Feats of Memory
For those of us who lose track of our TV remote within a minute of using it, the talents of people like Stephen Wiltshire and Kim Peek are legitimately amazing. Wiltshire, an autistic artist with a photographic memory, once famously re-created a sweeping vista of New York City after a brief helicopter flight over the harbor. Peek, who passed away in 2009, was widely assumed to have a similar autistic savant condition to Wiltshire’s, but in fact suffered from an obscure condition known as FG syndrome—born missing most of the nerve connections between the two lobes of his brain, it’s theorized that his neurons made new and unusual connections that accidentally increased his memory capacity far beyond the human baseline. Although Peek’s motor skills were damaged, he became capable of feats such as reading both pages of a book simultaneously and recalling the book’s details perfectly years later. After a chance meeting with screenwriter Barry Morrow, Peek’s condition was fictionalized in the movie "Rain Man," and the formerly shy man became a celebrity of sorts.