhaps.

"... you well illustrate your point here since Trump never said he saw footage of Muslims celebrating 9/11 in NYC, he said he saw video of them celebrating across the river in NJ, which, yes, never happened."

Great catch, Michael Roper!

"When I clicked on the reviews, it sent me to 1000+ reviews about the book Ulysses."

I noticed that, too. I was surprised that an academic text on memory would get so many reviews!

"Why would parts of memories be stored in different parts of the brain?"

I'm dubious of that part of the hypothesis also. But it doesn't really affect the basic point about memories being reconstructed and creatively embellished.

One thing I've noticed is that when I recall an event from my own past, I often visualize myself from an objective vantage point. I don't replay the experience from my subjective point of view, but instead observe it from outside myself. I see myself performing the action. This alone is good prima facie evidence that the mind narratizes its memories.

For instance, when I watched the 9/11 attacks unfold on television, I was standing in my kitchen. Remembering it now, I picture myself standing there watching the little TV on the counter. Yet in real life I never actually observed myself from this perspective.

My memory of the kitchen itself is undoubtedly pieced together from the many times I've been in there, even as recently as a few minutes ago. I would probably remember watching it on my current television set unless I made a conscious effort to recall the TV I was using in 2001. In fact, I'm not even sure what kitchen TV I owned back then. If I try to imagine what I was wearing, I simply assume I was in a bathrobe, since it was still pretty early in the morning. I must have fixed something to eat at some point, since I watched the news coverage throughout the morning and never left the kitchen (I was too stunned to go upstairs and watch it on my regular TV), but I have no idea what I ate or when.

The memory, in other words, is very incomplete, and even the parts that appear to be filled in are largely made up of a verbal narrative that I've envisioned from a third-person standpoint; scattered recollections of my kitchen and its contents; and educated guesswork.

Mixed in with this, there is some material that's probably more reliable – for instance, I feel quite sure my memory of the two towers disintegrating in clouds of dust (at separate times) is accurate. But then, I probably saw that video dozens of times, not only on that date but on other occasions in the years since.

And who knows? Without checking again, I can't actually be certain that even *that* memory (which feels like it was burned into my brain) is entirely correct.

I have a lot to say concerning Bart Ehrman, but that's for another comment. For now, suffice it to say that every Christian, or anyone interested in Christianity should read his books, although I wouldn't limit myself to Ehrman only.

One of the facets of near-death experiences that give them so much credibility is the long term memory of specifics that experiencers report.
Bruce Greyson and other researchers have performed long term studies that show NDE experiencers reporting their experience in exactly the same detail they reported fifteen to twenty years earlier. The experience was so intense, specifics were indelibly imprinted in their memory.

This is one of the many lines of evidence showing that NDE's are not fabrications or 'dreams'.

"One thing I've noticed is that when I recall an event from my own past, I often visualize myself from an objective vantage point. I don't replay the experience from my subjective point of view, but instead observe it from outside myself. I see myself performing the action. This alone is good prima facie evidence that the mind narratizes its memories.

For instance, when I watched the 9/11 attacks unfold on television, I was standing in my kitchen. Remembering it now, I picture myself standing there watching the little TV on the counter. Yet in real life I never actually observed myself from this perspective." - MP

Very interesting observation, Michael. I tested myself after reading that on a few different memories ranging from 30 years ago to 1 year ago. About half the time I do exactly what you described. The other half of the instances I am *feeling* myself as I was at the time. In the former approach, it is like a visual phenomenon in my "mind's eye". It's in my head. In the latter, it's a little bit in my mind's eye but, from a first person perspective. However it's mostly like the prickly sensation of strong emotions with a voice over narration in my mind's "ear". Time from present to memory doesn't seem to be a variable causing which perspective occurs. Rather, whether or not there is strong *personal* emotion associated with memory.

I have memory issues too and I'm not yet thirty, but I have the excuse of being heavily medicated. My autism also doesn't in fact give me a photographic memory as the stereotypes say; I have a marvellous memory for things that interest me, and otherwise couldn't tell you what someone said to me an hour ago. Pity.

