A term coined by paranormal consultant Fiona Broome, the Mandela Effect simply describes an event or series of events that a large group of people agree played out differently than they did in real life. It comes from the cognitive phenomenon that a large group of surveyed individuals believed that Nelson Mandela died in prison in the 1980’s and have no memory of him actually dying a free man in 2013.
The simple and rational explanation is that history and reality don’t always coincide with the way people remember things. And people are often wrong or misinformed. Memory doesn’t work the way it does in movies and TV, and can easily be manipulated by outside forces. This is why “eye-witness” testimony is some of the most unreliable data police have to go on, despite seeming like it should be cut and dry.
But that’s no fun. The more insane and fun explanation is that large portions of our population are actually walking through life like the cast of the show Sliders, inadvertently jumping through parallel dimensions. This would clearly explain why you and all of your friends remember Tom Cruise wearing Ray Ban sunglasses in his famous Risky Business dancing scene…despite him not wearing sunglasses in that scene at all. You passed from a dimension where that version of Risky Business existed…into one where an alternate take was used. Seems pretty arbitrary…but according to notable psychotic, Fiona Broome, this is our terrifying reality.
One of the most glaring examples of this group-think errors has been the popular Berenstain Bears phenomenon. Almost everyone who recalls the children’s book series and TV cartoon The Berenstain Bears recalls the spelling of the surname to be BerenSTEIN, and not the real-world spelling: BerenSTAIN. Evidently, we were all duped into thinking we were reading about and watching a fun-loving family of Jewish bears the whole time.
The most recent case of the strange and wonderful Mandela Effect is the case of a large portion of the Internet believing that used-to-be-actor Sinbad played a genie in the objectively awful 1996 film Kazaam, despite the fact that it was actually Shaquille O’Neal in Kazaam and Sinbad was busy making the classic 1996 Disney film, First Kid.