Like everything else in our world, our memories are imperfect. We forget things, and sometimes we misremember. (I can personally attest to doing both on innumerable occasions in my life 🙂 .) Faulty memory occurs all the time.
But, some now insist that false memories are not false, but proof that CERN or some higher entity is “changing” reality, or that there are parallel universes “bumping into” and “merging” together/with ours (someone’s been reading too many Marvel comics…), etc, etc. That these false memories are residue from the original timeline, which has “changed” after the event. This has been dubbed the “Mandela Effect”, named after Nelson Mandela, whom some falsely remember dying in the 1980s, rather than in 2013 (he became the first post-apartheid President of South Africa – which some persons who remember him dying in the ’80s also remember, demonstrating quite clearly that we’re dealing with faulty memories).
I intend to point to several supposed “Mandela Effects”, and demonstrate that there’s no altered reality involved, and that these are indeed cases of faulty memory, or simply failing to notice something for a while (which I’ve done heaps of time before…). RealityDecoded and The Mandela Effect are my main (but not sole) sources for the supposed “effects”.
One of the (rightly) beloved franchise’s most well-known (and humorous) characters is C3P0, a golden-coloured robot shown above in the original movie, A New Hope (not the background robot). You’ll notice he has a barely-noticable silver right leg. If you think “barely noticable” is an exaggeration, look at the following still:
Notice how it reflects the colours around it – especially yellow/gold, easily making it unnoticeable (unless you look really closely – or are specifically looking for it). However, despite this, some still insist that it’s impossible that they’d missed it years ago, and that reality’s been changed to make his right leg silver.
Allow me to make it personal. Earlier this year – i.e. long AFTER the silver leg was noticed, long AFTER the movie was SUPPOSEDLY changed – I watched Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope for the first time in a number of years. I watched it online. When I watched it, I never noticed ANY silver leg. I wasn’t thinking about the Mandela Effect, or anything like that. I’d clean forgotten the hullabaloo over C3P0’s leg. I was simply enjoying a good movie.
Afterwards, I saw an article talking about the “Mandela Effect”, and included C3P0’s leg. I racked my brain, and couldn’t remember ANYTHING silver about C3P0. As far as I remembered, just earlier this year, his leg was just as golden as the rest of him.
So, to be sure, I went back to the exact same link and watched the opening scene of the movie again… and lo and behold, C3P0 did have a silver leg. I had simply missed it – due to the reflective colour, and the fact that I wasn’t looking for it or paying great attention to the details of his appearance.
What is more, the actor who played C3P0 – Anthony Daniels – has confirmed that the character ALWAYS had a silver leg, but due to its reflective nature, even the cameraman missed it. (Just think about that for a moment – some insist that they or their relatives are too fanatical Star Wars fans to have missed 3P0’s leg all those years, and yet even the cameraman missed it.)
It’s true: Before ‘The Force Awakens,’ C-3PO always had a silver shin.
On Monday’s red carpet for the world premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Los Angeles, actor Anthony Daniels said the different-colored limb on the otherwise-gold protocol droid was overlooked by many fans.
Daniels recalled, “Even the stills photographer, John Jay, came up to me one day and said, ‘Why are you wearing a silver leg today.’ Now, he was the stills photographer, and he hadn’t noticed.”
Actually, the leg caused some problems for filming.
“It would reflect the gold leg, and it would reflect in the desert, so it acted more of like a mirror,” said Daniels.
So, Threepio was fitted with two gold legs for The Force Awakens, instead.
(Director) JJ decided, let’s make it noticeable with a red arm. More of that later.
And though Daniels’ costume got an update, that doesn’t mean he could move freely in it: It’s still impossible to sit in the droid suit.
Doesn’t get much clearer than that. Some point out that some of the toys depict C3P0 with two golden legs. Here’s a good response to that:
Another famous misremember is Darth Vader’s famous line from Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), “Luke, I am your father.” It’s actually “No, I am your father.” It’s one of the most misquoted lines of all time. But, for the ME crowd, a difference of one word from what they thought they remembered is proof of an altered reality. (Yeah, I know.)
