Lindbergh Baby – Alternate History

newspaperThis topic keeps recurring in comments, so I’m creating this post for discussions of alternate memories of the Lindbergh baby’s kidnapping.

A few guidelines:

  • Please review the facts before posting here. I won’t pretend that Wikipedia is the final word on any topic, or even reliable, but it’s a good place to start. [Link] Also see the FBI’s report.
  • Read earlier, related comments so you know about erroneous media references. (“Erroneous” in this reality, that is.) Comment threads that focused (solely) on this topic have been moved to this article.
  • Remember that, at the time and considerably later (for example, Murder on the Orient Express [1974]), fictionalized versions — print, TV, and film — altered several details. Later, some were repeated as if they were facts in the case. Be sure they weren’t your original information source.
  • Please contribute fresh, useful insights to these conversations: when, where, and a context that helps us understand why you’re sure yours is an alternate memory. (Simple “me, too” and “wow, I never knew…” comments will not be approved.)
  • If you recall a related TV show, film, book, article, or documentary that shared an alternate history (as fact/conspiracy), please link to it if you can.
  • Spell the name correctly. Otherwise, we’ll have good reason to doubt whether your fact-checking efforts were for the right person. (However, in earlier comments about the Lindbergh kidnapping, it was noted that most who recall the baby being found spell the name Lindbergh or Lindberg. Many with alternate memories, where the baby was never found, spell it Lindburg or Lindburgh.)

I believe — or at least want to believe — that the child was found and safely restored to his family, in at least one other reality.

However, the case was so sensational and has been fictionalized (with some credibility) in so many ways, this particular memory is more problematic than most. It’s not quite as difficult to untangle as the belief that Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” broadcast was real — and even the question about whether the panic ever happened — but it’s in the same ballpark.

36 thoughts on “Lindbergh Baby – Alternate History”

  1. Scrolled all the way to the bottom to be able to comment this memory/realization of difference that came to me.

    The Lindburgh Baby was never found, it was an unsolved mystery. Additionally, it was spelled “Lindburgh” with a “u”, not “Lindbergh” with an “e”. The baby was their only child together. The mother, consumed in her grief, became an alcoholic and later committed suicide, leading to speculation that she was responsible for the baby’s death and invented the “kidnapping” as a cover, but her guilt consumed her and she punished herself.

    Does anyone else remember this???

    1. I remember the Lindberg baby was never found. It was a huge mystery. I don’t remember the mom being an alcoholic and committing suicide part. But I remember reading about her being very depressed and never was the same after that. No one was ever arrested or convicted.

    2. I remember it exactly that way from every story I’ve seen about it and pop culture reference made to it. And an episode of the Simpsons where Grandpa Abe Simpson, in a moment of rambling says, “I was the Lindburgh baby!” referencing the child was never found. Also, Lindburgh was the only spelling I was aware of until reading your statement.

      1. I also remember this baby having never been found! And the disappearance being a famous unsolved mystery. And I remember the variation on the name. I’m quite shocked to find out the baby was found murdered and the killer was electrocuted for the crime!

        1. I seem to remember having learned the baby was never found but a man was convicted and electrocuted for kidnapping and murder. I really want to say I was a teenager, late 90’s. I was really into unsolved mysteries and I thought it was bizarre that the guy killed the baby but no one ever found the body

          1. I see that its mentioned that you remember that a man was sentanced to the chair without finding the baby but that doesnt make much sence cause the law is no body no crime.but i remember a refrence to it in the simpsons as well as a family guy episode where the mother dropped the baby in the toilet as it was flushed and in a panic she said that they can cover it up as a kidnapping.also implying that the baby was never found.

    3. I don’t know about the last bit of this comment because I can’t recall anything about the mother, but I was very certain until this moment that it was Lindburgh and the baby was never found.

    4. I’m a skeptic and attribute it to false memory, but it’s still pretty freaky regardless of the explanation…

      I remember one day it seemed numbers changed direction when I was about 4 or 5. I recall looking at my VCR and noticing the numbers were backward.

      I’ve always spelled it delemna.

      I remember the Lindbergh baby was never found. Somehow I remember it being Lindenburg with an “en” and a “u”.

      A beautiful day in THE neighborhood
      Berenstein Bears.
      Jiffy not Jif.

      It’s happened to me quite a few times in my life, a false memory causing embarrassment. I’ll be on the look out for the next crazy change.

