If you’re going to rely on anything in this world, it might as well be yourself, right? People can twist and turn facts or use statistics to their advantage, hell, people can even be photoshopped right out of history. But none of that can happen inside of our own minds; we know something happened because we experienced it, we know something existed because we held it in our hands and saw it wth our own eyes. But what happens when your memories of a specific event don’t line up with what’s actually there – but you know you’re not wrong. And then you find out you’re not the only one who remembers things that way. There are thousands, even tens of thousands of people who remember history unfolding the same way you do. How can you explain it?
A new theory known as the Mandela Effect offers a solution, though it’s not as simple as you might think. It argues that when large groups of people share a similar false memory, it’s not that their memories are faulty, it’s that their timelines have changed. That’s right: according to the Mandela Effect, we’re remembering things that happened before a parallel spilled into our own and changed everything. Don’t believe me? Here are 15 bone-chilling examples that prove parallel universes exist and, more than that, they’re spilling into ours all the time.
When you think of a parallel universe crashing into ours and changing things, you’d probably think it would make for some really interesting differences. Maybe we magically learned how to cure cancer or decided the world should be at peace. But no, one of the most annoying differences that people have noticed is the spelling of the name of a fabric freshener.
The item, known as Febreze, was released in 1998 and became an immediate hit for Procter and Gamble. The only thing is people don’t remember ever buying “Febreze,” only Febreeze, with two e’s. Seems to make sense, right? The name is pronounced with a hard-E sound and spelling it as the phonetic marriage between fabric and breeze seems to make sense. (Some people even remember it being spelt Fabreeze for that reason, too). Febreze just doesn’t make sense, does it? And if you remembered it the other way, you’re not alone. There are dozens of posts with hundreds of comments on reddit that remember it the same way you do.
14. The Flintstones
Here’s one that will break a few brains. Do you remember the 1960s cartoon (and 1990s live-action movie) about a family living in the stone-age community of Bedrock? They lived next to the Rubbles and owned a pet dinosaur named Dino. Now, what was their last name? Was it Flinstone or Flintstone? There’s a lot of disagreement on the topic, with most people rightly believing that having two T’s in the name is just unnatural. This is a case where the change does seem to make sense: adding a second T makes the name portmanteau of the words “flint” (a stone-age tool) and “stone” (in reference to the period in which the show takes place). But, let’s be serious, no one has ever annunciated two T’s when singing the theme song to the show. And there is evidence to prove that, in the past, it may not have always been that way.
There are dozens of examples of newspaper article titles, ads for the chewable vitamins, and even the title of the comic strip of the same name all spelled Flinstones. The most damning evidence, however, comes from perhaps the most famous film critic of all time, Roger Ebert. In one of his reviews of the live-action reboot of the series that came out in the 1990s, Ebert referred to the original movie as The Flinstones and its sequel as The Flinstones in Viva Rock Vegas. This is a man who won the Pulitzer Prize for his reviews, not exactly the kind of person who makes mistakes on spelling. But now, take a look at how it’s spelled; doesn’t the T just look wrong?
13. Sex And The City
Sex and The City was one of the biggest shows of the late 90s and early 2000s, centred around friends Samantha, Miranda, Carrie, and Charlotte as they navigate careers and relationships and try to live their best sex lives in Manhattan. Most people will at least vaguely remember the show (or the two movies centred on the premise that came out more recently), but do you remember it being named exactly that, or do you remember it as something else? Many people argue that the “Sex and The City” moniker is a new one. According to them, it used to be known as Sex In The City, a slight but significant change. And they’re not without evidence backing up claims that there was a change in the zeitgeist. Most interestingly was one man fighting the good fight to prove the Mandela Effect on YouTube, who was able to dig through his old things and find a perfume kit with the name “Sex In The City” emblazoned on it. More tellingly, several commenters online have noted that the name of the movie in international markets doesn’t translate to Sex and The City, but rather Sex In The City. These markets include all of the Spanish-speaking world and the Czech Republic.
12. JFK Assassination
The assassination of US President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 23, 1963 was a watershed moment in the twentieth century. It changed the landscape of the United States and the world, and it definitely hasn’t been without controversy; the event is one of the most frequent subjects of conspiracy theorists there is. People question whether or not suspected gunman Lee Harvey Oswald was the one to actually pull the trigger, if the entire event was orchestrated by the CIA, or if Kennedy was perhaps accidentally killed by a jumpy Secret Service agent.
