That X-Files Episode story headline story headline

A recent episode of the X-Files (reboot) uses the Mandela Effect as a story element.

I’m astonished. (That’s an understatement.) I never expected the Mandela Effect to attract so much attention.

Really, this still seems kind of surreal.

I haven’t seen the X-Files episode yet, but – from descriptions, such as the one at Hollywood Life – it sounds like a great parody.

(Should I be offended by their portrayal? It sounds zany, not insulting, and really, it’s just fiction and on TV, as well. I may change my opinion after I see the episode, but – for now – I’m chuckling.)

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I watched the show (Season 11, Episode 4, “The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat”). I’m still chuckling. Yes, they were a little heavy handed with the political references. That was a surprise, since the show was broadcast on Fox. But, I’m aware that Fox and Fox News are independently managed.

But, putting politics firmly to one side (let’s not go there in comments), I was thoroughly pleased with the representation of the Mandela Effect. It was well-explained (well enough) and treated lightly.

To me, the shows seemed stylish and whimsical. I’m delighted. (This was the first time I’d ever watched an X-Files episode all the way through.)

I also loved the question left hanging at the end of that episode, about whether Reggie was a madman, or someone being silenced.

So, I’m pleased. For me, being the topic of an X-Files episode is about as close to a social “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” as it gets. It moves Mandela Effect discussions further into the mainstream.

The more people talk about it – and weed out what’s true, what’s not, and what’s baffling – the closer we may get to understanding this phenomenon.

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Want to start a conversation about the Mandela Effect? A t-shirt could be useful.

These printable designs are already reversed so – as long as you have some variety of iron-on (transfer) paper – you can print the design, and then iron it onto your own t-shirts. Or whatever you like.

Here are the DIY T-shirt designs, so far (more are on the way):

1.) The Mandela Effect – What a Reality (The single-page graphic includes a white-letter version and a black-letter version. Trim the transfer to fit your needs.) Click here for the transparent GIF featuring both color choices, for personal, DIY use.Mandela Effect - what a reality!
(Trivia: That’s a design I created for my own t-shirt. It’s what I’ve worn for the past year or so. I get nods, and the occasional request to be part of a selfie.)

2.) and 3.) Instant Reality-Shift Translator – Two different iron-on designs. The first has Black letters (to print on light-colored fabric). The second has White letters (to print on black and dark-colored t-shirts).

Free Mandela Effect Iron-on(That t-shirt design does not say “Mandela Effect” on it, on purpose. It’s designed to spark conversations, but Mandela Effect fans will recognize it right away. Not quite a “secret handshake,” but not entirely obvious, either.)

4.) Mandela Effect Universe – This design is a little more difficult to use as a DIY design. (You may want to order the Amazon t-shirt, already made.)

Mandela Effect Starry Universe t-shirtThe design is entirely in shades of white and grey. Whatever color shirt you iron it onto… that will be the color of the background and the lettering. (To show the design clearly, I’ve used a black background in the illustration above.) Click here to download the transparent GIF for DIY use.

Yes, to cover the hosting bill for this website, we’d already started creating new Mandela Effect t-shirt designs, mostly for fun, but also for people who don’t want to use the DIY versions. (Some are a little too finicky for DIY designs, too. It’s better to trust the professionals with them.)

Note: Comments on this post were open through early Feb 9th. They are now closed.

21 thoughts on “That X-Files Episode”

  1. My first encounter with the ME was a few years ago with the word Dilemma. I and many others were taught as children that it had a silent N – i.e Dilemna. I would often go around deliberately mispronouncing it as Dilem-na. I was astounded to find out that wasn’t correct but many other people had also learnt that as well in the 70’s.

    1. Skeptic, that’s what happened to me, as well. It still jars me to see “dilemma,” and – because my education included finicky teachers who insisted on correct pronunciations (and spelling, of course) – for most of my life, I’d thought the word was “dilemna.”

      Until someone else raised the topic here at the ME site, I’d figured it was one of those words where the popular spelling & pronunciation took over. (As a student, if I spelled “catsup” as “ketchup,” it was practically cause for a failing grade.)

