The Mandela Effect: A Spooky Collective Delusion

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Limits, like fear, are often an illusion.

~ Michael Jordan

 

The flawed nature of human memory and our extraordinary self-deception ability are truly remarkable - even more interesting is when the mental disorientation happens on a collective scale, with masses of people agreeing on the truthfulness of events which never took place. And this, precisely, is what the Mandela Effect is all about.

The phenomenon begun in the year 2013, with the death of Nelson Mandela when a shockingly vast amount of people stubbornly insisted that his death could not be possible, why? because the legendary man had died during the decade of the 80's while in prison. Hundreds and even thousands of these people clearly recalled clips of the widow crying on television and photographs his supposed funeral. How could this happen?

The examples of the effect are abundant, but today I'll bring just five. Are you part of the effect?

 

We Are the Champions by Queen having a different ending than many remember

Can you remember the final lyrics of this song? If you, like most, believe they are “No time for losers, ’cause we are the champions…of the world!  Well, you've just experienced the Mandela Effect. There is no “of the world!” The song simply ends, despite the countless people claiming with obstinate certainty they’ve heard otherwise in the past.

 

Monopoly man having a monocle in his right eye.

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Nop, his face is and has always been monocle-free.

 

Darth Vader saying “Luke, I am your father

Do you remember this mythical scene in star wars? Let's do a little mental task, what does Vader say? Yes, I also remembered something different. It happens that you, I and the remaining 97% of those who know the movie are wrong. In the real sentence Luke's name is never mentioned. But not only you and me remember wrongly, James Earl, the man who lend his voice for the character of Darth Vader also remembers saying ''Luke, I am your father'' and can't believe he never said so... Spooky already?

 

Mona Lisa’s face

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According to some people, La Gioconda was always known for her emotionless face - and they simply can't comprehend that now she smiles. Hundreds swear reading entire books about the expressionless and severity of her features, surprisingly, in this group even some art scholars are included.

 

How many people were inside the presidential car during Kennedy's assassination? Four or six?

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John F. Kennedy’s assassination was one of the most tragic and memorable events in the history of the United States. The witnesses - those who were there, those who saw it in TV and even those who learned about it through books and documentaries - could never forget it. Interestingly, turns out there are two different memories of the incident. Half of the people claim that there were only four people in the car when the president was assassinated, the other half remember six.

I remembered four, and I was mistaken; there were six people sitting in the vehicle that day.


This was just a little taste of what the effect is all about, but the examples go on endlessly. Why are there millions of people completely convinced that a series of highly known events happened in a different way? Some ''theories'' explain that the Mandela Effect is a flicker in reality, product of parallel events in alternative realities accidentally intermingling by some kind of cosmic failure. That in an alternate world Nelson died in the 80s, that Vader said ''Luke, I am your father '', and that there were four people inside the presidential car on that November 22 afternoon of 1963.

Well, I love astrophysics and I believe in professor Stephen Hawking's theory of multiverses - which is more and more accepted among scientist (the theory says that when the universe grew exponentially in the first tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, some parts expanded more quickly than others, creating bubbles of space-time that then developed into an endless amount of universes and a numberless of parallel realities), yet I don't find this related to the Mandela Effect in anyway. Our human mind is fascinating but also easily cheatable. Psychologists have been able to plant false memories with ease since centuries, and even eyewitness reports can be manipulated. So for me the effect is easily explained as inexact cultural memory, propagated by a simple processes of repetition. It is not the world who's wrong of course, but our memory. Yet somehow it is apparently easier to believe that parallel realities have accidentally fused together than to admit our thoughts could be wrong.

At the end of the day, whether if it's alternative realities, time travel or bad memory - the Mandela Effect it’s absolutely captivating.


We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.

~ Iris Murdoch

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Ava