You may not know it, but most of us are victim to the “Mandela effect”. The Mandela effect is another way of describing a collective false memory – when a large group of people remember the same thing incorrectly.
The term “Mandela effect” was coined for collective false memory after hundreds of people believed, and falsely remembered, that Nelson Mandela died back in the 1980’s during his jail time. Mandela as we know actually survived his jail time and became South Africa’s first black president, only passing away recently in 2013.
Conspiracy theorists think there’s some alternate timeline thing going on, and conflicting between the two causes these false memories that people swear by. Scientists think there’s a rational explanation behind it, citing social reinforcement of incorrect memories in large groups of people.
I’ve done some research into the matter, and to be fair my mind has been blown by a couple of these. Here’s a list of Mandela effect that I feel are worth sharing. I’ve tried to get more interesting ones, rather than simple spelling misconceptions like the whole Berenstain vs Berenstein Bears fiasco.
Bologna Centrale Railway Station
Italy, August 2nd 1980. Bologna Centrale Railway Station was the site of a bombing, carried out by neo-facist terrorist group Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari (NAR). 85 people were killed with a further 200+ injured, making it one of Europe’s worst terrorist attacks.
The Mandela Effect kicks in afterwards though. The station’s clock was broken after the blast, stuck reading the time of the blast, 10:25. It was then fixed shortly after, but stopped working again in 1996, where it was altered back to that time to commemorate the massacre.
Weirdly enough, around 92% of people that regularly saw the clock are certain that the clock was never fixed and it had read 10:25 for the entire time. It’s only a small thing I know, but it’s odd how so many people were sure it was never fixed.
“Catch” the Pigeon
You may well remember the old cartoon. Dick Dastardly, Muttley and pals went out an arm and limb to try and catch that pigeon. Not really sure why, but he’d clearly done something to upset them.
There’s one slight catch though. You may have that theme song stuck in your head now, but it’s not “catch the pigeon” at all. The show is called “Stop the pigeon”. Go listen to the theme on YouTube. It’s right there in front of us.
This may not have stumped everyone, but a lot of people (including myself) swear they remember hearing the cartoon theme as “catch the pigeon”. Weird.
The iconic VW logo was on every single camper van back in my day. I loved those things, probably because I was a stupid hippy that kept preaching peace whilst listening jamming to The Doobie Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Draw the logo in your head. It’s just a V and a W connected up, right? Wrong. Hell of a lot of people thought the little break between the V and W was a new thing. Look back, and you’ll realise its always been there. So why have people been drawing it without for so long?!
“Please tell me that’s your nose”
I don’t watch Spongebob Squarepants. However, Carl, Guy and Glynn all insist there’s a fair bit of adult humour in it which explains why so many adults still watch it even though they’ve grown up since. To be fair, I did watch the 2004 movie when it came out (for some reason) and it made me chuckle.
Not even Spongebob can escape the Mandela Effect though. There’s a specific episode in which Squidward tells Spongebob he can help with a Krusty Krab commercial shoot by burying himself. All that can be seen is his long nose sticking out the ground. When Mr Krabs comes to find him, so many fans swear that one of his comments is “Please tell me that’s your nose!”.
When trying to go back and review the episode it suddenly disappeared, and most assumed it was cut. But, digging even deeper reveals it seems the line never existed. I don’t really understand how thousands of people can remember hearing that line if it was never implemented…
A lot of fans put the blame a user of the blogging platform, Tumblr known as “ruinedchildhood”. They circulated screenshots from the episode with the quote, and may have fooled a lot of people into thinking they remembered it, when it never happened. Unless… they remembered it too, which is what lead to it becoming a meme in the first place?!
C-3PO’s lower right Leg
Star Wars has been on our screens for 50 years now, and it’s become one of the most iconic film franchises to ever exist. Multiple fans have watched the original trilogy many times in their life, and probably will continue to do so.
So why is it that we’re only just noticing that C-3PO’s lower right leg is silver? So many have remembered him as a completely gold protocol droid, including most artists that have drawn him for artwork and comics etc.
It’s not something that was changed for the remasters either. Old film score covers back from the 70’s, near the first films release, clearly shows his lower right leg has always been silver. You should have seen Glynn’s face when I told him this. He was convinced I was lying.
“Houston, we have a problem.”
Not one of the strongest examples of the Mandela Effect, I will admit but still falls into a collective false memory. We’ve all heard the “Houston, we have a problem” phrase used by the crew of Apollo 13. Tom Hanks has to recreate it himself.
However, that’s apparently now not what was said even though people that heard the real recording remember it that way. The real phrase was “Houston, we’ve had a problem here” but it’s quite easy to see how this got misquoted over the years.
The movie for Apollo 13 must have got it wrong, with Hanks possibly reading his script slightly wrong but the Director never decided it was worth re-shooting. Ever since, that’s how it’s been quoted and multiple people are falsely remembering the real quote wrong because of this.
If you’re a chocolate lover then you’ll obviously quite fond of Kit-Kats. I can see the iconic red and white wrapper over foil in my head right. But I’m not seeing it right, apparently.
