The Mandela Effect: Alternate Memories, Alternate Realities?

“Luke, I am your father,” is what you would reply if asked to quote a line from Star Wars. Hell, I’ve never seen any of the movies (I know, I’m sorry) and I can recite the iconic line in a perfect Darth Vader impression. However, truth be told, almost all of us get this line wrong. According to the original 1980 Star Wars, the line actually reads, “No, I am your father.”

Don’t believe me? Feel free to frantically google away- this is a common reaction. The reveal constantly leaves people confused, as they swear they had heard Luke Skywalker’s name being mentioned in the midst of the action-packed confrontation.

Unbelievably, with the Star Wars revelation come many other quotes, symbols, titles and historical events which have prompted the same I’m-questioning-my-entire-existence response.

This series of unveils have been deemed part of the “Mandela Effect,” coined by paranormal enthusiast Fiona Broome. Broome once shared that she remembered news coverage of Nelson Mandela’s death in prison during the 1980’s to a group of people. As a result, many of them stated that they remembered learning about the historical event in school or even remembered this event taking place. Shockingly, the “prison death” never happened. Nelson Mandela was alive at the time of Broome’s conversation and died in late 2013. Broome could not believe this when she found out, as Mandela’s death had been so ingrained in her memory. Though, her justification for her “shared memories” that have no real evidence of occurring in our world, is that that it all could be due to the intertwining and colliding of parallel universes.

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Broome has gone on to give speeches, publish articles, and author books on the subject. As crazy as it sounds, her conspiracy theory has gained popularity online, provoked by an example related to a children’s book series in which a large group of people recalled the Berenstain Bears books being spelled as Berenstein.

Some of the most well-known cases include:

The mysterious Kit Kat dash

Many recall the famous chocolate bar having a dash, making it “Kit-Kat”, but the wrapper has never had a dash in between the two words.

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“Sex in the City” 

Remember Carrie Bradshaw’s lust filled adventures in New York City? The title of the movie is actually Sex AND the City, not Sex IN the City.

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The famous line from Snow White

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Every girl knows the scene from the Snow White movie, and without a doubt, they’ve stared into their own mirrors and recited the line at one point in the life. What they don’t know is that the line is actually, “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”

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That Famous Cartoon Company

Growing up, you probably indulged in the show with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Many people recall the logo as “LOONEY TOONS”, and picture the logo in their heads. However, it is actually spelled “LOONEY TUNES”.

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Breakfast cereal

The picture on the left (I am sorry to say) is fake. It is, in fact, Froot Loops.

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We are the champions….. of the world?

If you know the famous song by Queen, you might remember being the final lyrics being, “No time for losers, ‘cause we are the champions… of the world!” However, the line “of the world” is not and never was at the end of the song.

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After taking a look at the examples above, you’re probably wondering, how do so many people remember things so differently?

Though some may pinpoint the Mandela effect as a consequence of “false memory”, it is unlikely as the Mandela effect affects a large group of people, without any connections or similar emotional factors present.

Psychology has provided certain theories that can debunk the Mandela Effect.  One of the most common explanations is the Misinformation Effect. This effect was discovered through a series of studies by Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus. Loftus explains: “The misinformation effect refers to the impairment in memory for the past that arises after exposure to misleading information.” Essentially, if someone says that something looks or sounds a certain way, it is likely for you to believe them, even if you’ve never paid close attention it.

In some cases, such as the Froot Loops vs Fruit Loops, the explanation is as simple as the fact that our brains don’t always register tiny details.

As for the adamancy that people feel once their certain beliefs are proven wrong, Cognitive Dissonance has a role to play. A term coined by psychologist Leon Festinger in 1954, Cognitive Dissonance describes the feelings of discomfort that occur internally when there are discrepancies between our beliefs and behaviors. In order to eliminate disharmony caused by cognitive dissonance, something must change. Let’s take the Kit Kat as an example. If someone had a belief that the Kit Kat logo had a dash, and was told that the logo did not have a dash, that individual would do one of two things. They would either, a) change their belief that the logo had a dash, in order to accept the new fact and solve the issue of two conflicting beliefs, or b) rebut the fact that Kit Kat does not have a dash, in order to uphold their individual belief.

Psychologists continue to look for conceivable explanations for the gaps in the Mandela Effect: Confirmation bias, Misattribution of memory, Cryptomnesia; the list goes on and on. At this point, all we can do is make sense of the information we’ve been given.

Well, either that or Fiona Broome is right: We really are living in a parallel universe,

 

 

Author: Sabrina Sain

Sabrina Sain is a sophomore and is new to the The Eye this year. Her favorite music artist is Frank Sinatra, however her guilty pleasure is rap. When she is not at school, she enjoys finding aesthetic cafes, napping, writing poetry, coming up with bad puns, drinking bubble tea religiously, and most importantly, eating corn. She can be contacted at sain41622@sas.edu.sg

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