The Mnemonic Number Code

One field of Mnemonics, sometimes called the Science of Artificial Memory, deals with a system for remembering numbers. This system can be invaluable to the Mentalist. One of the early pioneers of this system was Gregor von Feinaigle of Baden who published a treatise dealing with it in 1812. Since then it has been dealt with in several magical works. The system, like The Amazing Memory with objects, is based on the "association of ideas" principle, and consonants of the alphabet are used as the "keys" to represent numbers:— ^

The first step is to learn the following code—wherein each number is allotted a letter:—

1234567890 dnmwf s vgpz

In order that they may be committed to memory with ease, we have additional "keys" (as with the Amazing Memory Test) to assist us:—

No. 1. The letter "d" has ONE stroke.

No. 2. The letter "n" has TWO strokes.

No. 3. The letter "m" has THREE strokes.

No. 4. The letter "w" is made up of FOUR lines.

No. 5. The letter "f" beeins "five".

No. 6. The letter "s" begins "six".

No. 7. The letter "v" appears only in the spelling of "seven".

No. 8. The letter "g" appears only in the spelling of "eight".

No. 9. The letter "p" gives a mirror image of that number.

No. 10. The letter "z" starts "zero".

Having mastered the above code—you are ready to work. To use, simply take whatever number you wish to remember and mentally work out what consonants represent that number. Suppose you wanted to deal with the number 6731—the consonants are S-V-M-D. Now we are allowed to insert as many vowels as we like—in any position we like in order to make those consonants into a word or several words. We must however keep the consonants in their proper order. We could make S-V-M-D into "Save Mud"— two small words. It is not necessary to make sense or find sensible—long words—in fact, the more absurd your efforts—the better it will be. You find the "key word" as quickly as possible and commit it to memory. Should you be dealing with a lot of these key words then you can utilise the Amazing Memory system to remember them. Nevertheless, for one or two simple words it is hardly necessary. Remember the secret to this system is to find short simple words as quickly as you can.

Now we shall deal with the next step—which is a method for speeding up the working and giving you a wider range of letters to choose from; first, however, 1 want to translate a sentence into numbers—and will ask you to refer back to it again in a moment or two:—

"Oh what a tangled web we weave—when first we practice to deceive".

The consonants of this sentence equal the number 4281444742564917 by the above method.

If you consider for a moment, you will realise that the speed with which you can translate the numbers into words is dependent upon two things. First, complete familiarity with the letters representing the numbers and second, the range of letters available. Obviously, the more letters you can use—the easier it will be to compile the words; suppose therefore that we enlarge our code:—

No. 1 is "d" or "I" again with the key or one stroke.

No. 2 is "n" or "b" phonetic Shakespeare "to be or not TWO B" (!!!)

No. 3 is "m" or "k" composed of three strokes.

No. 4 is "w" or "r" the last letter of "four".

No. 5 is "f" or "q" five precedes the Queen in the Eight Kings Stack.

No. 6 is "s" or "x" the last letter of "six".

No. 7 is "v" or "y" which has the written appearance of "seven".

No. 8 is "g" or "t" the last letter of "eight".

No. 9 is "p" or "c" where "c" stands for Cat with NINE lives.

No. 0 is "z" or "h" as the letter "h" appears in "nought".

You do not have to adopt the letter I suggest — if you can sort out the alphabet in such a way that you find a code more suited to yourself—then use it of course. The difference that the extra set of letters makes to the code can be seen by translating the sentence I gave at the beginning of this code; originally we had sixteen numbers—now we get thirty :—040882814244-740254684949898197.

Moreover, taking the original example number (which was 6731) instead of having four consonants to work with (S-V-M-D) we now have eight:—

Our first effort working with four consonants was "SaVe MuD". This time it could easily be:—"Say Kid—Sieve Mad—Axe Yokel—Suave Mole or Save Mud". So as you will see, we are able to form the number into a wider range of words and the little extra time it takes to learn the second set , of key letters—makes all the difference in the long run.

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