      What this site really needs is a way to corroborate stories blindly.

      1. Are you confusing hindenburg with lindberg,both were contemporary aviation sensations in US.

    5. Regarding the Lindberg baby kidnapping: while I am sure at least some of you are skeptical enough to have looked into possible reasons for believing they had never found the body (since in this timeline, they found A body, and tried the kidnappers in Flemington, NJ, and found them guilty) maybe some of you haven’t, and I can easily see thinking he hadn’t been found IF you’d read certain accounts long after the fact.

      Some accounts point out that the baby boy’s body, which was found in the woods later, was three inches longer than the Lindberg baby’s known length. It IS possible for a toddler to grow an inch or so overnight, bizarre as that sounds, BUT many people believe the body was not the Lindberg baby, but another child whose identity was never discovered. So there is some this-timeline support for the idea that the Lindberg baby was never found.

      Incidentally, I have a vague memory that Lindberg was spelled Lindbergh when I was in elementary school. Or is it spelled that way now, and Lindberg is wrong? I daren’t open a new tab on this browser because it’s been acting weird.

      1. I always knew about this story as the baby was kidnapped and was never found. I remember the Simpsons episode, but it’s not the only place I heard about it because if it was, I wouldn’t have gotten the joke. As it is, with the baby being found, I don’t think it makes much sense as a joke, as someone was killed for killing the baby because they found a body and convicted him.

        That said, I don’t see how I would have learned that the baby was kidnapped and never found, if it was found 83 years ago. First, this can’t be a case of someone hearing the story on the news, and then having new details coming in a couple of years later, that they missed the first time. Then, IMHO, no one would relate the story of a baby being never found (when it was found before most of us discussing it heard of the story).

        Whenever you relate a story to someone such as this, you never forget the payoff, and in this case, the payoff is that the baby was found, whether or not it was the real child would just be extra juicy details to discuss. Logically, no one would tell this story without the payoff, and no one hearing it would remember only half of the story and forget the rest. Add on to that, many people all over remember the exact same thing, that the baby was never found, and this becomes to hardest Mandela Effect for me to argue away.

        I also remember it as Lindburgh, but that is much easier to explain away.

  2. I was shocked to find out from this website that the Lindbergh Baby had been found dead. Up until now I’d known that the baby was never found, and had seen multiple media references alluding to the mystery of it.
    Tonight I was watching the TV-show The Good Wife, Season 1, Episode 11 (on Netflix), and one of the characters, Kalinda, says: “The Lindberg Baby is an ongoing investigation.”

    This episode originally aired January 5th, 2010.
    This suggests a timeline for when the “change” was made to this reality, or for when some of us “switched” to this one from one where the baby was never found.

  3. So, I just listened to What Lurks on Channel X’s podcast about the Mandela Effect, and one of the many major ME’s they discussed was the Lindbergh baby. Now, until I discovered this website, I had always believed that the Lindbergh baby had never been found. However, this was never a particular topic of interest to me, and was far from my most affective ME on the major memories list. I could easily have attributed this one to being a false memory since I didn’t know a whole lot about it. But this podcast brought up some really interesting points. They talk about how it doesn’t make sense that people would joke “I am the Lindbergh baby” if the baby was found dead and the convicted killer had already been executed. I thought this point was interesting, so I did a Google search for “I am the Lindbergh baby”. The first two results that showed up were related to a man claiming to be Charles Lindbergh, Jr. The first is an article from the Contra Costa times, published in 2010. This article makes no mention that the baby was supposedly murdered, although it does not state otherwise. I found this a bit suspicious, but the second result was the one that is truly bizarre. It is a 2012 article from that recaps an episode of a show on Coast to Coast AM in which the man who claims to be Charles Lindbergh, Jr. was interviewed. Yes, I know it is Coast to Coast AM, but reading the article, it truly seems that the author had no idea that the Lindbergh baby was ever found dead. The case is referred to as “one of the most famous unresolved mysteries the world has ever known.” It gets even weirder when the articles states that “conspiracy theories suggest that everyone from Bruno Hauptmann to J. Edgar Hoover and yes, even a butler, was involved in the disappearance of Charlies and Anne Lindbergh’s first-born son.” First of all, this sentence suggests that the idea of Hauptmann being responsible is a conspiracy theory… In this reality, Hauptmann was convicted and put to death for killing Lindbergh Jr., so it would not be a conspiracy theory to think that it was Hauptmann’s doing. Secondly, it is strange that the situation is referred to as a “disappearance” and there is no mention of a murder. This further suggests that it was an unresolved kidnapping case, because the murder most likely would have been mentioned if it had happened. There is a YouTube clip of the interview embedded in the website, but of course, the video no longer exists. Interesting.

