I’ve always been really interested in conspiracy theories; I can’t say I’ve believed all of them but nevertheless, they’ve always captured my imagination. I’ve recently noticed that they are being more widely talked about these days and they are no longer reserved for the fringes of society.
Recently a number of high profile Youtubers have been using their platforms to talk about these such things, offering their thoughts and opinions on the matter.
A few months ago a new conspiracy theory started its journey around the internet and before long thousands of people were attesting to its authenticity. It’s called the Mandela effect and as the title of this article suggests, it’s the one I’m going to be discussing today.
What is the Mandela effect?
If I asked you when Nelson Mandela died what would your answer be? You’re not allowed to google it, you just have to go with your gut and guess.
Would you say it was fairly recently or was it a long time ago?
The answer to that question is 2013 and most of us can remember that it was fairly recent.
I even remember writing a blog post about it.t truth be told I couldn’t’ remember the exact year but I could remember it being recent and I knew that Obama and Cameron had been at the funeral.
I couldn’t have told you the exact year without looking but I could remember it being recent and I knew that Obama and Cameron had been at the funeral.
I remember the coverage of the funeral and the tributes paid to his life and I remember the famous “selfie” issue.
Yet while the answer seemed fairly obvious to me, hundreds of other people believed that he died in the 1980s. Many even believing that he died while he was still in prison.
And this is essentially where the entire idea comes from.
A few months ago paranormal enthusiast Fiona Broome recalled how she believed that Nelson Mandela had died in the 1980s and even claims to have remembered there being a funeral covered on TV. A little bit of research will tell you that she’s not alone, there appear to be several books that also claim Mandela died in the 1980s.
We all know that wasn’t true and that he did, in fact, die in 2016 but it opens up a debate as to whether it is possible for a group of people to all incorrectly remember the same event.
And if it isn’t possible then what could be responsible?
Well, the Mandela theory argues that we have moved between two dimensions and are now essentially living in a parallel universe and that the opinion differences are there because these differences are true and do exist. They suggest that somehow during this “flip” these events were altered with some people maintaining their original memory of the event.
The Nelson Mandela discrepancy is just one of the many “changes” that Mandela theorist use as evidence for this theory.
What are the other examples of the Mandela Effect?
There are actually quite a few other examples that Mandela theorists have offered as proof. While the theory remains largely niche at the moment, some of these discrepancies are widely acknowledged.
- Sex in the City or Sex and the City? We all know of the hit TV show but which of these options do you think is the right answer? Personally, I would have said Sex in the City because I’m sure I can remember it being abbreviated to SITC. Well, I’m wrong the show is actually called Sex and the City and always has been. Yet there are people out there who have memorabilia from the show that clearly says Sex in the City.
- Pikachu’s tail. Hundreds of people remember Pikachu having a black stripe on the end of his tail but this is not the case.
- Curious George. The cartoon monkey is often assumed to have a tail but in fact, he never has. Yet despite this many people have grown up remembering a tail being on the cartoon monkey.
There are loads and loads of these including ones around Disney, Star Wars, and even Forest Gump.
What do I think about the Mandela Effect?
I find the entire theory to be really interesting but that’s more because I’ve always been interested in collective memory and not so much that I feel inclined to believe it.
It’s fascinating to me that every generation has at least one historical event that we collectively remember. For previous generations it was things like the VE day, the fall of Berlin wall or the day JFK was assonated. For our generation it’s 911, the death of Princess Dianna and we can even add Trump or Brexit to this list.
These events were witnessed and experienced in some way by millions of people around the world and so there are bound to be differences in the memories. I have different emotions to you and to the next person and one particular aspect of an event might be etched on my brain more than another. So perhaps when I share the story that one aspect is entirely accurate but then other parts of my memory might be hazier.
This means that when the story gets passed on and then retold again, details and aspects began to change and combine into one story.
It’s kind of like Chinese whispers.
I have an example for you.
A few years ago my family visited Chatsworth house and while there we decided to attempt the maze. We split in to two teams – boys and girls – and challenged each other to see who could get to the centre first.
It took ages but the “girl” team did it and were so excited to get back out before the boys. Imagine our shock when we exited to find them already sat on the floor, looking confident and very pleased with themselves. We were shocked and quite honestly didn’t believe them.
In that instance I had a thought. There was a bench in the centre of the maze, so I asked them what it was made of, a test to see if they had really got to the centre. As we guessed they got it wrong – they claimed there wasn’t a bench – proving that they could not have got to the centre.
There’s one slight issue with this memory. I am utterly convinced that it was me who asked this question and yet mother believes it was her who asked.
We can’t both be right, only one of us asked this question and we will never be able to prove which one of us it was. So instead we both remain convinced that our memory is accurate.
This is one example but it proves that memories are completely subjective and not as accurate as we might like to think.
If we look back to the original discrepancy upon which the entire theory is based it’s easy to come to terms with why this mistake may have originally been made. During the 1980s technology was still in its baby phase and people couldn’t share information in the same way we can now. I googled the date Mandela died and bang I got a precise, accurate answer.
Yet during the 1980s all it would have taken was for one or a few people to have the date wrong and before you know it that date is seen as gospel.
So I can’t say that I really believe the Mandela effect but it’s an interesting one nonetheless.
What do you think?