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The Mandela Effect:What is Really Happening to our Memories?

Sabrina loves to write about love, life, and everything in-between in a candid yet humorous approach.


The Mandela Effect has gotten a lot of attention in the media lately, including my own. What is it you may ask? Well, it got its name from Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa. Apparently a lot of people always believed he died in prison in the 1980s, even though his actual death came from a respiratory tract infection in 2013. So did all these people believe wrongly or was something changed in our memories? That is the big question here. The Mandela Effect occurs when a large number of people believe something happened a certain way in the past, but when they go back to check out the facts, it's like they have been changed. The way they remember things is not how they happened at all. Are we living in some sort of alternate reality or is someone just messing with our memories?

I have to start by saying that I'm not really one of those people who believe in conspiracy theories. Lately though, a lot of them seem to make sense or at least make me think and question things I thought I knew which is always a good sign. It is never a good idea to just believe whatever the media or whoever else tells you. Do your own research and find out and if something still doesn't feel right then disregard that truth and find one that makes sense for you. As human beings we have been given a great gift of reasoning and critical thinking, but it is up to ourselves whether we choose to use it or not.


With the Mandela Effect, I think a lot of people get carried away. Have some things been changed from the way we remember them as kids? Certainly. But have all of them? No. One obvious example that I keep coming across are the Berenstein Bears children books. Most people remember the books as being called "The Berenstein Bears" but when we go now and check our books it is now spelled "The Berenstain Bears." Seriously, if you have some in your attic or basement check them out. So what really happened here? Do all these people remember wrong or was the name somehow changed? And why? What would be the purpose of changing the name of a popular children's book? Or maybe this is just the testing stage. How much can a human being really trust their memory until they give in to persuasion?


Another popular Mandela Effect is how many people remember Snow White saying "Mirror mirror on the wall." That's like the most popular quote from the entire movie and everyone remembers it that way, myself included. Apparently Snow White never said it. Instead she says "Magic mirror on the wall." May people also remember the second part of that quote saying “Who is the fairest of them all?” but apparently it’s “Who is the fairest one of all?” While that isn't a huge change and doesn't really impact our lives significantly, it still makes you wonder, what is really happening here?


One Mandela Effect concerns the popular children's game: Monopoly. Many people including myself, distinctly remember the Monopoly Man aka Rich Uncle Moneybags having a monocle on his left eye. But when you go back now and look at the game, nope no monocle to be seen. This is strange because as children and even teenagers we all spent hours upon hours playing this game. One would think we would remember how the main character looked right? And really if some kind of alternate reality mysticism was happening, why are such small, yet significant parts of our memories being changed?

The theory is that we now live in some sort of alternate reality from the one we remember. An alternate reality where we're pretty much the same and our surroundings remain familiar, but some small things have been altered. If you've ever seen the show "Fringe" you might know something about alternate realities. But the scary thing is that the whole reason that alternate realities came into play was because someone was manipulating them. In that show it was the observers who wanted to take over the world and make it their own. If we really are living in some sort of alternate reality now, then someone or something must be doing this. But why? And is this just the beginning?


Another theory is that someone deliberately went back in time and changed things so that is why we remember things differently. This brings the issue of time travel into play. While I find the topic fascinating, I am not sure how much of a believer I am. Would I love to time travel? Certainly. Can I? I haven't so far but I suppose anything is possible in the future. Again the question why remains. If someone did go back in time and change these memories we have of children's books and quotes from movies, what is the reason behind it? And are bigger changes still to come?


One movie that really reminds me of the Mandela Effect is The Forgotten. It's an older movie from 2004, but I have seen it many times and it's one of my favorites. I think you can watch it on Netflix now as well. The main character, played by Julianne Moore, lost her son in a plane accident and is still coping with her grief. Strange things start to happen though. One day she notices a photo that used to display her son and husband, is now missing her son. Then photos of him from her photo album start to disappear. Then a home video she has of him is found blank. As she starts to question what is happening to those nearest to her like her therapist and husband, they tell her that her son never existed. She never had a son. She is told she made him up in her mind, yet she still has vivid memories of the time she spent with him. Slowly, even her husband doesn't recognize her when she stops him on the street. He tells her he doesn't know her and looks at her like she's crazy. Determined to find out the truth she visits another grieving parent who also lost his daughter on the same plane crash as her son. At first he is reluctant to believe her, but then she shows him his daughter's chalk drawings in her old room that have been covered up by wallpaper and he suddenly remembers her. Together they search for the truth. In the end we find out the whole thing is an experiment. Someone from the government wanted to find out just how strong a mother's love is. So they took all those children that supposedly died in that plane crash and made the parents believe that they never existed. Only this one woman they could not make her forget her son. So their experiment was a failure. Nothing is this world is as strong as a mother's love. In the end, all the parents got their kids back and it was a happy ending.

