Publication date January 11, 2024

10 Best Examples of the Mandela Effect That'll Shake Your Reality

Ever stumbled across a memory everyone swears is wrong? Welcome to the mind-bending world of the Mandela Effect, where shared false memories collide with reality, shaking our trust in both!

Mandela dead newspaper clip

Source: USA Today

That's right, we're talking Berenstain Bears with a double "e," Shazaam genie instead of Sinbad, and flip-flopped capitals for countries like Australia and New Zealand. These aren't isolated mishaps – these are collective glitches in our shared perception, sparking debates about parallel universes, faulty timelines, and the very nature of memory itself.

The term “Mandela Effect” originated in 2009 by Fiona Broome, after she discovered that she, along with many others, believed that  had died in the 1980s (when he actually died in 2013). 

So what exactly causes people—who are not connected—to remember the same wrong details about an event that never actually happened?

Buckle up, because we're about to dive into the science behind this phenomenon and the 10 most mind-blowing Mandela Effect examples that'll have you questioning everything you thought you knew. 

What is Mandela's effect?

As mentioned earlier, the Mandela effect is an observed phenomenon in which a large mass of people misremember a particular event or share a memory of an Event that did not actually occur.

Fiona Broome

Source: Fiona Broome

A paranormal researcher, Fiona Broome introduced the term to describe 

collective false memory when she found out that a significant number of people at a conference she was attending in 2010 shared her memory that Nelson Mandela had died in prison during the 1980s. 

However, in reality, the former president of South Africa was released from prison in 1990 and was very much alive at the time of the conference.

Why Is it Called the Mandela Effect?

But why Finona named it the Mandela Effect? During her conference, Fiona coined the Mandela Effect after discussing the death of Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa. 

She said others mistakenly believed Mandela had died in prison in the 1980s, but in reality, Mandela was still very much alive and actually passed away in 2013

Broome and many others remembered seeing news reports of Mandela’s death and significant details such as watching a speech given by his widow—all of which never happened. So the name Mandela Effect was named after the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. 

What Causes the Mandela Effect?

While there have been many studies to discover what really causes the Mandela Effect, these researchers don’t entirely understand the reasons. However, there are some commonly cited reasons it may occur including: 

1. False Memories

One of the biggest reasons or causes of the Mandela Effect is the idea of false memories or distorted recollections of an event. 

According to Dr. Schiff, who is a Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medical College,  “From a neuroscience perspective, when you recall memories—versus remembering them perfectly—they become influenced to the extent that they can eventually become incorrect.”

You may be now thinking how can our memories become false ones? So study shows false memories can result from misrepresentations in our working, short-term, and long-term memories, meaning our recall of certain details or events can become distorted over time. Or, we may create and believe in false memories based on suggestions or misinformation from others around us.

Our memory can sometimes be susceptible to suggestion so for instance, in the case of the Henry VIII painting, it would seem likely that many saw a cartoon image that did exist, and that their brains recreated that image in the form of a painting. 

Moreover, research also suggests false memories can be formed through the imagination. When a person imagines a certain event or experience in vivid detail, it can be incorporated into their memory as if it actually happened.

Also, sometimes people with a psychotic illness can experience false memories. These psychotic symptoms may include hallucinations and/or delusions, where the person believes they are experiencing events that are not rooted in reality. 

2. Social Media Influence 

Internet, especially social media platforms can play a big role in the spread of misinformation, which may be created by shared false memories. 

Research suggests that we’re more open to remembering misinformation when details go with preexisting beliefs or attitudes. And, as we all know how repetition can impact everything, and seeing the same misinformation repeatedly, we are more likely to believe it’s true.

And while we all are constantly scrolling through our social media, we quickly spread any information even if it’s not true. We believe that if so many people believe this, details and events can be true. 

