When studying Psychology in Sixth Form (shocker, I know) we were asked to recall where we were when Princess Diana was killed in the car crash in Paris. I remember quite vividly that I was only a kid. I'd got up at about 7am and the living room was dark, as the huge curtains we used to have were still drawn. I turned the telly on, expecting cartoons yet I was greeted with unfortunately tragic news reports.
Fast forward to the 11th of September 2001, and it is highly likely that you remember where you were and what you were doing when the Twin Towers were brought down. I remember seeing it on the telly with my Mum and ex-girlfriend. I even remember that my Dad was painting our back yard, listening to Radio City. I can still smell the gloss on our pebble dashed back wall.
This then is a phenomenon called Flashbulb Memory. Events that everyone seems to be able to recall vividly where they were, what they were doing and how they felt. The assassination of JFK. The day John Lennon got shot. The Moon landing. Elvis' death. I could go on.
I appreciate that this goes on, and while this blog is already ripe for being set up as lecture notes, I'm not going to go into reasons why this miraculous memory madness occurs. I could dress it up and say that I don't want this to become an educational blog, but quite frankly, I have told you all everything that I remember about it, and what you'd be getting is recycled Wikipedia shite that has more than likely been tampered with by an acne riddled teenager who is bored out of his skull. If you're interested, Google it at your own leisure.
What I will say though is that I have started to become quite sceptical about the motives behind the researching of this phenomenon. Every single event that has been researched for this psychological occurrence seems to have some sort of controversy pinned to it. JFK's assassination. John Lennon's
shooting. Margaret Thatcher getting in to office.
I imagine that the initial research could have came about when a group of people were sat down in a room, slapped about a bit, and forced to recall where they were the day JFK was killed. When all the suspects came back with answers so vivid, including who they were with, the smells of their surroundings and what undies they had on, the police officers all gave up their jobs and became psychologists.
The Moon Landing is probably included in examples of this phenomenon for more sinister reasons than you would expect too. I'll set the scene. You're in America. A gang of REM fans in balaclavas are kidnapping a number of employees from NASA. They pile them up in a room, asking questions about that day. They've got pictures of their families gagged and tied up and they're expecting them to say "Okay, I was in a studio behind a camera!"
So the next time someone asks you where you were the day the Twin Towers were brought down, don't answer anything until your solicitor arrives.