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Mandela Effect

The Mandela Effect is an observed phenomenon in which a large segment of the population misremembers a significant event or shares a memory of an event that did not actually occur. Fiona Broome, a paranormal researcher, coined the term to describe collective false memory when she discovered 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. In fact, the former president of South Africa was released from prison in 1990 and was very much alive at the time of the conference.

According to quantum theory enthusiasts, the Mandela Effect presents evidence that the multiverse does exist. This belief is based on the idea that within each universe, parallel realities and alternate versions of events and objects are present and mixing with the timeline. In psychology, however, the effect is sometimes compared to déjà vu and can be explained by the human capacity for confabulation: an unintentional distortion of memory. Confabulated memories, which are often associated with the brain's frontal lobes, may seem every bit as clear and detailed as events that have actually happened and are not intentionally created to deceive.

Other people believe that the Mandela Effect is linked to conspiracies involving the Large Hardon Collider (LHC) and the rupture of the space-time continuum or to the flat-Earth theories. Still, others believe the Mandela Effect is caused by simple tricks being played by the mind.

The Mandela Effect is relevant to project management and human resources, as well as other areas of business. Careful documentation is essential to ensure that details of agreements are clearly specified and not open to interpretation. In cases where specified details are not adhered to, the documentation can serve as proof of the original agreement.

Characteristics of the Mandela Effect

One major characteristic that differentiates between the Mandela Effect and conspiracy theories is that the Mandela Effect does not attempt to make or find any answers.

Other, more specific characteristics of the Mandela Effect include:

  • the occurrence of false memories;
  • false contextualization of an event that occurred;
  • ignorance of linguistics or remembering words spelled incorrectly and
  • distortion of existing memories.

Most of the time, memories of events or objects that are subjected to the Mandela Effect are not significant enough to alter the course of human history if they were true. However, they are profound enough that they could create a panic amongst people who are struggling to come to terms with the truth.

The Internet has played a powerful role in facilitating the spread of the Mandela Effect by sharing information, thus allowing misconceptions and false memories to gain traction. People may form social groups or communities based on their common falsehood, causing their imagination to seem more factual.

Examples of the Mandela Effect

Common examples of the Mandela Effect include clients that have memories of deliverables and requirements that the vendor never promised and employees who complete assignments that bear no resemblance to what they were asked to do because they don't remember the specifics correctly.

Other specific examples include the quote from the Snow White fairytale which most people believe to say, "Mirror, mirror on the wall," but which is actually, "Magic mirror on the wall." The Star Wars movies encounter a similar circumstance of the Mandela Effect with the quote, "Luke, I am your father." The real line reads, "No, I am your father."

Furthermore, many people collectively have false memories of how the Berenstain Bears book series title is spelt. Most people remember the name as the Berenstein Bears, using an 'e' instead of the correct 'a' in the last part of the name. Similarly, many people believe the name of the popular hot dog brand Oscar Mayer is instead spelled Oscar Meyer, using an 'e' in the last name instead of the proper 'a.'

This was last updated in July 2019

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