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The Silents were genetically engineered specifically to make them "memory-proof" (as the Eleventh Doctor described them to Winston Churchill in "The Wedding of River Song") -- that is, to ensure that anyone who saw a Silent would forget having done so shortly after losing sight of the Silent. It's never been explained what it is about the Silents that causes this forgetting but it has been stated (in "The Time of the Doctor") that they were intentionally designed to be forgotten when not in view.