What is the Mandela Effect?

The Mandela Effect is when people clearly recall an event in history – something very specific – but historical records show that something else happened.

That’s all it is.

Just a very clear memory a person has, but it doesn’t match historical records.

It’s a phenomenon.

So far, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to why some memories are widespread… but seem false.

At this website, I offer my own explanations.

How you explain it… that’s up to you.

A brief history of the “Mandela Effect”

What is the Mandela Effect?The phrase “Mandela Effect” emerged at Dragon Con’s “green room” in 2009. That’s when multiple people said they recalled a 20th-century funeral they’d thought was Nelson Mandela’s.

Though they knew Mandela was still alive in 2009, they couldn’t explain what they’d seen on TV, years earlier.

I’m Fiona Broome. I was part of that Dragon Con green room conversation. I’m not sure which of us – Dragon Con’s security manager, Shadowe, or my husband, or even me – coined the “Mandela Effect” phrase.

Almost immediately, I started this website to see how many shared similar memories.

Also, I was looking for a reasonable explanation for the apparent confusion related to Nelson Mandela.

I wasn’t trying to prove anything. Not then. Not now.

Early discussions were flippant and whimsical, leaning in to sci-fi speculation.

Then, the topic became more serious, as more odd memories were reported.

Many were difficult to explain.

By mid-2016, this site seemed to hit critical mass. (That was an odd coincidence with the weasel/CERN glitch, though – of course – correlation does not imply causation.)

As interest in this topic surged, two problems emerged.

  • The first was the cost of hosting the site as traffic overloaded existing servers. Frequent DDoS attacks made things worse.

People had the idea I was making money from this site. Umm… no, I didn’t. TV shows and movies used the Mandela Effect name freely; it wasn’t trademarked. Ditto various gatherings and events that used the name. (I was amused by the related X-Files episode: Season 11, Episode 4, “The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat.” Though the show’s producers never contacted me about that episode, I love good parody!)

  • The other was topic manipulation by trolls and pranksters. They’d post a preposterous “memory” just to see how many people would reply, “Me, too.” And to fuel those responses, they’d return to this site and – with a new username (or two or three) – to create the appearance of lots of people remembering whatever-it-was.

(In most cases, I could see those pranksters’ IP numbers. I knew what they were doing, and deleted their comments. But really, running this site on my own… there was no way I had time for that nonsense.)

So first, to deter opportunists, I closed comments.

Then, I began moving the entire contents of this site to books, starting with the uncategorized comments. They’re at Amazon, and you can read those books FREE in Kindle Unlimited.

(The only authentic books feature me as the one – and only – author:  Fiona Broome. And I donate all book profits to charity*.)

I have no connection with other books, movies, forums, websites, and conferences using the Mandela Effect name.

Earliest Mandela Effect memories

Mandela Effect books - FREE to read
If you like to read what others remember, this 15-book series includes over 4,000 more comments by visitors.

Starting in 2010, people reported thousands of odd – but eerily consistent – memories.

The earliest included David Soul’s death (still alive in 2021) and 52 United States (in this reality, it’s 50).

Others recalled Billy Graham’s funeral prior to 2012 (he died in 2018), a memory of Berenstein Bears books (George Takei popularized that topic), and the color sequence on Pepsi products and the Chevron sign.

For more early reported memories, see the Major Memories page.

Or read the 15-book series of over 4,000 visitors’ comments that were part of this original website.

*Book profits are shared with charities including: HALO No-Kill Animal ShelterSt. Jude Children’s Research HospitalSave the Children, and Nature Conservancy.