The Mandela Effect

This is partly nablopomo desperation and partly genuine interest on my part as well as curiosity about how many people know about this. I had heard about a phenomenon where certain people swear that the Berenstain Bears were, at one point, the Berenstein Bears - people who swore they had books with that spelling. I am one of the people who did think, with a high degree of certainty that the -stein spelling was correct. I think there was one other thing too, but I can't remember what it was.

Anyway, I just did a Facebook quiz on Disney movie images and it referred to the Mandela effect, which I had not heard this called before, and at first I thought it was referencing mandalas and I was extremely confused. Apparently this collective false memory effect is called the Mandela Effect because one of the examples is people who think Nelson Mandela died in Prison long before he actually did die, not in prison (sorry, I tried to think of a way I could make that sentence even more awkward and just couldn't do it).

(Side note: This reminds me of a scene in, I think, this book by Jack Finney where (it was a long time ago, don't quote me) someone has done something to make time travelers forget that they are time travelers, but some people have residual memories and people are sitting around a table discussing the memories that are out of step with reality (somebody remembering the Titanic docking in New York, somebody remembering a sister they never had, somebody remembering a triangular stamp) and trying to figure out if any are real and what they mean. I find this kind of thought experiment delicious, which is probably why I'm the easiest of marks for time travel and alternate universe stories).

So after I did the quiz ("soundly bombed" would be more accurate, and the ones I did get right were because I chose the one I didn't think looked correct) I looked up the Mandela Effect and then found this list (40 Mandela Effect Examples That Will Blow Your Mind) and went through it, and thought I would put the results here. Feel free to chime in with any that strike a chord with you, or provide different examples.

1. Nelson Mandela's death in 2013 - this I remember properly. Some people think he died in prison in the 1980s.

2. Jif peanut butter - this I remember properly. Some people think there was a Jiffy peanut butter. I assume they're probably conflating Jif with Skippy.

3. It was Looney Tunes, not Looney Toons. I definitely thought it was Toons. I mean, why the hell WASN'T it?

4. It was The Berenstain Bears. I could have sworn it was the Berenstein Bears. When I started working in the kids' section at Chapters when we moved to Ottawa, I thought they had done a reissue with an inexplicably altered name.

5. Curious George never had a tail. I'm good with this one, the tail actually looks weird to me.

6. Sex and the City, not Sex IN the City. I was wrong for a while, but learned the right way before the series ended. Both ways kind of make sense to me, but I understand that New York played roughly as big a role as sex did in the series.

7. It's Febreze, not Febreeze. I'm not entirely sure, but I think I would have spelled it right if asked.

8. It's Oscar Mayer, not Oscar Meyer. I would have totally gotten this one wrong.

9. It's Skechers, not SkeTchers. I knew this one. When I think about it, both are equally nonsensical. Skechers isn't a real word, and sketchers doesn't apply readily to shoes.

10. It's Froot Loops, not Fruit Loops. Yup - obviously it's a stupid way to spell 'fruit', but the agreeable symmetry of the double Os makes it okay with me.

11. A portrait of Henry VIII that some people thought featured him holding a turkey leg when it didn't. I don't really have an opinion - Henry VIII with a turkey leg rings true to me, but I don't really remember this specific portrait.

12. Some people think the Monopoly Man had a monocle, but he doesn't. The theory is that he's being confused with Mr. Peanut which both rings true and opens up new levels of weirdness, maybe just because anthropomorphized nuts creep me out a little.

13. Pikachu's tail does not have black on it. I could not possibly care less. Forty things is a LOT, you guys.

14. KitKat has no hyphen. Now I want a non-hyphenated KitKat. Fortunately we still have dozens of them left over from Halloween.

15. The Fruit of the Loom logo does not have a cornucopia behind the fruit, as some people think it does. Both look right to me. The real question is why didn't they jump all over the opportunity to call them Froot of the Loom?

16. It's Cheez-It, not Cheez-Itz. This could be a conflation with Utz, a U.S. snack food brand. The first time we took Angus down to Elmira and went shopping at Target, we found Utz Baseball White Cheeseballs. They've never had them again and it is deeply disappointing every time.

