Mandela Effect

The phenomenon of "false memory" is nothing new [1]. Famous psychologists like Pierre Janet and (as unfortunate and upsetting as it might be) Sigmund Freud had long ago been arguing and questioning the validity of recovered memories of individuals [2]. Elizabeth Loftfus has been leading a research project on the matter since all the way back in the stone age… 1974. In 2010, the term 'Mandela Effect' was coined for the concept of shared false memories. The theory came about when Fiona Broome, a self-described "paranormal consultant," made reference to Nelson Mandela's death in the 1980s. Hundreds, possibly thousands remembered the same event, when in actuality Mandela died late 2013.

Since then many instances have come about of people sharing a distinct memory that conflicts with documented history. Many mundane, such as a falsely memory of Curious George having a tail, or JIF peanut butter being called 'Jiffy' at some point, or the show being called 'Looney Toons' rather than the actual 'Looney Tunes,' or Mr. Monopoly having a monocle, or more popularly, that the book series 'The Berenstain Bears' had been previously spelled 'Berenstein."

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I mean seriously…. does this look right?? What's a monkey without his tail :( [3] top [4] bottom

There is a list on the site goodhousekeeping [5] with slides and side by side comparisons for 40 different "examples" of this effect. Things that make you double take. Things that look familiar or correct but really aren’t. There is also a blog - mandelaeffect(dot)com [6], created by the originator of the Mandela Effect, Fiona Broome. The site is filled with thousands of theories and comment threads and personal anecdotes of people asserting their own instances of false memories.

So, what is the reasoning behind all of this? According the Mandela Effect, there are two leading theories [7]. The first is that we are sliding between nearly parallel realities, and the second is that we have visited or are currently in holodecks (yes… like the thing from Star Trek) and are experiencing glitches. Sounds reasonable. But on the aforementioned blog, there is a tab for theories and explanations in which Broome attempts to delve deeper using “evidence” from the anecdotes and comments on the site. She suggests an alignment with the theory of vile vortices [8]. These are 12 graphical areas arranged around Earth connected with inexpiable phenomena. She also mentions that a few quantum scientists have privately questioned if their tests have affected the fabric of reality. Below her thoughts are nearly 500 other theories by followers of the blog. One suggests someone is changing the past for financial gain, a few say CERN is affecting us while we sleep, another says our dreaming is actually our consciousness ascending to different universe.

Whatever the case is, there are certainly some wild theories over these happenstances. Is it just the case that we don’t pay enough attention and misinformation spreads rapidly? Or might there be something more scientifically inexpiable at play?

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