The hyphen that many of us thought was there, hasn’t been there since World War 2. What the hell?! I’m positive there was always a hyphen between “Kit” and “Kat” but looking back, there hasn’t been one for longer than I’ve been alive. Why would I remember so specific if it’s not even there?
Nestlé have even confirmed this themselves, claiming that we’ve all remembered it wrong over the years. I’m not the only one convinced it was there though. Many people are coming forward just as confused.
Don’t worry I’m not going to post any videos or screenshots of JFK’s brains being blown out. However, the unfortunate assassination has been the topic of discussion when it comes to the Mandela Effect.
On November 22nd 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by former US Marine Lee Harvey Oswald. There’s a lot of footage of the incident online, most quite graphic. However, people are having some trouble remembering how the event went out.
Large numbers of people are suddenly noticing that the car the president sat in was a 6-seater. Lots of reconstructions and photos of commemorations only show the car as a 4-seater though. So… what happened? Has history somehow altered? Or are we all just remembering the event completely wrong.
I wasn’t alive at the time of the assassination, but I have studied the video footage a few times and I’ll admit that until writing this I could have sworn there was only 4 people in the car. Mr and Mrs Kennedy, Texas Governer John Connally and the driver. Obviously not, since Connally’s wife and somebody else are also present.
The Capital of Israel
This is more one for the oldies. Ever since Israel’s independence in 1948, their capital city was initially declared as Tel Aviv, right? Nope. Jerusalem has always been the country’s capital.
Many people have gone all their lives believing Tel Aviv, a major city in Israel, was in fact its capital. However, it’s official that the holy city of Jerusalem has had this title the entire time of the country’s existence.
Yeah… when Carl makes a complete stink in the office toilets then Febreeze usually saves the day. I just suddenly looked at the bottle though and noticed something. It could just be me, but I searched around there are others that are thrown by this too.
“Febreeze” is actually spelt “Febreze”. When did this happen? In my head that logo very clearly has two e’s. These types of cases for the Mandela Effect are either proving how bad our minds really are, or that somebody is altering reality at very pointless levels.
Another car manufacturer has been supposedly affected by the Mandel Effect. For years Volvo’s logo has just been a circle with the word “Volvo” in the middle, yes?
Wait, what’s this? Where did that arrow come from? What do you mean it was always there? You may have already known this, but multiple people remember it been a simple circle for its entire existence, yet the arrow was apparently there from day one.
Carl is laughing at me over this, saying my observation skills are poor (worded in a less intelligent manner). Jokes on him – he thought Jerusalem was in Egypt until this morning.
Looney “Toons”… ?
Classic cartoons, and pioneers during the golden age of American Animation. They’ve been there all my life and I’ve enjoyed them as a child as well as an adult. However, it turns out I remembered the name of the show completely wrong.
Looney TOONS makes so much more sense to me, considering it’s an animated carTOON. However, it’s actually called Looney TUNES. Is anyone else in the same boat? I was convinced TOONS was the correct way of spelling it until now.
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a colossal copper statue depicting the Roman Goddess, Libertas. It was a gift to the Americans from the French, where it was unveiled on October 28th 1886.
The statue based on Liberty Island in New York Harbour has millions of visitors a year, allowing tourists to reach the top and get a great view of the city. Many even said they had a brilliant view from the torch… even though it’s been closed since 1916?
German saboteurs bombed a munitions supply not far from the statue in 1916 prior to America’s involvement in the first world war. While the statue only sustained minor damage, most of it was to the right torch bearing arm and ever since there’s been no public access at all.
So that leaves the question, how can so many people claim they’ve visited the torch on TripAdvisor, or even take photos from it if it’s been closed off for over 100 years?
Tank Man is the nickname given to the unidentified protester, who made his way directly in front of a column of tanks in Beijing, 5th June 1989. Pictures of this man halting the tanks is one of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century.
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 weren’t pretty. Both soldiers and civilians died in the violence. The morning after the protests when the Chinese military suppressed the protests by force, Tank Man repeatedly shifted his position in front of a line of tanks to obstruct their path.
The Mandela effect comes in when people cite what they were taught about the incident. The fate of the man isn’t truly known, but according to many people, Tank Man was run over and killed. However, video evidence shows the man was simply dragged away by either the police or bystanders, stumping a lot of people on what they were sure they’d seen otherwise.
Documentaries allegedly highlighted how it Tank Man’s death sparked a lot of outrage, but when you try to search for anything of the sort, it just simply doesn’t exist. That’s a lot of people to remember the event falsely in the same way though.
The Mandela Effect is certainly an interesting concept. However, the idea of realities clashing and people remembering an alternate universe? Doubtful. Collective false memory seems to have been a thing for a long time.
What’s your opinion? Don’t be swayed by what I say, you never know, I could be wrong. Have you ever experienced the Mandela Effect in cases that aren’t listed here? Remember, it has to be something a large group of people also falsely remembered too!
Any brilliant examples you give us stand a chance of being featured on the list!