It’s Mandela Effect time! I recently became aware of another potential Mandela Effect that I wanted to write about while it was still relatively fresh in my mind. This time, it’s the existence of the narwhal, a one-toothed unicorn fish. What?!?!
I’ve been reading The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut. When he mentioned the narwhal in this 1959 novel, I was so freaked out I thought I was going to have an out of body experience. I thought the narwhal was a fake animal of relatively recent construction.
I gravitate toward the weird. I love it when mother nature gets her freak on. Ripley’s Believe it or Not is a shrine to the weird and my personal Mecca. Bizarre (to me) cultural practices are fascinating. I love the old circus “freak shows”.
I want to blame learning about the platypus (in elementary school) as the thing that initiated my attraction to this stuff but I think I’ve been secretly drawn to it for much longer.
But, come on, the platypus? It’s part duck, part beaver, part otter. It’s a mammal that lays eggs, for Pete’s sake. It was one of the funniest things I’d ever learned about. Had I learned about the narwhal, a strange animal that has apparently been documented since at least medieval times, I would have remembered it. What child’s imagination wouldn’t have been captured by a unicorn fish? (I know. Just because I didn’t learn about it doesn’t mean it never existed. Plus, what elementary school is going to cover every weird animal on planet Earth, right? I get it.)
I remember when I first learned about the narwhal. It was around 10 years ago when that annoying song and video came out, flooding the airwaves. I thought it was something silly an artist made up, like a Pikachu or tribble. I didn’t understand the craze that swept the nation but assumed it would pass soon enough. I dismissed it entirely.
Now imagine you learned that the Pikachu and tribble were real animals. Weird, right?
So reading a 1959 novel mentioning an animal I thought was concocted in the 2000’s was disorienting to say the least. I did a quick search and sure enough, tons of pictures of REAL narwhal popped up. I couldn’t believe it!
I recognize that not learning about the animal before being exposed to that cartoon doesn’t prove anything except a lack of knowledge. That’s the first thing that occurred to me. I couldn’t confidently say this was an example of the Mandela Effect except for a nagging feeling.
So, out of curiosity, I did another search and learned that others have included the narwhal as an example of the Mandela Effect. That’s also not proof of anything except, perhaps, that a group of people lacked knowledge of the thing. I still felt better knowing the narwhal might fall into the Mandela category.
For my own future peace of mind, I did a quick search on freaky animals. I learned about the okapi, an animal with zebra legs, giraffe head, and deer body. I also learned about the boney eared assfish which look like oversized zombie sperm.
I didn’t freak out and think these were more examples of the Mandela Effect. I was just disappointed that I hadn’t learned about these creatures before now. Again, there’s no proof of Mandela Effect in my reaction except to myself. It’s one of the unfortunate aspects of the Mandela Effect because any evidence lies in memory alone.