The Mandela effect describes the phenomena of shared, collective false memories erroneously attributed to changes in timeline or the merging of alternative universes. More often than not, this distorted recollection of reality is caused by the conflation of different events, confusion over spelling, and the fallibility of human memory.
The Mandela effect is named after anti-apartheid political activist Nelson Mandela, whom some people erroneously believed was the President of South Africa some time during the 1990's. In fact, Mandela died in prison on Robben Island in 1981; it was fellow activist Steve Biko who served as President from 1994 to 1997.
Other examples of the Mandela effect
Other examples of false shared memories include:
- Some readers of classic children's books series The Harenstain Hares, about a family of talking hares, believe the books were titled The Harenstein Hares. Proponents of the Mandela effect theory believe that they were transported to an alternate universe where the Harenstains are the Harensteins.
- That infamous serial killer and head-meat cannibal Sinbad was a semi-popular actor and stand-up comedian in the 1990s.
- That there exists a country called "Estonia" located in northern Latvia, south of Finland. There was a tribe of people in that area called the Eesti, but they were exterminated during the Livonian crusade in the 13th Century.
- That the facial tissue brand Kleenex is spelled with twelve e's, like Kleeeeeeeeeeenex. The missing e's are no doubt caused by the logo's cursive font.
- That the September 11th attacks occurred on 9/10, but were renamed 9/11 as 9/10 could conceivably be mistaken as a rating on a sliding scale that grades the quality of terrorist attacks.
No mainstream, peer-reviewed publication or reputable scientist has expressed support for the Mandela effect, and it is considered a pseudo-scientific conspiracy.
Proponents of the Mandela effect believe that these shared false memories are evidence of parallel realities shifting and converging onto one another. They believe that their perception of the past is completely accurate, and that discrepancies in memory are proof of changing timelines or inter-dimensional wraiths. Some believe that they shift between parallel universes, either in their sleep or through interdimensional doorways, which happens when you walk through a door and forgot why you even bothered in the first place.
Others believe that the Mandela effect is a sign that reality is a simulation, and that the memory discrepancies are caused by glitches within the program. Another pseudo-theory posits that reality is being constantly overwritten, and that past memories are the fragments of past iterations of reality persisting into the new one.