Shereshevsky, Soloman - Words and vivid images
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
A R Luria – The Mind of a Mnemonist
It was the meaning of words that was predominantly important. Each word had the effect of summoning up in his mind a graphic image and what distinguished him from the general run of people was that his images were incomparably more vivid and stable than theirs. Further, his images were invariably linked with synaesthetic components – sensations of coloured splotches, splashes and lines – which reflected the sound structure of a word and the voice of the speaker.
It was only natural, then, that the visual quality of his recall was fundamental to his capacity for remembering words. For when he heard or read a word it was at once converted into a visual image corresponding with the object the word signified for him. Once he formed an image, which was always of a particularly vivid nature, it stabilised itself in his memory, and though it might vanish for a time when his attention was taken up with something else, it would manifest itself once again whenever he returned to the situation in which the word had first come up.