On the topic of 9/11 memories, I was one week into being twelve, and all I remember of the actual day is being very upset my cartoons were cancelled for what I initially mistook for an action movie. It took me weeks to really grasp the significance, because I was a solipsistic kid on the wrong continent. However, because of time zones it would have happened early afternoon in UK time, and I have for years been wrestling with a memory of a teacher coming into the classroom and taking our maths teacher aside to talk. Upon looking up the time, I know it couldn't have been about that because I do definitely remember the maths class was at the wrong time of day (before lunchtime, and the planes would have hit at 1:38pm our time), but I didn't know that exact time till now. Now I'm going to be wrestling forever with that memory, wondering if it even really happened or if I made it up in the wake of the understanding hitting.

Great comments, as always!

I think Barbara is wise to cite the ways in which memory can be accurate. I will say this: I rarely find myself with "false positive" memories: i.e., remembering something that is later proved to be wrong. If I do, it's usually something small, like a detail in a movie, in which I didn't have much confidence in the first place.

I would like to know more about the Challenger study and how people got things wrong. For example, I remember where I was--more or less--when the Challenger blew up. I was in class in high school. I have a pretty vague memory of sitting in class. I can't tell you what class it was, who the teacher was, who was siting next to me, etc. My mind doesn't even try. So what would I get wrong on the questionnaire 31 years later? Wouldn't I just say, "I don't know" instead of getting specific things wrong? I probably need to look at the study.

I also agree with Eric that the idea of memories being put together from bits and pieces a-floatin' around the brain just seems nonsensical. My theory, which I've mentioned before, is that memories exist *outside* the brain. What exists *in* the brain, and helps explain memories' messy nature, is the pathway to the external data. Further it is not just "stuff" that we remember but actual brain states: we store pathways to how our brain was at a certain point in order to recall events and perform actions. This explains why "muscle memory" is possible. I'm a musician and play piano and pay attention over time how I can form a "better path" to the performance of a song. It is like etching a firmer groove in the brain with practice. Thus, memory is both data retrieval *and* performance. Perhaps this will make sense to Eric, who is also a musician.

I have talked to my friend about this issue in the past. When trying to remember something, we have observed that there is often a "pure version" that we get a flash of but cannot fully access. IOW, it is like we access the Akashic records, maybe get just a glimpse of a perfect image of someone's face... but can't hold onto it. Now this doesn't happen with every single memory but *can* happen and gives a further clue to the nature of memory.

I think Michael's observation about seeing himself in the third person is a good one and also reveals a weakness of memory that is ultimately a strength: i.e., we have the ability to "look around" when using memory. Our vision is not locked in place. It is possible that we are using our pathway to the Akashic record (i.e., the pure, indelible, indestructible body of true information) and are not completely locked into our exact experience of the moment but can deviate from it to a lesser or greater degree. Hence, seeing oneself in the third person may not be a confabulation per se but an accurate re-experiencing of what happened from a slightly different perspective. Or it could be partially that and partially confabulation.

By the way, I had a bit of synchronicity too with this column... I was in the middle of watching (i.e., between two separate viewing sessions) of a movie called "Extracted"--which is about using technology to go into the memory of a convicted felon and see if he did a crime. It deals with all the issues we're talking about. It *is* about memory! The movie is just OK, not especially recommended ( Oh, and I didn't misremember the title: it was listed on Amazon Prime as "Extracted."

I've read about how our memories are unreliable before, but I've noticed that these articles and studies seem to imply that we ultimitly can't rely on our memories for anything, to which I say, "poppycock!" We may get the little details wrong, and we may occasionally make big blunders (Trump and people celebrating 9/11, for example), but I think as a whole we get the big, overall details correct. You can get five people disagreeing about how a car crash happened, but no one will deny that a crash took place.

When you think about it, I believe it makes sense that the brain can make mistakes when it comes to memory: with all the stuff coming at us day after day, it has to prioritize what to focus on, what to keep, and what to shove to the background. I think that's why we can easily remember stuff we're passionate about (in my case, movies, writing, and spiritual matters), stuff we need to survive (filing taxes, where we work, rules for social interaction), and ignores everything else(which would explain why I forget algebra and calculus less than a week after finishing a class on both!). The brain has only so much room to store stuff, so it makes sense that it prioritizes certain things over others.