  2. I haven’t seen the show, but I think that it brings up a good question: how do we tell whether just our memories have changed (possibly due to some entity or entities who have the ability to do so) or whether the real world really has changed? I don’t know the answer to that question…

    1. Late in the episode Mulder suggests to Reggie that it is just a fantasy and Reggie responds that it may be a parallel universe. As it is, (in my world,) it is a fantasy creating a parallel universe. Usually we don’t remember but sometimes we do. Usually it is a private experience but not always.

      Sometimes you are aware at the moment it happens, sometimes you need a correction from others, sometimes you will never know.

      It is a fact though that our memory is lousy and it seems a memory changes a little every time you look at it which is important because it allows us to put bad things behind us.

      1. I disagree that human memory is lousy. So many pseudoskeptical types have said that so much that far too many people now believe it. I think that the truth is that human memory is lousy IN SOME KINDS OF SITUATIONS. However, human memory can be good, or even excellent, in other kinds of situations. I’m reminded of when philosophy professor (and paranormal researcher) Stephen Braude went over this, a little, in his Gold Leaf Lady book. He actually went over some things about a pseudoskeptic’s research into memory: Elizabeth Loftus. (I hate that…uhh…female dog) Basically, even her pseudoskeptical research came up with some kinds of circumstances where human memory is good.

        1. Mark, I’m nodding in agreement with most of your arguments.

          In my opinion, memory varies from one individual to another, and – in some cases – it’s topic-, context-, or time-specific. So, like you, I heartily disagree with any generality that all human memory is lousy. I’m not sure Elling intended it as a broad and sweeping judgement. (If he did, I misunderstood the emphasis in his comment.)

          I can, without hesitation, recite the alphabet backwards and never miss (or scramble) any letters. But, if I go grocery shopping without a list, there’s a good chance I’ll return home with five items I hadn’t planned to buy… and missing one that was my reason for shopping in the first place. LOL

          Likewise, I can recall the names of nearly every kid who bullied me during my teens – and exactly what they said – but blank-out on the name of my (wonderful) chemistry class lab partner, who moved to another town, halfway through that school year.

          For me, memory issues tend to be things I forgot, not things I mis-remembered. (Not with a broad brush, anyway.) That is – in computer terms – my RAM may be limited, but the hard drive rarely fails in the direction of glitching. Is that true for others? I haven’t researched that, and probably should.

          So, I agree that memory can be “lousy” at times.

          It’s one reason I weigh the context of reported Mandela Effect memories. When someone insists an alternate memory always was part of his or her past, I look for the language used to state that, and how firm it is.

          Also, I watch for a complete context, such as date, time of day, others the person was talking with, and other cues. Though they could be fabricated – and sometimes are – there’s a certain way credible people phrase those things.

          Though I try not to judge reports with too much skepticism, some do seem like false or altered memories. But, that’s not my call; only the individual can evaluate how certain he/she is of the reported memory.

          Loftus, et al… that’s another topic. Often, I want to point out that – to paraphrase Shakespeare (Hamlet, Act III, Scene II) – she (and others like her) often seem to protest too much. I feel as if they’re trying to convinced themselves as much as their audiences. When someone is that heavily invested in a single viewpoint with almost no shades of grey, they start losing their objectivity.

          I’m pretty sure that some Mandela Effect reports are false memories. Others seem to be dual memories.

          But, regarding the comments I approved when this site was open to all comments, I usually heard some credibility in the person’s report. (I may have missed a few jokers as I moderated comments, because – especially as this site became more popular – there were a lot of prank comments to weed out. Their increasing number was one reason I closed the site to comments, in general.)

          I’ll take a look at the Braude book. Thanks for the reference.

          1. You’re welcome. I want to zero in on something that you posted, if that’s okay:

            “That is – in computer terms – my RAM may be limited, but the hard drive rarely fails in the direction of glitching. Is that true for others? I haven’t researched that, and probably should.”

