Think back to your childhood; maybe to a favorite television show or movie. You probably remember specific scenes or lines that you love quoting even today. Now, what would you say if you found out that that ‘specific memory’ was different than you remember. Maybe one word is off, the scene is missing key points or maybe it never existed at all. Welcome to the Mandela Effect.
The Mandela Effect has slowly taken over the internet over the past few years and has sent many people into a frenzy, digging up old movies and googling their favorite childhood snacks. An easy way to explain The Mandela Effect is a false memory. It gets its name from the political leader Nelson Mandela who passed away Dec. 5, 2013. But did he really? There are many people in the world who are convinced Mandela passed away in the 80’s while still in prison. Many say they even remember seeing his funeral on television. But this is only one moment of a false memory. Maybe people have Nelson Mandela confused with someone else, and that person has just simply disappeared in history. In fact, there are hundreds of examples of this phenomenon, and unless you spend your life focusing on every detail, they have gone unnoticed.
Starting off with a favorite among college students. Chick-Fil-A is an example of this effect. There are many people who remember this restaurant being spelled ‘Chik-Fil-A’, but it has never been spelled with a ‘K’, and even the company has come out saying the spelling has been the same since the restaurant was established. Growing up, I specifically remember seeing ‘Chik’ on the sign because I would turn to my mom and tell them they spelled the name wrong. How about another food favorite KitKat. Many still believe there was once upon a time a dash in the middle of the name. Do you remember the dash?
But it’s not just food names that are frustrating people. Classic movies and fan favorite characters are also under investigation by believers of this effect. There may be some that will leave you searching your memory banks. Star Wars has a cult following behind it and has since the first movie came out. If you asked someone to quote the movie, they will most likely quote the number one line from Darth Vader: “Luke, I am your father.” Well if they did, they would be wrong. Darth Vader does not say, “Luke, I am your father,” but instead says, “No, I am your father.” This phrase is on hats, t-shirts, bumper stickers, anything you can think of. But are you just misremembering one of the most famous lines in cinema history?
The Mandela Effect did not just happen overnight, but it did start with one childhood book. Think back to the books you read growing up. There was one about a family of bears and their adventures in moral values and teaching children the difference between right and wrong. Would you call them The Berenstein Bears? Well I am sorry to disappoint you, but you are wrong. The actual name of this family of four is The Berenstain Bears. This is the theory that set everything in motion with people arguing on forums and searching through their attics trying to find proof of The Berenstain Bears. Do you spell it with an “e” or an “a”?
How did this become a phenomenon making you question everything? A popular theory among conspiracy theorists stems from Y2K. When 1999 came around people were convinced the world would end, and as you know, that did not happen. The same theory came around in 2012 when people were convinced the Mayan calendar meant the end of the world was coming yet again. Conspiracy theorists believe that, instead of the world ending, the world went into a parallel universe or a different dimension where these small changes are the result of the dimensions crossing and are proof that we are in a different area in time. Now, this could just be false memories and people are just overthinking these small changes in some of our favorite things. Take a second look at different things from your past. You may be surprised with what you find.