For most of us, memory is the cornerstone of who we are. Our past defines us and shapes who was and who we become. Many of us intentionally want to make memories that we can later enjoy.
It is well known that memories diminish with age and conditions such as dementia can rob people of parts of their former self. But for people with neurological conditions like amnesia, memory loss can be extremely devastating and give them no idea about who they are.
10 Henry Molaison
Born in 1926, Henry Molaison, or HM as he was referred to in medical journals, had been suffering epileptic seizures since the age of ten, possibly as a result of his being seven years old was run over a bicycle. His seizures increased, and when he was 16 years old, he had severe seizures every day. The seizures lasted until 1953, when he was offered an experimental procedure in which parts of the left temporal lobe were removed. Although the operation was a success in controlling epilepsy, Molaison had profound amnesia. 
Molaison remembered his childhood. He knew his name and that of his family. He even remembered the 1929 Wall Street Crash. However, he had trouble remembering things that had happened about ten years before the operation. He also lost the ability to create new memories. He woke up every day with no memory of the day before.
Henry Molaison allowed neuroscientists to study his brain for over 50 years until his death in 2008. This has led to great discoveries about how we make and store memories. He even donated his brain to science after his death.
9 Ansel Bourne
Ansel Bourne was an evangelical preacher. In 1887, he "woke up" to find a shop, without knowing how he had arrived there. The last date he remembered was two months before he arrived in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
Bourne is said to have experienced a dissociative fugue that causes him to forget his own identity. People in this state often take on a new identity and travel long distances. The joint condition is usually caused by trauma, and there is no treatment, though the condition is often temporary. Bourne is probably the best-known case of a disassociative fugue and was probably the inspiration of Robert Ludlum when he called his character in The Bourne Identity
named by many people doubted the veracity of Bourne's account of his "lost weekends," and it seems unlikely that he did anything indecent during his absence. In fact, he spent most of his time selling sweets and going to church. He made only very little capital from his adventure. In fact, his fugal self seems to have been remarkably boring.
A patient identified only as "WO" or "William" visited the dentist in March 2005 for a root canal operation. Until his injection, W.O. could remember his life as well as everyone else. Since then, however, he can only save reminders for 90 minutes before they are deleted. Neuroscientists are baffled by the cause of the disease.
W. O., who is said to be suffering from anterograde amnesia, may remember to go into the stool and get a local anesthetic, but from that point on nothing. He wakes up every morning believing that it is still 2005. His wife wrote notes on important events for him in a file entitled "First Thing – Read This" (193).
Neuroscientists are baffled as to why the anesthetic could have caused the memory loss. Since 2005 W.O. He could only remember something new: the death of his father. It is believed that his powerful grief forced along the memory traces of his brain when everything else just disappeared. Doctors who treat him hope that means they can build on it to create new, happier memories. 
7 Clive Wearing
Clive Wearing was an accomplished classical musician when he received a contract in 1985 for herpesviral encephalitis. The virus attacked its central nervous system and damaged its ability to store new memories. His memory loss is so great that he can not hold on to the current memories for more than 30 seconds.
The condition has constantly confused him. He can not understand what happened to him, and as people try to explain, he forgot the question long before the answer ended. Wearing does not remember much about his life before 1985, except for his love for his wife. He has kept a journal of his thoughts over the years, consisting of repeated variations of the same sentence: "Now I am awake." 
Amazing, however, Wears' ability to play the piano has not diminished. He can still read and play music. However, when the sheet requires him to repeat a section, he repeats it over and over again and forgets that he has already played it.
6 Anthelme Mangin
Anthelme Mangin was a French soldier who fought in the First World War. In 1918 he was sent home with 65 other victims and amnesia, all of whom literally lost their minds. However, unlike most of the others, Mangin did not carry ID. He gave his name as "Anthelme Mangin". He was diagnosed with a form of dementia and admitted to asylum in France.
In 1920, a newspaper published a feature with images of several unidentified patients. Some 300 families desperately seeking missing relatives claimed that Mangin was their own. He met with every family to try to gain recognition, but to no avail.
He was finally identified in 1930 as Octave Monjoin, who was captured in 1914 on the Western Front. Nobody knows what happened to him between his capture and his discovery in 1918. Mangin was brought to his hometown. He was left behind at the station, and his attendants watched from afar as he walked directly from the station to his father's house. He recognized his hometown, including the local café and light-proofed tower of the church, but did not know his father or brother.
Although the mystery seemed solved, other "ghost" proponents refused to accept that Mangin was not their own missing son, and he was held in the psychiatric hospital until a court case was decided. When the case ended and he was officially declared Octave Monjoin, his father and brother were both dead.
In a sad conclusion to the story of the unknown soldier, Anthelme Mangin lived the rest of his life in prison. He died in 1942 Malnutrition and neglect. 