            I don’t think that many of these Mandela Effects are caused by the so-called “normal” human memory issues. However, I do believe that it is possible that they could be explained if the person, or persons, with the memory has, or have, a highly suggestive personality disorder. I’m thinking of that Meredith Maran chick (another one that I can’t stand…yeah, I can be a bit of a misogynist, but I like you better than most, Fiona) who let herself fall into a mindset where she believed that she was molested by her father, despite the fact that she, now, says that it never happened. I would suggest that you try to get a handle on how many people, in the general population, have this highly suggestive personality disorder, if you haven’t already done so. Are there enough people who have this disorder (and, possibly, don’t know it) that it could explain The Mandela Effect? My guess is probably not, except in, maybe, a few cases, but it is something to look into, anyway.

            Also, because I hate Loftus so much (and anyone else who is associated with the organized pseudoskeptic movement) I want to post a few links about Loftus’s ethics violations, in the past – if you’re okay with that, of course:


            1. Mark, I’m chuckling over your comment about liking me better than most.

              Also, I think many people have some level of suggestive personality disorder, though it may be in selective areas, and it may be a widely varying “dimmer switch” depending on how suggestive the person is. I’d also speculate that it can occur when a person is more vulnerable – tired, out of his/her element, or something where some degree of disorientation is already in progress.

              Over 10 years ago, I inadvertently tested this at my main ghost hunting website. I created a totally fictional ghost story and backed it up with historical references. To anyone browsing, it could have looked authentic.

              And then, I waited and watched. At that point, my intent was to catch websites and authors who were copying my stories and claiming they were the original authors.

              About two months later, I not only received several reports confirming that ghost, but someone had an hour-long radio show about the ghost, describing her encounter with him. Worse, callers shared their similar stories, and they sounded so sincere.

              Initially, I was stunned. It wasn’t the result I’d expected. Of course, I deleted the story, and felt a little sleazy that I’d even posted it in the first place.

              After thinking about it, I realized that no one who thought they’d encountered the ghost, had seemed upset or frightened by it. In fact, everyone – including the woman on the radio – seemed thoroughly pleased with… well, whatever they’d experienced. (I’m still not sure what it was. For all I know, it was real and can be attributed to the “observer” effect, similar to one explanation for the Philip experiment.)

              So, I try not to spoil anyone’s delight, even if – to me – the evidence suggests… well, suggestion. Unless the foundation seems pathological, I’m unlikely to dismiss others’ memories or experiences.

              (That’s true for my ghost research, as well. If someone is terrified by something they think was a ghost, I go into debunk mode right away. But, if they’re happy as they tell me about the orb in the photos, and how it’s their great-aunt Mabel, I’m not going to play Devil’s Advocate. For all I know, it was great-aunt Mabel.)

              Looking back over the history of comments at the Mandela Effect, I’m not sure I’m the right person to evaluate the effects of suggestibility. I can say that, around the time I closed this site to comments, at least 50% of the “memories” seemed too thin (or incredible) to approve. The problem with that is: in text, it’s difficult to tell sarcasm from effusive sincerity. Some (most?) were clearly pranks. Others… I’m still not sure.

              Outside of clinical tests, I know no way to separate real Mandela Effect memories from those that result from contagion, media errors, simple misunderstandings, and so on. (And then there are those with dual memories, which could make a study even more challenging.)

              All I know is that, until Shadow (at Dragon Con) mentioned that others remembered Mandela dying in prison, I thought mine was just a bizarre, anomalous mistake I’d made, recalling what I remembered as several days of Mandela’s funeral coverage. It simply stuck in my memory as something very odd that I couldn’t explain.

              Since then, as other reports flooded into this site, I was amazed. A small percentage of those memories matched my own. I’d explained them to myself in other ways (like the TAPS show being a newspaper error, and – for all I know – maybe it was). In most cases, I never even realized my memories didn’t match this reality, or – perhaps – were simply wrong.

              I’m wary of those who agree with every alternate memory they read about, here or at other forums. But, as I said before, I’m not in a position to evaluate others’ memories. I’m more confident when I see certain language, phrasing, and context in place, but even that’s subjective (and perhaps completely inaccurate as a measurement).

              I’m sure suggestibility is a factor. I just don’t know how much.

