Sherlock Holmes Memory Palace

There’s this feeling of awe. Like how lucky am I to become enamored with memory palaces a couple months before the first actual motion picture depiction and glorification of them. I also feel like I’ve lost a bit of the art part of memory palaces. It’s just memory, not palace. But I’ll put it back in. More later got to go now.

My first post on this website was called “Emotional Memory Palace”. I actually made one(in my mind) back then, a small chinese style cottage, with an idyllic view. I would spend all my free time in it, it even got to the point where I would sort of zone out; I have 10 minutes until I have to go somewhere, I go to my cottage, and suddenly I’m at my destination. I couldn’t tell you whether I walked, drove or flew there. It wasn’t like narcolepsy or anything, it was pretty controllable, and was just a fun side effect.
Then, I destroyed it, by burning it down(again in my mind :P), and haven’t thought about it for maybe 2 months or so. But yesterday, watching that show reminded me of it, so I returned. It was still there, not burnt down or destroyed like I left it, and everything was still inside, the view still there etc. It seems like when you create an imaginary palace, paying attention to detail and enjoying it, it’s pretty much a permanent memory.

That’s my goal with this base of memory palaces. To know it so well, it’s as good or better than a real location. I already have the basic layout planned out, again from just thinking about it during free time. There are 7 levels, with ground/sea level being level 4. The lower you go, the “darker” it becomes. There is plenty of light of course, without it, you can’t see anything, but the colors are darker. The bottom level is mostly black, with red lights at the sides, and a sort of lava floor. The top layer is all white with very light blues, yellows and greens. I don’t really know why I chose to arrange it like this, the idea just grabbed hold of my mind. There are 13 doors on each side of each hallway, so 26 doors per level, around 182 doors total. I can always easily expand later of course. And “doors” is a bit restrictive. They are entrances, whether they are gates, doors, bridges, or just holes in the wall.

To better be able to view and understand each level, I include a song or a verse to each of them. Then, I “draw” it out on the walls of the hallways, in between the doors. I choose songs that are highly visual in their lyrics. The most “morally correct” song is at level 7, while the most objectionable is at level 1. Depending on my mood, I choose where I want to go. I will also have a “garden” of sorts outside my house, and a “garage” using that term loosely. This will have 2-3 memory palaces/journeys that are used as loci for temporary storage or intended for longterm storage later.

To clarify on the feeling I got watching the depiction of the method of loci; It’s the same feeling I get reading about Lembran Sar articulating how he memorized a whole year, or when Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens talk about life, the universe, and how improbable and infinitesimal our existence is.

I want to put the “Art” back into The Art of Memory. At least for myself.


Edit: There comes a point, when trying to memorize something long term using memory palaces, that you make something BELONG there. when you look at it from many different angles, and in relation to everything else in the room, you can see that something belongs there. You walk into your brothers house, you know a mirror belongs right next to the door, underneath it a specific auburn cabinet, under which you put your shoes. That’s what I try to do for long term memory; lessen review, while increasing encoding time to make things BELONG.

I managed to find on youtube clips of the memory palace. For some reason, it’s divided into ~10 parts. This is also just one of the scenes in the episode, there are 2 more. Here is the first part.

I’ve decided to instead of leaving empty doors inbetween entrances, to fill up the palace from the bottom up. So the first 3 layers are completely filled, the others are empty. It makes it easier than just placing empty doors.

Just curious as to how successful you were in building this massive palace. The problem with Sherlock’s is that there is an insane amount of information (you would literally need tens’s of thousands of rooms or more) allegedly stored in it and creating a palace that big and remembering it’s layout would take a great amount of effort.

Successful. I still only have ~100 palaces, and I still have lots of space for more. Sherlock’s I do not think is very possible. It would take an enormous amount of review. Of course, he could just store the main concepts and use normal memory to remember any details. i don’t know.

It works, it took a bit of effort, but now I have detail, I know exactly what each floor is made of, how it looks from all angles, it’s even more real than real places, just because of how much focus I’ve put into making it.

the Book Art of memory. was required reading in school. …i rediscovered in the tv show Hannibal…as a creative artist and Antique Restoration i too find the Creation of such a Huge Memory Palace. Like the Building Hannibal Created. any suggestions…thank you.

Hi Bateman,

this is a very interesting project! I have started to create my own imaginary palace, just for fun so far. I find it difficult because I’m usually not very creative and it takes some time for me to come with ideas about details of my rooms. I have 3 and a half rooms till now :wink:

But it is a great exercise, also for training my concentration ability. I often have the problem that my thoughts start to wander off very quickly so that it is hard for me to concentrate on my palace for more than some minutes. But I hope this exercise may help me to improve.

It would be great to able one day to “visit” my palace whenever I like to and spend some time there.

Thank you for this great idea! I look forward to your further experiences.


do you play video games ? try it see what happens !!!..i bet it will be easy for you. then you can make modles by hand to re enforce your palace in your mind…make your selection a real location…and you can order the plans of the building and make a model from it, just an idea.

@leonitus: Yes, there is already a thread about video games, which I find interesting as well! I have the problem that I don’t like games that have anything to do with racing and/or violence, but I found one that is okay for me: Runes of Magic.

You have to fight there, too, but everything is quite harmless, so this won’t cause me any nightmares :wink:

Thanks guys and good luck.