mandela effect

A friend told me about the Mandela effect last year. It’s a strange phenomenon in which some people have memories that differ from the common memory. It’s named the Mandela effect because there are thousands of people out there who remember Nelson Mandela dying in prison.

The way my friend introduced the idea to me was by asking me what I remembered about the JFK assassination. I wasn’t there. I wasn’t alive at the time. But who hasn’t seen the famous videos taken of the event? He asked me how many people I remembered seeing in the car when he was shot. It seemed like a strange question but I played along.

I brought to mind the images from my memory of that famous footage… The black convertible moves slowly down the street lined with people waving. You can almost hear them cheering. JFK and his wife, Jacki, sit in the back seat smiling and waving to the crowds. Suddenly, there’s something wrong with JFK and there’s a general sense of panic. Jacki looks like she’s trying to crawl out of the seat and over the trunk of the car. The man in front of JFK, the front passenger, turns around and reaches toward the president who was unresponsive. The driver seems to pick up speed a bit.

“There were four people in the car,” I told him.

He told me that was also his memory then told me I should look up a video of the assassination because I will see something very different.

I pulled out my smartphone and watched the video. I thought it was a joke. The convertible wasn’t right. I never remember it having three rows of seats, only two. There were only four people in the vehicle not six! Who are the people in the middle seat? Apparently, the Governor of Texas and his wife were in that middle seat in the video I now watched. And one of the bullets that struck JFK, went into the Governor, injuring him. That seems like something you’d remember if that’s what you grew up seeing. Which I hadn’t.

It was unnerving. Chilling, in fact. I wondered what it all meant. I know what I remembered. I felt very certain of it. How could these videos, all the videos I could find of the event, show something else entirely?

That, he explained, is the Mandela effect.

The differing memories regarding the JFK assassination and Mandela’s death are only two of many instances that are reported as Mandela Effects.

While there are many examples of the Mandela Effect, the list below notes items I have personally experienced. I’ll go into detail about some of these in later posts.

  • Events:
    • JFK assassination
    • Rod Stewart death (Not identified as a Mandela Effect but I remember hearing the report of his death clearly and feeling confused to learn he was still alive.)
    • 9-11 Pentagon attack: number of deaths
    • The Black Tom Island attack by Germans during WWI
  • Physical:
    • Changes to human anatomy: kidney location, skull shape, rib cage shape, fibula, jaw size, organ locations
    • Changes in geography: Cuba size and location, Greenland size and location, Australia/New Zealand location and relationship, Bahama location, location of South America in relation to North America, Sizes of countries in South America, number of states in the United States
    • Gadgets that I remember already existing when they were supposedly invented (Not reported as a Mandela Effect but they’re blips I remember.)
    • Scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz” and the pistol
    • Jean Luc Picard character on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and the crystal he carried
    • Lady Justice statues and the sword
    • Red hats on Easter Island statues
    • Henry the VIII painting with huge drumstick in his hand
    • Access to the Statue of Liberty arm for visitors
  • Words/Language/Branding:
    • Jiffy/Jif peanut butter
    • The ending of Queen’s song, “We are the Champions”
    • The line, “Hello Clarice”, from the movie, “Silence of the Lambs”
    • Gordon’s/Gorton’s fish
    • “Lucy, you’ve got some splainin’ to do” from the Lucille Ball Show
    • Sally Fields’ acceptance speech: “You like me, you really like me.” vs. “You like me. Right now, you like me”
    • Daylight savings time/daylight saving time
    • Phil Collins’ song “In the Air Tonight”: “Hold on” vs. “Oh Lord”
    • Lay-z-boy/La-Z-Boy
    • Eddy’s/Edy’s ice cream
    • Wicked witch line in the Wizard of Oz movie: “Fly my pretties, fly!” vs. “Fly fly fly!”
    • CliffNotes /Cliff’sNotes
    • ReddiWhip /ReddiWip
    • Forrest Gump movie line: “Life is like a box of chocolates” vs. “Life was like a box of chocolates”


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