The Mandela Effect

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The Mandela Effect is an experience where many people believe an event happened when it did not.

In 2009, the term “Mandela Effect” was first named by Fiona Broome, who then started a website to explain her observed phenomenon.

Fiona talked with others about her memory of the 1980s when former South African president Nelson Mandela died in prison in South Africa.

What is The Mandela Effect?

Although Nelson Mandela did not pass away in the 1980s in prison—he didn’t die until 2013.

She discussed her memories with others when she learned that she wasn’t the only one who held those memories. For example, other people recall viewing the news of Nelson Mandela’s death accompanied by a speech from his widow.

Fiona was surprised by the number of people that remembered an identical event that never happened in such detail.

She started her site to examine the Mandela Effect and similar phenomena.

The Nelson Mandela example is just one of many types of false group memory.

Fiona’s website quickly grew over the discussion of the Mandela Effect, and similar situations began to emerge.

Mandela Effect Explanations

Alternate Realities

 One theory to explain the Mandela effect stems from quantum physics: there isn’t just one timeline.

It is probable that alternate realities are happening simultaneously and mingling with our timeline.

According to this theory, it would mean that groups of people would have the same memories as the timeline has been shifted, and we share altered states with other realities.

However, the concept of alternate dimensions is unverifiable. Therefore, as of now, there is no way to prove or disprove alternate realities exist.

In this reality, the more likely explanation for the Mandela Effect is false memories.

False memories occur because they are not remembered perfectly when they are recalled. In addition, over time, those memories can alter to the point where they become faulty.

People’s memories may not be as good as they think. They are unreliable.

Further Theories Explaining the Mandela Effect

Misleading Post-event information

Misleading Post-event information is information obtained after an event that can change your memory of an event.

This also involves basic information, which explains why eyewitness testimony can sometimes be unreliable.

  • Confabulation: This means that your brain fills in the gaps that are missing from your memories so a person can make sense of it. Confabulation increases the as personages.
  • Priming: describes the lead-up to a situation that affects our experience.

Essentially, memories are vulnerable moments of information saved in the brain that, over time, can be manipulated.

We may believe that our memories are true, but are they?

Mandela Effect Examples:

“Berenstein Bears”

Perhaps the most famous children’s book series is remembered by the name “Berenstain Bears” it is spelled Berenstein Bears (it is not spelled with an “a”; instead, it is an “e”).

“Smokey the Bear”

People remember the talking nature-loving bear as “Smokey the Bear,” but oddly enough, there is no “the” in his name. It is actually “Smokey Bear,” another example of the Mandela effect.


Rich Uncle Penny Bags or more known as “The Monopoly Man,” not only does not wear a monocle he also has no glasses!

“E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial”

Those who grew up in the 80’s remember the famous aliens’ tagline “ET phone home?” But that alien had said, “ET home phone.”

“Fruit Loops” Cereal

This is one of the most common Mandela Effect, the sugary cereal with no actual fruit in the cereal isn’t spelled “Fruit Loops.” Instead, it’s spelled “Froot Loops.”

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Dean Mathers


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