Imaginary palaces idea, good, bad, or indifferent?

I’ve been trying to figure out how to work with virtual or imaginary memory palaces. After quite a bit or reading on the topic, I found most suggestions do not resonate with me. So, I decided to forge ahead with simply crafting palaces myself. My goal is long-term memories for things that interest me, not speed or competition. I have plenty of real-world palaces I can use, but I would like to also have imaginary palaces as an option.

I carefully created the layout of a single bedroom apartment in my head. I have 40-ish loci in this little apartment.

I know everyone has their own methods, and there is no right or wrong. The reason I am writing this post is because I am impatient, I am curious to know if anyone has used a similar method, and if there are flaws I have not yet considered. I want to test my method for at least 3-4 apartments. For this test, I am using pi. I do not care about remembering pi, it is just an easy thing to use for practice. Encoding is slow for me, I will be working on this for a while.

Here is my plan. I mentally approach the first apartment, which is on the bottom floor of this limitless vertical apartment complex. On the door is an image of a bicycle. That’s my first loci. When I enter the apartment, there is a guy in a bike helmet and spandex sitting on the couch of the living room, watching TV and eating some sort of snacks. Hanging on the wall above the couch is a framed photo of bike racers. Somewhere near bookshelves in one corner are a mountain bike and a road bike leaning against the wall. Ok, there we go… that’s my setting for this apartment. Otherwise, there are the 40 loci I mentioned above.

When I am done with this apartment, I’ll go up a flight of stairs to the next floor. I’ll theme the apartment in a similar fashion. Maybe this apartment has a ninja on the door, there is a ninja practicing his moves in the room, there is a pile of katanas and shurikens in the corner near the bookshelves, and the painting above the couch is of a Japanese garden/temple/castle. And… 40 more loci, all the same as before.

And so on. Every apartment has a theme, but the 40 loci are the same.

After I spend a lot of time in these apartments, I am guessing I’ll know the 40 loci as well as I know the rooms and objects of my real home. But, if I keep using the same apartment over and over, will the nightstand next to the bed in the 4th apartment become confused with the nightstand in the other apartments?

What do you think? Will this work? After I post this, I’ll get back to remembering another few dozen number pairs of pi. I’ll be able to answer for myself eventually. But I’d love to hear opinions on this perhaps-too-simple construct.



No unless they are the exact same, even having some shade on one of them along with the other objects in the room and its positioning can let you distinguish things.

This may run into issues eventually.

The chance is about 60% in my opinion. There is a chance that since you are not used to this the positioning of the loci based on the objects may confuse you sufficiently enough for you to stop doing this. Or otherwise there are factors you are including that don’t match well with an imaginary loci.

Quite simply an imaginary loci is the exact same as a normal loci besides the fact that it is newly created. This means while its still as effective you also have to deal with the stability of the location, ~until you remember it well. Remembering it well is a matter of spaced repetition - ideal time being just before or just after you have forgotten it. Kind of like images where some bizarre images make a longer lasting impression there is a way of constructing places that does this too, I would say sets of rooms are not ideal but they can work, depends on how you find them. It’s much easier to talk about any issues you are having with it so feel free to test away.


I tried something like that and it was catastrophic. I cant wait to see if you find a way and see how you do.

Even though I tried to convince myself that they were different places, when I was at the cupboard, I saw immediately what I had placed at the cupboard in the previous room.

Unfortunately, unlike Nagime, slight differences aren’t enough for me, with duplicates. But I do feel that if I would concentrate on practicing with focus on details within duplicate rooms that it could be developed, since slight details do often have great importance in my ordinary palaces.

Moving furniture around made it work a bit, but I didn’t experiment further, so I cant say if it can really work with many duplications; I mean, I’d run out of ways to move the furniture… I always had a good number of real palaces and that took me away from experimenting further, but that was before I found really interesting threads here about artificial palaces! now I take them quite seriously and regularly creatum although there never duplicate and most often simply based on places I do know.

What I like to more and more is go over what I’ve already placed in one given room and I’ve gotten to create many layers in this manner. What’s I enjoy about that is I always have something extra to build a upon so it’s it’s quite infinite actually; and I consider these artificial actually because after the fourth or fifth layer, it’s just not the same place at all.


I do not feel encouraged - I suspect this will fail, since Nagime is pessimistic, and Cameri has tried (and failed) with this technique. Despite that, I feel like it is a natural fit for me. I’ll memorize enough digits of pi to have at least 4 “apartments” (so…40 loci per apartment, 160 indexed number pairs [major system 00-99], that’s 320 numbers plus an image to index every 5th pair so I can locate a number by its index) and report back on my experience. I’m going to try to re-enforce location by imagining theme-appropriate images in every room, not just the entrance and first room. There will be art on the walls based on the theme. When I see a generic person, it’ll be themed as the person who lives in the apartment. There will be accessories used by that person everywhere. In the end, this will probably be problematic because I won’t be specifically memorizing the theme, I’ll be mostly focused on the numbers. The theme is just background. Background might not “stick” long-term. I don’t know. There is one way to find out!

