Having ruled out simple confusion, etc., I think it’s important not to internalize news stories that could be destabilizing.
Personally, I love the idea that it might be evidence that – now and then, like tourists – we’re sliding into an alternate reality, and then return to our home reality. Maybe it happens just once. Maybe it happens routinely, with dreams as the passageway.
So, for me – and many others – the Mandela Effect is a fun concept.
At the other end of the spectrum, if your “different” memories worry you, please talk with a professional – a doctor, or a trusted member of your faith community, for example.
Most people seem to be in-between those extremes. They’re pretty sure they remember, say, Berenstein Bears. It seems kind of odd that the books aren’t called that, in this reality… but, hey, it’s okay. After all, a whole lot of other people share that same Berenstein memory.
And life goes on.
Meanwhile, I still say trust your memories. Whether their factual content is accurate or not, your memories came from somewhere.
And of course, that “somewhere” may have been mistaken. That’s not as much fun as thinking we’re reality tourists, but… for many people, mistakes are the Occam’s razor answer. (“Simpler solutions are more likely to be correct than complex ones.”)
You’ll need to decide that for yourself.
Where Some Mistakes Come From
Human errors happen.
I’m reminded of the classic (and very wrong) newspaper headline, claiming Dewey had won the 1948 U.S. presidential election. (He didn’t. Truman won.)
That wasn’t the first time a newspaper blundered. It was far from the last.
Every news agency wants to be the first with a headline, and – sometimes, in their haste – they get it wrong.
That’s not the only problem.
You’ve seen ridiculous tabloid headlines. Some are easy to dismiss, but – obviously – enough people believe them, and buy those newspapers.
And then they tell other people those stories, like they’re actual news. (My grandmother’s elderly sister believed them. She also thought all “world wrestling” competitions were legit. We didn’t spoil her fun by explaining the truth.)
Even worse, sites like Channel23News can generate some very convincing “news reports” that regularly flood social media.
I feel so very sorry for angry & upset people who take them seriously, and don’t fact-check before sharing those stories with others. (Really, learn to use sites like Snopes.com. And stay far away from The Onion.)
At the other extreme, some obituaries have been released, prematurely. You can find lists at sites like Wikipedia. (And yes, Sinbad is on that list, as well. I have no idea what makes him such a vortex of Mandela Effect stories, but it’s interesting.)
Sometimes, I’m accused of… well, all kinds of things. I’ve even seen myself described as a “conspiracy theorist.”
(Umm… no. About 90% of my professional work involves debunking false anomalies. If I say a site seems haunted, you can be pretty sure the problem isn’t just wonky carpentry, rodents in the walls, or noisy plumbing.)
I want this to be very clear: The Mandela Effect has never been about conspiracies.
In Dragon Con’s green room and at this website, our earliest Mandela Effect conversations were (mostly) among science fiction geeks like me. Many of us had science or philosophy backgrounds, and added those cues to our discussions.
Our speculations were more “what if?” than anything set in stone. We were authentic, but not always serious.
Did we accept everything at face value? Of course not. It was more an open-minded, “wow, look at this!” series of discussions, with a little speculative science in the mix.
Sadly, just a few years later, other Mandela Effect interpretations flooded the Internet. People made ridiculous claims about the Mandela Effect, and (deliberately?) misinterpreted what was said at this website.
Even now, I see this topic – and myself – portrayed like something from a TV trope. (The truth may disappoint you. See this site’s FAQs for my answers to related questions.)
So, I’m sorry to disappoint anyone, but – in my opinion – the Mandela Effect has nothing to do with conspiracies.
Start by Believing You’re Okay
Many (perhaps most) people have a few memories that don’t match what others recall.
You probably do, too.
Research your alternate memories. See if other people remember the same thing. Get to the truth, as best you can.
If you’re certain of your memory, and can’t find any other explanation for it, yes, it could be the Mandela Effect.
If that’s a fun answer for you, or one that gives you peace of mind, that’s great. Many people will agree with you, enthusiastically.
But, if it keeps you awake at night, worrying, you should probably talk with a professional – in real life – about your concerns.
In general, don’t use news headlines or social media to self-diagnose your mental health.
I think the Mandela Effect is fascinating. It raises all kinds of questions about parallel realities and perceptions.
No two people are likely to recall the exact same events in identical ways. That’s normal.
Where this becomes fun is when multiple people – with no chance of knowing one another in real life, and perhaps separated by hundreds or thousands of miles – share similar memories.
That’s why this website was started. And it’s why the Mandela Effect continues to intrigue people.
Some Mandela Effect experiences might be linked to time travel.
How would that work…?
Well, you might have gone forward in time – a day, a year, or another short leap that wouldn’t seem obviously out-of-sync with present time.
Let’s say that’s what happened to those of us who remembered Nelson Mandela dying before 2013.
Maybe, staring at the TV back in 1988 (or whenever), we “slid” forward to 2013 and saw Mandela’s funeral on TV.
A blink (perhaps literally) later, we were whisked back to 1988… and went out to the kitchen for a snack from the refrigerator.
In our minds, Mandela had died. We felt sad, but knew his health had been shaky after a hunger strike in prison.
After that, each of us got caught up in school or work or other daily activities. We didn’t think anything about the funeral… until, one day, Nelson Mandela was on the TV. And he wasn’t dead.
It seemed like a “what the ____?” moment, but we figured we must have been mistaken. (That didn’t make sense, because the memory was so clear, but… well, what other explanation could there be?)
And then, in 2009 or so, we discovered that others remembered Mandela’s earlier death. Many of them remembered the exact same details as we did, too. (Cue the “Twilight Zone” music? That’s how it felt, to me.)
And sure, you could use this same scenario for memories like the Berenstain/Berenstein Bears, Jif/Jiffy peanut butter, the number of US states, and so on.
All of them could be explained as time travel so brief, we didn’t even notice it. (Okay, some alternate history memories fit that concept better than others. I still resist the idea that the Mandela Effect has a one-size-fits-all explanation.)
Tamara told the BBC, “something out there is having an anti-gravity effect, it’s pushing rather than pulling. We don’t know what that is, but it makes up most of the Universe. We call it dark energy.”
“By understanding this mysterious energy, we could be a step closer to time travel. It’s thought that dark energy may be the key to manipulating a wormhole and taking advantage of its route to another point in time.”
I was also intrigued by a reference by Johannes Handsteiner, talking about quantum entanglement.
Einstein, who hated the notion, called this “spooky action at a distance” and defined it as two particles behaving as one no matter how far apart they are.
Those are just a few interesting tidbits from that article. As a Mandela Effect researcher – and, like you, someone fascinated by possible explanations – I recommend reading it.
If you’re a time travel enthusiast, watch this short video. (If you’re confused, don’t worry. I kept pausing it and rewinding it, saying, “Wait, what…?” LOL)
In general, I haven’t a clue what’s causing the Mandela Effect. Time travel is as good a guess as any, and it’s among my favorites. (You may have better explanations. I’m constantly impressed by the theories that readers suggest.)
The Higgypop article sparked my interest, as some of its ideas were new to me.