That study may be valid. And yes, we do need a better understanding of memories.
However, I’m uneasy with the social cue that headline conveys.
For some, it’s compounding the “you can’t trust your memories” messages I’ve been seeing in recent years.
Psychologically speaking, internalizing that message can be tremendously destabilizing.
I hope people don’t take that study as the final word in this field. After all, doctors and scientists have gone back & forth about memories – including young children’s memories – for decades.
And of course, the Mandela Effect is a sub-sub-category of memories, in general. They’re anomalies we don’t fully understand… yet.
Too often, I’ve read comments and emails that asked, “Am I losing my mind?” or “Am I going crazy?”
Some people discover an anomalous memory. Then, they awfulize. They wonder, “Okay, what else am I wrong about…?”
That’s not something anyone can evaluate, online. (I’m not a mental health expert, and never intended the Mandela Effect topic to sway in that direction.)
Remember: that memory study doesn’t mean all – or any – of your memories are dangerously flawed.
In fact, thinking “it’s all in your head” may be the worst first step if you have a “different” memory.
In this video, I offer my suggestions.
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.
Also, I’m pretty sure most of us were (and still are) fascinated by weird things. Some of this site’s earliest visitors grew up with old copies of Fortean Times, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, and the Weird USA book series.
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.
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.