In other terms, Dr. Schiff says, “Remembering something repeatedly builds your confidence in the memory, even if it grows more inaccurate over time, so if you see stories online or posts or comments on social media where more people are providing incorrect details, these actually become incorporated into your memory as facts.”

3. Confabulation

As per several reports, another possible cause of the Mandela Effect is a neuropsychiatric disorder known as confabulation. It is a condition where a person’s brain creates erroneous memories without intending to deceive anyone and genuinely believes that the false memory is true. 

Symptoms of confabulation include exaggeration of a real event, mismatching memories from one event into another, recalling a new memory and thinking it took place at an earlier time, filling in missing informational gaps or creating an entirely new memory that never really occurred.

As per the research, people with brain injury, bipolar disorder, dementia, or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS) are more susceptible to confabulation. 

4. Misleading Post-Event Information

Research suggests that receiving new information after an event has happened may transform or even replace existing memories of the event. In simple terms, it means that learning new information after your brain has already stored a memory of an event or image may lead to your memory becoming distorted.

Examples of the Mandela effect

Let’s come to the main part of the blog, the death of Nelson Mandela isn’t the only example of the Mandela Effect. We have been wrong about so many events as well. There are plenty of sites dedicated to people chronicling examples of the Mandela Effect, including Reddit. 

We often feel disturbed to find out how we, and a lot of other people, remember an event that isn’t exactly the way they remembered it, and it just shakes our reality!

Here are some examples of the Mandela Effect that will leave you Whaaaaaaat: 

1. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

When we talk about the Mandela Effect, this one always comes first. If you ever watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1965), you probably remember the line, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” As you can see in the above subtitles screenshot, the actual line began with the phrase “Magic mirror on the wall” instead. Crazy right? But it doesn’t help matters that Julia Roberts and Lily Collins starred in a 2012 live-action film based on Snow White called "Mirror Mirror"!

2. Oops!... I Did It Again Headset

Oops!... I Did It Again Headset

Source: NSS Magazine

One of the recent Medela effects has to do with singer Britney Spears’s famous music video. Many people distinctly remember Britney wearing a microphone headset in the video, but, after rewatching it, it’s clear she never wore it in the video. Then how do we all have a clear image of this? One YouTuber says it's likely because Britney is famous for performing live with a microphone headset, and the two are merging in our heads. 

3. Location of New Zealand

Location of New Zealand

Where is New Zealand to Australia? If you look at the map above, you will notice that it is southeast of the country. But, there is a large number of people who claim to remember New Zealand being northeast instead of southeast.

4. Pikachu's Black-Tipped Tail

Pikachu's Black-Tipped Tail

Source: Pinterest

Many claim to remember Pikachu, a Pokémon character, as having a black-tipped tail, but in reality, the character has always had a solid yellow tail. This false memory or we can say confusion may stem from the fact that Pikachu, as you can see in the above picture, does have black-tipped ears.

5. Mickey Mouse's Suspenders

Mickey Mouse's Suspenders

Source: X

There are very few chances if anyone doesn’t know this character, Micky Mouse is indeed one of the most popular cartoon characters in the world. But, even Disney’s mouse is often misremembered in the minds of fans. Many people often report the character wearing suspenders when he does not. The original Mickey is wearing shorts but is completely unclothed on the top half of his body—how shocking.

6. Sally Field's Famous Oscar Speech

Sally Field's Famous Oscar Speech

Source: Listverse

When Gidget (1965–1966) star Sally Field won an Oscar in 1985, her acceptance speech included the oft-repeated, oft-parodied line "You like me, you really like me!" Except, what she really said was "I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me." 90s kids probably own their false memory to Jim Carrey’s parody of the line in his film The Mask, when his character says the line "You love me, you really love me" in clear homage to Field's speech.

7. No, Really, It's Not Looney Toons

Yes, you read it right,  the Looney Tunes are cartoons, not cartunes. And yes, you probably remember watching the next generation of characters on a TV show called Tiny Toon Adventures. However, the original show was Looney Tunes, not Looney Toons, as a companion to Merrie Melodies.

