Mandela Effect Redux: What Do You Remember?

By on February 20, 2016 // Parallel Universes // 12 Comments

Image: Kevin Gessner via CC by 2.0
Image: Kevin Gessner via CC by 2.0

It’s been quite a few months since the Internet had its collective nervous breakdown over the fact that the Berenstein Bears are actually the Berenstain Bears.

That revelation was a wild ride for many, myself included, but did you know that there are actually several other strange inconsistencies in people’s memories? Inconsistencies that lead some to believe that they’re actually living in a universe other than their own?

This phenomenon has come to be called the Mandela Effect. It’s the strange problem of having memories that go against reality. You could even call them Alter-vus. That is, of course, if you believe they might be due to a meddling time traveler.

Well, while time travel and parallel universes may not be the culprit here (we could all simply be misremembering things), it’s an interesting phenomenon nonetheless.

So let’s have a look at some of these other incorrect memories that people have reported. Perhaps you share their experiences – perhaps you’re from another world!

New Zealand

Where would you say New Zealand is located on the map? Maybe you’re right, maybe you’re wrong. But some remember it being to the northwest of Australia, when in actuality it is to the southeast.

Forrest Gump

If you’ve seen the movie, you know the iconic scene: Forrest Gump is sitting on a bench, and offers a chocolate to the woman sitting next to him. What does he say, again? “My momma always said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’” That’s how many remember it. But you know what? It’s actually “Life was like a box of chocolates.” Curious that even this video’s title got it wrong.

Star Wars

In yet another iconic movie scene, Darth Vader has bested Luke Skywalker in combat at Cloud City, and he reveals a startling truth: “Luke,” he says, “I am your father.” Or does he? In reality, he says, “No, I am your father.” (Maybe this has something to do with it.)

Mirror, Mirror

In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Evil Queen gazes into her mystical mirror and says, “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Except she doesn’t: it’s actually “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

When Fred Rodgers sang his well-known tune at the beginning of his show, Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood, maybe you sang along. Try it with me: “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, it’s a…” Wait, that’s actually not quite correct.

It’s “A beautiful day in this neighborhood.”


Dilemma. A simple word. But there are many out there who will look at it and see something very wrong. Because they remember it as Dilemna, with a silent “n.”

There’s an entire website dedicated to this one.

“Beam me up, Scotty!”

…was never uttered in any episode of Star Trek.

Number of U.S. States

Some remember the United States as having 51 or even 52 states.

The correct answer: 50. Just 50.

From the comments…

Several individuals in the comments section of that old Berenst#in Bears post provided some unique experiences of their own. Here are a few I found particularly interesting (click their names to view the original comments).

Caps opening the other way?

“I also remember bottle caps opening the other way. I distinctly remember one day in high school going to open a can of Dr Pepper, turning clockwise, and being surprised and very disturbed when it tightened rather than opening. I’m quite confident I didn’t, one day, suddenly forget how to open bottles, and I don’t recall suffering a traumatic brain injury either. Has anyone else noticed any other timeline discrepancies?” – Robert

Raiders of the Lost Ark

“When I went to the movie theater in 1981 to see “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, the actress who portrayed Marion Ravenwood was Margot Kidder, not Karen Jane Allen.” – Alan Wescoat

World Population

“I remember it being a big deal that the world population hit 6 billion in 1980, and that the estimate was 10 billion by 2000. Wikipedia says, 4.4 billion in 1980, and 6 billion in 2000.” – Sharkay DM

Cup Noodles

“There has been no O between Cup and Noodles since 1993.” – act_on_love


“Get ready for this one. There is a popular Japanese game/novel (choose your own adventure style) about time travel, also adapted into manga and anime. Part of the premise is that John Titor is a real time traveler and becomes a character in the story. It first appeared in 2009 and is called … STEINS;GATE” – Radio Shock

I really need to get around to playing Steins;Gate.

Anyway, do any of these strike a chord? Are they proof of parallel universes, or simply incorrect memories? Do you remember anything that’s not what it used to be?

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About the Author

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. He manages Stranger Dimensions in between changing aquarium filters and reading bad novels about mermaids.

  • Rick Kistner

    Yes, Jif peanut butter used to be called Jiffy. I noticed the change sometime in the late 80’s and even at the time wondered if I had jumped universes.

    • it was like right around the time my first son was born – late 1989

  • Michael

    No matter if it’s a real Mandela Effect or just one of the most fascinating effects of human memory: I had two such effects so far.

    1. Few years ago an elderly friend of mine told me, he had been to a certain public garden with his wife. I asked him how he climbed the stairs, as she needed a wheelchair. He said there were no stairs but a ramp. We really started arguing about it, because a week before I climbed the STAIRS to go to that garden. Stairs, years old, with grass and moss. I remembered (and still remember) the image, it were stairs. Next day I went there and it was a ramp.