Another thought: I'd be curious if these studies looked at how emotionally invested we are when it comes to accurately recalling events. The Challenger students may have found the event troubling, but if they had no deep, emotional connection, their brains would have no real reason to focus on it in any great detail. If they had a family member on the shuttle, it would obviously be a different story.

Likewise, could it be possible that the more emotional an event is, people can remember it better? You aren't likely to forget the moment when a relative told you they have cancer, but you're far less likely to remember what you had for dinner last Friday because it's not a "Omph" moment that defines your life and shapes who you are as a person.

Here is a particularly creepy case of this phenomenon:

"I'd be curious if these studies looked at how emotionally invested we are when it comes to accurately recalling events."

The designer of the Challenger memory study actually looked into this. From Wikipedia:

"Neisser continued his research on the construction of memory by studying individuals' recollections of the 1989 California earthquake. In this study, Neisser examined the difference in memory between individuals that experience the event, as opposed to individuals who heard about the event. Neisser examined subjects in Atlanta and the University of California campuses in Berkeley and Santa Cruz. Neisser issued surveys to procure the emotional impact of the earthquake on the individual in addition to accounts of the individual's memories of the earthquake to better identify the association between memory and emotion. In the spring of 1991, Neisser contacted participants to compare their current accounts of the earthquake with their previous accounts of the earthquake. Neisser found that, in comparison to participants in Atlanta, the California students generally had better and more accurate recollections of the earthquake."

This finding makes me wonder if the freshman students who were interviewed about the Challenger explosion were perhaps not as emotionally shaken by it as we might think. It may have been a mistake to assume that the event affected them enough to produce a "flashbulb memory."

When I was a freshman in college, I was largely oblivious to the news. I found out that Americans had been taken hostage in Iran more than a month after it actually happened, even though it was the biggest news story at the time. And I can't say I thought about it or cared about it very much, even after I found out. At that age, and in those circumstances, you do tend to be pretty self-centered and self-absorbed.

Maybe the students didn't really care that much about the space program because they had other things on their mind.

See also this Google Books search result for differences between factual memory and autobiographical memory (spoiler: autobiographical memory seems to be more reliable):

Trump may have been recalling the five Isreali men in New Jersey who were investigated for supposedly cheering on the collapse of the towers.

Trump either mistakenly or on purpose changed it to Muslims. As part of his demonization of Muslims, he perhaps unconsciously made the change to Muslims.

Here's an example of something I got wrong in a movie. I watched "Napoleon Dynamite" for the first time in over 5 years, I believe. It's a favorite, and I own the DVD. One reason I hadn't watched it in so long is that I'd watched so many times before...

I had thought Napoleon called the time machine his brother and Uncle Rico bought online a "decroded piece of crap." Actually, he simply calls it a "piece of crap." Earlier in the movie, he tells someone to "eat a decroded piece of crap."

I can live with this level of mistaken-ness. :) I found, on the whole, my recall of the movie (active and passive) was quite good.

Ian said, "The brain has only so much room to store stuff, so it makes sense that it prioritizes certain things over others."

Are you quite certain that the brain stores memories? If so, where? Consider these articles, for instance:

What seems to have happened with trump's memory of 9/11 is this; on 9/11 there were a handful of Muslims in NJ that were picked up as they had allegedly been seen/overheard celebrating the collapse of the towers. That was in some news outlets. Then, in the following days there news clips of Muslims in various countries in the MENA that were indeed dancing in the streets in large numbers celebrating the attack as a victory (I remember those clips myself). Trump scrambled the memories to have the large numbers of celebrators being in NJ. This is much like what Matt Rouge did with "decroded" in Napolean Dynamite.

