SCOC Method - Shadow Cast of Characters Method

I don’t know if anyone else is using a similar method that I am using that is proving to work well for me? I have used my existing 100 Dominic cast of characters that I have committed to memory to create a “Shadow Cast of Characters”. How? Let me explain! All my original characters make use of the original DOMINIC method of encoding letters to numbers and decoding numbers back to letters as follows: A=1, B=2, C=3, D=4, E=5, S=6, G=7, H=8, N=9 and O=0. I then ‘associate’ my original cast of Dominic characters 00-99 to give me an additional 100 “Shadow Cast of Characters” for a further 00-99 characters. In so doing, I did have to change my original cast slightly to accommodate some very logical “Character Pairs” but the system works well for me and I don’t get muddled as it were between my main original set of Dominic Characters" with my supporting “Shadow Cast of Characters” at all. Let me explain using by using OO = 00, OH = 08, ON =09, AH = 18, AN = 19, CN = 39 and NN = 99. My original characters depicted by the above were:
OO = Ossie Osbourne
OH = Oliver Hardy
ON = Olivia Newton-John (Movie - Grease)
AH = Adolf Hitler
AN = Amanda Nunes (Female MMA Champion)
CN = Chuck Norris (Martial Artist/Actor)
NN = Nick Nolte (Rich man Poor Man)

So what I did was to image “Shadow Characters” but with no “Coding nuances” to complicate things for ease of reference to my full cast of 100 characters. In other words what person clearly comes into my mind if cued with the above DOMINIC cast of characters? Here Goes:

OO = Ossie Osbourne = Sharon Osbourne
OH = Oliver Hardy = Stan Laurel
ON = Olivia Newton-John (Movie - Grease) = John Travolta
AH = Adolf Hitler = Winton Churchill
AN = Amanda Nunes (Female MMA Champion) = Connor McGregor
CN = Chuck Norris (Martial Artist/Actor) = Bruce Lee
NN = Nick Nolte (Rich man Poor Man) = Falconetti

Doing the above has now expanded my original ‘People Pegs’ from 100 to 200. Of course I have also given each of my newly created “Shadow Cast of Characters” each an ACTION and an OBJECT as well. I would be interested to know whether anyone else is using a similar system or if indeed this would help others involved in memory feats whether recreationally or in competition?


@fred2, you have a unique system I haven’t seen before. I always enjoy new types of mnemonic systems as they challenge my analysis of systems I’ve done and see if they fit or not. Yours does.

It’s a variation of the PAO, or a synced peg system, where all of the columns, or sets of pegs, are related back to one column, that of the subject like Ozzy Osbourne. The other main column headings of the system in a PAO, of course, are action and object. Some people add a location column (PAIL) .

You have added the strongly related subject column I think. It could be called the partner column as well since spouses are partners, as in Ozzy and Sharon. Then for Hitler you might use Heinrich Himmler. And for Chuck Norris you might use Lou Gossett Jr. or Clarence Gilyard and so on.

You also added the strongly related subject’s action and the strongly related subject’s object columns. You could continue the expansion of the system to include the strongly related subject’s favorite food or the subject’s dog or cat. There’s no end to adding columns to a synced peg system as long as they all connect back to the subject. The rule you choose determines which order you use them in for converting numbers to the image.

The pros are that you have less subjects to identify so it looks good from a design efficiency standpoint. Variations that expand the basic one column peg system are all tempting. They all decrease the rows at the expense of increasing the columns.

The cons are that you increase your associations that have to be made during conversion of a number and when converting an image back. (What was Chuck Norris’ partner, Lou Gossett Jr.'s best film?) That increases the mental load. That makes it less effective in competition and in general. Even the standard PAO suffers in competition to the point where top competitors have switched to using a single-image system. I did a detailed analysis of number peg systems to prove that the mental load was higher with a PAO just to make sure.

But systems are personal preferences and I’m just a systems analyst and a teacher. It’s fun to work with a system like that if you have a rich background with people through entertainment and history, exploring new details about people you know.

Also, I would recommend renaming this topic to “A new PAO shadow system” or something similar since it’s really not about the Dominic conversion system.

