Local boy has one of the best memories in the world

KSDK - Do you remember what day of the week your last birthday fell on?

How about what you had for dinner two weeks ago?

Kay Quinn introduces us to a local boy who not only knows the answers to all of those questions, he can't forget.

"I love Buster Posey," says 10-year-old Jake Housler.

Hang out with this local fourth grader, and he'll show you his baseball card collection.

His book collection.

His license plate collection.

His collection of vehicles from the foreign versions of the movie "Cars 2."

"He was in the Chinese version," Jake said, holding up a toy car. "And he's racing for Britain but he's in the American version."

Ask him to remember the past, and that's when you realize you've just met someone with an amazing version of human memory.

I asked him if he knows what day of the week my birthday, July 28, fell on in 2012.

"Yes, it was a Saturday," said Jake immediately. "And I remember that because I was watching the Olympics that night."

That's right, the 2012 summer Olympics.

What about June 10, 2010? A random day I chose.

"It was a Mets-Padres game in New York."

And the first major league baseball game he ever attended.

Jake has Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory or HSAM. He's one of only a handful of people in the world with it. Something his mom and dad didn't even know existed until the news magazine show 60 Minutes did a story on the topic three years ago.

"I think it's incredible really," said Sari Hausler, Jake's mom.

In fact, 60 Minutes came to St. Louis last fall to shoot a follow-up story with Jake.

"Tuesday, Oct. 22 and Wednesday, Oct. 23," he said when asked what days of the week the crew was there.

Sari says she first noticed her son's gift driving home from kindergarten. Jake told her he got to put the day of the month on the calendar in the classroom.

"Then he proceeds to tell me all of the other times of the year he got to put the number on the board, and what the weather was those days," Sari said.

Then he started listing off other children in the class, when they had put the days of the week on the calendar and what the weather was on those days.

While we know what Jake's gift is called, researchers are just starting to learn more about the science behind it. They're studying MRI images of the brains of people like Jake and comparing those to the rest of us.

It turns out, people with HSAM have a more active pathway between the front and back of the brain. And according to Jake, there is a downside.

"I can remember every bad thing," says Jake. "Like every time my teacher's yelled at me, every time a kid says something bad to me."

Still, he says he likes having this rare ability. A gift for the past his family believes will bring a whole new wrinkle to his future.

"I think there are so many different opportunities for him I think it will be interested to see how it plays out," Sari said.


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