I recall the Challenger explosion because I was finishing up my undergrad degree and was taking a psychology class at the University of Arizona that was centered around the theme of "death saliency" (anxiety over death, at bottom, driving most of our social and personal behaviors). It was taught by a prof Greenberg. Greenberg had brought a TV into the classroom so we could all watch the language of the reporters and the way the event was being framed and look for clues that conformed to his primary theory.

Otherwise, the Challenger mishap wouldn't have meant much of anything to me and I would most likely have had no recollection of the event beyond that it happened sometime in the mid to late 1980s. I guess my attitude was something like "That's too bad, but I'm surprised it hasn't already. It's such a risky thing to do. The pilots and everyone else should have been aware of the risk." I was surprised to find out that it really impacted some people.

What interests me in all of this is the ability of those that control the media to control our memories. Since we can't be sure, if we go to a search and get some hits that have it different than our memories, we are probably inclined to believe the "factual" info more than ourselves. History can be re-written this way.

Very interesting article Kathleen. Did you read all of it? I think it would be a classic article to use in a journalism class as an example of how not to write a 'news' article. This could happen only in an America run by rabid liberals who like to make things up, insinuate, suggest, opine and outright fabricate news stories. Thanks for the terrific example Kathleen.

I think that this is not what Trump was referring to as he talked about people on a rooftop not five men on the top of a van. - AOD

Great post, Michael! It has captured my attention in several respects—in part, because I just finished reading The Robe, the marvelous novel that focuses on the events surrounding Jesus's death, and how it has been recalled and passed along by witnesses and second-hand sources.

But it may also shed some light on my dream project. Specifically, how we remember—or misremember—aspects of our dreams on awakening from them. I can’t get into detail about it now, but you’ve given me a lot to think about!

"I just finished reading The Robe."

I've been meaning to read that novel myself, Bruce. I started it a few months ago and enjoyed the first chapter, but put it down for some reason.

I kinda knew that any mention of Trump risked sidetracking the discussion into a political debate, but his account of Muslims celebrating in the NY/NJ area was the most recent well-known example of false memory that I could think of.

Michael said:

"I've been meaning to read [The Robe] myself."

I tried reading Ben-Hur—the 1959 version is one of my favorite movies—but couldn't get into it. Though Wallace writes about the same period and many of the same characters, his language puts me off.

But reading The Robe was truly enjoyable.

Bruce, if you enjoyed reading The Robe you might want to read The Sorry Tale by Patience Worth. In lieu of reading the book, you could read my excerpt from it about the crucifixion of Jesus and the penitent thief as depicted by Patience Worth in The Sorry Tale. I would like to know what you think about it as compared to The Robe. - AOD

AOD, what the heck are you talking about? I remembered the incident, and it may have some bearing on what Trump said.

The woman who called in the men to the police said they seemed "strangely happy." Her words, not mine. No, I didn't read the entire article, I just linked to what seems like a reasonably decent news site.

But I did remember it.

Kathleen, settle down! What the heck did you remember? The planes hitting the towers? The men on the van? What? A woman calls the police and says that she sees some men on top of a van and they are "strangely happy'? What the ----? Neither I nor anyone else said those were your words. I think the trouble with Liberals is that they don't read carefully, don't listen carefully and don't think critically. Next time read the whole article and browse for other sources of information.

Use your browser to find other articles about 9/11 and celebrations by Muslims' on rooftops. Trump obviously was not referring to the men on the van as evidenced by several other sources of information, some of which are seemingly very reliable. Wasn't that your point---or did you mean something else? - AOD

AOD, please please please stop turning everything into a political argument.

The Trump thing was meant only as an example of a mistaken memory. This wasn't a political post. Even if it had been, blanket statements about "the trouble with liberals" aren't helpful.

Let's all have a happy and friendly New Year!

Sorry Michael. I think you exaggerate. I do not turn everything into a political argument any more than anyone else here does. I am not a political person at all but when Kathleen or anyone else provides misinformation it would be irresponsible of me to just let it go unchallenged.

I did not start the political thread about Trump. Kathleen did.

Anyway I am chastised. You da boss! AOL -

I don't think memories are stored in the brain - I can post links if people want to discuss it - but I can see there are potential flaws with witness memory though I am wary of dismissing all accounts in this manner.

