What is Mandela Effect? Origin, Explanation, Examples

What is Mandela effect? Mandela effect implies false memory when a person or a group of people think of the situation that happened, but it never did in reality. Today, we’ll discuss the Mandela effect with examples, its origin, other relevant concepts, and its impact.

Origin of Mandela Effect

Fiona Broome was the person to use the term “Mandela effect” on her website in 2009 based on her observation of the phenomenon. Broome was discussing with other people her memory of the tragic death of South African president Nelson Mandela back in the 1980s in the prison.

However, the reality is that Nelson Mandela died in 2013, but not in the 80s in prison. When she was discussing her memory with the other people, and she realized that she wasn’t the only one experiencing the false memory. Other people also remembered the speech of his widow and the news coverage of his funeral.

It stunned Broome how such a group of people could remember the same event in detail, but it never took place in reality. Her publisher encouraged her to pursue this study, and she launched her website to further study this effect and other similar incidents.

Relevant Concepts 

Mandela effect occurs because of the issues with the memory. Some of the other terms relevant to memory are as follows;


Confabulation comprises your brain that fills in the missing gaps in order to make more sense of things and events. It doesn’t mean that the person is lying, it simply means that the person is remembering the details of the event that actually never occurred. However, the possibility of confabulation amplifies with aging.

Misleading Post-event Information

The information you gather and receive after the occurrence of the event changes your entire memory of the event. It comprises even the slightest and subtle information that could compromise the testimony of the eyewitnesses, and it becomes unreliable.


Priming is the number of factors prior to the event that impacts our perception of the event. It also goes by the name of presupposition and suggestibility. For instance, priming is when you ask how tall or short a person is. You can ask “could see the black car?” or “a black car.” These slight

The memory stored in our brain is in bits and pieces and it changes over time. When you assume that your memory is correct, then it’s not true.

Possible Explanation 

Some of the other possible explanations that would help us to understand the fact are as follows;

Alternate Realities

A theory from quantum physics explains the Mandela effect, and it is probable that alternate universe and alternate reality are happening and mixing up your perception of reality. The theory explains why a group of people experience the same memory, because when the timeline alters so that shifts in reality.

If the concept of an alternate reality seems unrealistic, then you are not alone. In fact, you can’t disapprove of the theory of an alternate reality that other universes don’t exist. It’s a far-fetched theory and it’s attracting the attention of scientists. For many scientists, it’s such a mystery that they would love to explore.

False Memories

False memory is another possible explanation for the Mandela effect. First of all, we’ve to understand why memory can become faulty. For instance, Alexander Hamilton was the founding father of America, but he wasn’t the president. If you ask many people, then they mistakenly believe that he was the US president. Now, the question is why?

Neuroscience explains that the memory of Alexander Hamilton is stored in such a part of the brain where you have the memories of other presidents. Engram is the part of the brain where you have memory traces stored, and schema is the framework where you have similar memories associated.

When you recall a certain memory rather than remembering it perfectly, then it influences various points of the brain and the memory becomes incorrect.

Impact of Internet 

We shouldn’t underestimate the influence of the internet that it’s impacting the memories of people. That’s why the Mandela effect has significantly increased in the digital age of technology and the internet.

However, as we know the internet is a very effective tool for spreading information along with the misconception that attracts the attention of people. Likeminded people then start to develop their own groups and communities based on the misconception. The false perception seems real and factual.

According to a study, people discussed more than 100,000 stories over Twitter for the past 10 years. Roundabout 70% times rumors and misinformation won the debate. It wasn’t because of the manipulation. In fact, people of verified accounts were spreading fake information than the truth.

Every person shares their own version of the story of a particular event, and the false memories impact the perception of other people. For instance, when a person suggests a movie “Shazam” over the internet, then they recall the memory of the Captain Sinbad movies from the 90s, and it impacts their memories. People keep on spreading information until it becomes factual.

When you remember something over time, then it strengthens your confidence in the memory, and it becomes more incorrect every time. If other people keep on offering your fake information, then the memories of the people become fact, and they believe it to be true.

Example of Mandela Effect 

Some of the main examples of the Mandela effect are as follows;

Berenstein Bears

“Berenstein Bears” is a popular kids’ book series, and people remember the memory of the books’ spelling with an “e” rather than an “a.” It’s similar and close to the issue of Oscar Meyer that points out the underlying cognitive reason.

Location of New Zealand

The location of New Zealand on the map is southeast of the country. If you ask people about her location, then they would remember it as northeast rather than the southeast.

Oscar Meyer

It’s an issue of the spelling of the world’s top brands like Oscar Mayer and Hot Dogs. If you ask people, then they would remember the brand name as “Meyer” rather than Mayer.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

If you watch the famous movie Snow White, you would remember the dialogue “Mirror, mirror on the wall; who’s the fairest of them all?” It may shock you to know that the exact phrase is “magic mirror on the wall” rather than “mirror, mirror on the wall.”

Henry VIII Eating a Turkey Leg

People have a memory of Henry VIII’s painting where he’s eating the turkey leg, and they think that there’s no other painting of him. However, there have been similar cartoons.

Conclusion: What is Mandela Effect? Origin, Explanation, Examples 

After an in-depth study of what is Mandela effect; its origin, relevant terms, possible explanation, the impact of the internet, and some examples; we’ve realized that we see the example of the M effect in our lives. If you want to diagnose it, then keep in mind the abovementioned guidelines.

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