8. "Play It Again, Sam"...Or Not

Source: Ranker

"Casablanca" a 1942 American romantic drama film is one of the most famous films of all time. But, I’m not sure if you have watched it as it is old very old movie, however, the movie is well known even today for its famous line "Play it again, Sam." Sadly, if you are familiar with that line, you may be confused to know that it was never actually said in that exact way in the film. Ingrid Bergman's character however does say "Play it once, Sam." 

This confusion may be that Woody Allen made a film in 1972 called "Play It Again, Sam" about a film critic obsessed with "Casablanca"

9. Jif, Not "Jiffy"

Jif, Not

A quite different from other examples, but this one also comes in a list of the best examples of the Mandela Effect. Well, that’s true there is Jiffy Lube, there's Jiffy Pop popcorn, there's Skippy peanut butter, and you be able to whip up a PB&J in a jiffy, but no, unfortunately, there is no such thing as Jiffy Peanut Butter. It is Jif and has always been Jif, though many would say the opposite. 

10.  Shazaam, Starring Sinbad?

 Shazaam, Starring Sinbad?

Source: Insider

One of the most popular and best examples of the Mandela Effect is the collective memory of a film called "Shazaam" that starred the actor/comedian Sinbad in the 1990s. You’d be surprised to know that in reality, no such movie exists, although there was a children's movie called Kazaam featuring Shaquille O'Neal and some other coincidences that can explain how this movie became created or remembered in many people’s minds. You may be more confused but now there is a movie series based on the DC Comics superhero Shazam, though it does not star Sinbad.

There are endless Mandela Effect examples to cover, but I wanted to add only those that are the best. Mandela's effect is like a reminder that reality is not always as solid as we think. But, how much can we truly trust our memories? And if they can be so easily warped, what does that say about the nature of reality itself? There are just too many questions. Anyway, which false memories still haunt your brainwaves? Do share in the comments below!

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q. Is the Mandela Catalogue real?

It’s hard to tell if The Mandela Catalogue is real, as it depends on many factors including how you define the term. The Mandela Catalogue, however, is an analog horror web series created by American YouTuber Alex Kister in 2021. And if we stay around in this context, this horror web series is undeniably real within the fictional universe it creates. However, whether you see it as pure fiction or something more unsettling, the Mandela Catalogue has become a significant phenomenon in the realm of analog horror and internet culture.

Q. What is the Mandela Effect quiz?

The Mandela Effect quiz is a quiz that challenges your understanding of shared experiences by usually featuring questions about well-known Mandela Effect examples. 

Q. Does the Monopoly guy have a Monocle?

No, the Monopoly guy doesn’t have a monocle research proves that the Rich Uncle Pennybags never wore a monocle. It’s one of the common 

examples of the Mandela Effect.

Q. Why doesn't Curious George have a tail?

While the reason why Curious George doesn’t have a tail is unclear, many believe that the Reys chose to depict George without a tail to make him more appealing and relatable to children, making it more possible for them to imagine themselves as Curious George.

Q. Did the Monopoly man ever have a monocle?

No, the Monopoly man never had a monocle. It’s one of the common 

examples of the Mandela Effect.

Q. Does Curious George have a tail?

No, Curious George doesn’t have a tail. Many people believe that the Reys chose to depict George without a tail to make him more appealing and relatable to children, making it more possible for them to imagine themselves as Curious George.

Q. What is The Mandela Catalogue?

The Mandela Catalogue is a horror web series created by American YouTuber Alex Kister in 2021. The series became first popular online through analysis of its complex story and reaction videos from internet users.

Q Did Mickey Mouse die in 2022?

No, Mickey Mouse didn’t die in 2022, however, there was a TikTok trend that suggests he is dead based on a page on the List of Deaths wiki that documents all the deaths that happen in popular media.

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