It seems just as plausible Randi or some other investigator who saw cheating could in fact misremember based on their prejudices, or as noted above people insert materialistic explanations after witnessing paranormal phenomenon.

And of course even if "miracles" were performed they could just be forms of natural, expected Psi. Even in mythology it seems a thing deemed miraculous demands on location and time period, otherwise the same level of PK/Telepathy/etc is just sorcery. I suspect many prophets may just be Psi-gifted orators with charming personalities.

OTOH all Psi could be akin to the siddhis, manifestations that signal a closeness to Divinity...

Agree, Michael! AOD, it's ancient history. I was only theorizing that Trump might have been aware of the van incident and confused it somehow. That's what happens with memory. It's all virtually ancient history now anyway, and not even vaguely interesting to me.

But getting back to memory and the paranormal, I did remark here about this once, but it might be interesting. When I was about six years old, I was sure I saw an apparition. I always wondered about it afterwards, but recently I ran into an older relative who told me that she remembered me that next morning going on-and-on about the apparition I saw. I was apparently very excited about it and the experience deeply impressed me.

I have a very clear memory of being... I don't know, somewhere between three and six, and seeing the family dog sleeping on top of the china cabinet. Obviously this couldn't possibly have happened, but I remember it as clearly as the occasional memories from longer ago that I know did happen. I'm completely baffled by it. I do remember dreams, but always AS BEING dreams, so if it was a dream it was still anomalous. Has that kind of thing happened to anyone else? I get the idea that misremembering is one thing but making up memories out of whole cloth is more unusual.

@ Chel - yup, I have a few unusual memories as a young kid that for the longest time I was convinced were in fact genuine memories.

that said, at times I think the Real is more like a dream, a possibility cloud of narratives, than a machine running in accordance with natural laws...well the idea of imposing laws is illogical to me but that's another topic....

"The brain doesn’t work like that. Instead, when we experience something, bits and pieces of its memory are stored in different parts of the brain."

Rupert Sheldrake says some or all of it is stored in the cloud, so to speak.

Have any of these debunking scientists tested whether a minority of persons do NOT have unreliable memories? it seems to me that their indictment (or that of some of their readers) is overly broad.

Ian said, "The brain has only so much room to store stuff . . . ."

That's why Sherlock Holmes said he didn't want to learn whether the earth circled the sun or vice versa!

Hey, Bruce: In response to your question, I'm still moderately ecstatic about my Instant Pot, but a bit less so now that I've accumulated a collection of the many ways that it and its manual could be improved. I've made four comments about it, the first very long, in the prior thread, at

Glad to see Roger Knight's mention of Rupert Sheldrake.

I've read enough to know the brain's a delicate organ. Read enough by Oliver Sacks to realize how it functions is open to big time debate. Anyway, the perfection of the environment required is impressive. In some ways what is required is so specialized it makes one think of solid state quantum computers, wherein the solid state apparati require extremely low temperatures. And if you entertain in your mind Rupert Sheldrake's hypothesis that stem cells and "memory cells" are like antennae for picking up things out of the "morphic field," then you begin imagining an "instrument" so precise it's likely to be even MORE demanding in terms of requisite environment.

Since I do entertain his hypothesis in MY thinking...the phrase for instance "memories encoded in cells" is something I have a problem with. Seems to me if, say, visual memories were encoded in brain cells, whatever visual memory that comes to mind should "pop" replete with vivid detail...just like a photo accompanying the top article at commondreams dot org pops when you click an embedded link to the site. But visual memory isn't like that (for me...I'm not say'n it's not for Franco Magnani). No, with effort [the "how" of which we do not understand] a visual memory opens up like focusing a telescope. It opens and opens and then opens more. Moreover, feelings associated with the original seeing/observation become more and more vivid if you keep "focusing" as well. It's sort of parallel to Carl Jung's "free association." In sum, inspite of the NUMBER of brain my way of thinking even this number...even if EVERY single cell had a thousand of the memory's "pixels" wouldn't be enough capacity.

PS Those caps aren't for shouting!

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