False Memory and the Mandela Effect

by Gabriella Albert
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As we grow older, many people want to believe that the memories they gained throughout their life are true and accurate. Have you ever been convinced of an idea or belief 100 percent just to find out what you believed is completely inaccurate or false? When looking at events in history and claiming to have a clear image of memory, but it turns out to be false is known as the Mandela Effect.  The “Mandela Effect” is what happens when someone has a clear memory of something that never happened in this reality.
Many of us, even total strangers remember the exact same events with almost identical details, but it turns out that these memories are inaccurate or just do not exist. The idea was created by Fiona Broome in and began with the idea that Nelson Mandela had died in Prison in the 1980s. Many remember even watching clips or videos on live television of his funeral. It turns out that Mandela was actually freed from prison in 1990 and passed away in 2013.
The number of interested viewers has grown immensely in recent years over the idea of this phenomenon. What exactly is happening in your brain when this “false memory” occurs?
Researchers believe that it is true that human perception isn’t perfect. It is common as average humans to see things aren’t there or miss obvious things that are right in front of us. In many cases, false memories form because the information is not entered correctly into our brains in the first place. For example, a person might witness a crime but not have a clear view of everything that happened. Recounting the events that occurred can be difficult or even impossible since they did not actually witness all of the details. As a result, the person’s mind might fill in the “gaps” by forming memories that did not actually occur.
Human memory is a complex process that researchers and scientists are constantly working on learning more about each and every day. Our memories make up our lives and who we are as individuals, yet the process is not perfect. While we are capable of remembering an astonishing amount of information throughout many years of our lives, we are often susceptible to mistakes and errors.
Emotions can also interfere with our thoughts and what we believe to be true. A lot of times, when memorable events happen within our lives, they are because of excitement and happiness, or sadness or fear. Often, when our bodies and brain are filled with a high number of hormones that cause this extreme emotion, it is not uncommon for the memory to be jaded in some way.
Another common theory for why our brain comes up with false memories is called “fuzzy-trace theory.” The term was created by researchers Charles Brainerd and Valerie F. Reyna which offered an explanation for the Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm. DRM is a procedure in cognitive psychology used to study false memory in humans.
 There is a number of ideas that have been linked to the idea of the Mandela effect and false memory. Many of these ideas will be shocking to you and will make you question is your memory is an impeccable as you once believed!
Salvador Dali famously said: The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.”


Many children and adults have fond memories of the Berenstein Bears books. They read them as children, or family members/teachers read them aloud. However, the books in this time stream are Berenstain Bears. A, not E, in the last syllable. Many viewers do not recall this being the case. Over 30 visitors to the Mandela effect theory website claim they are sure it was stein, being big fans of the books as children.




The next idea centers around a simple color: chartreuse. When I personally took a poll, asking twenty of my friends and family to tell me, (without googling) what color they recall chartreuse being, without hesitation I received answers such as “pinkish” “a red or magenta”. When I told them that the color chartreuse was actually a yellow-green shade, they were spooked! Then, the internet confirmed. Why is it that so many people believed that color was a certain shade, when in fact their beliefs were inaccurate.




Next, is a song line that has regained popularity with the hit movie Bohemian Rhapsody that premiered last year. The song, We Are the Champions is one of Queen’s biggest hits. We all know the legendary lyrics which final line is “No time for losers, ’cause we are the champions… of the world!” But in fact, there is no “of the world!” The song just ends with ‘cause we are the champions. There has been speculation because the line does appear in the middle of the song, but many recall it being at the end.




One of the most famous Disney movies has become the center of discussion for its possible Mandela effect. Snow White and the 7 dwarfs’ famous line said by the queen is known as “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.” Children and parents are all familiar with this line and how well known it is to those who have seen Disney movies or even heard of Snow White. When watching the movie, it is actually “Magic Mirror on the Wall” Many have found this to be shocking. Viewers that are multilingual also state that when they recall watching the movie in a different language, the line translates to “Mirror Mirror” in English. Check out the movie to see for yourself!




In the movie Star Wars, the famous line “Luke I am your father,” is one of the most famous lines in movie history. You will be shocked to find out that this famous line does not even exist. The line actually states, “No, I am your father.” Be sure to check on YouTube if you are still unsure!




This is a small one but still intriguing! When we talk about springing forward or falling back, we are referring to Daylight Savings Time. In reality, the historical practice is actually just referred to as Daylight Saving Time. You’re right, there is no “s” after “Saving” but so many people believed and have said it that way for many years.




Lastly, Judge Judy has been the stay home sick all-day binge-watching television show for kids to adults. Many fans of the show can distinctly remember Judge Judy, angrily swinging her gavel against the podium while maintaining order in the courtroom. It has been uncovered that not once all the seasons of Judge Judy, does she ever have a gavel. Like the other examples, this one comes as a complete shock.



Did you fall for any of the concepts of the Mandela Effect, or even all of them? You are not alone!

Gabriella Albert

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