The Mandela Effect

On a recent episode of Criminal Minds they talked about the Mandela Effect while giving a profile. I’d never heard of it before so looked into it. Turns out it is an actual thing.

The Mandela effect occurs when a large group of people believe an event occurred when it did not.

The Mandela effect got its name when Fiona Broome, a self-identified “paranormal consultant,” detailed how she remembered former South African President Nelson Mandela dying in the 1980s in prison (although Mandela lived until 2013).

Broome could describe remembering news coverage of his death and even a speech from his widow about his death. Yet none of it happened.

If Broome’s thoughts occurred in isolation, that would be one factor. However, Broome found that other people thought the exact same as her.

Even though the event never happened, she wasn’t the only one who felt like it did. As a result, the Mandela effect concept was “born.”


These collective false memories are a form of “honest lying”. Because of gaps in a persons memory, they try and fill the gaps with what becomes their new memory – they aren’t deliberately trying to deceive.

There are a lot of examples of the Mandela effect if you go looking, but here are a few for you:

mandela effect
Ein or Ain? (Ain)
mandela effect
Does Curious George have a tail? (No)
mandela effect
Does Monopoly man have a monocle? (No)
mandela effect
In the original Star Wars movies, does C3PO have a silver leg? (Yes)
(from Good Housekeeping)
File:SothernMarloweR&J.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Did Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet’s balcony scene take place on a balcony? (No)
(from Wikimedia)

Freddie Mercury belts out, “…of the world!” at the end of We Are the Champions, right? Wrong. Don’t believe me? Listen for yourself…

Of course, these examples show just how imperfect our memories can be. Did you discover you suffer from the Mandela effect?

2 comments on “The Mandela Effect

  1. It’s such a weird thing, isn’t it? But it’s easy to misremember. It’s amazing how many of us misremember the same thing.

    • I think that’s the thing I find the most interesting, that so many people misremember the same thing. I get that our memories aren’t perfect, but how it is they are imperfect in the same way?

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