The Sun’s article about the ME provides a logical response to this:
So what’s the explanation?
Some of the examples above have a more logical explanation.
For example, “Luke, I am your father,” is frequently quoted in popular culture. Even if you haven’t watched the Star Wars series, you still know that quote.
It’s been pointed out that people would have substituted “No” with “Luke” in order to keep the context in place when quoting it.
If you just went around saying, “No, I am your father,” you’d potentially sound like a bloody weirdo, or a runaway guest from The Maury Povich Show.
THIS is a hot one. Many remember the series being called Berenstein Bears, rather than Berenstain Bears. If you thought the “one word difference proves parallel universes” thing with Darth Vader was ridiculous, ME folks are arguing the difference of one letter between what they remember the title was, and what the title actually is, is proof of their theory. Stan & Jan Berenstain’s son has confirmed that the series has ALWAYS been Berenstain – named after the authors, whose surname was BERENSTAIN, NOT Berenstein.
In this case, we have direct evidence that the “discrepancy” (if you can truly call a difference of one letter a discrepancy) is not (entirely) faulty memory, but a manufacturing error in the distribution of the TV series.
In other words, at some point in the past, there was a typo in the show’s mass distribution, which has long since been corrected (although evidently some of the erroneous copies are still in existance). No ME or altered reality at all. Simply a memory of a production typo. (Plus, Stein is a more common surname ending than Stain.)
Many remember it as Vicks Vapor Rub, as evidenced by their competitors’ label on the left. Again, we’re talking about a difference of one letter – and one that is extremely easy to make simply by hearing the name spoken.
Many – apparently including actor Tom Hanks – remember the movie line as being “Life IS like a box of chocolates”. Again, it’s a difference of the tense of one word – and we’re expected to believe that proves alternate realities?! Here’s an explanation from someone who remembers the word “is”:
Finally, a Mandela effect question where I am one of those who shares the!
I, too, recall the line as “life is like a box of chocolates.”
There was no alternative scene. I am experiencing the Mandela Effect – which is to say, I share in the collective false memory.
How has this happened? Why do we all remember it wrong?
It seems likely to be a combination of factors:
- The quote wasn’t in the book, although chocolate boxes are apparently mentioned. () In fact, a version of this quote closer to the sentiment of the movie first appears in Haruki Murakami’s 1987 novel, . It is notable that the quote in this book is: “Life is a box of chocolates.”
- Then we should turn to where Mama actually says the following: “Life is a box of chocolates, Forrest.” Note the present tense. She is explaining her philosophy on life to him, in that moment.
- Now, the iconic scene itself, in which he says “My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates.” Due to the accent, although it is fairly clear he says “was”, it isn’t that far from “is.” He is referring to a past event, so “was” makes sense from the scriptwriting and narrative point of view. And then, when you hear his mother say it to him later in the film, she goes for present tense. The misremembering, I suspect, begins here.
- Note also that the misquote is similar to another famous Star Wars misquote; about a certain hero’s parentage. The context is missed off when people quote it to each other, and the quotable bit has become:, because it would sound weird if you used “life was like a box of chocolates” when quoting the movie to your friends, or in the various media uses of it in everything from comedy sketches and stand-up to a take-off in an X-Files episode. The past tense makes no sense without the context, and his accent was strong, and there’s another scene in the present tense… how the false memory appears starts to stack up, yes?
- Then you have the pull-quote on the video box, which the true believers seem to think proves whatever their pet theory about the “Mandela Effect” is, but in fact is a perfect demonstration of how the past tense doesn’t work without context, and how the misquote entered the public consciousness.
- So a whole lot of people misremember a movie they watched in 1994 (including – it seems – people who acted in the movie!) They – like I – haven’t seen it in absolutely ages. They watch it again a decade or so later, having heard the misquote or pulled-quote or partial quote a thousand times from different sources, and discover the actual words are not as they recall.
