Note: This was the original post that launched this website. I’ve updated it to include more recent events.
However, if you’re new to this website, remember that this site includes many other articles related to other alternate history events that are widely remembered. The “Major Memories” page is a good starting point.
Nelson Mandela died in prison, long before his loss on December 5th, 2013.
Many people – perhaps thousands – seem to believe that.
That’s where the title of this website, The Mandela Effect, came from.
See, I thought Nelson Mandela died in prison. I thought I remembered it clearly, complete with news clips of his funeral, the mourning in South Africa, some rioting in cities, and the heartfelt speech by his widow.
Then, I found out he was still alive.
My reaction was sensible, “Oh, I must have misunderstood something on the news.”
I didn’t think about it again for many years, until – in the VIP suite at Dragon*Con – a member of Security (“Shadowe”) casually mentioned that many people “remember” when Nelson Mandela died in prison.
That caught my attention in a hurry.
One thing led to another, and I discovered a large community of people who remember the same Mandela history that I recall.
Others have similar “false” memories. One of the most recent and prevalent is the death of Billy Graham. Though some claim that people are confusing that with Mr. Graham’s retirement, or perhaps the televised funeral of Mr. Graham’s wife, those who clearly remember the events disagree heartily. (Billy Graham died in Feb 2018, long after his funeral was discussed on this website.)
However, it’s not just deaths. People have told me about a variety of odd conflicts between their vivid memories and the world they’re currently living in.
During Dragon*Con 2010, someone insisted that he remembered a Star Trek episode that – according to one star of the show – was never filmed. The person who remembered the alternate episode wasn’t weird or wild-eyed… he was a very normal person, and only referenced the episode as part of a routine conversation.
I was there when he heard that the episode never existed. He was stunned, and quickly tried to find a logical explanation for his “faulty” memory.
Another quirky “false” memory involves the preview and pre-release of the sequel to the movie, Avatar.
These aren’t simple errors in memory; they seem to be fully-constructed incidents (or sequential events) from the past. They exceed the normal range of forgetfulness.
Even stranger, other people seem to have identical memories.
This website – and my upcoming book – explore the possibilities of parallel realities, quantum science, real-life “Sliders” experiences, and alternate history.
If you believed that Nelson Mandela died in prison – long before his passing (in this timestream) on 5 December 2013 – or you have similar memories of a “different” past, you’re not alone.