The Mandela Effect describes a phenomenon where large groups of people have purported false memories of something happening that supposedly never occurred.
The term “Mandela Effect” was first coined around 2009 by “paranormal consultant” Fiona Broome. Ms. Broome observed that she and numerous Dragon Con confederates were certain that South African apartheid activist, Nelson Mandela, had died in prison during the 1980s.
As this observation spread across the Interwebs, many adherents also had vivid memories of a televised funeral. Some clearly recalled a eulogy by Mandela’s widow on TV. Yet no evidence existed.
In this reality, Mandela was released from prison in 1990, served as South African President from 1994-1999, and lived until 2013.
The peculiar thing is how vivid these false memories are for thousands of people and how adamantly they may debate their inaccurate correctness.
Mandela’s demise aside, the term “Mandela Effect” stuck, and investigations proliferated by the curious… and even bi-curious. Movie quotes had changed. Brand logos had changed. History had changed! [queue dramatic music]
In terms of movie quotes, wrap your flawed brain around some biggies…
- INCORRECT: “Play it again, Sam.”
- CORRECT: “Play it once, Sam, for old times’ sake.”
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
- INCORRECT: “Luke, I am your father.”
- CORRECT: “No, I am your father.”
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937)
- INCORRECT: “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”
- CORRECT: “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”
Mind blown yet? A little bit pissed off at your own untrustworthy memory? And why do so many people think exactly the same wrong thing?
Buckle up. This shit gets nuttier than a pile of squirrel crap.
Or does it?
Mandela Effect: The Man
Humor me. Nelson Mandela was amazing. He deserves a modicum of consideration before commingling his inspirational life with some half-baked conspiratorial thinking.
In case you were born under a rock, Nelson Mandela was a South African civil rights activist who spent almost one-third of his 95-year life imprisoned for treason in his fight against apartheid.
Apartheid is an Afrikaans word for “apartness.” It was a governmental policy of segregation as well as political and economic discrimination by the South African 20% white minority government against an 80% black majority populous.
Under enormous international pressure captured in the cry of “Free Nelson Mandela,” his life sentence was commuted in 1990 by then President FW de Klerk. Free at last, Mandela reinvigorated his anti-apartheid efforts.
With Mandela, De Klerk helped actuate the orderly peaceful dissemblance of apartheid, earning them both the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1994, Mandela was elected the first black president of South Africa at a spry 75 years old.
Retiring in 1999, Mandela founded the Nelson Mandela Foundation, a global organization that still promotes the tenets of equality, peace, and freedom. He died in 2013. What a life!
A few interesting tidbits about Nelson Mandela to wrap up our discussion…
- Mandela’s Xhosa birth name was Rolihlahla, which means troublemaker. He was bequeathed the English name “Nelson” in elementary school for ease of pronunciation purposes. Not racist at all.
- Mandela’s book Long Walk to Freedom recounts his notoriety as a master of disguise, evading arrest for several years. The media nicknamed him “The Black Pimpernel.”
- Mandela was finally removed from the US Terror Watch list in 2008 – at the dangerously distinguished age of 85. WTF?!
- Mandela read the William Ernest Henley poem “Invictus” to inspire his fellow prisoners not to lose hope. Latin for “unconquered,” Invictus was also a movie about Mandela, starring the scrumtrulescent Morgan Freeman.
Now back to the Bizarro World…
Mandela Effect: Who the F is Fiona Broome?
If nothing else, Fiona Broome is a fascinating author, researcher, and speaker in the paranormal investigation world.
Her complex online footprint weaves through numerous interconnected websites on paranormal topics, mostly with the common theme of ghosts and ghost-hunting.
I have had personal experience with what I believe to be ghosts in my life. I am a believer in the possibility of the paranormal, although the proof is sorely lacking. As with my own stories, I have no pictures, recordings, videos, or other evidence of my encounters. Therefore, please know, I am not mocking Fiona’s ghostly investigation work, per se. Let’s all just acknowledge this is in no way mainstream thinking nor actual science.
Pertinent to this article is her website MandelaEffect.com.
Her “favorite theory” to explain the Mandela Effect is when she and others “speculated that parallel realities exist, and – until now – we’ve been ‘sliding’ between them without realizing it”. Here, she carefully comments that “this isn’t a conspiracy, and we’re not talking about ‘false memories’”.
This is where we enter the event horizon of a metaphysical black hole we cannot escape. Some real Twilight Zone shit.
The challenge Broome & Friends have encountered is that all evidence of alternate realities and parallel universes is only anecdotal. It cannot be proven. Ironically, and frustratingly, it cannot be disproven either. If anything, Quantum String Theory supports the possibility.
And the fascination with the Mandela Effect continues to flourish.
Mandela Effect: The Psychology and Actual Science
Let’s transition for a moment from science fiction to science fact. The problem I have is that science is so damn boring. I write humor, and I am flagellating myself having to tackle this almost-deleted section.
Keeping it simple and high-level, scientists and psychologists believe the following…
- We lie to ourselves. It’s called confabulation. It involves your brain filling in gaps in memory with fake memories that never happened to make the entire event make sense. Not malicious lying, more of an innocent fib. To yourself.
- We are highly susceptible to post-event suggestion. Fake News, anyone? Internet chat groups of post-Truth conspirators feeding us the cerebral sugar we crave. Chocoholics feeding fudgy imagination pudding to each other. This is also why eye-witness testimony sucks so bad.
- Schema-driven errors. Schema are electrical packets of data that steer memory. In tests, subjects sorted out unfamiliar material and replaced it with alternate material to reduce distortion in the mind. For example, many formal clock faces display a more attractive non-Roman numeral IIII instead of IV. But on recall, most subjects said the clocks displayed the more familiar IV. Fucking yawn.
