The Mandela Effect

Informative Article


What is the Mandela Effect? Is it real or is it just a figment of our imagination?


by Tanvi Prem


Conspiracy theories in today’s world are widespread and ever-changing. They have become commonplace in the political atmosphere, used by some as logical reasoning to support their opinions. However, before this polarized and inaccurate atmosphere, conspiracy theories touched on lighter topics.


When I was first introduced to conspiracy theories at the prime age of 10, I learned about the “Mandela effect”. According to The Conversation, this phrase refers to a “collective misremembering of common events or details” by a large group of people.


This phenomenon is coined with Nelson Mandela’s name. This happened because numerous people inaccurately remembered the political leader passing away in prison during the 1980s—he was actually let out of prison in the 1990s and passed away in 2013. Many people even claim to vividly remember Mandela’s funeral, fueling further confusion.


As the “Mandela effect” popularized, more people noticed these mass false remembrances, creating the plethora of examples that are there today.


This phenomenon could be caused due to confabulation, “the unconscious manufacture of fabricated or misinterpreted memories”. It manifests in many ways, but mainly through correlation: people might unconsciously assume that the word “food” is used when correlating words like “table” and “spoon” are written.


This circumstance could apply to memories, forming the misinterpreted recalls.


However, some people attribute the Mandela Effect to the theory of a multiverse. They believe that the remembered event occurred in a separate reality in an alternate dimension.


In this trilemma, we will be analyzing three significant examples of the Mandela Effect.


The Berenstain Bears


Many remember this children’s book series as “Berenstein Bears” when it has actually always been named Berenstain.


The Mandela Effect explanation is that “the books changed over time as the world we are in transitioned into another parallel universe where the books are spelled differently.” The Berenstain Bears is a frequent piece of evidence for this alternate universe.


However, this occurrence could be explained logically:


“Stein” is used more often as a suffix than “stain”, so it is fairly easy to recall “stein”. Additionally, most readers of this series are young children, so their illiteracy could have contributed to this misinterpretation.