- Then, rather than assuming their memories are faulty, they go on the internet and discuss with others how it proves we live in the Matrix / parallel universes / etc. We know human memory is horribly fallible, and yet some people still prefer extraordinary, baseless, improbable explanations to prosaic, evidence-based explanations.
We’ve all heard the Bible verse “the lion will lie down with the lamb. Only, it doesn’t exist. More specifically, it’s been misquoted. It actually reads:
6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6, KJV)
Someone in the past, it seemed, accidentally conflated different parts of the verse to produce the common quote (which would have been aided by the fact that Yeshua/Jesus is described as both a lion and a lamb). However, as our pre-Christ manuscripts of Isaiah prove, the text hasn’t changed.
Sex and the City
Many remember it as Sex in the City, and some of the persons involved with the making of the show have apparently used the word “in” instead of “and”. I can personally attest that such mistakes occur all the time. Nothing is proved.
Interview with the Vampire
Many remember it as Interview with a Vampire. Both titles have been used by the book, so it’s a case of confusion – not changed reality.
Great Wall of India
It’s actually called Kumbhalgarh fort (or Kumbhal fort). ME proponents spin the following picture of the castle:
Great Wall of India is the second biggest wall in the world, yet most of us have never heard of it. And for some reason, the origins and history of this giant wall in the heart of Madhya Pradesh still remain a mystery. The wall is constructed from large, evenly sized local stones that interlock without mortar. Apparently, in this current reality, this rather gigantic wall has been well known a long time–so long, in fact, that there are more questions than answers about who built it, when, and why.
Kumbhalgarh fort (or Kumbhal fort) is a Mewar fortress on the westerly range of Aravalli Hills, in the Rajsamand district near Udaipur of Rajasthan state in western India. It is a World Heritage Site included in Hill Forts of Rajasthan. Built during the course of the 15th century by Rana Kumbha. Occupied until the late 19th century, the fort is now open to the public and is spectacularly lit for a few minutes each evening. Kumbalgarh is situated 82 km northwest of Udaipur by road. It is the most important fort in Mewar after Chittorgarh Fort.
In 2013, at the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Kumbhalgarh Fort, along with five other forts of Rajasthan, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the group Hill Forts of Rajasthan.
With the walls of the fort extending over 38 km, it is claimed to be the second-longest continuous wall after the Great Wall of China; the fort is among the largest fort complexes in the world, and the second largest fort in India after Chittor Fort.
The early history of the fort could not be ascertained on account of lack of evidence. The earliest name of the fort is believed to be Machhindrapur, while Sahib Haqim, a historian, named it Mahore. The original fort is believed to have been built by King Samprati of the Maura Age on account of the strategic importance during the 6th century. The subsequent history till 1303 AD till the invasion of Alauddin Khalji is obscure.
Kumbhalgarh in its current form was built and ruled by Rana Kumbha and his dynasty who were Hindu Sisodia rajputs descendents. Kumbhalgarh in its present form was developed by, and believed to have been designed by a famous architect of the era Madan. Rana Kumbha’s kingdom of Mewar stretched from Ranthambore to Gwalior and included large tracts of erstwhile Madhya Pradesh as well as Rajasthan. Out of the 84 forts in his dominion, Rana Kumbha is said to have designed 32 of them, of which Kumbhalgarh is the largest and most elaborate.
Kumbhalgarh also separated Mewar and Marwar from each other and was used as a place of refuge for the rulers of Mewar at times of danger. A notable instance was in the case of Prince Udai, the infant king of Mewar who was smuggled here in 1535, when Chittaur was under siege. Prince Udai later succeeded to the throne. The fort remained impregnable to direct assault, and fell only once to the forces of Mughal Emperor Akbar‘s General Mansingh I in 1576 after Mughal victory at the Battle of Haldighati.
