How do you do multiple castles?

(Werner Peters) #1

For those of you who memorize large amounts; do you create imaginary castles? I cannot imagine knowing enough buildings and rooms and objects in those buildings to deal with the things I want to memorize.

A second question I have… will the castle (my apartment) that I currently use for practicing be unusable for future stuff I need to memorize? Or will the mind discard the useless data from my practice runs?


How many locations do you currently have in your apartment?

If you’re only doing short term memorization, like a deck of cards for example and then re-use that route every 3-4 days it should be fine… any more frequent than that you’ll probably get ghost images from the previous trials. Similarly, if you stored information there for the longer term… takes a while for those images to fade then.

You can always use Google Maps, Google Earth, or Google Street View to discover new routes. Have a look at this post using the city of Paris to store 2,000 digits of pi:

(Werner Peters) #3

Thanks. That’'s good to know.
My next question - I am trying to learn to present without notes. I am presently bound to a manuscript… but I do feel bound… and when I leave the MS to go ad lib, I sometimes get lost, and have a hard time finding my way back to the MS.

SO my question - will the strange images in my mind get in the way of what I actually want to say? I find myself looking into space trying to recall the image first and then seeing the words that were tied to that image… theoretically, it seems very stilted. But, I am a beginner…


Sure… but you might want to start a separate thread for that so people can find it (doesn’t have much to do with your original post)… that said:

Firstly, I’d structure the presentation according to the principles Barbara Minto uses in her book:

Then have a look here of how I’d memorize the outline of a book (similar to presentation topics):

Also, if you know where you will be doing the presentation… get familiar with the place and set up the images there. Then you don’t find yourself “looking into space” but rather to the next location on your speeches journey.

(Werner Peters) #5

You’ll have to forgive me for that. I am not yet too familiar with this style of forum.

(Silvio B.) #6

That’s a problem most people face at some point.

I often use places from video games, there are almost endless locations in some video games. There was a time when I thought all these hours of playing video games in the past haven been a waste of time. The opposite is the case! All these hours where just preparation-time for memory palaces. Nowadays I buy certain video games with the firm intention of creating new memory palaces.

Also: Just go to new places, where you’ve never been (even if it’s just with Google Street View). You automatically create memory palaces.


If you use a VR headset, which you can get for around 10-20 dollars these days, and change to cardboard view it’s actually pretty immersive… 3D and everything. Not the same as actually having been there, but much better than looking at it in 2D on a computer screen. If you’ve in fact been to the place before it’s quite a nice review system.

“I come in here, and the first thing I’m doing is I’m catching the sightlines and looking for an exit.”
Jason Bourne

“I can tell you the license plate numbers of all six cars outside. I can tell you that our waitress is left-handed and the guy sitting up at the counter weighs two hundred and fifteen pounds and knows how to handle himself. I know the best place to look for a gun is the cab of the gray truck outside, and at this altitude, I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking. Now why would I know that? How can I know that and not know who I am?”
Jason Bourne , The Bourne Identity


(ant) #8

VR tours of homes on or some equivalent website . or better yet become a realtor or a home inspector haha

  • Question 1:

I personally find it extremely easy making new locations, perhaps because I have seen a lot of anime but if I go in bursts I can make anywhere from 10-25 locations in 10 seconds. If I then note these down (vaguely so that even if I forget them I can look back at the notes) and review them after a minute I have a nice set of 60 locations. After the first review they are sort of stuck and sufficient enough for use.

If I go slowly it’s more sustainable and more immersive but I will still end up with at least 25 locations a minute.
Compared to a house which has on average what I would consider 8 locations e.g : bathroom ,stairway, ground floor, kitchen, living room, your room, guest room, garden.
I find it faster and more likeable/unique compared to actual locations but that might just be me.

  • Question 2:

Your castle you are using currently will have a very low chance of being usable for future stuff.
Your mind will discard the useless data but not entirely rather gradually as fragments, this can interfere with other things which is why it’s unlikely to be useful for the future at least compared to how effective it was initially.

  • Question 3:

Strange images themselves do not get in the way of what you want to say but can give you the illusion that your memory is strong enough to say what you want to say when it is not actually. If you find yourself searching your palace severely for the information, it simply means that the information is while remembered only specifically tied to your palace cue and that your palace cue is not particularly tied to the start of what you want to say (reviewing helps with that) but rather the location itself.

(Werner Peters) #10

I do not understand how seeing a lot of anime helps. Is it because you associate your data with the anime character?

Secondly, I am getting conflicting responses on question 2. I have tried different sets of data in a used memory journey. So far it works, but the previous data would present itself… (this is all just practice for me at this point). But if this is True, (That I should not use the same castle for different data, then I don’t want to waste those castles on practice. See my point?


Seeing a lot of anime helps with visualizing new memory palace locations instantaneously or getting an image that comes to mind when you view abstract information, rather than specific characters. It just feels like I never have to actively spend much time gathering an image or place of sorts because I have too many resources from having watched anime, these resources are not specific so my mind creates vague cross mixes between them and as a result I have much more freedom with my visualization.

If you want a conceptual overview, essentially watching anime causes me to form logical connections to the sceneries and situations. I can then on viewing information instantly construct a heuristic ‘image’ based on this logic which fits and does so much more quickly. Additionally I remember specific backgrounds and scenes which are not exactly normal, so if I were to visualize a road I have over 100 types of roads to visualize whereas the usual person would have maybe 2-5 of course they would be very strange roads even something as unusual as a sky castle roadway formed out of stunning clouds on a plane(as in surface). I just know so many more places than I have actually seen in real life and have the underlying connection between ‘what is a place’ and its properties are enhanced as a result of that (rather than copy paste).

