Meet James Wannerton, an Englishman with an incredibly rare ability to taste sound. That might seem absurd, but it is very much a reality for people with a condition called synaesthesia, which causes senses that are usually separate to intermingle.
Even as a young boy, James always experienced an involuntary taste on his tongue every time he heard a sound. Hearing the name Anne Boleyn in History class, for example, gave him a strong flavor of pear drops. He associated most of the British monarchs with a specific taste, making it easy for him to remember facts and events. His word-taste associations always helped him do better in school.
As he grew older, James found that his unique ability helped him in other aspects of life too. His relationships were all too delicious – he chose his companions not because of their looks or personality, but based on how their names felt on his taste buds. His schoolmates often had a strong essence of sliced potatoes and strawberry jam, while his dates’ names tasted like slices of rhubarb and melted wine gums.