Curious George and Dual Memories

curious george - tail or no tail
photo courtesy of J. Aaron Farr

In real life, almost everyone I’ve surveyed remembers Curious George with a tail.

Most usually know he was a chimp (though some books said he’s a “little monkey”), so he shouldn’t have had a tail… but they have specific memories of him with a tail.

That’s an interesting alternate memory. I did a fairly thorough search of Google Images, and found nothing showing Curious George with a tail. (If I overlooked an actual Curious George image with a tail, let me know.)

But, that’s not the only interesting (I almost said “curious”) thing about this particular memory.

It’s also the first where I’ve seen people pause and say, “Wait. I remember him with a tail, but I can also see him without one. How can that be…?”

In the past, I’ve referred to those as “dual memories.

People have reported many dual memories at this site. That’s when two conflicting memories — nearly identical in most (but not all) respects — seem to be competing with each other.

Sometimes, both memories seem equally “real.” More often, people report the other memory as something vague, distant, or less real. However, they’re adamant that they have both memories, and can’t explain why.

So, I’m interested in your memories of Curious George. I’m also interested in how widespread the dual memory phenomenon might be.

In my real-life surveys, the Curious George question created a dramatic spike in bewildered responses involving dual memories.

And, in one case, pausing to reflect on the Great Pumpkin issue, the person realized he had dual memories for that Halloween special, as well: One in which Linus fell asleep and missed the Great Pumpkin, and one in which Linus was alone when he saw the Great Pumpkin.

36 thoughts on “Curious George and Dual Memories”

  1. I went shopping today and noticed multiple trails in the sky while I was in the parking lot.

    Shortly after I arrived home, I learned that Curious George no longer has a tail. He doesn’t even look like a monkey anymore (according to the strict biological definition, he literally can’t be a monkey because all monkeys have tails).

    The new Mandela Effects barely phase me anymore. It’s the trails surrounding them that disturb me now.

  2. I want to first off say I was on another site , I only read stuff there , and not much at that. BUT , someone posted there about curious George having no tail. So everyone, how do you remember him??? I swear he had a tail, and for the very reasons many posters stated, he was always stealing the man in the yellow hats, hat with it. The only reason I know anything about it, is because my nieces and nephews would beg me to read the books to them when they were little. Like I said, I didn’t notice this someone else did, but I swear he had a tail. Mike H.

    1. Mike H., that’s another one I had to look up. I was so sure Curious George had a tail. In my mind’s eye, I can clearly see him hanging from a branch, suspended by his tail. I think this will become an article immediately. Really, that’s just too strange. I understand that chimps don’t have tails, but… I’m utterly baffled. He had a tail. I’m sure of it.

      1. Fiona,
        I remember his tail also, and so do a lot of people I think. And again, something from our childhood. This one is really strang, and like you I understand the whole chimp aspect. But he HAD a tail. Mike H.

    2. I recall him having a tail, also. He’s a monkey, so of course he had a tail. Is he supposed to be a chimp now?

    3. In the movie(?) where the man and George first meet, I remember him having a tail and snatching the hat away and hanging around with his tail, but in all the episodes(2003 series) that I remember seeing I’m sure he has never had a tail.

      i am positive ,though, that when George and the Man in The Yellow Hat meet, George has a tail.

      To the people that remember a tail, what cartoon are you watching the old 1980 one or the more recent 2003 one, or are you remembering the book?

    4. …That is so weird. Reading about this, I thought, “well, of course Curious George doesn’t have a tail, he never did”… but then after reading your comment, I distinctly remember Curious George stealing the man’s hat with his tail. What??

  3. I don’t think curious George is meant to be a chimp. Remember the “curious little monkey” tag line that is in the books and the song from the TV show?
    In my minds eye, I can picture a red book cover, where curious George is hanging from his tail from one of the letters in the book title. I think it was the O in George. He had something in his hands, maybe the yellow hat? Anyway, I remember the tail. I also have a very vague recent memory of watching the show and wondering why he didn’t have a tail. That one is vague though, and I’m not sure if it’s real.