    Here is the link to the article:

    If anyone else has any more evidence of this ME, feel free to share! I have a feeling there may be more out there…..

    1. Hey Nick,
      If you are keeping count, I also do not remember the Lindbergh baby ever being found. I, also remember stories of people claiming to be the Lindbergh baby years later. Once i ran across this particular ME, I took inventory of my memories in order to look for evidence of this change. I have a memory that I haven’t been able to track down yet. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a Looney Tunes (Toons?) episode where they go into the future and a headline on a newspaper says “Lindbergh Baby FOUND!” with a photograph under it of an old man in a baby carriage, wearing a baby bonnet and sucking a pacifier.
      I don’t think I’m crazy, but I haven’t tracked down this episode either, so I guess I could be?!

  4. I think I may have found some new evidence! While watching a rerun of Raising Hope, I heard something that IMMEDIATELY caught my attention. It was Season 1 – Episode 13: A Germ of a Story.

    The mother tells somebody that she is concerned about opening a certain closet because “they never found the Lindbergh baby, so who knows what could be down there,” or something like that. Now, in this reality, the Lindbergh baby WAS found which is a hot topic on this site. If it’s true that the baby was found, then why would this show make a joke about the baby having not been found? It just doesn’t correlate.

  5. For me, the baby was found. What I do remember was many, many documentaries on Bruno’s innocence.

    [Fiona’s note: I edited this comment to remove references to sensational rumors and possible news headliens about the family that — without links — could be considered libel. Since I don’t recall much about the story, I hadn’t anticipated rather graphic references to the tragedy and vicious rumors about the family that suffered such a terrible loss. In future comments, let’s focus on the specific memory: whether the baby was ever found, or not.]

  6. I have the same memory that the baby was never found, I even vividly recall watching a documentary about that in the 1990s.

    It was actually the thing that blew this wide open for me after the Berenstein bears thing, as unsolved mysteries is a big hobby of mine. Finding out history now recalls the child was found was very mind blowing.

  7. [Edited.] The prophecies of Lindbergh and his intrigues with Churchill,Roosevelt,Hitler and scientist Alexis Carrel,makes him a top candidate for ME conundrum.Lennon striving to replace ‘winston’ with ‘ono’,writing ‘I am the walrus’ during 2 acid trips and 1 yoko trip and later telling the world he didn’t know walrus was a villain,the walrus that he had been reading about since he was 11 !.It’s about time that ME starts a discussion on Churchill.Dawn notwithstanding.

    1. Vivek, I deleted your first sentence. Spelling issues like that are generally rooted in ships’ passenger lists. How each name was spelled on the passenger list was usually how it was entered into American immigration records, and the family was expected to use that spelling, thereafter.

  8. I remember Lindburgh, but Lindbergh doesn’t feel as deeply wrong to me as Berenstein and I’m willing to chalk it up to faulty memory on my part . However, I do remember pop culture references to the baby being a famous unsolved mystery–I know Family Guy did a gag where the baby accidentally got flushed down a toilet.

    And then Amelia Earhart is there, further connecting the gag to the idea of unsolved mysteries. (Which, they did find remains likely to be hers, but that isn’t widely known:

    I suppose there could be some conflation of events–a body that might not have been the baby being found could give some people the impression of the baby not being found at all, but I definitely concur that I always had the impression that it was completely unsolved and no body was ever found.

  9. I remember doing a lengthy report on Charles Lindbergh’s life, effectively a biography I had to write on him as part of an assignment in high school. Charles has been a hero of mine, and I felt I was quite knowledgeable about him. I too remember the baby never being found and there being issue about Charles and his wife being questioned and implicated, and that it even lead to them deciding to leave the country on constant flying trips, they even disappeared themselves for a while only to be found dead on some island in the pacific after having retired there.

  10. I distinctly remember watching an episode of American Dad in which a strange man asked “Excuse me, gentlemen, if I just found out I’m the Lindberg baby, whom do I tell?” Later I looked up the Lindbergh baby on wikipedia to see what it was and I remember learning that it was never found but now when I look it up apparently it was? I searched for the episode and to my relief, the script was still in tact with the same line and everything. Here is the link to the script of the American Dad episode with the Lindbergh baby reference in it (if it hasnt disapeared yet that is.)

