The Mandela Effect

11th November 2021. Reading Time: 11 minutes General, Paranormal Theories. 981 page views. 0 comments.

The Mandela Effect makes us question everything we have ever remembered. Is it Fruit Loops or Froot Loops? Some say it is false memories while others ponder parallel universes. Let's explore the possibilities and prepare to have everything you believe in shattered while I blow your mind with some crazy Mandela Effect examples!

In 2009, there was an internet sensation started by a paranormal enthusiast by the name of Fiona Broome via her website (which is sadly no longer available). Sharing her thoughts via her website, she detailed an experience she had at a Science Fiction and Fantasy conference with fellow attendees.  She thought that she remembered seeing news coverage of Nelson Mandela's death in the media back in the 1990's.  She remembered watching his funeral and seeing extensive coverage of his death in prison.  The problem was however, in 2009, Mandela was still very much alive.  He would pass away in 2013.  Using her website as a platform, Broome coined the term 'The Mandela Effect' and questioned why so many people had the same memory of an event that didn't happen.  Soon people found other examples of The Mandela Effect and it became a Worldwide phenomenon. 

Examples of the Mandela Effect

One of the most popular and biggest examples of the Mandela Effect which often gets people on board with the theory is Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.  

Star Wars: Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back.  The line most commonly quoted is, "Luke, I am your father."

The line was actually, "No, I am your father.

  • Hannabel Lecter never said 'Hello Clarice'. Watch the movie. Seriously it's not in there, it's just in every parody afterwards.
  • Interview with A Vampire is actually called Interview with THE Vampire
  • Ever sing 'We are the Champions .......... of the world!'. Yeh, listen to it again and you will find 'of the world' is missing!
  • ET really said Home Phone not Phone Home!
  • Fruit Loops are actually spelt Froot Loops
  • The Berenstein Bears are really spelt Berenstain

Are you confused yet?

Forrest Gump famously said ' Life IS like a box of chocolates ...' except he actually said 'Life WAS like a box of chocolates'!

My favourite TV show is actually called 'Sex AND the City' not 'Sex IN the City'. Are we sure about this one? I mean I know this show pretty well, and it has to be 'Sex in the city'.

Image Source: IMDB

There was no 90's movie where Sinbad played a Genie. I am pretty sure this is a conspiracy theory because I am 99.9% sure there was, there just isn't any proof of it anywhere. Why would my brain remember this if it wasn't true? Sinbad never made any good movies including the genie movie that never existed. It is thought that people are confusing this with the Shaq movie Kazaam.

Here are some more:

One of the popular leading theories that was presented by Mandela Effect enthusiasts to explain why we remember things so differently was that it was due to us living in some sort of parallel universe. 

There is at least one other universe parallel to our own.  I will distinguish the two by the stEin universe and the stAin universe, depending on the surname of the creators of the famous children's book.  The stEin universe was the world we resided in during the 1990s.  Sometime after we all stopped reading kids books, that is when we were shifted in to the stAin universe.  There may be more differences than just the surname of the Berenst_ins, in fact there almost certainly are more differences, and we just need to find them.

The Wood between Worlds

Image Source: Amazon

Others have argued we are just remembering things wrong in what is called a false memory.

False memories

One of the leading explanations for the Mandela Effect is that of false memories.  A false memory is either a distorted recollection of a past event or it is a completely fabricated one. It can range from getting a very small detail wrong to remembering a whole event that never actually happened.  It is a simple explanation as why some people spell The Berenstain Bears as Berenstein.

To read more about False memories and an experiment called 'The Misinformation Effect', head to my article: False memories and the information effect

Of course, False memories is just one of the possibilities.  What if it really is a parallel universe?  How do we know they don't exist?

The many-worlds theory

In the 1950s, there was a many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics that emerged. Based on this, the hypothesis says that there could potentially be an infinite number of universes that consist of everything that could have possibly happened in our past but didn’t. The best way to describe this is from the movie sliding doors. When the main character caught her train on time, she went home to find her partner cheating on her. In another reality, she missed her train and it set her upon a completely different path. Think of all the different scenarios in your life. You could have gone to work but you called in sick. In another universe, you went to work and so on.

It was US physicist Hugh Everett that claimed that our universe was just one of many parallel worlds that branch off each other without intersecting or communicating.  

Quantum mechanics is pretty complicated for a person like me, so I am not going to get into the technical details, but that this is the basic idea of how the idea works.  It may seem familiar as it is a popular idea that is used in many movies and television shows.  If you recently watched the television series DEVS, you will know that the many-worlds interpretation played a solid role in the storytelling.

The problem with the many-worlds theory is that the worlds are unaware of one another and do not interact in any way.  This is why many within Science will not accept this interpretation as a possibility.  Some people do speculate in their own interpretations that it is possible but it widely disregarded.  In 2016 however, Scientists came up with a new modified theory called the 'Many Interacting Worlds Theory' that opens up quite a few possibilities, especially when it comes to the paranormal.

The many interactive worlds theory

This theory was presented by Michael Hall and Howard Wiseman from Griffith University in Australia, and Dirk-André Deckert from the University of California, Davis.  Instead of the universes sitting parallel to one another, they actually exist in the same space and time meaning they coincide and could interact.  Their theory is that the interaction is extremely subtle. 