    2. For 1 1/2 years I started the day in office with a coffee. Waiting for the machine to finish, I looked left to the bulletin-board, and there was nothing disturbing my sight. Then, one day, there was an air condition in the way. First I was happy to have that new item, as it could get really hot in that kitchen during summer. I asked a colleague when it had been installed. Well… It had always been there, for more than 8 years.

    No.2 could still be a matter of REALLY poor attention. But no. 1… that was spooky. Until I read of Mandela Effect and Berenst#ein Bears.

  • Greekgurl

    Okay, I used to be a travel agent and I KNOW Australia was a 22 to 23 hour flight from LA, and it was located about where New Zealand is now. What the heck? When did it move? It wasn’t that close to Papua New Guinea. I thought it was below Tonga, Figi and the Cook Islands! My cousin was a travel agent also and she took my aunt and uncle there and they distinctly remember it being more than a 14 to 15 hour flight from LA. I must be going mental.

  • Pogrzebacz

    Hello, I came to this site because I knew about “ Bears” problem, yet I haven’t expected that I’ll get to such collective hallucination too.
    My example, is, or rather is not, a documentary movie about air crash. I asked many former students from my University about it, most confirmed that in old not-so-good times of exchanging DivX movies on CDs they watched a “Seconds from disaster” documentary episode about a characteristic air crash (some told “in the Alps” about it).
    If you don’t know, in these times only few people in a campus had CD recorders and blank CDs were very expensive (CD-RW was handled like something radioactive not to damage it). Pirated copies of different DivX-encoded movies were exchanged on CDs, after watching, students exchanged CDs with others without copying (copying to what? 15GB drives?).
    The problem is that this disaster has never took place and there is no information about it in list of “Seconds from disaster” episodes.
    Here are few details because I watched the movie too:
    1. The movie was distributed a typical way in a campus: A burned CD with DivX (AVI probably) file, Polish voice-over, English track in background, probably as all series these times ripped from some TV by cable provider because DVBrips started in Poland few years later – 2009-10.
    2. The disaster was a bit similar to National Airlines Flight 27, I don’t remember aircraft model, but with the same 3 engine locations as in plane from in 27, the disaster happened over mountains, starting from engine explosion. Contrary to Flight 27, it was fatal for all passengers (in fact when I was looking for this movie I came across information about Flight 27).
    3. The result of engines fault caused significant fuel or energy loss, pilots tried APU, then got no power except R.A.T. Some time before crash the plane was gliding. I am not an aviation hobbyist, my information about what is APU or R.A.T. comes from that movie.

    • David

      I remember an episode like that too, about an air collision.

  • Katherine Glass

    when nelson mandela died in 2013 I was spinning out because I thought he had died just before I was born, I had always thought he was dead, even though I knew he was alive.

  • TitorTales

    I love Steins Gate.
    I just wonder if anyone tried making their experiments or if that can really work for time traveling.
    And relating to this article, I also feel like my memories from my childhood are so blurry that I can’t remember anything at all. I did not suffer from amnesia or anything and I can recognize people from my past. But when I try to recall them myself, or the happenings of the past, I can’t simply do it accurately at all.
    I used to think that maybe I’m not truly living in this world. It’s like I’m a vague existence that lives for the sake of living.
    Could it be that I exist in different worlds at the same time?

  • Chris R.Z.

    Does anyone else remember tank boy getting run over in 1989? News wouldn’t show full footage because it was to graphic. Just found out he didn’t die there

    • emily

      yeah i do i remember seeing the carnage left after the tank ran him over

  • Chris Prestogeorge

    “Summertime,” the aria composed by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess; the lyrics are by DuBose Heyward, the author of the novel Porgy on which the opera was based. My Porgy and Bess compact disc is in storage, however I dutifully recall the lyrics as:
    ‘Summertime and the livin’ is easy
    CATfish are jumpin’ and the cotton is HIGH…’
    ‘Summertime and the livin’ is easy
    FISH are jumpin’ and the cotton is FINE…’

    The recording | YouTube upload, ‘Doc Watson and David Grisman – “Summertime”‘ has not been affected.

  • phishy

    The Giant Panda went extinct in 1987. I remember it distinctly because my science teacher had a rather sad little party for it in class, and it was all over the news. It was impossible to breed them in captivity, and China was uninterested in trying to save them because the economic benefits of exploiting the resources of their habitat outweighed their value. The last one died in a zoo in Beijing in November of 1987. It was the first time conservationism made an impression on my (then) young mind. Imagine my surprise when, about 2 years later, they still existed.
    I posted this as a reply to another article as well, in case it seems like anyone had seen it before. But as far as I can tell, my mother and I are the only people that recall this event.