Septuagenarian memorizes 'Paradise Lost'

MIDDLETON, Conn., May 17 (UPI) -- Connecticut researchers said they have scientifically verified a man's claims of memorizing the entirety of the epic poem "Paradise Lost" by John Milton.

John Basinger, 76, of Middleton, said it took him eight years to memorize the some 60,000 words of the poem and he can recite the entire 17th century work in three eight-hour sessions, The Hartford (Conn.) Courant reported Monday.


John Seamon, a psychology professor at Middleton's Wesleyan University, said he tested Basinger under clinical conditions after seeing him perform a portion of the poem.

He said the researchers recited two lines from the poem at random and Basinger was able to correctly recite the next 10 lines nearly 90 percent of the time.

Seamon said Basinger's memorization method was somewhat unique due to the absence of mnemonic devices or constant repetition. He said the man, who retired from teaching theater in 1993, spent much of his memorization time connecting to the characters emotionally and trying to understand their motivations.

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