In 2009, Fiona Broome launched this Mandela Effect website to document memories that didn’t match our current reality and its history. Today, this website is an archive of those discussions and theories.
The first reported memories included Nelson Mandela’s funeral in the late 20th century. Many people remembered nearly identical details of that funeral coverage on American, Canadian, and British TV. None of us could explain that coincidence.
Then, new site visitors mentioned other odd memories that were incongruous with reported, accepted history. The first were about David Soul’s death (still alive in 2019), 52 United States (in this reality, it’s 50), and Ernest Borgnine (died 2012).
Later, topics like Billy Graham’s funeral, the Berenstein/Berenstain Bears, and the color sequence on Pepsi products and the Chevron sign went viral.
As it turned out, that was the virtual tip of the iceberg.
Since then, the Mandela Effect community has grown to hundreds of thousands of people, connected by extraordinary, similar memories.
Here’s Fiona’s explanation: The “Mandela Effect” is what happens when someone has a clear memory of something that never happened in this reality.
Many of us – mostly total strangers – remember the exact same events with the almost identical details. However, our memories are different from what’s in history books, newspaper archives, and so on.
This isn’t a conspiracy, and we’re not talking about “false memories.”
Some of us speculate that parallel realities exist, and – until now – we’ve been “sliding” between them without realizing it.
Others offer different opinions. There is no “one size fits all” answer.
This website is about real, alternate history and possible explanations for this phenomenon.
That video is one of several Mandela Effect videos at YouTube: https://youtu.be/tM6MWHQxSN8
Fiona Broome (that’s me) began this website in 2009, after a related conversation in Dragon Con’s green room.
Our original conversations were in that grey area between speculation and sci-fi. It was fun. We were talking in “what if…?” terms.
Then, new comments cast the Mandela Effect in a slightly different light. The subject became more serious.
From there, the topic has taken on a life of its own. You’ll find it discussed at Reddit, YouTube, on TV and radio shows, and across the Internet.
2009: Encouraged by one of my book editors, I started this website. A few people commented. Others emailed me with their insights. Most of the conversations were light, and related to sci-fi concepts and unusual memories.
2010 – 2014: People began reporting memories other than Nelson Mandela’s death in the 20th century. Visitors shared anecdotes and informal theories. Generally, we didn’t take ourselves too seriously.
2015: This topic abruptly reached critical mass. The Berenstein/Berenstain subject went viral, followed by other widespread alternate memories.
Visitors were astonished to learn about others’ memories with remarkably similar details and points of reference by multiple, unconnected people.
However, a few trolls and spammers joined the discussions. I usually deleted their comments. (Sometimes I replied, making it clear I was not amused by their efforts.) I’m sure some “fake” comments are still on this site. That was inevitable, once the topic began to trend.
2016: By mid-2016, moderating comments required six or more hours per day. I didn’t have that kind of free time. (I still don’t.) So, I closed this site to new comments, except for immediate replies to the very newest articles.
Since then, Mandela Effect discussions have been in the wild.
2018: The hyperbole around this topic was frustrating. As 2019 approached, I realized it was time to step back from this website and focus on less polarizing projects.
2019: This site is now an archives to show how our conversations started.
I believe there are a wealth of unanswered questions about the Mandela Effect. But – seeing social media misrepresent related topics – I’m unable to use recent reports as credible data points. So, I’ve paused my Mandela Effect research. (An added bonus: in the future, science may find more fact-based studies to explain why so many of us remember identical things… which, apparently, never happened in this reality.)
Around September 2019, this topic and website were featured in Readers Digest and Good Housekeeping magazine. Then, this site – which had been crashing, off & on, since 2015 – reached maximum hosting limits, daily… sometimes thousands of times per day.
That’s when I had to choose between modifying the site (and making this information available through other channels), or taking it offline. Read Why This Site Is Changing for more details.
Details of where this started
Many years ago, I was one of the people who coined the phrase “Mandela Effect” during a fun, slighly frivolous conversation in Dragon Con‘s “green room.”
(“Shadowe,” a Dragon Con security manager, was also part of the conversation. I have no idea which of us started using the phrase, first. And, it’s possible that my husband came up with the phrase.)
As an aside, Shadowe mentioned that — like me — other people remembered Nelson Mandela’s tragic death in a South African prison, years earlier. (In this reality, Mandela died in 2013.)
Suddenly, several others in the green room joined the conversation. It was a fascinating discussion that spun into weird and hilarious tangents.
After I returned home, one of my book editors encouraged me to start a website about the Mandela Effect, to measure public interest in it.
Within a couple of years, this topic had turned into something much bigger. I’m still astonished by that.
Here’s my brief bio…
Fiona Broome is intrigued by unexplained phenomena in everyday life. She uses books, videos, podcasts, and websites to share ways you can encounter “the unknown” on your own, and with others who share your enthusiasm.
Fiona has been researching – and writing about – paranormal phenomena since the early 1980s. In the 1990s, her ghost-related website, HollowHill.com, was one of the first online resources for new and experienced ghost hunters.
Ms. Broome has written over 1,000 articles for magazines and websites. Discussing paranormal topics, she’s been a guest on many radio and TV shows, including – in 2018 – George Noory’s Coast to Coast AM.
Fiona has been a speaker at international events including Dragon Con, the New England Ghost Conference, GhoStock, Central Texas Paranormal Conference, and Canada’s annual G.H.O.S.T.S. conferences.
Today, Fiona focuses on historical and paranormal research, especially in the eastern USA, the UK, and Ireland. She continues to write books, create videos and articles for her websites, and work as a consultant for paranormal TV shows.
And no, she still isn’t sure why – like so many other people – she clearly recalls Nelson Mandela’s funeral on the TV, back in the late 20th century. But she’s pleased that this website started conversations about the intersection of science fiction and modern experience.