Ahmed Shah I of Gujarat attacked the fort in 1457, but found the effort futile. There was a local belief then that the Banmata deity in the fort protected it and hence he destroyed the temple. There were further attempts in 1458-59 and 1467 by Mahmud Khalji, but it also proved futile. Akbar‘s general, Shabhbaz Khan, is believed to have taken control of the fort in 1576. But it was recaptured by Maharana Pratap in 1585 through guerrilla warfare. Finally in 1615 Mewar surrendered against the Mughal forces sent by Emperor Jahangir under the command of Prince Khurram. In 1818, an armed band of Sanyasins formed a garrison to protect the fort, but was convinced by Tod and the fort was taken over by the British and later returned to Udaipur State. There were additions made by Maharanas of Mewar, but the original structure built by Maharana Kumbha remains. The residential buildings and temples are well-preserved. The fort is also known to be the birthplace of Maha Rana Pratap.
Built on a hilltop 1,100 m (3,600 ft) above sea level on the Aravalli range, the fort of Kumbhalgarh has perimeter walls that extend 36 km (22 mi), making it one of the longest walls in the world.[dubious] The frontal walls are fifteen feet thick. Kumbhalgarh has seven fortified gateways. There are over 360 temples within the fort, 300 ancient Jain and the rest Hindu. From the palace top, it is possible to see kilometers into the Aravalli Range. The sand dunes of the Thar Desert can be seen from the fort walls.
According to popular folklore, Maharana Kumbha used to burn massive lamps that consumed fifty kilograms of ghee and a hundred kilograms of cotton to provide light for the farmers who worked during the nights in the valley.
Important structures in the fort
Lakhola Tank is the most notable tank inside the fort, constructed by Rana Lakha during 1382-1421 CE. It is located in the Western side of Kelwara town and measures 5 km (3.1 mi) in length to 100 m (0.062 mi) to 200 m (0.12 mi) in width. The tank had a depth of 40 ft (12 m) during independence and since then has been raised to 60 ft (18 m). Aaret Pol is the gate on the western side, Halla Pol with an downward slope from the entrance, Ram Pol and Hanuman Pol near Bavadi are the major gates of the fort. There are inscriptions on the foot of idols in Hanuman Pol detailing the construction of the fort. Bad Shahi Bavdi is a stepped tank, believed to have been built during the invasion of Shahbaz Khan in 1578, the general of Akbar to provide water to the troops. Most buildings are visible from the Ram Pol, which is considered an architectural specimen.
- Hindu Temple
A Ganesh temple built on a 12 ft (3.7 m) platform and is considered the earliest of all temples built inside the fort. Neel Kanth Mahadeva temple is located on the eastern side of the fort built during 1458 CE. The central shrine of Shiva is approached through a rectangular enclosure and through a structure supported by 24 huge pillars. The idol of Shiva is made of black stone and is depicted with 12 hands. The inscriptions indicate that the temple was renovated by Rana Shanga.
- Jain Temple
Parsva Natha temple (built during 1513), Jain temple on the eastern side and Bawan (52) Jain temples and Golera Jain temple are the major Jain temples in the fort. Mataji temple, also called Kheda Devi temple is located on the southern side of Neela Kanth temple. Mamdeo temple, Pital Shah Jain temple and Surya Mandir (Sun temple) are the other major temples inside the fort.
The Rajasthan Tourism Department organizes a three-day annual festival in the fort in remembrance of the passion of Maharana Kumbha towards art and architecture. Sound and light shows are organized with the fort as the background. Various concerts and dance events are also organised to commemorate the function. The other events during the festival are Heritage Fort Walk, turban tying, tug-of war and mehendi mandana among others.
Six forts of Rajasthan, namely, Amber Fort, Chittor Fort, Gagron Fort, Jaisalmer Fort, Kumbhalgarh and Ranthambore Fort were included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list during the 37th meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Phnom Penh during June 2013. They were recognized as a serial cultural property and examples of Rajput military hill architecture.
1916 Statue of Liberty attack
Many don’t remember/haven’t heard of this event. Apparently, this proves that it was later added to history, and wasn’t in the original timeline. (WTF?! Seriously!?)