[EDIT] - This topic and the fact that I’m working on peg systems in general for my exercises, has led me to ditch the synced peg system term. If all the columns are “synced back” to the subject column, you have a subject peg system. When you fill out the action, item, and sometimes a location for that subject, it becomes a visual sentence. And the selection process for building a new sentence to convert chunks of digits is a type of rule for visual sentence construction which is another step in the PAO process. I updated my glossary to adjust for that.


Thank you Doug your comments are very much appreciated. Of course the point you have made as to what Shadow Character in the “New PAO Shadow System” would best be suited to use would of course be one’s personal preference (Hence my arriving at Winston Churchill for number 18 and your arriving at Heinrich Himmler), assuming indeed we both had Adolf Hitler at number 18 to commence with. In developing the method I did in fact have to move my original 60 = Sharon Osbourn (Dominic System) over to 00 to “partner with” Ossie Osbourne as the “Shadow Character”. I was stuck for a while considering who to replace Sharon Osbourne with in my original Dominic list of characters and then the name “Scarlett O’Hara” - ‘Gone with the Wind’ fame just suddenly, inexplicably came into the realm of my conscientiousness. If my system is something you consider to be ‘novel’ I am ecstatic about that. I do understand what you are saying as perhaps using the “Shadow Character” together with my original PAO Dominic list as a PAOP as you are suggesting but thinking about it, would it not be better to have two separate PAO (Dominic) and PAO (Shadow Characters) as it holds the advantage of being able to use the one system say (the Dominic system) for ‘binary number’ recall and the other system (Shadow Character) as a system to do normal number or even playing card recall. That being said (and I am not a ‘memory competitor’) I am aware that far more sophisticated systems like the Ben System exist for card recall. Of course the “Shadow Characters” being in and of themselves uniquely tied back to numbers 00 - 99 could be used as ‘pegword loci’ for 100 positions. I was merely dabbling but am happy that you believe that this system could count as a unique system of its own. Of course if one were to use say the “Major System” in arriving at a set of 100 unique characters my system would still be able to be used by aligning one Person in say the Major System (e.g. TL = 15 Tommy Lee to say Pamela Andersen) I believe the two of them were conjoined at the hip at one stage of their respective careers! Again many thanks for all your valuable points you have raised.


@fred2, I haven’t had any problems so far in reusing systems to convert numbers. But when you separate the two systems you lose the connection from Person-Dominic to Person-Shadow and now the Person-Shadow needs some way to connect to a number at least as far I understood your system.

It really doesn’t matter what conversion system you use for your digits to person as long as you are consistent. Ben and Major both have advocates. I’m a Major guy myself.

I thought of Shaquille O’Neal as well if you like basketball! Good luck to you in your peg systems. The fun is in the journey when you aren’t competing.


Perhaps let me attempt to restate what it is I am doing with the Shadow system (although I’m pretty sure you already have the gist of it).

Let’s say I need to remember the following 12 digit number: 26 65 17/12 18 86 PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING PROVISO: I want to remember this sequence of twelve digits by only using one location and not two locations! (That is the key of efficiency of my system). Instead of the already well-known PAO system which will limited you to only six digits at any one location, by invoking my “Shadow Cast of Characters method”, I can safely store double that amount of digits at any location (i.e. a 100% improvement from a mere 6 digits at the location to 12 digits at a single location. So if for example, you used 10 body parts as your ‘loci’ you could effectively recall with ease 120 random numbers.

