Have you ever remembered something, and were so positive of this memory, only to one day find out it wasn’t true and that memory never happened? Welcome to the Mandela Effect.
David Emery describes The Mandela Effect on Snopes as “a collective misremembering of a fact or event.”
It’s like when you’re telling a story and you explain how you and your friends arrived at the game in the third inning, and you fully believe that, until your friend tells you you’re wrong and you guys arrived on time.
For some reason, our brains tend to fill in gaps of time that we forgot and make us believe that what we say is true. Psychologists call it confabulation: “Confabulation is an unconscious process of creating a narrative that the narrator believes is true but that is demonstrably false.”
Emery explains how the term became coined The Mandela Effect:
“Fiona Broome […] first became aware of the phenomenon after discovering that she shared a particular false memory — that South African human rights activist and president Nelson Mandela died in prison during the 1980s (he actually died in 2013).”
Dozens of other people started writing in, agreeing that he died in the ‘80s, only to realize it was a false memory they somehow made up, and yet all believed.
Since then, people have been putting together lists of things that the general public swears they remember a certain way, but that were very different in reality. Read with caution; you may need a moment afterward to accept the truth.
For some reason, everyone can swear that Humphrey Bogart’s broken-hearted character, Rick, tells his friend and musician to “Play it again, Sam.” And then Sam goes into the beautiful rendition of “Time Goes By.”
In truth, that line is never said. Rick only says, in a frustrated tone, “Play it.” You can see for yourself here around the 1:50 mark:
Yet over time, we have somehow convinced ourselves otherwise, claiming it to be one of the most famous lines in movie history. However, it never even existed.
Say out loud as quickly as you can the number of states in the United States.
Was it 52, 51, or 50? If you think about it, you’ll probably get it right, but often times people think there are 52, for some reason assuming we have 50 states and then adding Alaska and Hawaii (again) to get 52.
One of the best movies (and saddest) of all time with some of the most quotable lines in the history of cinema. Yet, just like Casablanca, there’s a line we all quote that is incorrect. Do you think Forrest tells the lady on the bench that his mama used to say, “Life is like a box of chocolates,” or “Life was like a box of chocolates?”
Sorry to burst your chocolate bubble, but Forest says “was” yet we most often quote the “is”. Proof can be seen around the 0:34 mark:
Berenstein or Berenstain Bears?
Your favorite childhood bear family: do you recall their name? This phenomenon gained nationwide attention a couple years ago. Noelle Devoe wrote for Seventeen magazine about the Mandela Effect, going deeper into what Broome thinks about these strange occurrences: “The theory states that shared false memories are in fact glimpses into parallel worlds with different timelines.”
While we’re not so certain we live in a parallel universe and are able to switch back and forth, we were 100 percent shocked to realize the lovable bears were, in fact, the “Berenstain Bears” and not Berenstein; they were named after the writers Stan and Judy Berenstain.
Jif or Jiffy?
Sorry to those who swear it existed, but the following video offers more evidence that Jiffy never happened.
Sinbad: a Genie or Not?
Around the same time as The Berenstain Bears phenomenon, everyone started talking about the false memory of Sinbad playing a genie in a ’90s movie called Shazaam.
Hundreds of people around the country (and maybe the world) thought that Sinbad played a genie in a movie in the ‘90s similar to Shaq in Kazaam. The idea reached peak popularity until Sinbad himself tweeted about the phenomenon saying, “Have you noticed no one my age has seen this so called Sinbad Genie movie, only you people who were kids in the 90’s. The young mind!”
He went on to offer a $5,000 reward for anyone who could produce footage of the so-called Shazaam movie. So far, no luck.
Curious George: Tail or No Tail?
It’s one of those weird things that are hard to remember. Of course we recall the man in yellow, rain jacket, and pointy hat, but did Curious George have a tail?
The answer is: No. Physically it wouldn’t make sense, because although we often refer to Curious George as a monkey, he was in fact a chimpanzee.
So if you had a stuffed animal version that came with a tail, it was wrong. Members of the great ape family do not have tails; the Save The Chimps website even says, “Chimpanzees are great apes (not monkeys) who are native to the continent of Africa. If you ever wonder if you are looking at an ape or a monkey, look for a tail. Monkeys have tails, apes: chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans, gibbons, and humans –do not.”
“We Are the Champions…of the World” – Queen
As a kid, you may have been first introduced to Queen’s “We Are the Champions” in the legendary movie The Mighty Ducks when they win the championship. This is also where a bed of confusion lies.
You might be able to call it the Mandela Effect, but this is kind of iffy. In the film, the song really does end with “We are the champions…of the world,” but in the original release of the song, it ends differently. If you heard the song before you watched the movie, you should know better!
The song actually ends by just saying, “We are the champions,” and then it fades out. There is no last “of the world.” Start listening around 2:50:
They do say “of the world” throughout the song, but on the closing note, they’re simply champions—not of the world.
And now for some last minute buzzer beaters…
Oscar Meyer or Oscar Mayer? It’s Oscar Mayer. Just sounds like Meyer.
Rich Uncle Pennybags from Monopoly doesn’t have a monocle like so many of us think. It appears he has 20/20 vision. It may be us getting him mixed with other mini-icons like Mr. Peanut.
The tip of Pikachu’s tail is yellow, not black. Even though that’s how we used to draw it.
Darth Vader never says, “Luke, I am your father.” He says, “No, I am your father.” So why for years have we uttered the words, “Luke, I am your father” into our oscillating fans to make our homemade Darth Vader voices?
Kit-Kat or KitKat? It doesn’t have a hyphen in it.
Hannibal Lecter never says, “Hello Clarice.” And yet it’s supposed to be one of the most famous horror-movie lines ever! He only says, “Morning.”
The Evil Queen never says, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall.” In Disney’s 1937 classic, Snow White’s nasty stepmother actually says, “Magic mirror on the wall…”