              In general, I think this entire field is fascinating, whatever the explanations. I’m a little sad for people like Loftus, who miss out on the “what if…?” fun of whimsy and speculation.

              I’m still delighted when I hear about a new alternate memory, and it makes me pause and say, “Wait… what?” as I scramble to double-check it. Whatever the explanation, these myriad memories raise more questions and open doors to new theories. I like that.

    1. Darrell, that may be what it sounds like, but I’m pretty sure it was intended as the “Mengele Effect.” That references a particularly grim time in world history, and someone who was close to the polar opposite of Nelson Mandela. (I think that X-Files writing decision was deliberate, to create an “effect” that’s a 180-degree swing from the Mandela reference.)

  3. I literally meant every word I said and I did not say that the mandela effect is caused by a lousy memory. If I hit someone’s button, so be it.
    I have experienced other realities many times and my conclusion is that most of those worlds are temporary and created by consciousness. We all have consciousness and can create.
    I maintain that our memory is quite imperfect and memories do change every single day of our lives.

    1. Elling, thanks for clarifying that. I’m a little uneasy with your phrasing, but I can understand your frustration at feeling misunderstood.

      This discussion could easily expand into how literally we’d take “you’re responsible for your own experiences” or “… reality,” and whether the Law of Attraction is our respective consciousnesses each (or even collaboratively) creating a reality in which a particular experience occurs.

      (And, perhaps – having had that experience – we rejoin the collective, agreed-upon reality. We’re not aware that anything was different for us, until someone raises a particular point, like Nelson Mandela’s death or how the Berenstain Bears books’ titles were spelled.)

      If so, maybe we’re programming our own realities and (deliberately) aren’t aware of it. A recent episode of “The Orville” touched on that, and – of course – the “Shore Leave” episode of the original “Star Trek” series.

      I don’t think this has to be distinct from the idea of parallel/alternate realities. The Mandela Effect can accommodate multiple experiences and related theories, and all of them can be true.

      1. Yes, science fiction is a great source for information at times. Once one notices, one also understands there are many very gifted authors and script writers around. I ask myself who or what are their sources, because they sometimes reach above and beyond.

        In my life I always wanted to understand life and use science to understand it. It didn’t really work because I entered the world narrow minded science. Not asking “what if” as you said, or trying to explain the mysteries with quantum mechanics or whatever. Science is awesome, but also limiting.

        After an incredible journey the last 5 years I find it really, really hard to explain what I found when I finally told myself I will follow silly ideas and “signs” for the rest of my life just for the heck of it. I will need to write a book, but if I explain what I have found it will just be another exercise for the mind. Instead it will be a book of stories meant for the heart and mind. Mostly from movies and episodes of TV series. Again, truly gifted authors and script writers. I will string the stories together and if the reader has an open heart and mind (s)he should be able to understand what I understand, but still in their own unique way. Yes, as it now seems, that X-files episode will be transcribed, mostly due to the strange series of events leading me to it. There is an alternate reality influencing my life and decisions. Others will call it hallucinations or schizophrenia or random unrelated events.

        One important thing to know is that if we sense something not using our 5 senses the brain must present to us images (sounds, smell, etc.) stored in the brain already. This means that if we sense another universe which is very different from ours, the brain will use the closest match from our memories. This is why our seers sense worlds according to the time and culture they live in. Everything seen is a symbol for the real thing.

        The title of the book will probably contain: “Chasing the invisible man”. Have you noticed how many “invisible men” there are in movies and TV series? Like doctor They in that episode or Locsat in the series Castle?

        Need to walk the dogs now and then go to bed.

        1. Eloquently written, Elling. You definitely have a gift for prose, and – when you write your book – I hope you’ll let me know. I’m eager to read it.