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The reason why this movie makes so much sense is because it is exactly like the Mandela Effect, only on a much smaller scale. Instead of the whole world believing something happened a certain way, it's just one person believing their life was one way, but then they wake up and suddenly they are told it never happened, it was all in their head. Imagine if that happened to you. You wake up one day and your whole world is different from what you remember. You remember having kids, but are told they never existed. You remember having a certain job, but no it never happened. How crazy would that be?

The Mandela Effect is interesting and even fun to explore, but what's the deeper meaning behind it? Is it all just fun and games or is it the beginning of something bigger coming our way? If small, insignificant things from our childhood can be changed, can bigger things be manipulated too? Will we wake up one day and someone will say no World War II never happened? Or no John F. Kennedy? He was never president. Or that Apple iPhones never existed and you look down at your phone and realize you've had a different phone all along even though you distinctly remember that half bitten apple logo? What if it's something bigger though and slightly more important to your life? Like you remember you went on vacation to Paris and you know you have the photos to prove it. But no, someone says, Paris never existed and all your so called Paris vacation photos are missing the Eiffel Tower? Now that would be scary. So what are we to do? Pass this Mandela Effect as a fun conspiracy theory or something more? The truth is we can't really do much. But we can question and observe and look for answers on our own. So from one fellow human being to another, let me know of your findings. Happy searching!


© 2017 GreenEyes1607


Moral Man on April 06, 2019:

I have had two experiences with the Mandela effect. The first time was in the summer of 1978 when I saw the movie Destroy All Monsters on TV. I remember two scenes. 1. While Rodan holds King Ghidorah by the tail, Godzilla tailslides across the landscape and dropkicks King Ghidorah, and 2. Godzilla lifts King Ghidorah by the tail and slams him to the ground repeatedly. Years later when I saw this movie again and when I purchased a video copy these two scenes werent found. So either I imagined or hallucinated these two scenes, or they were deleted scenes or unused scenes which were shown in the summer of 1978 but werent shown again in subsequent years for some reason. Or maybe its the Mandela effect.

In the second instance while watching pro wrestling on TV in 1989, I saw a match with Demolition Ax and Smash vs Greg Valentine and Honky Tonk Man. What I remember seeing was a test of strength between Demolition Ax and Greg Valentine. Ax won the test of strength easily. Years later when I see this match, it was really a test of strength between Demolition Smash and Greg Valenine where Smash easily won the test of strength. Why did I confuse the two wrestlers? I could tell which one is which easily. Why do we see things wrong and why do we remember them wrong? And why do we see things that didnt really happen?

GreenEyes1607 (author) from USA on June 19, 2017:

Poppy- Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I haven't heard the mandela effect about "Interview with a Vampire." What is that one all about? I have seen the movie so I am familiar with the content. You should definitely go ahead and expand on my article. I would love to see your take on this topic.

Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on June 17, 2017:

I was going to write about the Mandela Effect, decided to check if it was already on Hubpages, and came across your article.

I do believe it's a real phenomenon - for me, "Interview with a Vampire" and Pikachu's tail (used to have a black tip; now it's yellow and brown at the bottom) were the ones that convinced me.

One thing about The Forgotten. It's aliens, not a government experiment. A government experiment would have been a better plot twist - I always thought the first half of the movie was good, but disappointed near the end. You're right that the recent Mandela phenomenon is similar to the film.

Do you know about the recent one? Only a few weeks ago, someone discovered that C3PO from Star Wars now has black palms.

I would like to expand on your article, if you don't mind me writing about it as well.

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