Mandela Effect Confuses, Purports Potential Parallel Universes

Conspiracy theory strangely points out false communal memories

Gabi Marmet, Staff Writer

When you picture the Monopoly man, Rich Uncle Pennybags, what do you see? A thick white mustache, tall black hat, and a cane? Well I hope you don’t picture him with a monocle because he doesn’t have one. Think about a book that you read when you were younger about a family of four bears… “The Berenstein Bears,” right? Wrong. It’s actually “The Berenstain Bears.”

Feeling confused? These are just two of the many examples of the Mandela Effect, a false memory that a large group of people believe happened, but really never occurred. The Mandela Effect craze began when a number of individuals all remembered Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 80s––in reality, he died in 2013. Some even remember seeing his funeral on TV and hearing on the news in the 80s, but Mandela lived on to become the President of South Africa after being freed from his  prison on Robben Island. 

Normally, incorrectly remembering something is not seen as strange, but when a number of people shared the same memory of Mandela’s death, it became a sensation, and others began noticing similar falsified memories. Since the term “The Mandela Effect” was created in 2009, more attention has been garnered as large groups falsely remember events, logos, and media. 

A popular example of the Mandela Effect is a famous line from the movie “Star Wars.” Thousands of people, including myself, recall the villain Darth Vader saying, “Luke, I am your father,” but when rewatching the movie, people have realized that “Luke” was never said: Vader only says “I am your father.” Another example  is in the movie “Snow White.” The Evil Queen, Queen Grimhilde, allegedly says the famous quote, “Mirror mirror on the wall… Who’s the fairest of them all?” However, it has come to people’s attention that the Evil Queen says “magic mirror” instead of “mirror, mirror.” While some people blame this effect on people’s forgetfulness or tendency to misremember words, others believe in the idea of an alternative universe or reality. 

There are several theories claiming that individuals have shifted from a different parallel universe, one where their false memories were reality. People theorize that with each decision an individual makes, multiple alternate realities could result, each consisting of a different outcome from that decision. As a simple example, if a person were to choose to eat at a certain restaurant instead of another, an alternate reality, or parallel universe would be created––one where they eat at one restaurant, another where they eat at the other. So, the rationale behind the Mandela Effect is that some individuals shifted from an alternate reality where, for example, Mandela died in the 80s. Although this theory is a very large conjecture, there is still the possibility that it could be true.