I expect this to fail, but I’ll give it a try anyway. It’s just pi. I don’t care if I fail with pi. It’s just a learning exercise.


I really like this, there’s a lot of imagination at work. You’re testing to see what effect will an underlying theme have.
I believe this experiment will be rewarding whether you succeed or not.

If it doesnt work well enough, there are many variations of this possible. You could try alternating between adding theme to appartment and adding theme to numbers. Who knows, maybe chocolate drenched image-numbers would sometimes work better. Mmmmiam! Or only making your images tiny, then next appartment huge… Play around, tell us about it, maybe get a crazy duplicated room brainstorm going.

I like your attitude ! :yum:

P.S perhaps I wouldn’t put so many constraints at first. Example : no theme, no specific amount of loci, nor specific amount of images per loci, etc. Then just think these little by little according to how it goes.

Who knows, maybe just some special image to mark your every 5th pair would be enough for your mind to keep unwelcomed images from another dimension away?

I always love and am soooo relieved when something so much easier and simpler ends up working just as well as the big crazy complicated system I thought of at first (not saying this is!).

Rambling now…Most of the time I just feel like I am lucky in these moments, because I just try so many things till my luck thickens enough, maybe, if that makes sense. Boy. tiiired. good night all!


Just in general :

When something doesn’t work, you don’t need to discard everything, you can make the small changes there where they are needed so that it can work. This way it will 100% work no matter what.


Ok, I memorized 200 digits of pi (pairs of numbers plus an index every 5th pair) using the method I talked about in this post. I filled 4 “apartments”. I very heavily themed each imaginary apartment, and my themes became more and more elaborate as I continued. Not only were there artifacts and art in the apartment appropriate for the person/creature who lived there, but my images often interacted with the loci in a way that was appropriate. For example, one apartment belonged to a family with many babies. Lots of baby stuff everywhere. In a doorway, I needed index 85 (veil) and 02 (sun). So, I saw a veiled woman in black weeping as she sacrificed her baby to the sun. Babies. Babies everywhere.

It took me a week (average effort 45 minutes per day). I filled 4 apartments. Yesterday I finally reviewed all 200 characters, and the results are interesting. This imaginary palace method is not a failure. But it is not a success. There were a few loci where I wasn’t sure if I was in the right apartment, but after thinking very hard about it for a few minutes, and reviewing the loci images before and after, I was able to figure it out correctly - but slowly. However, I completely swapped two sets of loci for images that belonged to another apartment. Two sets of loci swapped = 4 loci = 8 digits. Crap. That’s 8 incorrect numbers.

8 incorrect numbers out of 200 isn’t great. But that means the imaginary, themed but identical apartments worked for the other 192 numbers. I am going to declare this a failure because if I use this method, I won’t be able to trust it. But it wasn’t a big failure. And maybe there is some way for me to modify this method so it will work. I’d love to be able to just keep creating 100% imaginary spaces like this apartment. Before I started, I spent about 30 minutes creating the apartment in my head. I guess I could create a parking lot next to the apartment, a park, a gym, a grocery store, and just keep going. But carefully crafting each of those journeys so they feel real and convincing takes quite a bit of time.



For me, with a new technique, 8 out of 200 is really really good . I know that when I get such margin of errors, with something I am just starting to work on, that there is not much practice and tweeking left to do to get 100% correct, most times (as do the top memory athlete s).

And being really slow that is also normal at the beginning, so I wouldn’t worry about that.

I know you don’t feel this way, but I have to be honest so, congratulations, truly!

I would personally continue with something that works so well at first, while also keep on experimenting of course.

Nice work!

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Wow this is so awesome! Which method were you originally using before you starting creating this new one?

P.S. this is my fist post 3 years after my last post :open_mouth:

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Hey @boulderKC. For your question of confusing nightstands. I think it’s a matter of simple exaggeration. Make differences between them that may have coinciding themes with the apartments or exaggerate ridiculous differences that make absolutely no sense.

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I tried something similar, using the shelves in a public library that I know well. But the moment you have multiple spaces (apartments/bookshelves) that share major characteristics, the harder it is to keep them straight. I don’t want to seem overly pessimistic—especially since I haven’t tested this too deeply—but I think you’re going to have issues with any iteration of multiple spaces that are built from the same basic design. This is the natural advantage of using real-world places: Each one will have unique furnishings/characteristics that will aid memorization.