5 Michael Boatwright
In 2013, an unconscious man was found in a Southern California motel and taken to a hospital. His ID documents named him as Michael Boatwright, a former US Navy aircraft engineer and Florida native. When he finally came to it, Michael Boatwright could not remember anything about his life in Florida or his military service. He did not even recognize his name, nationality or language.
Michael Boatwright believed he was Johan Ek. And he also believed that he was Swedish.
Although he had shown photographs of his earlier life, he could not connect with Michael Boatwright. In fact, his earlier life seemed to have been quite complicated. When he was found, he had five tennis rackets in his room, but had no idea why. The investigators discovered that Boatwright eventually married a Japanese woman and had a son, taught English and ran a consulting firm with a Swedish name.
Boatwright seemed to be in a joint condition whose cause is most often a trauma or an accident. He spoke only Swedish and seemed to have forgotten the English language. He stayed in the hospital for five months while social workers tried to uncover his past. Although he had found a sister in Louisiana, Boatwright moved to Sweden and believed that this was his real home. Unfortunately, his life took another strange turn, and he was soon found dead in his new apartment, which had probably been suicide. 
4 Kent Cochrane
] In 1981, Kent Cochrane or Patient KC as he was known, had a motorcycle accident that led to the loss of parts of his memory. Cochrane could remember facts but not personal memories. 
Cochrane could neither form new memories, nor could he remember events immediately before his crash. He knew facts about himself, but could not create any memories of it. For example, he could look at a photo and see the people in it, even the opportunity to take the picture, but looking at the photo would not trigger any memories outside the photo.
Cochrane's intellect, however, did not seem to have been harmed by his memory loss, and he could learn it, albeit with much repetition. He learned, for example, to check the refrigerator door for messages from his family and to submit books in the library where he worked.
Kent Cochrane has been the subject of over 30 scientific papers, and his brain has been studied by neuroscientists around the world. He died in 2014.
3 Michelle Philpots
In 1994, Michelle Philpots developed epilepsy as a result of two car crashes, both of which resulted in head injuries. Her seizures were getting worse, and Michelle was forgetful. She was eventually dismissed from her job after she photocopied a single document over and over again, forgetting each time she had already done so.
And then her memory stopped working. Michelle Philpots has been in prison since 1994. Every day, when she wakes up, she is the person she was back then. Her rare form of anterograde amnesia means she wakes up next to a husband who is a quarter-century old overnight. She can not even remember her own wedding and rely on the photos to prove that it really happened. 
To remember who she is, she leaves notes in her house. She is rarely able to leave home alone and needs to go to her local shop with the help of sat nav. Damaged brain cells were removed during an operation in 2005, but although the operation had their seizures under control, there is no way to repair brain damage or restore memory.
Michelle Philpots will live forever in 1994.  2 Susie McKinnon
Susie McKinnon has no amnesia, although she does not remember being a child or, indeed, any age other than the one she is in now.
Since the birth of the disease It took years for McKinnon to realize that when other people told stories from their past, they did not just capture the details as they went on. It was not until a friend who studied medicine asked her to take part in a memory test that she realized that her memory did not work like other people's. She could remember events from her past but could not remember what it felt like to be there. 
McKinnon suffers from an extremely deficient autobiographical memory (SDAM). She can not remember what she felt like at school, or she can imagine how she will feel when she goes to the future. She can not remember any nice memories. On the upside, however, she is never plagued by self-doubt and can not hold a grudge because she forgets why she was upset at all. Her condition also means that she does not feel as painful as sadness like other people.
Researchers have not discovered any diseases or injuries that could have caused their condition. However, McKinnon also suffers from fantasy or the inability to imagine things in her head. Researchers are still exploring the link between their lack of autobiographical memory and their "blind mind".
1 Giulio Canella
In 1927, Mrs. Giulia Concetta Canella saw a newspaper photo of a man who had been found walking around in a cemetery in Turin in the middle of the night. The man had tried to steal a copper vase, but as he got closer, he began to cry and said he had no idea who he was.
Canella recognized her husband, Professor Giulio Canella, as a philosopher scholar who had been missing since the First World War. She visited the hospital and was convinced that the husband was her husband and took him home, which was okay. A few days later, an anonymous letter claimed that the man was actually an anarchist and offender named Mario Bruneri.
Bruneri's family was persecuted, and his wife, son, brother, two sisters, and mistress immediately identified him. Canella / Bruneri fainted when he saw her, possibly from the trauma but probably from embarrassment. 
Canella would not give up easily after her beloved husband had returned from the dead. When Bruneri's fingerprints were discovered in the police archives and found to coincide with those of the amnesicist, she brought the case to court. After several years of trial and retrial, the court concluded that the amnesic was Bruneri. Mrs. Canella, the man she was sure of was her husband, and the three children they had in the meantime all moved to Brazil.
Prof. Canella / Bruneri died in Brazil in 1941, and his wife spent the rest of her life proving that her husband had not been a cheater.
Ward Hazell is a writer and occasional travel writer.