But why do thousands and thousands of people recall the identical things? Is that level of group synchronicity explained away by confabulation, suggestibility, or familiarity?
Consider some further examples that might bend your mind toward the IV on the fancy clock.
Mandela Effect: Examples
There is no question that the Mandela Effect is unsettling. As science indicates, are our memories so fragile and fallible?
Am I the only person that felt, with 110% certainty, that the following were true:
KitKat was Kit-Kat. There definitely was a hyphen at one time. Wasn’t there? Even the Chinese social media espionage site is called Tik-Tok, right? Ah fuck. It’s TikTok?
Curious George had a tail. What the paranormal fuck happened to the little guy’s tail? Monkeys have tails. Period. That is a fact of Nature. Or is George like some simian version of a docked tail dog? Is he curious because he wonders where the hell his tail went?
Jiffy Peanut Butter lost some letters. My childhood was a lie. I loved Jiffy peanut butter. Yeah, I know “Choosy moms choose Jif,” but wouldn’t it sound so much better with Jiffy. Choosy. Jiffy. Lines up so much more lyrically. Dammit all.
The Monopoly Man had a monocle. If you asked me to wager $100 that the Monopoly Man wore a monocle, I would have taken that bet and laughed at your naivete as I counted my hundo. Where did it go? Did he covertly lend it to Colonel Mustard in the drawing room of Clue? Was he hiding his Nazi heritage and give it back to Colonel Wilhelm Klink of Hogan’s Heroes fame? Shit. I will just “state my complaint and leave.”
The Berenstein bears were Jewish. Why, you ask? Well, turns out they were redneck Berenstain bears. Like shit stain. Or they had some secret religious conversion. Not sure when they found Jesus, but no one ever told me. L’chaim, bears. Either way, steer clear of the monocled Nazis. Just in case.
Mandela Effect: Beyond Fiona Broome, WTF?
Certain of my own recollecting resplendence, and unsatisfied with the whole science thing, I researched some alternate conspiracy theories as to the cause for the Mandela Effect.
- Alternate realities. Fiona Broome and Quantum Physics may be onto something. String Theory posits that a multiverse exists, infinite parallel universes stacked side by side with potential copies of us with some slight or extreme variations. If those realities somehow (which is the fucked up unexplained part – how?) cross over each other, could certain original memories that Fruit Loops was never Froot Loops still be true even though the reality is altered?
- Time travelers changing history. Einstein proved that time travel is mathematically possible. But it takes a lot of energy. Hmm. Is the Cern Large Hadron Collider used to send people back in time? Is it possible that governments are sending sojourners back to screw with minor details in movies and packaged goods? I fail to understand the motivation, but with governments, you never know. Minimally, please change Rubik’s Cube back to the Rubix Cube I loved as a kid.
- Living in The Matrix. Is reality just a computer program and our human existence a tiny subroutine manipulated by some fat nerd, gaming with our characters in his grandma’s basement? Or as Broome analogizes, is existence like the holodeck on Star Trek’s USS Enterprise? Are we living in some sort of virtual reality where our memory errors are simply bugs or glitches in the software? Why mess with the Looney Tunes logo when we all know it was once Looney Toons?
The problem is these theories all have more holes than the souvenir swiss cheese samples given after the God Particle ride in Cern.
Mandela Effect: Closing Thoughts
How are we supposed to understand our collective false memories?
Maybe the right question is what would Nelson Mandela do? #WWNMD
On one hand, it seems apparent he would listen to science. He would endure the boring science people explaining dull dorky concepts while he would smile and nod and never really understand what they meant. But it’s science, so it must be true?
On the other hand, Mandela was a rascal and a troublemaker. And a notorious cheese lover. Given all the holes in the alternate conspiracy theories, perhaps he would gravitate toward them like a large piece of Gruyère. Plus, Fiona Broome is a famous author, and so was Mandela. With that common experience, perhaps he would gravitate toward her psychic cheese whilst gnawing his physical cheese.
Bottom line: I am personally overwhelmed by science versus parascience. It might be easier to offer a political answer instead. Something free of controversy.
The Mandela Effect explains a lot about the Cheeto/Cheato presidency. For example, let’s take the debate over corruption with mail-in ballots. Even though the claims of voter fraud have been completely debunked as a lie, through the course of repetition and viral spread, the Cheeto Faithful believe it happened en masse. They are certain of it, and worse yet, certain it will happen again.
Cheetologists also believe the following phony “Top Ten Truths” with programmed certainty thanks to their scrupulous Savior…
- Joe and Hunter Biden are treasonous criminals.
- Joe Scarborough is a murderer.
- Ted Cruz’s father assassinated JFK. [Not to mention Cruz is the Zodiac Killer]
- Barack Hussein Obama is Kenyan.
- The Obama Administration practiced McCarthyism by wire-tapping the 2016 Trump Campaign.
- The noise from windmills causes cancer. And the ground beneath is a “bird graveyard”.
- Global warming was fabricated by China to make US manufacturing non-competitive.
- Muslims celebrated 911 in New Jersey.
- The Clintons killed Jeffrey Epstein to save Bill from the inconvenient embarrassment of pedophilia.
- Children are immune to coronavirus. Send the little fuckers back to school.
It’s all so difficult to prove. Worse yet, it’s all equally challenging to disprove. Facts are simply not enough! We must now accept people’s words, opinions, and anecdotes as proof.
For me, Occam’s Razor may settle the score: when two or more theories predict the same result, the simplest solution is generally the right solution.
Which would you choose – science, parascience, or politics?
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