Seemingly impossible human mental accomplishments

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by A C Kerr, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. A C Kerr Registered Member

    I am interested in compiling a list of human mental feats that seem impossible, but have been confirmed. I am only interested in feats that have been reliably confirmed and/or documented.

    Here are some examples of the kinds of feats I am looking for:
    • Prior to the printing press, people would pass stories from generation to generation by memory. If I recall correctly, some people could memorize hundreds or even thousands of pages of text.
    • People (savants?) who can instantly tell you the day of the week for any date going back hundreds of thousands of years.
    • People (savants?) who can instantly take the square root of any number to hundreds of decimal places or multiply very large numbers.
    • People (savants?) like in Rainman who can look at a pile of spilled toothpicks and instantly tell the number.
    • People who perform amazing feats of strength in crises such as a woman lifting a car off of her child.
    I am interested in anything that would be impossible for the average person, especially anything that would lead people to infer divine or extraterrestrial influence or assistance.
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    There's whole books on this topic.
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  5. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    I would be interested in valid citations rather than anecdotes about the mental feats mentioned.

    The woman who lifted a car off her child sounds like an exaggeration of some lessor feat or an out right lie. Perhaps she tilted it rather than lifting it.

    A Honda Civic weighs 3000 to 4500 pounds (I wonder about this range). A ford Taurus weighs over 4500 pounds. These values do not include fuel, passengers, or cargo.​

    I am a bit skeptical about a person memorizing thousands of pages of text, but I would not bet much money against it being possible. I remember reading valid accounts of Christians who memorized the Bible & Islamics who memorized the Koran. The normal published versions of these are not thousands of pages, but these feats suggest that a person could memorize a thousand or more pages.

    Multiplication feats have been reported (not in this Thread) which seem plausible to me. I remember reading about a savant who had to be given large numbers via some verbal explanation like "11 rows of 23 with 5 left over." He did not understand ordinary notion like 258, which is 11 rows of 23 with 5 left over.

    I think he manipulated visual images & gave answers in similar terms. .​

    I remember reading about people (usually men) in primitive cultures who remembered historical data about their tribe, which was passed on to the next generation. I wonder if there was some second or third person who could verify such memories.
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  7. Zeno Registered Senior Member

    Playing 48 games of chess simultaneously blindfolded.
    Jennifer Murphy likes this.
  8. river

    Who did this ?
  9. Jennifer Murphy Registered Senior Member

    That is an excellent example. Thank you. I think a number of the grand masters have done something like this and against pretty good players,too.
  10. river

    Such as .....
  11. origin In a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect. Valued Senior Member

    I'm pretty sure that was a joke. If you are blindfolded you won't know where the other person moved their pieces.
    On the other hand I know for a fact that I personally could play 48 different chess games at the same time while blindfolded!
  12. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

  13. origin In a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect. Valued Senior Member

  14. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    Bart Simpson did it. He lost every game.

    Myself, I can remember my library-card number (14 digits) but not the PIN number (4 digits).

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