Sunday, November 13, 2016

A colossal conspiracy called the Mandela Effect

Some people have very curious beliefs. The so-called Mandela Effect is a belief originated by Fiona Broome. She remembered that Nelson Mandela died in prison back in the 1980s rather than in 2013 (after having become much more famous because he was elected President of South Africa in 1994 and served for five years).

Wikipedia hasn’t bothered with a separate page for the Mandela Effect. It instead appears as the last heading in the page on Confabulation that says:

“An internet meme related to confabulation is known as the Mandela effect. This is a situation where a number of people have memories that are different from the available evidence. The term was coined by paranormal enthusiast Fiona Broome, who says she and other people remember Nelson Mandela dying in the 1980’s rather than in 2013. She argues that common memories which appear mistaken could be explained by the existence of parallel universes that are able to interact with each other. A common thread of discussion regarding this ‘effect‘ is misremembering the Berenstain Bears being spelled as ‘Berenstein Bears‘. “  

The first few moments of a YouTube video by Dr. Druanna Johnson titled What is happening to our current reality! Mandela Effect?? gives some other examples, like at 1:05 that department store J. C. Penney was originally spelled Penny, and at 1:20 that Oscar Mayer originally was spelled Myer. Did either name really change? No!

I looked in the EBSCO databases on my friendly local public library web site, and instead found a .pdf file of an article in the April 1930 Harvard Business Review by  David R. Falk titled Central Buying by Department-Store Mergers which referred to the J.C. Penney Co.

When I searched in Wikimedia Commons, I found both a 1936 photo of an Oscar Mayer  Wienermobile, and a 1948 ad from the Ladies Home Journal for Oscar Mayer Wieners.

On July 24, 2016 Snopes had an article by David Emery on The Mandela Effect that said The Glitch Is in Your Memory, Not the Matrix. There also is a web site about Debunking Mandela Effects, and an article at the Rational Wiki.   

I know that my memory isn’t always reliable. Ask any prosecutor or forensic engineer what they think of eyewitness testimony, and watch them chuckle. For example, here in Boise there is a personal injury law firm that often runs TV ads (which I typically don’t pay close attention to and mute). If you’d asked me I’d have told you their name was Lister Frost, but it actually is Litser Frost.  

An image of a mandala found at Wikimedia Commons was colored in.

No comments: