You won’t believe this girl’s amazing memory!

Yes, it’s clickbait; I like to do that sometimes even though it doesn’t work on this site.  At any rate, here are two videos from the Steve Harvey program showing a girl (or woman; I don’t know at what age the name is supposed to change) performing a fantastic feat of memory. Steve shuffles a deck of cards, she goes through them in 17 second and memorizes them all in order. Then Steve deals seven cards alternately and face down to three other people, for a total of 21, with her watching, and he keeps the other 31.  She then answers correctly “How many aces have been dealt out”, and proceeds to identify any card that the three people have in front of them, as well as naming the remaining 31 in order.

I find this absolutely unbelievable. It is not a trick. And it means she doesn’t just memorize the cards in order, but has to keep track of their placement in front of other people, and also know things like “how many aces have been dealt” instantly. That’s far more than just memorizing the order of the cards.  I can’t fathom how anybody, regardless of their neuronal wiring, can do this, but it appears to be real. Watch for yourself.

Her name is Katherine He, she has a Facebook page, and she’s not even the best memory champ in the U.S. (though she’s the best under 18).

h/t: The Kingpin

62 Comments

  1. Draken
    Posted August 10, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Yes, it’s clickbait; I like to do that sometimes even though it doesn’t work on this site.

    They’re normally accompanied by pictures of boobs, Jerry. You’ve got a lot to learn if you’re to become an Internet Milljunaire.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted August 10, 2017 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      boobs? the blue-footed Galapogean (speelung?) birds?

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 10, 2017 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        That’s boobies, as here:

        Not boobs, which are generally not blue, at least in my experience.

        cr

        • rickflick
          Posted August 10, 2017 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

          Ha! Now that’s clickbait.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted August 10, 2017 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

          James Cameron (?) tried to change your colour-blinkered mind.
          Anyone got some woad?

        • Posted August 10, 2017 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

          Well, here is the only blue joke I ever heard my father tell. My mother was appalled. (A wren is the familiar acronym for Womens Royal Army Corps)
          Oh, Oh, here we go. Six Wrens went into the sea-what came out? Answer: Twelve blue tits.

          Homage to my long gone father.

          • Larry Smith
            Posted August 10, 2017 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

            I thought the punchline was going to be something like “what a WRAC!”

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted August 10, 2017 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

              Or (from the Frost Report):
              “Next we have a movie about prisoners-of-war, The Colditz Story; followed by a documentary about Welsh mining valleys, The Coaltips Story; then a movie about Eskimos starring Raquel Welch, but we’re not sure of the title of that yet”

              cr

            • Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

              LOL. Oh Lor.
              Apologies to all. Just enjoyed reliving that moment between my mum and dad.

          • Posted August 11, 2017 at 4:17 am | Permalink

            Cicely, you have your acronyms mixed up. “Wrens” were WRNS: Womens Royal Naval Service (hence the joke about going to sea). Larry is right in that WRAC stand for Womens Royal Army Corps (obviously). Nice punchline Larry!

            • Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

              Yep, you are correct. I saw that a split second after hitting ‘post’

  2. Posted August 10, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    You’re right it’s not a trick, but it is a trick (sort of).

    She splits a journey she makes regularly into 52 different places along that journey.

    She only ever has to do that once.

    She associates each card with 52 different distinct objects meaningful to her and that reminds her of a particular card.

    She also only ever has to ever do this once.

    When she looks through a deck of cards she walks through the journey in her head positioning the unusual object at that position in the journey.

    When recalling the cards, she is recalling the journey and “converting” it to a card.

    With a little practice almost anyone can become fairly quick at this.

    She is obviously extremely well practiced at this.

    • Posted August 10, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      I doubt that anyone can even get close to this, and she’s taken a variety of memory tests in the contests she won. I don’t care how she does it; it still shows an amazing memory. Besides, she was able to answer the question about aces instantly, and that doesn’t jibe with how you said she did it (at least, I don’t think so).

      • mudflye
        Posted August 10, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        No, it doesn’t show amazing (biological) memory, it shows amazing grasp and practice of the technique.

        stooshie didn’t mention it, but there is a way of partitioning the journey and/or placing images that represent numerical markers that instantly give you the list position.

      • Posted August 10, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        I didn’t say it didn’t show an amazing memory.

        I described how it was done not how to do it well.

