Does The Mandela Effect Prove Parallel Universes?

On 5 December 2013 former South African President Nelson Mandela passed away But as the news spread around the world, so did the confusion

Many people remembered Mandela dying three decades earlier, while he was an inmate at the notorious Robben Island prison Some, such as paranormal consultant Fiona Broome remember the event vividly – including seeing footage of the funeral, and subsequent rioting Broome soon uncovered many more examples of collective memories disappearing from public record She named this phenomenon “The Mandela Effect” Broome came up with the term Mandela Effect in 2010

It refers to collective memories of events that have never happened There are countless examples of complete strangers having the same memories, even down to precise details But there are no records of events ever happening as these memories describe them Broome believes that these memories originate from parallel realities meeting with each other In this case, people move from one universe to another without knowing it

She says this is why, despite witnesses’ vivid recollection, all evidence shows that the events in question never happened As we slide between parallel realities, the historical events that have taken place in each universe change too Another theory claims the Earth is trapped in malfunctioning software Journalist Samuel Reber believes the Earth is actually part of a holodeck These are virtual reality facilities that enable an individual to travel between time periods and situations

Technical glitches in the holodeck we are in currently, mean that different people have lived through different versions of historical events, even if they exist in the same universe There are several examples of the Mandela Effect Many people recall a large painting of Tudor monarch Henry the Eighth, depicting the king brandishing a turkey leg But as journalist Noel Diem explains, despite people remembering this image from school and history textbooks, “it has never existed in this world” Another mystifying example is the Berenstain Bears

Fans of the children’s book and animated television series say with certainty that the name was spelled with an “E” However, all records show that it has never been spelled this way, prompting people online to insist this is the result of the Mandela Effect Similarly, viewers of the sitcom “Sex and the City” often claim the show was once called “Sex in the City” and that the name mysteriously changed with no warning at an unknown point This was never the case Many Mandela Effect incidents link to childhood memories

For example, the witch in Disney’s Snow White is widely quoted as saying “Mirror, Mirror on the wall” Yet, this line never made the film Nonetheless it has inspired subsequent retellings of the story It is a small but surprisingly widespread misconception The “Monopoly Man” – officially called Rich Uncle Pennybags – is often imagined wearing a monocle, despite the cartoon always having been without

However, human memory is famously vulnerable to suggestion Numerous scientific studies show that memory is distorted by external influences As Harvard psychology Professor Daniel Schacter says, “Human memory is not a literal reproduction of the past, but instead relies on constructive processes that are sometimes prone to error and distortion” It is frequently affected by peer pressure, association, imagination and personal bias Together, these can create collective false memories

Experts tend to agree that the phenomenon is a type of “confabulation” This is when different memories get mixed up in a person’s mind As they merge, they create a new false memory, which is taken as the truth For example, the confusion between “Berenstain” and “Berenstein” likely comes from the wealth of names that end in Stein – such as Einstein This may explain why so many examples come from childhood entertainment

Childhood memories are less reliable than those we form in adulthood Also, the further away we get from incidents, the harder it is to recall them Many Mandela Effect examples likely come from this childhood disjuncture between reality and fantasy Journalist Douglas McPherson points out that the “Misinformation Effect” also plays a role in developing false memories This is because people are naturally vulnerable to suggestions

If someone presents a thing as suspicious, you are much more likely to agree with them than question it for yourself Critically, regarding Broome’s theory, parallel universes are merely hypothetical As Max Tegmark from Scientific American says, “there are many potential weaknesses in the case for parallel universes” It all comes down to the absence of testable proof that they exist With no evidence of people moving across space-time dimensions, the science underpinning the Mandela Effect is unreliable at best

The same is true of the “holodecks” theory It was conceived by Star Trek – fictional entertainment that cannot be used to explain the Mandela Effect Current science suggests the phenomenon is a product of misremembering, rather than people moving between parallel universes Yet with so many people troubled by the Mandela Effect all over the world, maybe there is more to it than meets the eye

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