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CONSPIRACY THEORIES: The Mandela Effect



For the first in my series of conspiracy theories, I'll be giving you a quick run-down of The Mandela Effect.
Disclaimer: I'm not saying any of these things are true, they aren't proven, but there's no harm in probing into explanations for the unknown.

The Mandela Effect is a name given to describe the collective misremembering of a fact or event. Since the phenomenon has been brought to light, it has shown that quite frequently large numbers of people have potentially false recollections of certain facts or events.

As humans, our brains are not perfect. It is fairly certain that sometimes our brains fabricate memories or recollections, that feel completely real, in order to fill in gaps in our memories. Psychologists have called this ‘confabulation’, which can explain the fabrication of truth in order to fill in these gaps.

Fiona Broome was one of the first people to coin this The Mandela Effect, and she was one of the first to notice this phenomenon on a large scale. She has a website dedicated to the theory that you can check out here.

The name itself comes from the fact that a whole bunch of people in the world believed that Nelson Mandela had died in prison sometime in the 1980s, despite the fact that he actually died in 2013. So when his death was announced all over the news, people were pretty confused.

 I can vouch for the fact that I too shared the belief he was already dead, although this could be put down to misinformation, or even the fact that I didn't really keep up to date with his life in the first place.

There are absolutely tons of examples of potential Mandela Effects all over the Internet; a lot of them (the majority) I don’t really believe and I think can be put down to information being passed around that has been incorrectly heard or changed slightly.

One example I read that did surprise me, though, was the image that many of us associate with King Henry VIII - when I think of him, I recall being shown in a history lesson a very famous portrait of him holding a turkey leg, as he was notorious for being a very wealthy and very obese man.

Lots of people have this memory, but as it turns out… This portrait does not exist. Anywhere. How could do many people recall seeing this particular portrait when it was never painted? I did find one image on Google of Henry VIII holding a turkey leg, but I know for a fact it was not the one I recall seeing frequently in school, and the one that other people describe remembering as well.

Another example that seems to blow people's minds is the TV show ‘Sex and the City’. There are huge numbers of people who are determined that the show was actually called ‘Sex in the City’. I think this is a case of simple mispronunciation, but could it be that in another world, that's what it was called?

Not only are there many examples of the Mandela Effect, there are lots of explanations as to why it happens. They are mainly on the wacky side and even I, who gets sucked right into conspiracies, have a hard time believing most of them.

One theory is that we have these false memories because we actually slip between parallel universes, or realities. Therefore what is a fact or a confirmed event in one reality is not necessarily a fact or event that is true in another.

So, to go back to the Nelson Mandela example, it is possible that many of us have been into an alternate reality where Nelson Mandela did die in prison, but we returned to this current reality where that actually did not happen, and instead on this timeline, his death came later in 2013.

Another theory I read (somewhat even less believable) is that actually, despite it not being a thing in the present day, time travel is something that we've been doing for thousands of years. They say that if you travelled back in time and changed something, even something minuscule, it can have a massive effect on things that happen in the future (think The Butterfly Effect). 

Some people think that due to all this hopping around between past, present and future, little things are being changed which means some things in the present change with it, although for some reason, some of us have vague recollections of how things used to be.

It is certainly mind boggling to try and comprehend the idea of alternate universes and seems fairly impossible to most. I'd like to believe something so crazy but I do put most of the ‘evidence’ down to misinformation.

What do you think? Do you have any memories that you are convinced were true, but they turned out to be false?


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Header image: stock image, text added by me

1 comment

  1. Great post, I love conspiracy theories and this post really made me think about a few things.

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