  4. My son was a big fan of Curious George when he was younger. He watched the animated series on PBS everyday from the ages of 3-5. I have to say that I never remember seeing him with a tail on the animated series. However, I do agree with Fiona’s premise about this being a dual memory for some people, as I can also visualize George with a tail, although that memory is not nearly as strong as the visual memory of him without tail.

    I think cases of ME such as this prove that there are infinite parallel universes or timelines, and some of us have visited the same ones and some of us haven’t. There should also be an infinite number of possibilities on the number of universes or timelines that we’ve experienced and shared with other people.

  5. This is the first really clear dual memory for me because I remember George both with and without a tail. I read Curious George books when I was a kid and I recall him swinging from trees and swiping the man’s yellow hat with his tail. I even recall a story in which he borrows a bicycle and uses his tail to balance himself! But years later when my kids read George and watched the shows and movies George was tailess and I thought he’d been corrected to be more accurate since George is apparently a chimp . I was shocked to discover he’s never had a tail at all. He’s even tailess in the cold, original versions of the books.

  6. I have 5 kids. When my older kids were small George had a tail… when my younger one were small he no longer had it… my youngest was born late 2008. I just thought they “updated” poor George.

  7. I can only picture curious George without a tail. And I was a big fan of the books when I was a kid. I have never watched any of the more recent cartoons though.

    I am not usually one to dismiss people’s memories as “false” as I know that is a very sensitive issue on here but I think for at least *some* people this may be one of those odd cognitive things where your brain thinks “picture a monkey” so you picture him with a tail. This is not the same as specific memories of say, picturing him stealing the man’s yellow hat with his tail but I do think this phenomenon could explain a few of the dual memories. I am not a cognitive psychologist so I do not recall the specific term for this phenomenon but I know that it does happen.

  8. I don’t have a clear memory to say I’m sure that he had a tail but I vaguely remember it. I wanted to comment on the dual memories issue bc that’s been happening to me a lot lately. I pay attention to my first reaction to any subject regarding ME bc within a few days or weeks, I still feel my reaction was correct but then I have a dual memory pop in my head.

    Perfect example, reading about Forest Gump saying life was. I was positive that was wrong. I remember being a teenager when the movie came out and all the boys at school pretending to be Forest and saying life IS. Then a few days later, I have a memory of both. It is unnerving to say the least.

  9. I remember both a tailed and tailless Curious George. I recall Linus missing the Great Pumpkin, and a version where he was seeing it alone, but they don’t show the GP and it’s ambiguous what happened. My birthdate is 1970-09-16

  10. I very much remember him having a tail!

    Back in the day with the gameboy games, I can clearly recall him swinging on the vines and even in the start screen with the long tail!
    Another memory I have is my grandma’s stamps. She has tons of stamps she’s collected of curious George, and she swears he had a tail.

  11. Weird! I had seen the original comment on the Major Memories thread prior to reading about the dual memory aspect and in my mind, I could clearly picture him both with and without a tail. Seeing him without one feels so wrong.

  12. Ok, I saw this post yesterday and didn’t think anything of it because I have a mini curious George toy and I remembered it having a small nub and I was like “oh yeah he doesn’t really have a tail” but I just now had a random memory of the toy having a small crescent shaped tail so I looked up pictures to check and I realized there was nothing at all, which goes against both memories. I could just be remembering a tag that just happened to be where a tail would be though.

  13. Yeah, he definitely had a tall. It seems like this diet of thing is happening more and more lately.

  14. He had a tail. I even had a stuffed Curious George doll from my childhood that had a tail. Sadly, I lost it in Hurricane Katrina. Definitely had a tail.

    I have been studying parallel realities and so this is exciting for me, because we are finally waking up enough to have memories of both options chosen. Life is more fun for me when I can open my mind to other explanations than what society tells me must be so. There are too many examples of this type of thing happening recently to explain it all off as faulty memory; yet healthy skepticism is prudent. There will always be those who don’t want to change their belief systems, and that’s fine by me. They choose their own reality, after all. 🙂

  15. What! No, Curious George TOTALLY had a tail! I remember it drawn up in an “S” shape. He looks weird without one! I took a break from this site but coming back on all these new findings are really tripping me up! Keep them coming!

  16. This one is interesting to me, because it is more like a shadow memory. I don’t have actual memories of George with a tail. It was a vague sense that something was off, but not knowing what until someone brings it up.

