What Is The Mandela Effect?

Mandela Effect

Imagine yourself believing that something did occur and other people confirming that they remembered it too, but at some point in your life, this shared memory turned out to be false. Well, congratulations then - you are one of the many “victims” of the Mandela Effect. The Mandela effect, otherwise referred to as false memory, is a strange phenomenon in which large groups of people confidently and consistently remember something incorrectly. These collective mismemories may include lines from your favorite songs, famous brand names and logos, phrases from TV shows or childhood movies.

Most people who report remembering some false “facts” are usually not liars - they genuinely believe these events happened. If you have been wondering if you misremember some things too, we suggest you take this accurate Memory Test. The Mandela effect gets its name from Nelson Mandela, the South African human and civil rights activist and eventual president. It dates back to 2009 when numerous people on the internet falsely remembered that Mandela died in prison in the 1980s. A paranormal researcher Fiona Broome, who also recalled seeing Mandela’s funeral around 1990, decided to study this phenomenon. She gave it the name of the Mandela effect and created a website dedicated to it.

Top 10 Mind-Blowing Examples of The Mandela Effect

Here are some of the most curious examples of this bizarre phenomenon when many people wrongly remembered the same events with the same details:

Patrick Swayze and His Disease

Patrick Swayze

Sadly, the talented and world-famous actor passed away in 2009 after a 20-month battle with pancreatic cancer. However, there were plenty of fans who, even years after his death, remembered Patrick Swayze’s recovery. If only that was the case!

Mother Teresa's Canonization


One of the most eminent alternate memories is about Mother Teresa entering sainthood. The canonization actually happened in 2016, but many people around the world think Mother Teresa became a saint back in the 1990s, when she was still alive.

“We are the champions… of the world”

Freddie Mercury

One of the greatest hits by Queen gloriously concludes with “We are the champions… of the world.” Right? No, wrong! Freddie Mercury did sing “…of the world” words at the end of the song, but only once - during the band’s famous Wembley stadium performance in 1985. We bet you’re gonna want to verify this one with your own ears!

“How Deep Is Your Love?”


Here’s another musical example of the Mandela effect. Many BeeGees fans (are you one of them?) think they remember their 1977 How Deep Is Your Love? hit very well. Particularly, they think they remember the line “How deep is your love? I really need to know”. We dare you to listen to the song. You’ll probably be surprised to find out that the correct lyric is “How deep is your love? I really mean to learn”. Also, try sharing it with your loved ones, coworkers, or friends who like BeeGees. This will likely freak them out!

“I Love Rock’N'Roll”

While we’re on the topic of music, here’s one of the most popular karaoke choices by “the Queen Of Rock’n’Roll Joan Jett. Most people remember the song starting with the line “I saw him standing there by the record machine”. What the rock star really sings is: “I saw him dancing there by the record machine”.

“I am your Father”

Star Wars

You’ll be surprised but the Mandela Effect exists even in a galaxy far, far away. Yes, we are talking about Star Wars. And about the #1 misquoted movie line of all time. Interestingly enough, even some of the most devoted movie fans remember Darth Vader saying to Luke Skywalker in one of the most climactic scenes in cinematography history: “Luke, I am your father”. But Vader never said that. What he said in actuality was “No, I am your father”.

“Mirror on The Wall”

Mirror on The Wall

To stay on the subject of movies, here’s something you have definitely heard in a movie a thousand times: “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, Who’s the fairest of them all?”. This well-known line from Snow White was ingrained in our collective memory since our early childhood, right? But what the Evil Queen actually said was “Magic Mirror on the wall”. And that’s not all! She went on saying “who is the fairest one of all?”. Apparently, the Snow White movie “went through” the Mandela effect twice!

“Heigh Ho”

Heigh Ho

You probably won’t believe it, but the Snow White soundtrack suffered from the Mandela effect too. Most Disney fans could have sworn the lyrics were “Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to work we go”. Turns out the seven dwarfs actually sang “heigh ho heigh ho it’s home from work we go”.

“Hello, Clarice”

Hello, Clarice

Ask anyone to imitate Hannibal Lecter from the cult horror movie The Silence Of The Lambs - and, without a doubt, they’ll do one of these three things: make that creepy sucking noise, mention eating someone’s liver with “some fava beans and a nice Chianti”, or mutter “Hello Clarice”. These things the “well-mannered and courteous” murderer said and did just remain burned into our consciousness, don’t they? They sure do, but here’s the thing: one of these three memories is false. What Anthony Hopkins's character actually said to Clarice Starling when he first met her was “Good morning”.

