Nelson Mandela Visits Hlengiwe School
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What Are Mandela Effects?

In 2009, it was paranormal expert Fiona Broome who coined the phrase ‘Mandela Effect’. This is the common misremembering of a certain topic or area that many people had also misremembered.

Whether it is film quotes, advertisements, or from childhood cartoons, Mandela Effects have taken off lately, and I shall highlight a few of my favourites below; as well as theories circulating as to why the occur.

Broome states that the original name ‘Mandela Effect” came from when thousands of people remember Nelson Mandela dying in prison, and not in 2013. People go so far as to remember speeches from his widow, the funeral, and riots as a result of his death.

This is not just a mistake people made. They have memories of events taking place as a result of his death in prison. Broome says these events ‘exceed normal amounts of forget-fullness’.

Examples of Mandela Effects

Other Mandela Effects surrounding television and movies included the famous Star Wars quote, “Luke, I am your father”.

This is a quote that was printed on t-shirts, used on merchandise, as well as in many shows as spin-off scenes.

Additionally this was remembered by many who watched the film, although, when watching this scene it was actually never said. The line was just “No, I am your father”, meaning all the print on merchandise is misquoted or misremembered.

Photo by BP Miller on Unsplash

Following along this pattern of small areas being misremembered or ‘changed’ include the Mr Monopoly man. Can you think of his attire, is there a monocle or not?

Many, myself included, are sure that the little character wears a top hat as well as a monocle. However, this is not the case, the man has not, and never did have, a monocle.

Leading from this, Micky Mouse. What was his outfit?

Thousands of people and toys show that Mickey Mouse wore suspenders, yet once again this is false. He only wore shorts with no braces attached.

Another Disney-related example is the famous quote the Evil Queen says into the mirror in Snow White and the 7 Dwarves. This is a phrase that has been repeated and re-enacted for years – “Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all”.

Yet again, this is another Mandela Effect as it actually states “Magic mirror on the wall…”.

Two more of my favourite Mandela Effects include the air freshening spray that I’m sure many have in their home.

In my memory and all of my friends I have asked this too, it is Febreeze – with a double ‘e’ in the middle. However, it is, in fact, Febreze, changing the complete sound of the brand completely.

Finally, the popular shoe company that I believed was named Sketchers, is spelled Skechers, thus changing the overall sound into a new word completely.

Photo by Venti Views on Unsplash

Explaining What This Could Be

Ken Drinkwater (lecturer and researcher of Cognitive parapsychology at Manchester University) and Neil Dagnall (also involved in physiology at Manchester) provide an insightful article surrounding and regarding the “distortion” of existing memory that created the unconscious to misremember memories. They name this “confabulation”.

Some believe physiology is behind the common misremembering of Mandela Effects. But other theories and explanations for these effects go so far as alternate universes. This is due to some people believing that we live in a simulation, and thus these ‘false memories’ are actually a ‘blip’ that create these memories even though they never really occurred.

Overall, I partly believe in the physiology side surrounding confabulation. Yet I find it interesting into looking further into the theories surrounding Mandela Effects. For me, there are many examples that I remember vividly, yet in reality they never existed.

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My name is Cicely McFarlane and I am from South East London. I am currently in my 4th year at Cardiff University studying a Journalism, Media and Communications masters. I have loved writing from a young age and have written for my student magazine and newspaper, which is why I am very excited to be part of Freshered.