MUNDANE MYSTERIES: What Is The Mandela Effect?

A lot of times, what you remember about your life is…well, it’s pretty inaccurate. Flat-out wrong, in a lot of cases. That’s because you’re suffering from “The Mandela Effect”. But what exactly is The Mandela Effect?

A blogger by the name of Fiona Broome actually coined the term back in 2009 when she attended a conference where she talked about the passing of South African president Nelson Mandela back in the 1980s. A lot of the folks she talked with also remembered Mandela dying in prison. Some even said they’d watched TV news coverage of it. The problem was…Mandela was very much still alive in 2009 (he didn’t pass until 2013, four years later).

The Mandela Effect, defined as a false memory shared by multiple people, seems like it should be a rare happenstance, but the phenomenon is actually pretty common. Do you remember the Berenstein Bears from when you were a kid? Or maybe “Shazam”, the movie about a genie played by Sinbad? Or what about the line from Star Wars, “Luke, I am your father”?

Yeah, about that…none of it actually happened. All of those are instances of The Mandela Effect: The Berenstein Bears were actually the Berenstain Bears; the genie movie was actually “Kazaam”, starring Shaquille O’Neal; and Darth Vader actually said “No, I am your father”. Yet, many will still swear by their false memories, even after they learn the real truth. So, what’s behind all this?

Psychologists say The Mandela Effect is a product of how our brains process info. Human memories aren’t perfect snapshots of what actually took place in real life. When we try to recall something, we’re only able to access part of the true story. So, to fill in the gaps, our brains pull different info from other memories.

So, try not to be shocked when I tell you that the Monopoly man never had a monocle, and that Tom Cruise doesn’t actually dance in his Ray-Bans & underwear in Risky Business. (He did dance in his underwear, just not in his shades.)

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at [email protected].

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