But there’s another argument that has permeated the Internet that people swear wasn’t controversial from the start, but rather stemmed from changes that happened since the event took place. You may be one of them without noticing. Quick question: how many people were in the car when Kennedy was shot? If you answered four (JFK, Jackie O, a driver, and passenger), then you’re in the majority when it comes to Mandela truthers. But, go back and look: it’s actually six; the Kennedys in the back, two more in front of them, then a driver and passenger ahead of a glass partition at the very front. I, for one, never remembered a six-person car.
If you were a kid in the late 1990s, Pokemon was king. The anime was massively popular and the card game became ubiquitous. Things only escalated when the Game Boy games came out, transforming the franchise into one of the most recognizable and long-lasting game series ever produced, one that continues to release new titles to this day. With all its mainstream success, you’d think people would have every design detail of most of the cute, powerful critters down pat. You’d probably put money on the fact that everyone was in agreement about one in particular, though: Pikachu. Pikachu was series protagonist Ash Ketchum’s first and favourite Pokemon, who differed from all others in the fact that he never stayed inside a Pokeball (meaning, plenty of screen time to remember his looks).
Now, he’s also the subject of the Mandela Effect. That’s because people insist that the top of his tail had a thick black stripe, something that, if you look now, doesn’t exist on any iteration. There are dozens of people online who point to old pictures they made when they were Poke-fanatics, all featuring the iconic dark-tip tail. Plus, doesn’t Pikachu just look weird with a yellow top on that thing? Parallel universes sure are strange.
10. The Berenstain Bears
This is one of the most popular Mandela Effects because the sheer amount of people who noticed the change. The cartoon is called the Berenstain Bears, spelt with an “a.” However, many people recall it being called the Berenstein Bears, with an “e.” It has caused a furor on the web, with organizations such as BuzzFeed even covering it on their sites.
Detractors argue that the collective amnesia with regard to the title is simple: -stein is a much more common suffix for a name than -stain, and most people who watch the show or read the books are too young to pay such close attention to the spelling of the name, so when they’re older they remember it as having the most common spelling. Seems to make sense, right? Maybe. But then how do you explain the videotape that one Reddit user found, which is officially licensed, and has the title “Berenstein Bears” printed on the side panel? It could be a misprint, though that’s unlikely since no others surfaced. What many people argue is that it’s a slip-up caused by an incomplete merging of parallel universes, one that proves the bear family wasn’t always known as Berenstain.
9. Oscar Mayer
Sing it with me! My bologna has a first name it’s O-S-C-A-R! My bologna has a second name it’s M-E-Y-E-R! Wait, scratch that. Apparently, this whole time the meat brand has spelled its name Mayer, with an “a.” Weird, right? M-A-Y-E-R just doesn’t have the same ring to it. It’s certainly not what I grew up singing, and apparently, I’m not alone. Plenty of people online swear the changed spelling is another case of the Mandela Effect at work. They argue that the way we pronounce the brand (MY-er) doesn’t line up with the way the name appears to be spelled, which most people would read like the word mayor. This one has its big proponents, too. YouTube superstar Shane Dawson released a video about the topic and vehemently argued his recollection of the “e” in Meyer, and his comment section was mostly in agreement. How do you remember this?
8. Monopoly Man’s Monocle
Monopoly is arguably the most recognizable board game ever created. Since the game was first commercially sold in the 1930s, it has become a part of popular world culture, having been locally licensed in more than 103 countries and printed in more than thirty-seven languages. Thankfully, no one is arguing it shouldn’t be spelt Monopoly – that would just be silly. Instead, the change people have noticed has to do with the brand mascot so to speak, the Monopoly Man. You know who I’m talking about, the little man dressed in a tux, running with a bag of money. He’s printed right on the box. But many people remember him looking a little bit fancier than he appears on current iterations, they remember him having a monocle, something he doesn’t wear on any card or in any instructional pamphlet. This one runs deep: diehard fans have been seen cosplaying the character wearing a monocle at events and drawing cartoons of him with it, too. Which version do you remember?
7. “Luke, I Am Your Father”
This might be the freakiest entry on this list because, even if you don’t pay attention to hot dog brands or turn-of-the-millennium sitcoms for twentysomething women, this example of the Mandela Effect won’t be going over anyone’s head. Fair warning: this will make you question the nature of reality itself. Ready? No one ever said the words “Luke, I am your father” during any Star Wars movie. That’s not a joke. Despite being one of the most well known and often quoted lines in cinema history, it was never spoken. Instead, if you put on a copy of Return of the Jedi, you’ll hear Skywalker Sr. say to Luke, “No, I am your father.” Not a single person reading this remembered the line that way, and there’s good reason: it wasn’t always that way. There are tons of licensed merchandise with the Luke version on them and James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader, even spoke about seeing the line “Luke, I am your father” when reading the original script. There’s no way we could all be wrong.
