A 2018 headline worried me: Study suggests memories can be lies.
That study may be valid. And yes, we do need a better understanding of memories.
However, I’m uneasy with the social cue that headline conveys.
I hope people don’t take that study as the final word in this field. After all, doctors and scientists have gone back & forth about memories – including young children’s memories – for decades.
And of course, the Mandela Effect is a sub-sub-category of memories, in general. They’re anomalies we don’t fully understand… yet.
Too often, I’ve read comments and emails that asked, “Am I losing my mind?” or “Am I going crazy?”
Some people discover an anomalous memory. Then, they awfulize. They wonder, “Okay, what else am I wrong about…?”
Thinking “it’s all in your head” may be the worst first step if you have a “different” memory.
In this video, I offer my suggestions.
If your “different” memories worry you, please talk with a professional – a doctor, or a trusted member of your faith community, for example.
For me, and for many visitors to this website, the Mandela Effect is fun. We’re happy to speculate about various explanations, from really bad reporting to parallel realities.
Most people seem to be in-between those extremes. They’re pretty sure they remember, say, Berenstein Bears. It seems kind of odd that the books aren’t called that, in this reality… but, hey, it’s okay. After all, a whole lot of other people share that same Berenstein memory.
And life goes on.
Meanwhile, I still say trust your memories. Whether their factual content is accurate or not, your memories came from somewhere.
And of course, that “somewhere” may have been mistaken. That’s not as much fun as thinking we’re reality tourists, but… for many people, mistakes are the Occam’s razor answer. (“Simpler solutions are more likely to be correct than complex ones.”)
You’ll need to decide that for yourself.
Where Some Mistakes Come From
Human errors happen.
I’m reminded of the classic (and very wrong) newspaper headline, claiming Dewey had won the 1948 U.S. presidential election. (He didn’t. Truman won.)
That wasn’t the first time a newspaper blundered. It was far from the last.
Every news agency wants to be the first with a headline, and – sometimes, in their haste – they get it wrong.
That’s not the only problem.
You’ve seen ridiculous tabloid headlines. Some are easy to dismiss, but – obviously – enough people believe them, and buy those newspapers.
And then they tell other people those stories, like they’re actual news. (My grandmother’s sister believed them. She also thought all “world wrestling” competitions were legit. We didn’t spoil her fun by explaining the truth.)
Even worse, sites like Channel23News can generate some very convincing “news reports” that regularly flood social media.
Fact-check everything. Learn to use sites like Snopes.com. (And stay far away from The Onion.)
At the other extreme, some obituaries have been released, prematurely. You can find lists at sites like Wikipedia. (And yes, Sinbad is on that list, as well. I have no idea what makes him such a vortex of Mandela Effect stories, but it’s interesting.)
Sometimes, I’m accused of… well, all kinds of things. I’ve even seen myself described as a “conspiracy theorist.”
Umm… no. About 90% of my professional work involves debunking false anomalies.
The Mandela Effect – and this website – have never been about conspiracies.
In the earliest days of our conversations, our speculations were more “what if?” than anything set in stone. We were authentic, but not always serious.
Also, I’m pretty sure most of us were (and still are) fascinated by weird things. Some of this site’s earliest visitors grew up with old copies of Fortean Times, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, and the Weird USA book series.
Did we accept everything at face value? Of course not.
Sadly, just a few years later, a few people made ridiculous claims about the Mandela Effect, and (deliberately?) misinterpreted what was said at this website.
Even now, I see this topic – and myself – portrayed like something from a TV trope. (The truth may disappoint you. )
So, I’m sorry if you’re disappointed, but – in my opinion – the Mandela Effect has nothing to do with conspiracies.
Start by Believing You’re Okay
Many (perhaps most) people have a few memories that don’t match what others recall.
You probably do, too.
Research your alternate memories. See if other people remember the same thing. Get to the truth, as best you can.
If you’re certain of your memory, and can’t find any other explanation for it, yes, it could be the Mandela Effect.
If you like that answer, that’s great. Many people will agree with you, enthusiastically.
But, if it keeps you awake at night, worrying, you should probably talk with a professional – in real life – about your concerns.
I think the Mandela Effect is fascinating. It raises all kinds of questions about parallel realities and perceptions.
That’s why this website was started. And it’s why the Mandela Effect continues to intrigue people.