    I have many of the books with the old illustrations, and read them to my kids. Everything looks the same, at least, the same since having kids. But there is one picture in the original book, the one where he jumps off the ship into the ocean, that I would just stare at every time I read it, because something felt off. I really want him to have a tail in that picture.

    And in general, in every illustration, his body just looks too wide. Just not monkey shaped. He is supposed to be a monkey, not a chimp. “He was a good little monkey, and always very curious.”

  17. I am a 21 year old male Growing up i watched a lot of the Curious George PBS show. In the show i clearly remember him in multiple episodes hanging by his tail, picking up toys by his tail, and stealing the man with the yellow hats hat with it. One specific episode i remember is George making a cake while the man with the yellow hat is out. He’s home alone in the apartment and is clearly using his tail to hold all the ingredients at one point everything fall sand he jumps up and hangs on the curtain with his tail. However, I do have memories of him without a tail and simply wearing a red cap. He walks next to the man with the yellow hat and uses his feet instead. Most plush toys i’ve come across don’t have a tail either. I have clear memories of each .

  18. I’m 25 and I remember Curious George with a tail. Someone mentioned above they remember him hanging from an O on a cover-I remember this as well, but maybe it was a C? This image was on a book I had as a kid and I think it was an alphabet book… I just tried looking for an image of it on google, but could not find it. Anyone else with this book? I noticed the change in 2012 when I was a nanny to some kids and they loved the “new” George without the tail. I didn’t think all that much of it at the time-I just remembered being confused and wondering why he didn’t have a tail anymore.

  19. I remember curious George from the 60’s and he had a tail. It was Berenstein bears in the early 80’s. Mirror, mirror- saw snow white in the 60’s. Remember clearly many thngs that have changed. One theory is that Berenstein changed in 2001. I really want to know what is going on and if the cern is involved.

  20. I distinctly remember from one of my favorite childhood books of curious george that he had a tail. he used it to fish after losing his makeshift fishing pole. but now that i think about it, i distinctly remember him not having a tail in cartoons. Can’t say for sure that my memories are accurate though, i no longer have the book.

  21. I have had dual memories before in my personal life, and have mentioned this to some close friends. George I remember having a tail, I recall both him hanging from a branch and also him taking the Yellow Man’s hat with it. Perhaps we’ve seen something non-licensed or maybe a cartoon/book that had purchased licensing but messed that part up? I look at the pictures on google now and they ‘look right’ though.

    Maybe a side-note, maybe relevant: scientists have created/caused macro-level (larger than atomic size) quantum entanglement.

    Keep in mind there is speculation quantum entanglement has reach through space-time to our understanding of the past as well. What would happen when something occurs one way, then a quantum entanglement related change occurs. Possible explanation for a dual memory?

  22. Curious George was my favorite book to read when I was younger. I specifically remember him having a tail, and I know this because I saw him hanging from a tree branch above a guy in a yellow hat.

  23. I watched the cartoon back in the 1980s and read some of the books to my nephew in the 1990s. I always remember him drawn with a tail, him hanging from things with a tail, and most importantly in one book him getting out of a locked room because he could reach under the door with his tail to get the key. No dual memories here. I still picture him with a tail, and tailless images look wrong.

  24. I remember curious George with a tail in books as a child yet I do not remember what he looked like in the old cartoon. I can picture him with both from that.
    The remake of the television show has him without a tail but it never struck me as odd so I just kind of accepted it.

  25. When I read this post I clearly remember him having a tail. The thing that really makes me scratch my head is when I Googled his picture, he looks very different than what I had so strongly visioned in my mind. Similar, but still very different from what I remember him looking like. Really can’t get over this one

  26. Found this interesting tidbit from December, 2006. It’s from NPR and currently up on their website.
    Link here:

    The article/story is titled Curious George’s Trip to Hell and described as the following: Somewhere between the Wizard of Oz and Dante’s Inferno is “Curious George Goes to Hell” by storyteller Kevin Kling; it’s the adventures of Curious George in the Way Down Under.

    My point is this…. in the story he writes the following line: But as the group pulled forward, George’s tail became larger than a tree.

    Hmmmm….. thought he didn’t have a tail.

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