PAO, Memory Palace and Dates - Question

(Maciej Łuczak) #1

Hi everyone! I have a little question about using memory palace mixed with PAO to memorize dates.

If you want to memorize a historical fact with a date like: World War II 1939 - What’s your exact strategy? Do you mix a fact with a date in one loci? Or maybe it’s better to do that by placing a date in 1st loci and placing a fact in the second one?

So my strategy for now is like:

1st loci: 1939
2nd loci: World War II

It works quite OK but I am afraid that facts remembered that way may be hard to remind after months and I am curious if it would be better to mix a fact and a date in one loci.


I would say it depends on the number of dates and events, as well as which one will act as the cue to retrieve the other. If you have a lot of different events to memorize that fall under the years 1939 and 1940, and need to discern between these dates when cued with the event, then it’s probably best to create two discrete architectural units and then populate them with the events. So, for instance, the first floor of a house would be 1939, and you populate it accordingly, and the second floor would be 1940 and populated accordingly. In this case, you can imagine Hitler at your front door doing something silly. When you hear “Hitler”, you recall this imagine of him at the front door, and know it’s 1939.

It would be more difficult if you have dozens or hundreds of different events and dates. In this case, I’d organize the palace into units by century (19th, 20th, etc), perhaps one room or one group of rooms by century. This gives you the benefit of only needing to encode two numbers, so for 1939 you only have to encode “39”. The benefit here is that it gives you wonderful creative ability in encoding dates and events. In the 20th century, you can see Hitler holding an object and doing an action that encodes 39, and then you know Hitler -> 1939. Or, you can see a Person with an Object doing a Hitler salute, or something else. You can be even more precise if you wish, and break the room(s) into part by decade, so you only have to encode the “9” in of 39, and you know it belongs to the third decade because it’s in the 3rd quadrant of the room.

By far the best course of action would be to organize the walk chronologically, so you can walk through the years and events. This is something that the author Mark Twain actually did, with stakes on his large property. He had a walking path and place a stake down for each English monarch, the distance of the stake being the number of years in feet, and then would imagine the monarchs on those stakes. He liked this so much that he spent a year trying to sell this idea as a game for children, which of course failed, because children don’t want to memorize every English monarch.


I put date and fact in one single loci - whether that is a long one: Mary Queen of Scots Executed February 8th, 1587, mid-length: Queen Anne Reigns 1702 - 1714, or short WW2 begins 1939.

I use the Dominic System for all numbers.

(Maciej Łuczak) #4

Thanks a lot!!! :slight_smile:

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My method may be a bit unorthodox—this is from my first attempt at memorizing dates in a memory palace—but when memorizing the US states and the dates they entered the Union, I put each state in a distinct place in the journey, along with images representing the date. I can’t imagine doing that any other way.

Then, since I only need 17__, 18__, and 19__ for my states, I came up with an animal for each of those centuries, based on the Major system: duck, dove, and TaBby cat. and then the remaining two digits are actions performed by those animals. So a DuCK smoking PoT represents 1791. But these animals are almost always reacting to something happening with my images for the state, the month, and the day.

For example, my image for West Virginia, June 20, 1863, is a beautiful Miss W. Virginia crushing a June bug wearing a false NoSe. The dove lands at her feet, shakes its head, and says, “What a SHaMe.”

All of that to say that the state and the date are very closely tied together in the scene.

I will say that since I created this journey I’ve refined my images; so the Major images in this journey don’t necessarily match my current images. But they work so I’m not going to change them just to be consistent. I know what they mean, and that’s all I need.



@RMBittner very interesting! Thanks for sharing!