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Mandela Effect

Parallel worlds

There's an amazing theory going round the internet right now called "The Mandela Effect". It doesn't have much to do with Nelson Mandela apart from the name being taken from one example of it. 

This form of collective misremembering of common events or details first emerged in 2010, when countless people on the internet falsely remembered Nelson Mandela was dead. It was widely believed he had died in prison during the 1980s. In reality, Mandela was actually freed in 1990 and passed away in 2013 – despite some people’s claims they remember clips of his funeral on TV.

See, I thought Nelson Mandela died in prison. I thought I remembered it clearly, complete with news clips of his funeral, the mourning in South Africa, some rioting in cities, and the heartfelt speech by his widow.

Then, I found out he was still alive.

The instances of this which are being termed "The Mandela Effect" is characterized by a significant number of people misremembering Nelson Mandela being reported as dying in prison in the 1980's, and not in 2013 after being released.

Faulty Memory?

Forgetfulness is normal and happens to us all, as does getting some details wrong. If it were just one person's false memory involved, nothing special is thought of it. It could even be dismissed when it happens to a small number of people too, especially when the event took place years earlier.

The phenomenon where significant groups of people remember something for which there is little to no evidence available. Rather than accept their memory is faulty, these people claim the past has somehow changed for them.

Although the term went viral and is the one familiar to everyone now, there is a scientific term for it: the Mass Memory Discrepancy Effect, or MMDE. This covers the ME as well as wider instances of group false memories, such as deliberate propaganda, mass "brainwashing" via advertising etc.

Was it the Berenstein or the Berenstain Bears?

For those wondering what the heck this is all about - never mind how they are spelt - The Berenstain Bears is a set of children's books originating in the early 1960's from Stan and Jan Berenstain.

The family of bears, for most of us, were a beloved part of our childhood. You might therefore be shocked to find out that we've been spelling their name wrong the whole time.