I’d encourage you to consider imaginary spaces that are not so cookie-cutter identical. Maybe a large office building, where a different kind of company—with their own unique layout—is occupying every floor.

If you want to stick with the apartment approach, though, I would number the doors and then put a Major/Dominic/whatever association for that number on the door as well, an association that will affect every single locus in that room. Otherwise, one bedside table is going to look like every other bedside table and you won’t be able to distinguish different sets of information among the different apartments. But if Apt. 22 has a nun living there, that nun can uniquely interact with each location, helping to keep you on track. This might also help in terms of decorating the spaces or adding small touches that will help make each space distinct. (For example, maybe a nun would have bare wooden floors and plain silver fixtures and a crucifix on the wall. Whereas the cat living in Apt. 71 might have thick carpeting and cardboard boxes scattered everywhere for playing/scratching.)


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Thank you all for your obervations. I haven’t replied yet because I’ve been mulling this over quite a bit. Meanwhile, I’ve been using real-world journeys because they are reliable.

Over the next few weeks, I am going to mentally repair the problem areas in my 200 digits of pi in 4 themed apartments. I will not do this because I plan to continue using this method of repeating apartments (or any similar repeating memory palaces), but just because I want practice repairing journey/palace problems. This entire experiment was not a failure, it was a great learning experience and it has it merits. Once I make repairs, I’ll continue to review it to see if it ages well over time. Maybe it just needs to “stew” for a while.

However, I don’t plan to use a similar system in the future. The fact is, I just don’t trust it. I don’t trust myself. If my brain says “43” is the image in the bathroom sink in the third apartment, I don’t have faith that it will always be correct. When creating the journey, if I focus very, very hard on adding the “third floor” theme to every loci, it might work - but, man, that is almost like adding a whole new image to your loci, doubling the effort required to memorize something.

I very much want to discover an imaginary or virtual method that works for me. I have lists of many hundreds of complex things I want to memorize (mostly historical events), and I struggle finding real-world journeys with enough loci. Of all the imaginary/virtual ideas I’ve seen, video games are (currently) the most intriguing to me. I don’t want to re-play games I’ve already played, but I might need to. Right now I am playing a new game (new to me), the Destiny 2 single player campaigns. I’m hoping to find a very large non-combat area that I can revisit many times. So far, all of the non-combat zones are kind of small. Otherwise, Mayarra’s thoughts on Fallout 4 intrigue me - that is one of my favorite games of the past 10 years. I uninstalled Fallout 4 quite a while ago. I hope I have cloud game saves, I certainly don’t want to re-play such a huge game. Maybe there are some “god mode” mods that eliminates combat? Sorry… I digress.

It’s all good stuff. Mnemonics are magic.



If you haven’t seen it yet, there is also a wiki page on virtual memory palaces.

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I think it can work well. Just make a little difference with other loci so you won’t get confused. Some of my locus get replaced when there is a general cleaning happening in my house. Though it was changed, the palace i had on my head is still the same

Weird that I didn’t find this before in my other account.

Interesting, imaginary palaces work and for me work much better than real places. Imaginary places by definition are imaginary, they are a complex collection of pictures from images you have accumulated over years. However, you have to order them. Anything is a place in memory. My imaginary places are located in imaginary worlds: I find my imaginary places are more malleable than my real life palaces. Now the creating an imaginary place depends on you either allowing yourself to go by inspiration or go by planned design (could be visualizing a blueprint or drawing one).

For instance the first time I thought of a memory palace it was an imaginary place with imaginary characters doing things, it was like walking through a videogame (I still remember it and I never used it, from 2017). However I tried to imagine a hotel and by the fact that I wanted so many things to look alike, the process was super confusing and tiresome, though that was back in 2017. Today my imagination is better, I created fanstastic places in less than 2-3 minutes. I even go by outside places, but here’s my trick: I don’t care about real life physics, logic. Colors, roads, interior design, it is all as I want it to be. As I create them I noticed from which real life images (including videogames and everything I’ve seen) I’m getting inspired.