Saint Jerome (347-420), in translating the Vulgate, mistranslated the word for “shone” in Exodus 34:29-30 as “horned”, which led to numerous depictions – including Michelangelo’s famous sculpture – showing that. This is a historical fact. And I can personally attest – as someone who got into Biblical stuff since a young age – that this has always been the case with the Vulgate and medieval art. Some people, however, have only heard about this recently, and so think it’s an ME change to reality – which I can personally attest is absolute BS. It’s always been the case – regardless of when you first heard about it.
Three Little Pigs
We’re all familiar with the famous line, variously rendered (depending on who’s retelling the story) “I’ll blow your house down” or “I’ll blow your house in”. I can personally attest that both versions have always existed, but some who grew up with only one version have now decided that the other is a Mandela Effect on reality. Oy vey…
Many refer to it by the colloquial name of Smithsonian Institute. Over time, some grew to wrongly remember the nickname as the official name, and charge “Mandela Effect!” at the actual name, even going so far as to produce newspaper clippings of the colloquial name. About as much proof as a newspaper clipping using the colloquial title “Queen of England”, even though that title ceased to exist in 1707. (It’s “Queen of the United Kingdom”.)
As far as I can remember, it’s always said that “two” will be in one bed – one will be taken, the other left. Some remember the words “husband and wife” instead of “two”, and think this proves reality has been altered.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Some remember the Australian spelling Judgement being in the title, and charge ME. Seriously!?
Fictitious landmass in a movie
This is a still from a MOVIE, for crying out loud!
The Wizard of Oz
In the above scene, the characters each carried a weapon through a forest. The scarecrow carried a gun. Many didn’t notice this for years. It wasn’t in the script BUT A LOT of lines, actions, and scenes (including many iconic ones) in A LOT of movies are improvised, so the lack of a gun in the script doesn’t prove a Mandela Effect.
As an experiment, I asked my friend to watch the scene without telling her anything. She has seen the film numerous times. I asked if she noticed anything out of ordinary. She didn’t notice anything. I showed it again, and yet again she couldn’t see anything weird. I think that’s at the heart of what we are dealing with here. It’s an obscure thing that has no right or context to being in the movie, and it’s hardly noticeable even when asked to be aware. It’s only when we point out these oddities, the viewers become aware of them. While my impromptu experiment doesn’t conclude anything, I feel it at least raises some points on how this could be missed or completely forgotten.
The actor (whom I saw in King Solomon’s Mines and The Fox and the Hound 2) died in 2009. Some, however, remember a report of his hospitalisation in 2011. This is due to a slightly misleading Fox News headline “Patrick Swayze’s widow Lisa Niemi blasts tabloids for coverage of husband’s cancer”, which was referring to her husband’s cancer two years prior. Here’s the article itself:
Several remember the comedian playing a genie in the 1990s, which he didn’t.
…the false memories of Shazaam have been explained as a conflation of memories of the comedian wearing a genie costume during a TV presentation of Sinbad the Sailor movies in 1994, and a similarly named 1996 film Kazaam featuring a genie played by Shaquille O’Neal.
Bologna Centrale railway station
A 2010 study examined people who were familiar with the clock at Bologna Centrale railway station, which had been damaged in the Bologna massacre bombing in August 1980. In the study, 92% falsely remembered that the clock had remained stopped since the bombing, when in fact, the clock was repaired shortly after the attack. Years later the clock was again stopped and was then set to the time of the bombing in observation and commemoration of the bombing.
New Zealand & Australia
This one is personal for me, because I’m Australian, my mother (born in the ’70s) is Australia, and my father (born in the ’40s) is New Zealander. Some remember Australia being further away from the islands to the north – which I can personally attest has never been true. More importantly (and annoyingly), many remember New Zealand either being to the north-east of Australia, or to the west (as opposed to the south-east it is) – or that it was one island (instead of two).
Some examples of persons who think NZ was once north-east of Australia (in the comment section of an article) can be found here:
Here’s the story of a guy who thinks NZ was once west of Australia:
This is a picture of the Australia and New Zealand I know.
TL;DR: Photoshopped pic of Australia as I remember it at the end of the post.