6. Sinbad’s Shazam
Sinbad was a famous comedian in the 1990s. He’s appeared in movies alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, had his own TV show and, depending on who you ask, he scored the lead role in a big movie where he played the titular genie, Shazam. I say that because, if you look on his IMDB or Wikipedia pages, that movie was never made. But hundreds of Reddit users have mentioned remembering watching the movie some two decades ago, some even remember the cover of the VHS which featured Sinbad and a 12-year-old boy in front of a purple backdrop. People have even been tweeting at Sinbad asking about his role (for the record: he says he never was). And while detractors will say people are only misremembering the movie Kazam, which starred Shaquille O’Neal as the titular genie, the support for the other side is vehement. And besides, doesn’t Sinbad just look the part of a genie?
5. Nelson Mandela’s Death
This is the one that started them all, the reason why these changes are known as the Mandela Effect in the first place. It has to do with Nelson Mandela’s death – but not the one that took place on Dec. 5, 2013. Rather, there is a large group of people who vividly remember Nelson Mandela dying only a couple of years after his release from prison. They insist there was a televised funeral and remember watching and reading news about the event. While it may seem farfetched, people have found cracks that may prove the existence of another reality with a different timeline. The most famous example is a quote from the South African book, English Alive, that recalls Mandela’s death in the 90s and recounts the events that came after. The most relevant passage: “Nelson Mandela died on July 23, 1991.” The book was published and there wasn’t a lawsuit of any kind which means, just maybe, that’s what happened in he author’s timeline.
4. Henry VIII Eating A Turkey Leg
Henry VIII was King of England for 38 years, from 1509 until 1547. If you don’t know him by name, you’ll definitely remember him as the guy who killed five of his wives because they couldn’t give him a son. (He’s also the guy who started the Church of England.) You’ve probably seen what’s become the most popular painting of him; he’s shown standing tall in front of a grandiose set, wearing fancily coloured clothes and large, golden pieces. He’s shown from the feet up, holding a sword and a pair of leather gloves. But many people insist it wasn’t always like that. Rather, they remember a version of the painting that was done in the same style and looked nearly identical to the current iteration, but captured from a closer vantage point and showing Henry eating a turkey leg. Although no media exists of the change, hundreds of people have mentioned seeing the painting at some point in the past. Many even offered drawings of what the picture looked like, and produced images that looked eerily similar.
3. Curious George’s Tail
Curious George is a series about a monkey taken from Africa to live with a white man in a yellow hat (let’s not read too much into subtext here). The franchise has been wildly successful since its debut in the 1930s, spawning books, cartoons, a TV series, and even a full-blown feature film. But even with all that exposure people can’t agree on one thing: Does Curious George have a tail? At first thought, it seems obvious. He’s a monkey, of course he should. But if you take a look at a picture of George right now, you’ll notice he doesn’t have one – and that doesn’t sit well with Mandela truthers. There’s an entire Reddit thread about this, and people insist they even remember him having one so vividly that they can recall entire episodes that centred around George hurting his tail. And honestly, why would a cartoonist draw a monkey without a tail unless they did so in a reality where that’s how they looked in the wild?
2. “Mirror, Mirror On The Wall”
If someone asked you to recite a line from Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, chances are there’s one line that will come to mind: “mirror, mirror on the wall.” The problem is, if you said that you’d be wrong. The Evil Queen never said “mirror, mirror” at all. Instead, she asked the “magic mirror on the wall” who was the fairest of them all. Weird, right? But don’t fret if you’re one of the (many, many) people who don’t remember it that way, because there is a lot of evidence to back up claims that the magic mirror version of Snow White came to us from a different universe. More than just singular people remembering the line differently, Disney has even issued merchandise emblazoned with “mirror, mirror” and the phrase comes up that way in novelizations the company has released over the years. Also, there was a live action movie about Snow White and the Evil Queen literally titled “Mirror, Mirror.”
1. “You Like Me! You Really Like Me!”
Most people reading this list won’t know much about Sally Field. (If you’re one of them, she played the mom in Mrs. Doubtfire. You’re welcome.) She was an actress who was popular in the 80s and 90s, but who hasn’t been as visible in Hollywood over the last decade. That being said, even if you don’t know Field by name, you’ll almost certainly remember the speech she made at the 1984 Oscars after winning for her role in the film, Places In The Heart. It’s the one where she stands on stage and says, “You like me! You really like me!” Except, no. Despite the fact it was such a notable moment that was covered by mainstream media and talked about for decades, it seems we’ve all been misquoting her. What she actually said was, “You like me, right now, you like me!” Again, no one remembers it that way. Even Field herself said it the way we all remember when she parodied the moment. If that isn’t proof enough, I don’t know what is.