  11. I don’t recall details of this story other than that the name was “Lindburg,” the baby never was found, and no suspects were ever arrested. It was one of the most famous mysterious disappearances in modern times. I can’t imagine the grief the family must have endured. :o(

    1. Good info, Vivienne, thanks! This continues to stack the memories — Lindbergh v. Lindburgh, and variations — into alternate memories with markers (E v. U).

  12. I have two different and completely distinct memories of this, both of which contradict what appears to be the actual history.

    In one set of memories, no body is ever found, the ransom money was paid, and the investigation slowly stretches on with various accusations and lack of progress with public sentiment eventually turning against the Lindberghs based on the growing assumption that it was all a coverup for the child’s accidental death. Although no real evidence is ever found of this, it took on a half believed conspiracy theory status and was mentioned (I would SWEAR) on at least one History channel sort of “history’s mysteries crime special” show.

    In the other set of memories, no body is ever found, but there is blood evidence at the scene and in a nearby abandoned building (a barn, I think?) leading investigators to believe the child may have died. The ransom is paid, and shortly afterward a German immigrant is arrested for the kidnapping and presumed murder. This much, at least, is similar to what appears to be the real history (minus the detail – which is very solid in my mind – that no body was found). The man has none of the ransom money and no apparent connection to it (unlike the actual history) and his trial is quick and tainted with anti-German sentiment. The man commits suicide in prison before his sentence can be carried out, and leaves no note behind. There are, again, conspiracy theories about the Lindberghs being involved or the “real killer/kidnapper” still being at large. Occasionally the ransom money would make appearances, but never in a definitive way, and I also remember jokes in TV shows (although which ones specifically I can’t remember) referencing someone being the “long lost Lindbergh baby” in the same way that occasionally the reappearance or discovery of Anastasia, daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, would be used as a plot point in various shows.

    …how I can have two totally different yet apparently very real and convincing sets of memories about something like that, neither of which agrees with what is apparently reality, I don’t really know. But it is disturbing.

    1. Stephen, I think the dual memory phenomenon is — perhaps in an odd way — a kind of confirmation of multiple realities. This might be hard for someone to grok if he or she hadn’t experienced it, but the vivid (and equal) nature of dual memories makes each just as likely. I’m not certain that’s the case when someone is experiencing simple confusion, where the edges of memories are a little blurry. (I hope I’m explaining this clearly enough.)

      If you haven’t read it yet, take a look at the Curious George article where I talk (briefly) about dual memories. The Curious George memory was probably the first one where a significant number of people remember something — George both with a tail and without — and neither memory seems dominant.

  13. I distinctly remember learning about this in high school. I learned that the name was spelled Lindburgh, the baby was never found, and that they convicted a guy for the kidnapping. The guy that was convicted was more than likely guilty, but not beyond a reasonable doubt; he was kind of a fall guy to put the public at ease.
    And the only pop culture type of reference I can think of off the top of my head is Grampa Simpson saying, “I’m the Lindburgh baby!” I always thought that was a great line.

    Curiously, I’ve asked several people, since learning of the discrepancy, if the Lindburgh baby was ever found. Every time they are quite certain and say no. Then I ask ‘are you sure?’ And each time the person gets a strange look and says ‘oh wait, I think they did,’ and then continues with what the books say now. It’s as if they disregard their first thought for something else that they’re “supposed ” to remember. (I gotten that reaction to a lot of ME related questions)

  14. My memories are:
    The baby was never found and that is exactly why there was such outrage that Hauptmann was convicted on “circumstantial evidence”…..
    Also, I did a report on this topic in high school in 1985…..there were not that many ransom notes and nowhere near the amount of ransom money now reported found.

  15. I remember watching a documentary on the Lindberg kidnapping. The baby was a chubby boy with blond curls. The kidnapper had left a handmade ladder against the second story nursery window. A man whose name I don’t recall was convicted of the kidnapping because a piece of wood from his garage matched up to a piece of wood from the ladder. A child’s body was found but determined not to be the Lindberg baby.

  16. Just a few weeks ago I read a list of unexplained disappearances. This was one of them and the baby was never found. I remember hearing about this case before as well. Freaky.

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