This is a long post, but here’s my story for those who care. I figured I’ll put it all here because I will never breathe a word of any of this to anyone in real life. I’ll redraw the maps in my brain and go on as if nothing has changed. I understand how insane it sounds.
I spent last night on the verge of an anxiety attack. I’m well educated. I’m well travelled, I’ve lived in multiple countries (including in Asia). I have a good job and a solid middle class existence and I pride myself in being emotionally stable and consistently rational. I’m not saying this to brag, I’m doing so to point out that I don’t meet the criteria that I’ve seen some use to dismiss these memories (mental illness, etc).
I just realized that I do not recognize Australia and New Zealand. At all.
I had no idea this Mandela effect stuff existed until yesterday. I’d studied geography extensively as a child because I was forced into geography bees and I didn’t want to lose. In my mid-teens I spent a lot of time looking at maps, as well, in order to plot out where I wanted to travel as an adult. I even had an atlas tacked on my bedroom wall. New Zealand was one of the places I wanted to live. I ended up moving to Japan instead. But the point stands, I spent a lot of time looking at Asia and Australia on maps.
Sometime in my early twenties I remember someone mentioning New Zealand as being southeast of Australia. I thought they were wrong so I pulled up Google Maps and there it was. I thought something like, “Wow, I’m dumb, I thought it was on the other side all these years.” But it weirded me out because I was (am) positive it was on the left side of Australia. I didn’t think about it much, just closed the map and went back to talking and that was all.
Also at some point in my early twenties, I want to mention, I had trouble finding Germany, too. I looked at a map and it was/is much smaller than I remembered. I just made a mental note and moved on because I didn’t have time to think about it too much. Every so often I’d casually think about it and feel embarrassed that I must have learned those ones so incorrectly.
That brings us to yesterday. I was talking to someone and one thing led to another and we were joking about conspiracy theories. He basically laughed and said, “My personal conspiracy theory is someone keeps shape-shifting Australia on me!” I asked what he meant, and he said he remembered it looking different and New Zealand being on the other side. THAT sent chills down my back.
So I got home and I pulled up Google Maps. I’m almost 30 now, so it has been a few years at least since I sat down and deliberately looked at a full map of the world with the intent of simply seeing where stuff is (as opposed to quickly pulling up cities on Maps to make notes for work). When I saw Australia, it was goosebumps up and down my arms, I swear. You know that little electrical jolt feeling you get when something really surprises you? Or like when you run your fingers fast across the car ceiling? That’s what happened.
Australia looks nothing like my memories of it. And it’s not as if I only saw it on a map a few times as a kid, at one point I’d been looking into moving there! I did move to Japan when I was 20, I’ve seen that part of the world on maps so many times. Now Australia is almost IN Asia itself, it is almost touching Papua New Guinea. That was the first thing that surprised me – that it is so close to all the islands. I KNOW Australia was far away from the other land masses and completely surrounded by ample amounts of water. Nothing was around it except New Zealand. This is not a false memory, this is something I am as certain about as I am the info on my own birth certificate.
Furthermore, I do not know this shape of Australia at all. It was larger and more rounded (more filled out, is perhaps the right way of saying it). The ‘new’ Australia looks smaller, like a large portion of it, and especially the W/SW shoreline, has eroded away. So much so that my jolt of surprise was followed by a sense of sadness. I feels like I’m looking at a future version of Australia where its shores have been eaten away over the years by the ocean. That pointy part at the top and the big bay next to it — I’ve never seen that before.
New Zealand: I remember it having been to the left of Australia and much closer. The shape was a little different but I can’t reliably say what it was like (I’ve been staring at maps too long now), though I do remember it curved toward AUS as if it had been, at some point in history, a piece of the nation that broke free.
This legitimately frightened me, and that is not something that happens often.
I used Google Maps to carefully look over the rest of the world. The biggest other difference, as I mentioned before, is Germany. I remember it being much larger with a different shape (which I can still see clearly in my head). I was surprised at how large Poland is. I remember Poland being much smaller. Also the Czech Republic is much larger. I remember it being very tiny — only the eastern-most side of it existed. The Germany I remember was the biggest nation in Europe, and it hogged a lot more land mass. Now it looks like Poland and the Czech Republic both gobbled up a lot of its land.