        I can describe how to play the trumpet, it doesn’t make me play like Miles Davis.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted August 10, 2017 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

          Which end do you blow into?

      • mudflye
        Posted August 10, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        For cards, the common/popular way is as described above but with an image that represents 3 cards at once so that your journey need not be comprised of so many locations.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted August 10, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Anyone can do this with a little training. Are you kidding me? If you can do it, you should be very rich.

      • Posted August 10, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        “Anyone can do this with a little training.” That’s not what he said.

        “If you can do it, you should be very rich.” That girl can do it. How do you imagine she can use that skill to become very rich?

        • mudflye
          Posted August 10, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominic_O%27Brien

          You make money by teaching the technique to others, writing books, etc.

          • Posted August 10, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

            Well I suppose people can disagree about what “very rich” means, but I wouldn’t consider that guy to be “very rich.” And he’s the best in the world. Randy Schenck seemed to imply that somehow this skill would like being able to correctly pick lottery numbers, horse racing winners, or beat the house in Vegas.

            • mudflye
              Posted August 10, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

              Indeed, you can use it to count cards in the casino. Can’t remember if it was Dominic or Harry Lorayne, but one of them recounts getting banned from many casinos in their book.

              • tomh
                Posted August 10, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

                Casinos routinely ban card counters.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted August 10, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

              @mudflye “indeed, you can use it to count cards in the casino”

              A good memory system is useful in bridge, but not in blackjack

              That isn’t how blackjack card counters work, you don’t need a particularly good memory to card count. Anybody can learn to card count effectively in a few hours. The skill of a card counter is being able to ‘social engineer’ & act natural while playing, talking etc – that takes a lot of practise!

              The most successful card counters work in teams [complex reasons]

              THE SETUP
              * Suits [H,D,C,S] don’t matter in Blackjack
              * The ‘shoe’ can hold up to eight decks of 52 cards [thus there are 32 Aces in the 416-card deck]
              * The ‘shoe’ is never entirely used before being reshuffled

              THE SYSTEM [There are many, this is a simple one]
              * Suits [H,D,C,S] don’t matter in Blackjack
              * Each rank of card has a pre-assigned value [-1,0,+1]:
              count -1 for T,J,Q,K,A
              count 0 for rank 7,8,9
              count +1 for rank 2,3,4,5,6
              * Keep a “Running Count” of the values of the card dealt – the only number you need to remember
              * Convert to a ‘true count’ based on how many decks [approx] of the total available have been played
              * Use this running count to calculate the bias in the cards yet to be dealt
              [“Hmmm – the count is -15 so the shoe has less T,J,Q,K,A cards left than it statistically should have”]
              * Adjust your bet size according to whom the shoe favours at the moment [dealer or player]

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted August 10, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

                …fewer…

  3. Geoff Toscano
    Posted August 10, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    It’s a miracle. It proves God exists!

  4. Bruce Swanney
    Posted August 10, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Looks interesting. I would watch it if I could stand the sight of Steve Harvey

  5. mudflye
    Posted August 10, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    This feat is nothing new and many people can do it (myself included) albeit not as quickly. ANYBODY can learn the technique and it has nothing to do with increased memory capacity of this individual.

    I taught my 7 year old daughter to do this with half a deck in less than a week. Honestly, anybody can do this if they want to.

    (Not in 17 seconds, mind you – that’s a matter of lots and lots of practice to speed it up. Once memorized however, the rest is easy. Your first deck might take you 20 minutes to memorize, but a reasonable amount of practice will drop that time down pretty quickly. Are you sure it was 17 seconds though? That’s on par with the current world record speed of 16.96 seconds.)

    Read science journalist Joshua Foer’s “Moonwalking with Einstein” for a fun introduction to the world of memory sports.

    • mudflye
      Posted August 10, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      And yes, memory competitors have had their brains studied/tested and their basic memory capacities are no different than that of anybody else. It’s all technique.

    • Jeremy Tarone
      Posted August 10, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      I read Moonwalking with Einstein, two other books on the subject:

      A Sheep Falls out of the Tree
      by Christiane Stenger

      The Memory Book
      by Harry Lorayne & Jerry Lucas

  6. Posted August 10, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I was on a six month retreat once quite intense and no talking and I ended up with an eidetic memory-that is I could be shown a page of text for a few seconds and then be able to read it off from the image in my head.That ability faded over a few weeks. My current view of that is that it is not so much trying to cram stuff in but to leave quiet space for it to register.Relaxed attention. Never tried, as the video shows, to categorise images shown sequentially into separate piles etc. I’ve since met a couple of people who had eidetic memory in childhood but it slowly faded.