Our “many-interacting-worlds” approach hinges on the assumption that interactions between deterministically evolving worlds cause all quantum effects. Each world is simply the position of particles in three-dimensional space, and each would evolve according to Newton’s laws if there were no interworld interactions. A surprising feature of our approach is that the formulation contains nothing that corresponds to the mysterious quantum wave function, except in the formal mathematical limit in which the number of worlds becomes infinitely large. Conversely, Newtonian mechanics corresponds to the opposite limit of just one world. Thus, our approach incorporates both classical and quantum theory. We perform numerical simulations and show that our approach can reproduce interference with a double slit. As few as two interacting worlds can result in quantumlike effects, such as tunneling through a barrier.

Quantum Phenomena Modeled by Interactions between Many Classical Worlds
Michael J. W. Hall, Dirk-André Deckert, and Howard M. Wiseman
Phys. Rev. X 4, 041013 – Published 23 October 2014

Is the Mandela Effect really just a bit of a glitch in the Matrix where our own Worlds collide or do we read too much into things because of what is available to us on the internet?

The internet and false information

It is no secret that the internet is now the number 1 research tool.  Books are slowly becoming a thing of the past where even some of the oldest records have been digitised and can be accessed from anywhere in the World at the click of a button.  Anyone can have an audience using the internet as a platform.  While this can be a great resource tool, it also means that a lot of misinformation spreads and spreads very quickly.  Over the years, the internet has also become a place for people to share their thoughts and theories.  If those ideas are considered to be on the fringe, these people have now found others who understand or identify with their beliefs.  In some cases, people refer to them as conspiracy theories. (Conspiracy theory, an attempt to explain harmful or tragic events as the result of the actions of a small powerful group).  Another term used is cultic milieu.  

The cultic milieu concept has been used by a range of academics interested in the extreme right. It has often been taken up by those analysts of the extreme right who are particularly concerned with examining the ways some individuals and groups invoke a sense of the spiritual, making claims that their activism is related to something ‘higher’, and so in part at least about finding answers to larger questions of life and existence.

This isn't a discussion on what is right and what is wrong when it comes to information, but no matter where you sit on the fence, you will at least acknowledge that all sides of the fence have their place and their own circles on the internet.  We can even use the paranormal as an example here.  We gravitate to the pages that show us the paranormal in the light we see it.  If we are very spiritual we tend to follow pages that present things in a way that we can relate to.  If we are more sceptical, again we tend to follow pages and mix with circles of people whose research is on that side of the fence.  We all find our place.  We are all drawn to it in the first place by a piece of information that we have been able to identify.  In the case of the Mandela Effect, someone only has to see one of the many examples and they too remember it the same way.  How many of the above examples did you think were something different?  You can see then with the internet how easily this sort of phenomenon would take off!

The reasons for the Mandela Effect becoming such a popular conspiracy theory and Internet meme shed light on our contemporary technoscience culture and the influence of advanced information technology on human cognition, memory, and belief. This phenomenon involves aspects familiar to esotericism, since both conspiracy theories and esoteric knowledge cohabit the same marginalized cultural space, sometimes referred to as the “cultic milieu.” In fact, the Mandela Effect signals a possible transformation of this space. The recent ideas from tech author and founding editor of Wired magazine, Kevin Kelly, as well as memory research by experimental psychologist Endel Tulving, illustrate potential factors behind conspiratorial creations and the reshaping of underground culture.

The Mandela Effect and New Memory
Aaron French
Correspondences: Journal for the Study of Esotericism 6 (2):201-233 (2018)

Are we re-writing history?

Time and the writer of the information itself can also be contributing factors.  As time goes on, history is rewritten.  In the same way that our memories change, it seems the history books do too.  We know for example there are many things throughout history that haven't necessarily been represented properly and that new information or new truths come out decades later.  It is usually due to a particular narrative that was represented.

"Not everything about the Mandela Effect can simply be discounted as conspiracies or false collective memories.

For example, some proponents of the Mandela Effect claim that historical events continue to crop up that no one has heard of, for example, the explosion on Black Tom Island, when German agents blew up a munitions facility in New York Harbor in 1916. They allege that details from famous historical events, such as the JFK assassination and the Tiananmen Square protests, have changed. There are even claims that new animals have emerged out of thin air, like the dumbo octopus and coconut crab.

In such cases, people are actually confronting something that historians have long grappled with – namely, an understanding that the historical narrative is, in part, a human construct, not an objective reality. There tend to be gaping holes and inconsistencies in the way history and science are formed, taught, learned, and understood." Aaron French

If anything, regardless of parallel universes or false memories the Mandela Effect shows us that we can't necessarily trust information itself.  The source can be wrong, the narrative can be wrong or we can just remember things differently.  The one thing we can take away from it is to question everything we know.  Who knows what we just may find?

On a fun note, I want to know what crazy 'Mandela effect' memories you have found out. What blew your mind? Tell me in the comments below!


The Mandela Effect and New Memory
Aaron French
Correspondences: Journal for the Study of Esotericism 6 (2):201-233 (2018)

Quantum Phenomena Modeled by Interactions between Many Classical Worlds
Michael J. W. Hall, Dirk-André Deckert, and Howard M. Wiseman
Phys. Rev. X 4, 041013 – Published 23 October 2014


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