Do you remember it, like it was yesterday? You might remember it that way, everyone you know might also remember it that way, it just might not have happened that way, thanks to Nelson Mandela – well, thanks to people remembering he died in prison.
We all have those shared memories, of things we experienced or saw, that just don’t seem to share our reality. It is known as the Mandela Effect and the name was coined by Fiona Broome back in 2009. Broome is a researcher, media consultant and … ghost hunter.
Broome created her first website, Hollow Hill, in the mid-1990s but has written articles for magazines since the mid-1970s. For Broome the recollections, or shared memories, of large groups of people led her to the Mandela Effect – for very good reason.
Broome laboured under the mis-apprehension that South Africa’s first president under democracy had, in fact, died in prison during the 1980s. That he not only was released from prison, but became president of the country was not only something she didn’t remember back in 2009, it was something that a number of people didn’t seem to remember either.
For Broome and her group, Nelson Mandela died in prison more than a decade earlier and they all remember watching a televised speech by Winnie Mandela where she delivered a eulogy.
There are other examples, like “Mirror, mirror on the wall …” is actually “Magic mirror on the wall”. When Hannibal Lecter greets FBI agent Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs, he says “Hello Clarice” … except he doesn’t. Lecter’s greeting is “Good morning”. Oh, and the United States, take a guess how many states there are? Nope, you’re wrong.
There are 50. I did find an example where the so-called Mandela Effect stumbles. In the case of Freddie Mercury belting out “We are the Champions!” he ends the song with “of the world!”, we all know this – except he doesn’t. As far as the Mandela Effect is concerned the version where Mercury ends the song with the three little words we all sing simply doesn’t exist. The song linked above is from the live concert at Wembley Stadium. Once you’ve listened to the version we all remember, you’ll see it is sung this way at all the live events, but not on the studio recording.
There’s also the case of the David Essex movie, Silver Dream Racer, in which Essex plays motorcycle racer Nick Freeman. The movie ends with Essex crossing the finish line, both fists in the air … or not, depending on how you remember it. For some of us, the movie ends with the bike crashing after the finish line and bursting into flame. There has been some debate about this movie over the years as well. This one is easy to clear up.
If you have seen the original, then Essex crosses the finish line, raising both hands in the air, the front wheel starts to wobble and he crashes and burns. If you saw the version cut for the American market, then the movie ends with a freeze frame of him crossing the finish line with his fists in the air while music plays. Both are correct but the movie long predates the internet and resulted in rather animated discussion amongst movie buffs.
So it appears we have some weird shared, but apparently incorrect, memories attributed to this particular “effect”. Whether you believe it is coincidence, reinforcement based on repetition, some kind of mass hysteria or alternate realities, who knows what the truth is. Maybe the most important part of these memories is that they are shared.
On a final note, the world’s smallest snowman was created in 2005 and completed in 2016. The snowman is under 3 microns in height (a human hair is 75 microns in width) and was initially started by accident. A scanning electron microscope at Western University in Canada was used to create isolated silica spheres. Sometimes this results in an error where two stack on one another, in this case it was three. In 2016 an ion beam instrument was used to add a nose and mouth and employed to “grow”, by tiny deposits of platinum, two arms. See the photos here.