    • rickflick
      Posted August 10, 2017 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      I had a very good, not quite eidetic, memory for some classes of things I was especially interested in, like animal names. The skill fades with age. I noticed too, when my daughter was very young, her memory was very good and recall was almost instantaneous. Fortunately for her she maintained some of that skill into adulthood. Other children in the extended family and friends were amazing at learning lists – bird names, car names-model-year, advertising slogans and logos, etc. It usually fades after about the age of puberty or a little after. Of course these examples do not use special methods. They are intrinsic.

      • Posted August 10, 2017 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

        Yes, i have had the same kind of experiences with young children. I remember once driving with a four year old with her mother naming for her the sequence and names of layers of rocks in a hi-way cut. Several hours later returning the same way the little girl named them all off perfectly. I tend to think it has to do with the quality of attention we are able to bring to any given situation. As we get a bit older our heads get cluttered as we engage more and more in internal dialogue and perception also gets muddied with preconceived ideas about the world.

        • rickflick
          Posted August 10, 2017 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

          I’ve long been a believer in the cluttered head hypothesis of aging. Actually my enthusiasm for the idea has gown over time.
          😎

  7. craigp
    Posted August 10, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Not available to us foreigners (in the UK).

    • Frank Bath
      Posted August 10, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      A foreigner writes. Is the girl autistic in any way? I have seen TV programmes where ‘idiot savants’ can do the most astonishing things. They have weird brain wiring. I hope the girl is normal with or without weird wiring.

  8. Posted August 10, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    “It is not a trick.”

    In this case I’d like to hear a second opinion, like from James Randi or Penn Jillette.

    • mudflye
      Posted August 10, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Really no reason to check with James Randi! This is simply not popular in North America, but the art is well developed in Europe.

      She is absolutely really memorizing those cards (read my other comments above.)

      https://artofmemory.com/

      • Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        I’ll wait until Robert Mueller is finished. If she can memorize and recite all of the charges against Trump, then I’ll be impressed.

  9. jwthomas
    Posted August 10, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I’d check with James Randi before offering any comment on this. Has he ever commented on or duplicated this “trick?”

    • Xuuths
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Houdini used to do it.

  10. Posted August 10, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    @stooshie and mudflye: About thirty years ago, a learning institute in Argentina taught “a trick that is not a trick”. In a free introductory lesson, I took the opportunity to learn the basic rules of a relatively simple memorizing method (create associations of the objects with personal sympathies – for example, a journey!). I found it amusing to know but didn’t take the following lectures because I was unwilling to spend time in exercising constantly – which is indispensable if you want to memorize successfully.
    .-

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 10, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Can she count into an eight-deck shoe?

  12. Cyrus Martin
    Posted August 10, 2017 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Yes, as mentioned above it looks like she is using a mnemonic device like the “memory palace”. Still amazing though and probably requiring countless hours of practice.

    The author of the “moonwalking with Einstein” book also wrote a piece for the NYT about his foray into memory sports if anyone wants a quick primer.

  13. Paul Dymnicki
    Posted August 10, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Famous last words “it is not a trick”.

  14. Posted August 10, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know at what age the name is supposed to change

    Just pretend she’s a he and if ‘boy’ would be weird, use woman.

  15. Michael Fisher
    Posted August 10, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    THIS VIDEO IS VIEWABLE IN THE UK

    • Posted August 11, 2017 at 4:30 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Michael. I now understand the comments about Steve Harvey.

  16. Gabriel
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    When amateurs (no matter how intelligent they are)describe great magic tricks they have witnessed and that have amazed them they always begin with the words “That cannot be a magic trick”… That to the immense delight of the conjurer. 🙂

    • Posted August 11, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      “Real magic, in other words, refers to the magic that is not real, while the magic that is real, that can actually be done, is not real magic” – Daniel C. Dennett, Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking.

  17. Posted August 11, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    On “girl/woman” and “boy/man”. Personally, I use the terms legally in the Canadian sense, so age 18+ is the latter term in each category

  18. Posted August 11, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    And, the skill can be trained! Someone wrote a book about entering a memory contest while not having had much of a memory to brag about. he underwent training and now is quite good.


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