Image Source: Imgur
By Maya Hariz
Have you ever had a memory of something so strong that you swear it to be true?
What happens when hundreds or even thousands of other people share the same memory, only to discover that it never actually happened?
The Mandela effect, a freaky phenomenon causing the collective misremembering of a fact or event. Tens of thousands of people or in some cases more, all claim to have a memory of something that never actually occurred. One theory for this to happen is that some people think we have actually switched into a different parallel universe, others think that there was somebody that traveled back in time and changed one small thing which created the butterfly effect.
The name “The Mandela effect” comes from Nelson Mandela, a revolutionary South African politician activist in Africa, who was born July 18th, 1918. Known for his non-violent protests he fought against the horrible apartheid system in South Africa and was incarcerated on August 5th, 1962 and served over 27 years in prison for conspiring to overthrow the state. When he was released in 1990 he became the first black president of South Africa electively serving only one term before stepping down to focus fighting HIV/AIDS and poverty in 1994. That fight continued until he passed away on December 5th, 2013.
But is that what you remember?
If you’re like many people you may recall stories of Mandela dying while still in prison in the 1980s. While others believe that the year of his death was 1991.
But if that were the case, how could he have become president?
It seems that some people combine their fuzzy memories of Mandela’s death in the 1980s with the subsequent release and presidency, and somehow conclude that we are somehow sliding between parallel universes.
These people have a variety of ideas about how the transfer between parallel universes occurs, from sort of natural phenomena to it being caused but the Large Hadron Collider in Europe.
And that’s not the only example people cite.
If you were asked to describe the wealthy property owning Monopoly guy, better known as Rich Uncle Pennybags, from the Hasbro and Parker Brothers game Monopoly, what would you say?
You might say he’s old or he wears a tuxedo. However, if your description includes a monocle on one eye, you may be living in an alternate reality. That’s because despite what many will claim is a change to his appearance, Uncle Pennybags never wore a monocle. Though it was released back in 1903, Monopoly didn’t get their mascot until the chance and community chest cards were added with his image in 1936. He was designed by artist Dan Fox who modeled him after J.P. Morgan, an American financier and banker who wore spectacles but alas no monocle. As you think of him yourself right now, you likely pictured him with a monocle. So, how can it be that you and literally millions of others are wrong?
When it comes to kids books about troublemaking monkeys, few are anywhere near as popular as the one and only Curious George. Created by Hans Augusto Rey and Margret Rey, George was first introduced in 1939 in the French children’s book Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys. It wasn’t until 1942 that he got his own book appropriately titled Curious George. Six more books were published about the mischievous monkey and are a staple in children’s literature. But if you were to ask someone to describe Curious George all too often they would add a body part to the little guy that simply doesn’t exist, a tail. Despite what your mind may be telling you, Curious George does not have tail and never has. Not in any of his books, or even in the first book he ever appeared in. George has been referred to as a chimp, who doesn’t have a tail anyways. But that hasn’t stopped people from swearing that they’ve seen him with one.
Think back to your own memory. Does Curious George have a tail or not?
Another example comes from the world famous Star Wars movie series.
Close your eyes and take yourself back to Cloud City in Star Wars ‘The Empire Strikes Back” where Luke Skywalker just lost his hand to the evil Sith leader, Darth Vader, as he holds onto a pole, the young Jedi-in-training listens as the Dark Lord announces, “Luke I am your father.” Now open your eyes and hear that in fact he actually never said that. This line is synonymous in Star Wars, one of the biggest movie twists of all time. But the dialog simply doesn’t play out that way. The biggest fans of the franchise or simply those who watch it again will reveal to you that Vader actually responds to Luke’s cries that Darth Vader killed his father by saying, “No, I am your father.” Hundreds of films and TV shows have misquoted that epic reveal for decades since The Empire’s release on May 17th, 1980. But many people believe that the line has been changed along with reality itself. The question is, how do you remember the line?
“Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” It’s one of the most famous lines ever uttered by a movie villain, and it never happened. Premiering at the Carthay Circle theatre on December 12st, 1937. Walt Disney’s first animated feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was a masterpiece out of the gate drawing a standing ovation from even the hardest critics who initially said Disney wouldn’t complete such a huge undertaking. As many people remember in the film when the evil queen looks into the mirror she says, “Mirror mirror on the wall,” except that she doesn’t. What she actually says is “Magic mirror on the wall.” A potential reason for this is the original Brothers Grimm story, she does say mirror mirror. But that hasn’t stopped a huge number of people from claiming that they remember her saying it in the movie.
One of the most famous examples of The Mandela effect involves the popular card game and animated cartoon, Pokemon. The most popular character is arguably Pikachu, an electric type Pokemon who was introduced in the original first generation iteration of the card game. Pikachu is famous for his bright, rabbit-like design including being bright yellow all over. But many people believe that this was not always the case. The Mandela effect seems to have altered the appearance of this iconic character. Many believe that Pikachu originally had a yellow tail with a black tip. Fans of the card game and cartoon especially hold this view. No one can explain what happened, and so the changing appearance of Pikachu remains a mystery to all.
Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated for preaching that all races should learn to live together and love each other, It’s a lesson that we need more than ever today, and it’s that reason that Martin Luther King Jr. continues to be a hero for so many across the world, but despite being so well known, the details of King’s assassination have been attributed to The Mandela effect. Many people swear that when he was killed, the murder weapon was a handgun, some even remember the killer having a different name, others remember King being assassinated with a grenade or a bomb. The accounts vary so widely that The Mandela effect conspiracy theorists argue that his death was what’s known as a pivot point in history. That’s when an event has changed so many times that our timeline has settled into what it is now.
There are tons and tons of claims like those that you can find on the internet.
Even if we actually were sliding between parallel universes, how is it that our memories could survive the change? I mean, memories are preserved in our brain and those memories would change as we shifted from one universe to the other, and then there are a few people that claim that our bodies are getting transported to other universes where things are always different.
The best proof of this is the Berenstain Bears example, you could go to every library on the planet and ask people to dig out their books and every one of them would be of the “A I N” version. People who believe in The Mandela effect would say that this makes sense because either we moved into a world in which the spelling was always right or because the change occured everywhere in our universe. But if we’d also move into one in which our brains always lived in the “A I N” universe, and if the change occurred in our universe, you have to remember that books are made of molecules just like our brains. Unless the change was somehow confined to those just particular books, the changes to the brain atoms and the book atoms would have to be the same. We certainly wouldn’t remember this differently.