The Mandela Effect: What do you Remember?

The Mandela Effect: What do you Remember?

Kayla Moriarty, Staff Writer


Have you ever had the peculiar feeling that you remember something being different from it is? This false memory phenomenon is widespread and has been named the “Mandela Effect” by conspiracy theorist Fiona Broome. Its name originates from Nelson Mandela, an activist who the majority of the population remembers dying in prison to protest. However, Mandela was the president of South Africa during the 90s and did not die until 2013.
The Mandela Effect is traditionally found in popular cultures, such as books, films, movie quotes, art, and places. Chances are, you’ve probably heard someone jokingly say “Luke, I am your father.” at some point in your life. Of course, they are referencing the iconic Star Wars scene, but their memory of the line is incorrect. Darth Vader states, “No, I am your father.” Contrary to popular belief, Pikachu never had any black on his tail. Additionally, Curious George never had a tail to begin with. Ever heard of Jiffy peanut butter? It’s just Jif peanut butter. These examples are a few of many, and the Mandela Effect doesn’t stop at mainstream culture.
While most examples of the Mandela Effect are found in pop culture, conspiracy theorists have created a list of animals that they cannot recall existing until recent years. Shoebill Storks are enormous storks from Africa with colossal beaks. On a discussion board about the Mandela Effect, a user states, “I used to study environmental science and various animal-related subjects and I have never come across a Shoebill Stork in my 37 years of living.” Pallas Cats are also on that list, and most have just started seeing them in zoos in the last five years.
Both conspiracy theorists and skeptics have some form of an answer as to why such a large majority of the population has collective false memories. As a more scientific approach, many attribute the cause of the Mandela Effect to an increase in internet popularity, and some may have a vague memory of certain events that are easily influenced by the memories of others. Taking a more transcendent approach, conspiracy theorists have connected the Mandela Effect with the end of the world. This theory is thanks to the Mayan calendar, which predicted the end of the world in 2012. However, they believe that something went wrong and challenged the Mayan prophecy, which created gaps in timelines, allowing for the Mandela Effect to exist.
It begs the question; does the internet easily influence our memories, or is there some explanation that does not involve science? Whether or not the Mandela Effect is a supernatural phenomenon or just a shared false memory, it is entertaining to fall down the rabbit hole of all of the reported changes.

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What Is the ‘Mandela Effect’?