Have you ever shared a vivid memory of something with many people, only to realize that event never happened? You may be experiencing the Mandela Effect. The Mandela Effect is one of the internet’s recently popular conspiracy theories that has been messing with all of our brains. This phenomenon is when thousands of people with no relation to each other have the exact same collective misremembering of the same event. The name, coined by Fiona Bloome, came about in 2013 when human rights activist Nelson Mandela died. Many people from all over the world were confused because they all had the same vivid memory of him dying in prison during the 1980’s. People have even found old textbooks and biographies that state that Nelson Mandela did die in the 80's. Since then, many other collective false memories have sprung up and shaken up our reality.
There are a lot of different theories for why the Mandela Effect exists. Many believe that it is a result of time travel. Possibly some person who will live thousands of years from now traveled back to our time and changed little things in the middle of our lifetime. Others think it may be due to the shifting of parallel universes. Perhaps we all once lived in a universe where things were slightly different and we still remember it that original way but are now in a reality where things are different. Some people have even gone as far to say that the ending of the world in 2012 didn't seem to happen because it was simply the end of our current universe and we all shifted into a new one. Psychologists credit the Mandela Effect to confabulation, the clinical term for memory defects. However, the fact that large numbers of people who have never met all have identical false memories continues to stump even the most educated psychologists. No matter what the reasoning is, the Mandela Effect will make you question reality and send shivers down your spine. Here are just a handful of examples that you are sure to identify with.
1. The Berenstein Bears
This popular children’s book and television show series was loved by many for years. Anyone you ask will tell you that the way I spelled “Berenstein” above is the correct spelling. What if I told you that’s wrong? That’s right, it’s actually called the “Berenstain Bears”. If you go back and look at your old VHS tapes or books, it will say “Berenstain.” There is no record of it ever being called “Berenstein”. Personally, I have never met a person who remembers it being spelled that way. This Mandela Effect example is one of the most popular because so many people vividly remember it being “Berenstein.” Have we all just been remembering it wrong? Perhaps, but there is some evidence that it was once spelled “Berenstein.” The photo above is of a VHS tape that one Reddit user found in their attic. On the actual tape, “Berenstain” is printed, but on a sticker on the side (something likely added by the VHS manufacturer or distributing company) it says “Berenstein.” Many people have used this as proof of the Mandela Effect because it shows that, at one point in time, it was “Berenstein.” Perhaps because that sticker was not owned directly by the company, it did not change when time travel or the shifting of the universe occured. People have also found old TV Guides and news articles that refer to the program as “Berenstein Bears,” further enhancing the proof for this example.
2. The Flintstones
3. Oscar Meyer
4. "Mirror Mirror On the Wall"
5. Sex in the City
The beloved show about a woman named Carrie Bradshaw and her friends living in New York City is known by most who were original fans of the show as “Sex In The City.” Now, if you go back and watch the show it is called “Sex and the City.” The producers never changed the name and there is no record left of it ever being called “Sex in the City.” This instance also has some proof that it once was called “Sex in the City.” Above is a montage of clips from award shows where all of the presenters called the show “Sex in the City.” It is highly unlikely that every single presenter got the show’s name wrong.
6. "Life is like a box of chocolates."
7. "It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood."
8. Interview with a Vampire
9. Looney Toons
10. Fruit Loops
A popular household air freshener, “Febreeze” is seen by a lot of people every single day. Since when was it spelled “febreze” with only one “e”?
12. "Luke, I am your father."
This well-known sneaker brand has been word by many people for years. I specifically remember the brand name being spelled “Sketchers” but now it is actually “Skechers”.
This one is an example that I vividly remember. As a child, I used to go to Chic-Fil-A with my dad sometimes before he had work. After we stopped doing that, I had not been for while until high school, when I realized it was now spelled "Chick-Fil-A." I noticed this because I constantly spelled it wrong on texts when I would ask my friends to meet me there. I'm not the only one who remembers it this way. The spelling "Chic-Fil-A" is a common google search and is often used by people on twitter. There are many people on Reddit who also recall "Chic-Fil-A" and remember joking around and saying that the chicken must be "chic" and fashionable.
If you are a regular human being, you were probably caught off guard by at least one of these changes. The Mandela Effect is crazy because so many people strongly remember these things the wrong way. You may identify with some examples and not with others. This could be another explanation to back up the "shifting realities" theory because all of us could be in different realities at this very moment. There are many other Mandela Effect examples, like the placement of the country New Zealand and the absence of a famous portrait of King Henry VII of England holding a turkey leg, that you can find on the internet that many people also remember incorrectly. The ones listed here are examples that have personally effected me, but there are many more that other people have noticed in their realities. Considering all of these different instances, it would be too much of a coincidence if the Mandela Effect was a simple case of confabulation. The next time you do a double take after seeing something you remember differently, just know that our perception of reality may not be as straight forward as it seems.
Disclaimer: I am not stating that the Mandela Effect is 100% real because that can not be proven with today's technology. It is just an interesting theory that I enjoy researching.