  4. I have a cute little story for you:
    My ex-wife was visiting me since I now live in a warm country and she in a cold. One day she wanted me to go to the animal supplies shop with her. She didn’t tell me where we were going but I knew long before we arrived there.
    Inside two puppies were playing and hiding behind and under things on the floor. My ex asked which of them I liked. I said I didn’t need another dog, but she wanted an answer. I was in doubt. The puppies were brother and sister, but were different. I was very much in doubt, but at last I said I liked the girl.
    We left and went home, but my ex was restless and left. I knew she was going back to the shop and that there was no way I could stop whatever she was planning.
    I sat down outside in the sun and closed my eyes. Suddenly I knew that the girl’s name was Luna. My ex returned with both puppies and gave Luna to me. Of course she did.
    Later she told me that I appeared frozen or very distant in the shop. She saw a thread of light between me and Luna and that I had tears in my eyes. It lasted for a moment only. Well I wasn’t frozen in the shop, there was no thread of light there and I didn’t have tears in my eyes. Or did I in her world?
    Later after having been a little to hard on Luna, someone “out there” said to me that I don’t understand the gift Luna really is. Where did the name and this message come from? Was it from a reality shared by my ex, me and Luna?

      1. The real question in my opinion is: Which reality in the puppy story is most true and which is most false?

  5. I heard about the new X-files episode about the Mandela Effect yesterday. And just finished watching it. The reason I heard about it, was that I was doing research about the Mandela effect. And the reason for that is because of the mind blowing experience that I am experiencing right now.

    I know that it is easy to explain away the Mandela effect as just bad memory, or whatever other excuse you can think of to discount it. But the truth is that it’s NOT the result of bad memory or misremembering or anything else like that.

    At first I thought the same thing. I dismissed it as poor memory. But more and more I noticed that things were wrong or different from what I had always remembered them to be. But my only conclusion had to be that I was wrong, that I had to have just remembered it wrong. And many times it was hard for me to believe that I was wrong. Because I just knew I was right. I just knew things were different then the way they appear to be now. But I had to shrug my shoulders and say…. Well, I guess I was wrong. And went on with my life.

    But then there were big differences, differences that shook me. Not just things that I might have remembered incorrectly or had been mistaken about. But things that I knew for certain that are different now then what they had always been before.

    And then there was THE BIG one. The one that I am absolutely certain about. 100%. No mistake. No doubt. No chance that I misremembered it or could be wrong about. Because I know this name as well as I know my own name.

    Ever since I was a kid I watched this show. It was one of my favorite shows of all time. I don’t know how many times I have seen every episode. His name is a household name. And ironically the name of the man that convinced me that the Mandela effect is NOT the result of bad memory but instead caused by something completely different, is the name of the man who encompasses the very essence of what we are experiencing….. Rod Sterling.

    Yes, I said, STERLING…… Not Serling. There is a “T” in his name. I have watched the Twilight Zone all my life and have heard and seen his name hundreds or thousands of times. His name was never Serling. It was always Sterling. I know this for certain, no question. No doubt.

    Therefore, if I know for certain that it has changed. And it has. Then the question now is… How? That I don’t know. All I know is that it has changed.

    Unless this has happened to you, you probably will never understand it or believe it. And like everyone else, just dismiss it as collective bad memory. But just imagine what it would be like for you if one day you discovered that something that you knew to be absolutely and completely true and a certain way…. to suddenly discover that it was not that way at all. That it had changed. How would you react and feel.

    Think about that for a minute.

    Yes, of course, one can dismiss it all as bad memory and even make fun of it and everyone involved. But the TRUTH is…. it is real. It’s not bad memory. Something real has happened?

    Whether it is parallel universes or someone traveling back in time and changing things or the result of an experiment gone wrong at CERN or whatever other possible reason you can think of that could have caused all of this to happen. The fact remains that something has happened. Something has caused things to change. Because I know for certain that there are many things different in this reality then in the reality that I have always known.

    Just like Rod Sterling would have said, “We have just entered…. The Twilight Zone”.

    And that’s how I feel….. I feel like I am in The Twilight Zone. I know I can talk until I’m blue in the face and those who haven’t experienced this personally will never believe or understand. But I am not mistaken. I’m not wrong. Things have changed. I’m not misremembering this.

    Someone or something has altered our past or for some reason some of us have somehow been transferred from our reality to yours. From our parallel universe or dimension to yours. Or something else has happened. All I know is that things have changed. And I know one thing for certain. His name is Rod Sterling.

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