The Mandela effect applies to a circumstance where a large audience assumes that an incident happened when it did not happen. Looking back on the roots of the Mandela effect, some well-known explanations and plausible causes for this unusual juxtaposition of experiences will shed some light on this peculiar phenomenon.

In 2009, Fiona Broome invented the word “Mandela Effect,” when she launched a website describing her observance of the occurrence. Broome was speaking to several people at a forum on how she recalled the tragedy of the demise of Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, in the eighties at a South African prison. Nelson Mandela however did not die in a prison in the 1980s — he died in 2013. When Broome started sharing about her memories with other people, she realised she was not alone. Others recalled seeing coverage of his death and his widow’s speech.

Broome was surprised that so many could recall in such depth the exact similar incident despite it never occurring. She began to explore what she called the Mandela Effect and other cases like it. 

This is not the only case of such false collective memory. With the idea of the Mandela Effect, other group misrepresentations of memories started to surface, such as:  

Luke, I am your father. 

You undoubtedly recall Darth Vader uttering the iconic sentence, “Luke, I am your father,” if you watched Star Wars: episode V — The Empire Strikes Back. You will then be shocked to hear that the line was actually, “No, I’m your father.” Most people recall the line as the first rather than the second one.

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall

You still recall the line: ‘Mirror, Mirror, who’s the fairest of them all,’ when you see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. You would be surprised to discover, then, the line actually got began with the expression ‘Magic Mirror on the wall’

Why is this effect actually taking place? Some theories are explained below:   

Alternate realities

One principle on which the Mandela effect is based arose from quantum physics and corresponds to the view that it is probable that alternative worlds or dimensions take shape and mix with our timeline, rather than a fixed timeline of events. In theory, it will lead to groups sharing the same experiences when we move through these various realities when the time-line has been shifted. If you think that seems a little unreal, then you are not alone. The notion of alternative universes is not unprovable, which implies that there is no way to genuinely disprove the absence of these other realms. This is why such a vague theory is still gathering popularity within the Mandela effect theorists. You can not show that it is not valid, but the potential can not be fully discounted.

False memories

False memories provide a more plausible interpretation of the Mandela influence. As memories are recalled and not perfectly recalled, they are affected enough that they can end up being false. Expression is therefore unreliable and therefore not infallible. 

Memory-related concepts

This adds to the probability that memory problems are the cause, not the alternative universes. There are also many memory-related subtopics that may play a part in this phenomena. Here are several options to take into account:

Confabulation: the imagination fills in memory gaps that are absent from the experiences to make better sense of them. That’s not misleading, just reminding of details that never existed. With age, confabulation tends to develop.

Post-event information: Knowledge after an incident will affect the recollection about an incident.   This involves subtle incidents which explains why sometimes eyewitness testimonials can be untrustworthy.

Priming: Priming explains the stimuli that influence our understanding of a case. Memory is basically a fragile component that can be modified over time and processed in the brain. While we think our memories are right, that is not always the case.

The Effect of the Internet

It should not be overlooked the role of the Internet in shaping mass memories. It is certainly no accident that in this modern era the Mandela influence has developed. The internet may be an effective means of disseminating knowledge and this information dissemination is able to develop misunderstandings and assumptions. Then people start building communities focused on this falsehood, and what was once in the imagination becomes factual. In reality, a massive analysis of more than 100.000 Twitter-wide news reports over a 10-year period found that every time, hoaxes and rumour prevailed over the facts by around 70 percent. None was this the product of tampering or bots, and it was confirmed that the dissemination of falsified knowledge was done by people with verified accounts.

This notion of how quickly false knowledge is distributed on the internet could lead to explaining the Mandela effect. A person’s perception or recollection of an incident is distinguished by certain fake perceptions that may change other people’s memories and influence them to hold them in mind. This theory comes with proof that recalling something enhances trust in recollection time and time again, even though over time it becomes more imprecise. When more and more individuals presented misleading information, they become facts and reinforced their confidence that they are right in other people’s memory.


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