17. It's Double Stuf Oreos, not Double Stuff. I think I knew this, and now that I examine it, I kind of love it - get it? It's double the stuff, but instead of doubling the Fs they took one off! I think it might be ironic!

18. The Mona Lisa - some people think she used to have a more obvious smile. I got nothin' - I always thought the whole point of La Giaconda WAS her tiny, enigmatic hint of a smile.


20. It's The Flintstones - some people think it was The Flinstones with only one T. That's dumb. Those people are dumb.

21. Chartreuse - some people think it's magenta pink, when it's actually a shade of green. In the list it shows a dark shade of green, when in my head it's a very light shade, sort of apple-y, lime-y, yellowy, so I am just thoroughly confused now, but this made me remember a Bloom County joke that went "what's feminine protection, a chartreuse flamethrower?", so that was enjoyable.

22. Forrest Gump said "Life was like a box of chocolates", not "Life is like a box of chocolates". Not gonna lie, I am shook by this one.

23. It's not "Mirror, Mirror, on the wall", it's "Magic Mirror on the wall". I would blame Disney for my confusion, but according to the first quiz I did it WAS the right way in Disney, so now I don't know WHAT to think, the ground is shifting, all is ashes.

24. Darth Vader apparently says "I am your father", without the Luke. I thought it was Luke, but I'm not a huge Star Wars fan, so I assume I've been swayed by the popularism of the wrong saying.

25. Before Gandalf falls he says "Fly, you fools!" not "Run, you fools!" I have no memory of either.

26. Upon meeting Clarice, Hannibal Lector doesn't say "Hello, Clarice", he just says "Good morning". Again, no memory of either one.

27. Freddie Mercury doesn't not say "....of the world" at the end of "We are the Champions". ........................................................*flips table*

28. Mr. Rogers theme song says "It's a beautiful day in THIS neighbourhood". Actually I guess it's actually "this neighborhood". Hmph.

29. There are 50 U.S. states - some people recall learning 51 or 52. Sign me up - I could have been swayed to say 52.

30. Sinbad never played a genie. (Shaquille O'Neal did). I would have believed this.

31. It's Smokey Bear, not Smokey the Bear. (WTF, it's Smokey with an E? I get a bonus WRONG THING)

32. In Tiananmen Square, "Tank Man" - some remember the tank running over him, some remember him moving away. This one is kind of grim - no one actually knows what happened to him.

33. Many people don't remember Neil Armstrong's death in 2012. I am one of these people.

34. Billy Graham's death in 2018. I thought he was still alive.

35. Mother Teresa was canonized in 2016 - many people "remember" it happening in the 90s when she was still alive.

36. The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986 - some people think it happened in 1984 or 1985. Okay, this one is lame - how is that not just people not remembering exactly when something happened? That is my ENTIRE LIFE, bro.

37. The Lindbergh baby kidnapping - many people remember the case going cold, but the baby's body was found and the killer sentenced to death. I remembered this correctly. I even remember the name of the asshole that did it, but I will not put it here.

38. Some people remember Patrick Swayze recovering from pancreatic cancer. That would have been nice.

39. Some people remember Leonardo DiCaprio winning an Oscar long before he actually did in 2016, *shrug*

40. Some people remember the castle in Disney World's Magic Kingdom being at the entrance. I would have no idea if this was right (it's not) except there's a picture I love of Angus and Eve at about 6 and 4 years old walking hand in hand down the road towards the castle.

I have always prided myself on my memory and can often remember movie lines or conversations from years ago, but over the past few years I have been proven wrong a few times and it's less embarrassing than disturbing when you're SO SURE of something and then you can't actually convince yourself that a version of the movie was recorded where everything is the same but they changed the one single line that you remember just to screw with you.

There. That was more fun than I thought it would be.


Nicole said…
I always thought it was "it's a beautiful day in THE neighbourhood" and I'm surprised by the Forrest Gump thing. I knew all about C3PO though. As for deaths of people, I'm often surprised people aren't already dead. This is why I'm rarely shocked by celebrity death, as I usually think the person is already dead. I know, weird.
StephLove said…
So why does Curious George have no tail? That's kind of disturbing.

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