Example, to recall: 26 65 17/(12 18 86). I would do the following: 26 = Bart Simpson (Person Dominic), 65 = Sheena Easton (Action Dominic), 17 = Ali G (Object Dominic). That is merely the straight-forward PAO from my original Dominic system of images I have for my original PAO. Now for the ‘clever part’, the second set of 6 digits would be placed at the SAME LOCI as the first 6 digits, but I would be using my second set of PAO images known as my “Shadow Cast”/“Shadow Actions” and “Shadow Objects” to do this. So the recall: 12, 18, 86 I would use my "Shadow Character for Person 12 = AB (Ann Boleyn) which would still be a 12 but instead of Ann Boleyn it is now KING HENRY VIII. To recall 18, it would be the “Shadow Action” of AH = Adolf Hitler = 18 which in my case is Winston Churchill/SMOKING/Cigar. Finally 86 would be Homer Simpson’s = “Shadow Object” which is Marge Simpson’s Tower of Blue Hair (i.e. full image for 86 Shadow is: Marge Simpson/ Blow drying/ Purple Tower of Hair). So ultimately: 26 65 17/12 18 86 translates into: Bart Simpson (26)/ SINGING (Sheena Eaton’s action)/ a Joint (Ali G’s Object) + King Henry VIII /SMOKING/ A Tower of Blue Hair. So I have two people at my 1st location: Bart Simpson and King Henry VIII. What actions are they doing with which objects. Voila!! A twelve digit number at one location. This might sound tricky but I promise you it works - well at least it works for me??


@fred2, I think that you have a better explanation there which confirms what I thought in the first place. Thanks for writing it up. It’s definitely more fun to have two people interacting with each other!


That’s an interesting idea. I’ve used multiple image lists for things like alphabet pegs but they weren’t linked across different lists.

It seems like the general idea could also be a good way to get at least 4 peg lists out of 100 numbers. I don’t use PAO, so I’d probably adjust the idea for my 00-99 system like this:

  • person
  • person’s object
  • shadow-person
  • shadow-person’s object

Then the 100 numbers can be used as a 400-item peg list.

There’s already a system called the #shadow-system, so you might want to call this idea the “Shadow Characters System” or something that distinguishes it from the other one.


:+1:t2: , you are trying to do pao swapping from pao-group 1 to pao-group 2, right? By swapping constantly and u can literally double capacity with a limited mp.

The biggest challenge is that you have to Recreate a new set of pao?


You are 100% right in what you’ve stated. I think the biggest advantage of the system though is that one already knows their first cast of characters that relies on some kind of underlying coding system of numbers to letters (i.e. Dominic or Major System) for PAO off by heart. The second cast of characters (which I merely named a “Shadow Cast” don’t rely on coding per se but are arrived at from the Person who is at each of the 100 positions 00 - 99 in your original PAO system. Of course there is no guarantee that everybody would pick the same “Shadow Cast” from an original list containing the same characters. For example: As number 40 in my original cast of characters for which I used the DOMINIC System, I have chosen 40 = DO = Dominic O’Brien (It just fits very well for me). My “Shadow Cast” character is 40 = Tony Buzan (Note: no coding used here whatsoever) just a plain association of what was the first logical person who “welded” with the name Dominic O’Brien. Of course, if someone else had DO = Dominic O’Brein as their number 40 they could well have chosen any of the following people as their “Shadow Cast Person” to depict number 40: Yanjaa Wintersoul, Harry Lorayne, Nelson Dellis, Ben Pridmore, Ron White, Alex Mullen, Johannes Mallow, Joshua Foer, Boris Konrad, Jonas von Essen, Ed Cooke, Dave Farrow, Johnathan Hancock, Akiri Haraguchi, Andi Bell, Clemens Mayer, Gunther Karsten, Wang Feng or Josh Cohen from this forum etc. etc. Therein lies the beauty of the system. Different strokes for different folks! No two lists of “Shadow Cast of Characters” would be identical for two different people. The best character to choose is of course the one that resonates most with you. Thank you for your comment

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Thank you for your reply Josh. The points you have raised are of course all valid. Anything that grows an existing system anyone has can only be benefical. Even at the most simplistic level, one could even use the newly generated list of 100 People generated in the “Shadow Characters System” (or FREDS system) as a standalone "100 Person “Pegword system” as a system of “loci” albeit memory purists’ might not like People to stand as ‘loci’ but would prefer “Places” as loci (i.e. the journey method or palace method)? Perhaps an even better name for the system might be FREDS system: First, Recalled, Edited Dominic System. LOL!


@fred2 I kinda like the idea that you don’t need yet another set of coded numbers to letters to use in the FREDS system. That said, I don’t understand your link of AH to WC though as your number 18? Those individuals can’t be said to have been kindred in spirit and are the exact opposite of one another (evil and good)? I have watched the movie “Boys from Brazil” and their is the mad Nazi doctor who wants to clone Hitler (I thinks his name was Dr. Mengele). To me he would be a far better suited as a partner to Adolf Hitler?? Or am I not getting something here?