For 2 I see your point and it is indeed valid but you can’t exactly practice at least in any standard way without using any locations. It does work it is just not as optimal because as you have said ‘previous data would present itself’. In the future this may cause some interference or mixing up of any information.

You might find it more relieving to practice with new locations however you make them, rather than use up any reserves.

If you are asking whether training benefits are stumped upon reusing a palace (rather than for memorizing in general), I cannot entirely say so, there might even be a benefit to dealing with interference in practice at least. Something I may try in the future. Either way you will eventually make new locations, so starting for training is not exactly bad.

(ron arnett) #12

I am no expert but those who are feel that reusing memory locations without any difficulties is itself an expert skill. Some experts recommend building a journey for the specific purpose of reusing it after each short term use. In another words for expert things like demonstrating expertise at remembering number sequences or card decks. Once used and displayed, it has no further use and can be repurposed. But it seems to me that reusing a journey that you have already deliberately loaded into your long term memory is just asking for ghosting issues.

I take it from your description of why you are considering reusing memory locations is that you are currently locating one memory object at each station. What if you located an image of an Ikea piece of furniture with five drawers at each station/ Now instead of maybe ten locations, you have fifty. Then use the chain method to locate one memory object on the outside of the drawer and one memory object inside each drawer. Total is now two hundred and fifty. Next add another set of drawers in a different color at each station and repeat. Hundreds of locations in one short journey.

Do the same for the hallway from your apartment door to the elevator, the inside of the elevator, the elevator lobby, the hallway from the elevator lobby to the parkade, the walk through the parkade, the dashboard of your car, the exit gate from the parkade.

If not your apartment, then where you work, or where you go to school, or your friend’s apartment. At least a thousand, more like thousands of locations. No need to start reusing established locations. The problem is to avoid being overwhelmed by the sheer number of inviting locations just waiting for you to use them.

(Werner Peters) #13

So thank you all for the good advice. I have anotherv question. If I want to remember something longterm, will the stations and the silly images and actions eventually drop off?

(ron arnett) #14

The idea of the memory journey is to provide a platform for rehearsal. That means you have to recall the image every now and then to retain it.

That also means you have to develop a schedule for spaced repetition that works for you. Best to build your master journey on paper by hand first. That action in itself helps transport it into long term memory faster. Then redo it in a spread sheet like Excel to keep on file to cross check your journey periodically for errors that might creep in.

As you know images don’t have to be silly. Silly just makes it stand out. Other kinds of images can be made to stand out just as well or even better. I created one image for remembering the gender of Insel/island in German that I didn’t even bother to put it into a journey. That was because it combined elements of two traumatic events from my childhood. Even if I stop thinking about German entirely, I will still remember that combination of images related to the sound of Insel while imagining the scene.

But most images aren’t that powerful.

If you find one image is receding faster than other images in a memory train, then you have work on stabilizing that image rather than increase the frequency of journeying through the entire chain just to keep one of them fresh.

The biggest thing to focus on is that which works for you. Try as many approaches as possible to memory enhancement and observe the results. Woody Allen said the path to success is just showing up. Well, just paying attention in a serious way to what you are trying to remember will dramatically improve your memory no matter which approach you use.


That depends on how abstract the initial information is that you are trying to memorize. With some vocabulary for example, your brain will not go through the effort of finding the word in the palace once you know its meaning and have used it in conversation a few times… so after the initial “learning” is over, the image will either disappear completely or remain (maybe less vividly) outside of its location as @northernguy1 mentioned as far as his image for “Insel”.

The memory palace in this case just serves as a temporary storage location, so that you don’t have to pick up a dictionary every time, but once the word is being used in context for a few times there is no need for it anymore. The same would be true for leaning braille in the fashion described below because eventually it will become muscle memory:

There is other information of course that is more abstract where the image will remain longer, but I get the feeling that you are more concerned with the images themselves…

…could you maybe give an example of a few of your images and what they remind you of… it is not necessary to form images really far removed from what you’re actually trying to memorize, so you can have just the information you want but exaggerated or otherwise distorted. So maybe if you could share an example…

(Werner Peters) #16

So yesterday in church, I was teaching and had to turn to the book of Daniel. I blanked out for a moment,forgetting the order of those OT prophets. So I had to stop and think through my palace. The dishwasher in my kitchen is washing a bunch of small unicycles (Ezekiel) and then I move to the sink and see myself fixing a lion (Daniel) with a huge mane a shampoo under the faucet. Of course those images flash through my mind much quicker. But still it caused me to hesitate for a few moments and threw me off track… I think I will publish my palace (only twelve loci) and have you and others make suggestions for improvement.

(Werner Peters) #17

Under Journeys, in the software I have a set of loci… Memorizing the names of Old Testament prophets. No big deal, but it is my first foray into memorizing something I once knew… But since smart phones and computers have come out, I let this slip badly. It’s time to get back to using my own memory! Any constructive criticism welcomed!


Brings me back to my post above about Barbara Minto’s book…

Maybe consider structuring the prophets before putting them on a single journey. This kind of “chunking” makes it easier to kept track of five smaller journeys (i.e., former, latter, 3x minor) rather than one big one:

Prophets = 4 Former + 4 Latter

Former (as pairs of two)

  1. Shoeless Joe Jackson (Joe + Shoe = Joshua) in front of Judges (Black Sox Scandal)
  2. Sam Eagle(Sam short for Samuel) of the Muppets wearing a crown (Kings)

Latter (as pairs of two)

  1. Isaiah + Jeremiah
  2. Ezekiel + Minor

Minor Prophets

  1. before the fall of the Northern Kingdom (Hosea - Micah)
  2. before the fall of the Southern Kingdom (Nahum - Zephaniah)
  3. after return from exile (Haggai - Malachi)

Sure… that’s easier than making assumptions about what your memory palace might look like.