The problem arise when you want to see something that you’ve never seen: like a new color, or combinations of colors or things. But to solve that problem two things: I imagine little details by details or I encouraged real life inspiration. Example of this two approaches:

  1. I want to imagine a woman with horns, wings and clothes of my liking, but similar to someone three different women I’ve met, I want to see the combination of them. I go with the image of one of the women, then I add the horns, then I twist the face little to look more surreal but I try to see the horns as realistic as possible, then I recall the faces of the other two and I keep “drawing” the woman fusion, put the wings (I decide how they’ll look like), at this point it be better for me to select a place and place the women there (do this after, I don’t place the three original girls in the place first, so I don’t create a new memory), so it becomes rather a mnemonic, a cue, and I keep twisting the faces, seeing, recalling, and recalling the new shape and keep twisting and so on. The same way with fantastic places, though this is better for character images, people, creatures and objects. Small things are better to picture like this, though nothing stop you from using these images as memory palaces

  2. I want to imagine a house with X and Y characteristics I saw somewhere else. I recall the place, the part I want to model from my palace, I select a place in my “memory world of preference” and there I select the outside (this part doesn’t need to be very detailed, because you may never use the outside as loci), then I imagine an entrance (again modelled from somewhere, I don’t try to do something new as in the first example), and as I do this, sometimes my mind just bring images really rapidly.

Whatever road you do, review your places. Also, characters can help you create the sense of deepness. Example, I imagine an empty game room in a literal imaginary palace, I placed a clown doing I don’t know what, then with the image of the clown, I got inspired to put furniture: billiard pool… but I decided to let it empty, what I did anyways with the room was to place in there at the door a bunch of balloons like from a party… then the day to used the place came when I was reading Kazia Wasowski Body Language book, and I placed them 11 good signs, as I visualized the mnemonic I also created the loci: two guys playing billiard doing a sign each, a bar three woman doing three more, and so. I still remembered, though I destroyed the room, so when I’m in the palace to the direction where the “door” to the room would be, there’s now a wall.

Obviously both methods use images stored in my brain from things I’ve need: nothing new can be generated in your mind without a basis on something percived. Another thing, if you want to imagine crazy visuals as in fantasy movies: watch fantasy. I read comics and manga, I watch many things, if there’s something where there will be great visuals I don’t miss it, because it will be something my brain add to the arsenalm, also a way to not let all those years of watching cartoons as a kid… (wasted years).

Benefits of imaginary places (judging by my expirience):

  • Speed in memorization your mnemonic images.
  • As you don’t recall a place, you don’t have conflict of changes in recall.
  • As fast as you create them you can already create mnemonic images.
  • You can use the place you’re in as a reference.
  • This trains your imagination and probably your episodic memorization of things you see.

Maybe this won’t work in others, maybe it does.

Have a it! :fox_face:


Hi InMyMemoryWorld.

That seems promising. I kind of gave up on self-created imaginary palaces and started using repeating palaces based on real-world places or on computer games. I’ll use short little palaces with just 10 loci (places to put my images), and repeat that palace 10 times. At each loci, I have a person from my PAO system to make it unique - without the person there, a repeating palace would be worthless. Since I only have 100 people in my PAO system, when I reach 100 loci, I’ll start a whole new palace. It is easy to come up with short little 10 loci palaces, that is why I like this system. I struggle coming up with new, large palaces. But little 10 loci palaces? Easy!

The system I am using, which I just described, seems to work OK. It isn’t great. And it is very slow. All memory systems seem very slow for me.

I like your description of creating new imaginary palaces, especially the description of 3 women you know (or know of), with horns and wings, and clothing to your liking. Combinations like that could be nearly infinite. Start with something familiar, add some accessories to make it unique. This is less complex than some imaginary systems I’ve read. With a lot of effort and practice, I think this is something I could become comfortable using. You are really flexing your imagination, but grounding it in real-world people and things.

I’ve been very lazy about mneumonics lately. Mneumonics work. They are amazing and useful. But the effort required is significant. And, like I said, for me it is very, very slow. I thought I would get faster with practice, but I really haven’t.

I wish long-term, complex mneumonics were as easy to use as quick memorization. If I want to remember 12 numbers, I can using linking to remember 6 pairs of numbers in a few minutes, and it will stay in my head for days or weeks without reviewing. That is easy. But if I want to commit those 12 numbers to long term memory as part of a palace, wow. That requires a lot more time and effort.


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Hi, @boulderKC

Yeah, if you go complicated it will be complicated. But in terms of speed, you can visualize a whole scenario and bring anything that comes to mind in the moment and let your imagination flow, and that scenery within a place or multiple places, going in routes or even magical planes with stairs to no where, portals to other very distinct places. When I mean imaginary world I meant it but it does not has to always be imaginary world.

Remember your imagination can only bring up the things you’ve expirienced or whatever your brain mingles from it. So, if you look at a picture, you then visualize it identical or with changes (easier, faster and safer), example:

I bet this is what you’re doing with places from real life or videogames. Good.

Oh, maybe I wasn’t clear enough. Those are mental exercises for the practicioner to “see” what and how he or she can do. It is not to be used as a mental place, but you could.

I think you could use the method of loci, making the images interact with the locus.

Best regards!