I was not suggesting for one moment that Adolf Hitler or Winston Churchill are kindred in spirit as you have put it? In fact they are the exact antithesis of one another in my opinion, which is probably on reflection why that pair of characters at #18 work so well for me in the FRED System? The fact of the matter is and (unknown to myself), whenever I think of Adolf Hitler, I immediately think of Winston Churchill? But I take your point that Winston Churchill may not be the first choice of FREDS (First Recalled Edited Dominic System) character for you or other people for that matter and that Dr Mengele may be a ‘stronger association’ for you and that’s exactly how it is with ‘associations’. I think it’s important to acknowledge that no two individual’s experiences or frames of references are identical, unlike the ‘clones’ Dr Mengele was trying to replicate in the movie Boys from Brazil (if my recollections of that movie serve me correctly?) The fact that Dr Mengele gels with you and makes more sense to you as a FRED system character, is of course your personal preference and it would therefore be sensible to use Dr Mengele (a far stronger associative image for #18 than say Winston Churchill for you when using the FRED system). That being said, you will also need Dr Mengele’s associated Actions and Objects too if you want to develop a fully-fledged PAO system using Dr Mengele in your cast of FRED system characters. Going by the contents of the movie Boys from Brazil and popular world recorded history, those scenes are too grotesque for me to mention on this thread but I am sure that you can come up with ‘suitable’ vivid images for Dr Mengele’s Actions and Objects as your ‘surrogate’ FREDS (First Recalled Edited Dominic System) character for #18 if you still want to use Dr Mengele? I think its also important to note that a cast of 100 FREDS characters that anyone chooses should be made up of characters that are as diverse as possible as it aids memory and leads to some interesting ‘scenes that one can play out’ in one’s imagination. Sexual connotations and undertones work well too in casting one’s characters in the system too. The point I’m making is every individual will have his or her own cast of FREDS characters. What is important is to have as diverse a set of FREDS characters as possible (e.g. Heroes, rogues, murderers, saints, cartoon characters, actors, golfers, boxers, decathlon athletes, fictitious story book characters, MMA fighters, memory champions, magicians, rugby players, talk-show hosts, rock stars, country and western folk singers, soldiers, Trick shooters, gangsters, spiritual figures, politicians, astronauts, sea mariners, explorers, ladies of ill repute, Father Christmas, super models etc.) In other words the possibilities are endless! One should also not have any repeats in one’s FREDS characters, so having one boxer in a cast of 100 FREDS characters is preferable to having say three or four boxers in your cast of 100 FRED characters.
As a historical fact Dr Mengele never actually met his fate as depicted in the movie Boys from Brazil. The actual cause of Dr Mengele death in real life was far less dramatic and he died as a result of drowning in his swimming pool and suffering a stroke. Pity that, as the death as depicted in the movie (Paired Doberman attack) would have far better suited him in my opinion?

Thanx for the reply. I accept that my preference for a FRED character will obviously be different from another persons’ preferred choice just like it would be if I am choosing a Dominic character. Hence you chose Winston Churchill to partner Adolf Hitler and I chose Dr. Mengele. I also understand that if I follow your suggested method of pairing each of my Dominic characters using the FRED system that it would immediately expand my Dominic peg list from 100 to 200 characters. If my two lists use person/Action/Object that gives me 600 peg words. That is a good start for a newcomer to memory. The FRED system will literally double my Dominic list so I am happy I saw this thread. Thanx


The FREDS System!!


I think he is using his name as an accronym. F=First R=Recalled E= Edited D=Dominic. I guess the system would be called FREM if the major system was being used?

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Fabulous Revolutionary Expanded Dominic System.

I (and many others) have dome something similar with loci palaces: to replicate a house, but with some other characteristics. For instance, under the sea, or with snow.

If you are trying to be funny at my expense you haven’t succeeded!


Is it possible to watch your whole list anywhere? :slight_smile:

Well, a bit.

But the idea of “shadow cast of characters” is a good idea indeed.

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