Sally Field’s Speech at The Oscars

Sally Field

When this popular American actress won her 2nd Oscar for Best Actress in Places in the Heart, she said "I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me”. She never said the line “You like me, you really like me!” during her speech at the ceremony, contrary to the false memory countless people share.

Leonardo DiCaprio's First Oscar

Speaking of Oscars, Leo DiCaprio took home his first oh-so-long-awaited Oscar for Best Actor in 2016, numerous people out there mistakenly believe the American won the award much earlier. For example, many people say to have clear memories of DiCaprio winning the award for starring in Titanic, including a 1998 talk show.

John F. Kennedy's assassination

Kennedy's assassination

The news about the assassination of the 35th President in Dallas in 1963 shocked the entire nation. Many people, for some reason, wrongly remember that there were only four people in the car in which Kennedy was traveling that fateful day - two in the front and two in the back. In actuality, though, there were six passengers in the car.

The Thinker

The Thinker is one of the most famous works by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin. This piece of art represents a nude male figure whose right elbow is placed on his left thigh holding the weight of his chin on the dorsal side of his right hand. Many people remember the Thinker’s hand resting against his forehead and not the chin. The sculpture is even described in several books as having its right fist to the forehead.

The Monopoly Man’s (Non-Existing) Monocle

The Monopoly Man

For a while, Mr. Monopoly, also known as Rich Uncle Pennybags, has been the mascot for Monopoly, a board game that made real estate great again. Weirdly, many people mistakenly picture Pennybags wearing a top hat and business attire and also… a monocle or even glasses. But that is not true - the business tycoon has never had any eyewear.

JIF or Jiffy?

JIF and Skippy

If you have been in this world for several decades and you like peanut butter, you may recall that JIF was once called Jiffy. Well, looks like the Mandela effect popped up again - that peanut butter’s brand name has never been Jiffy. Even a company representative made an official statement to confirm that the product’s name has always been JIF. Some experts say people who created this false memory may have done so by mixing up elements of JIF and Skippy (another peanut butter brand name).

What Are The Possible Causes of The Mandela Effect?

How can we explain these quirks of collective memory? The answer is that there is no one universal cause but multiple causes for this phenomenon. Human memory is adaptable, and input from other individuals can definitely change people’s memories. If an individual has some information but they do not have all of it, or do not know the whole answer, they may try and reconstruct the event based on what information they do have and try to fill in this gap. And when these “facts” get shared with other people, it’s like the game of the telephone.

Here are some other potential causes of the Mandela effect:
  • Priming: in psychology, this term is used to describe a phenomenon in which the introduction of one stimulus influences how a person responds to a subsequent stimulus without being aware of the connection. For example, if an individual hears or sees the word “grass,” they will most likely recognize related words, such as “lawn”, “turf”, or “meadow” more quickly than unrelated words.
  • Confabulation: it is a false memory spontaneously generated by an individual, sometimes to compensate for holes in their memory. It is a very common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions that affect memory.
  • Parallel universes: Fiona Broome describes the phenomenon as a clear memory of an event that never occurred in our reality. Her explanation suggests that the Mandela effect happens when the reality we live in interacts with parallel universes, glitches in the matrix, or alternate realities - whatever you want to call it. Many people agree with her and claim the Mandela effect is proof that multiple universes exist. However, the theory of the Mandela effect being a portal to another dimension lacks scientific support.
  • Internet influence: the internet is definitely a powerful tool for spreading disinformation, false beliefs and memories. In fact, some websites try to deliberately manipulate and fool people by convincing them to believe things that have never happened.

What Can Be Done to Combat False Memories?

Sometimes human memory recall can be unreliable. Many things can impact memory loss. To improve your memory and overall brain function, please make sure you follow a healthy sleep routine, adopt appropriate eating patterns, and exercise regularly. In any case, if you misremember the name of specific peanut butter or cereal brand, it’s no big deal. But in more serious cases, like someone’s death or, on the contrary, recovery, it would be a good idea to double-check that information for yourself rather than just blindly believe other people’s words and repeat what they say.