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Don't you forget about meAmnesia is a popular plot device in movies and television, but real-life instances of memory loss are arguably more bizarre than anything seen on the screen.
From Agatha Christie's 11-day memory lapse, to Patient H.M. who forgot events as soon as they occurred, to a woman who collected memories as if they were being experienced by someone else, here's a look at history's most bizarre amnesia cases.
Henry MolaisonSlide 2 of 35
One of the best-known patients in the history of neuroscience, Henry Molaison — "Patient H.M.," as he was called — suffered from severe memory impairment following experimental neurosurgery performed to control his epileptic seizures, according to a study published in 2009 in the journal Neuron.
In 1953, when "Patient H.M." was 27 years old, he underwent surgery that led to him forgetting daily events "nearly as fast as they occurred," a condition that lasted until his death in 2008. Neuroscientists studied his disordered memory for five decades, laying the foundation for modern scientific understanding of how memory works, and establishing the importance of the temporal lobe in regulating memory function.Slide 3 of 35
Agatha ChristieSlide 4 of 35
Writer Agatha Christie captivated readers with her novels about detectives hunting for clues to solve mind-bending mysteries. But Christie became the subject of a real-life mystery in 1926, when she disappeared for 11 days and then was discovered 200 miles (320 kilometers) from where her abandoned car had been found. Christie claimed to have no recollection of where she had been or what had happened during that 11-day period.
After Christie was located and identified by her then-husband Archibald, he said in a newspaper interview, "She has suffered from the most complete loss of memory, and I do not think she knows who she is. She does not know me, and she does not know where she is. I am hoping that rest and quiet will restore her," Scientific American reported.
Christie may have been experiencing psychogenic amnesia, a rare condition that is psychological in origin and typically follows some type of trauma, researchers noted in a study published in 2003 in the journal Practical Neurology. However, some have speculated that Christie fabricated the entire episode as revenge against her husband for having an affair, according to Scientific American.Slide 5 of 35
Ansel BourneSlide 6 of 35
Matt Damon's popular film character Jason Bourne, a skilled assassin with amnesia, shares his name with another amnesiac — a 19th-century man named Ansel Bourne. In March of 1887, Bourne, an evangelical preacher from Rhode Island, woke up in Pennsylvania and couldn't remember how he got there. Nor could he remember any of the events of the past several months, according to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Bourne, who had been living under the name "A.J. Brown" since that January, was one of the first documented cases of "dissociative fugue," a type of psychogenic amnesia that is not the result of injury or disease, and during which the person functions normally but does not recall their identity.Slide 7 of 35
"W.O."Slide 8 of 35