Other things that are ‘off’, but that I’m willing to accept I remember incorrectly because I don’t feel so super-positively certain that they’ve changed:
Since when is Japan so far north? Hokkaido is nearly touching Russia. I LIVED in Tokyo until late 2008, it is not a vague faraway place to me. I do not remember it being near Russia at all. It is the Russia part that is wigging me out. I feel like Japan was less curved and that its southernmost portion was down around where Taiwan is now.
And speaking of Taiwan, I distinctly remember it being very near Hong Kong (as that had been one of the places I considered moving). Which means it would be farther south, too.
Madagascar is now huge, farther north, and further away from Africa. I remember it being about half its size (maybe a touch smaller), further south, and closer to the shore.
Mongolia. I don’t remember Mongolia ever being a place in the modern world. It was the third discrepancy I noticed after AUS/New Zealand and Germany. It’s not that I remember it being a part of China or anything, it is that as far I’d remembered it didn’t exist in the modern world. It had in the past, but was no longer. I distinctly remember China being pleasantly round in shape and completely bordering Russia. Basically erase the inner border of Mongolia and all of that is the China I know.
And so there it is. I discovered the Mandela effect when I was Googling whether Australia had changed for anyone else. I’m willing to accept that false memories play a big part. Gorton’s fish sticks sounds like Gordon’s fish sticks, for example, and so it isn’t surprising some remember it as Gordon’s. (Though I always thought until yesterday that it was Jiffy peanut butter, so what do I know? I certainly wasn’t confusing it with the vile garbage known as Skippy’s peanut butter.) I’m willing to accept that I simply never noticed how close Japan is to Russia and that Mongolia exists and that Germany isn’t the biggest country in Europe (never mind that everywhere else on maps looks like I remember, so it is odd that I would so distinctly misremember only three big things).
But I will believe until the day I take my last breath that Australia and New Zealand are not where/how I remember them. This is the AUS/NZ that I know:
Here is a comment on that thread from someone else who had a similar recollection:
I can relate to your feeling of nearly having an anxiety attack. I went through the same thing about a year and a half ago – around December 2013. I had a few alternate memories and found out a lot of other people shared them. I’m honestly not sure which is worse – thinking you might actually be mentally ill or coming to believe that reality is not what you always thought it was – I chose the latter – it was a huge paradigm shift for me – one I am afraid to discuss with most of my friends and family. My credibility with some would be completely shot.
My first alternate memory was of watching parts of Rev. Billy Graham’s televised funeral. I later heard on the radio he had not died – I was completely shocked – because I know I did not confuse him with anyone else. I know it wasn’t a dream. He was a friend to many U.S. presidents and many attended his funeral. It turns out many people share this memory.
I share some of your geography memories. An even weirder thing about the Mandela Effect is that people remember things “changing” at different times. I think you said you were in your earlier 20’s when you saw NZ in a different place – so more than 5 years ago, given that you are 30. Some time in 2013, I looked at my National Geographic globe because I wanted to see exactly where NZ was. I was wondering WHY I seldom thought about NZ and how it seemed even more exotic and far away than Australia. I looked at my globe and saw that it was west of AU, possibly NW. I am in California, and I realized it really was “farther away” since I would most likely fly west to visit. I knew I’d be able to remember where it was from then on. But a few months later I looked at my globe again – that part of the world, and was as the British would say “gobsmacked.” NZ was out of place and AU was way far north. I’m on my Kindle and it won’t let me open you Imgur picture, and my desktop is down or I would check your image.
Anyway you are not at all alone in this, as crazy as it must sound to anyone from Australia or New Zealand. I also share your feelings about Japan being too far north, and I visited a friend there in 1993. (For reference, I am 51.) I was extremely surprised to see Mongolia as a present day country as well.
You know, it’s possible there are people in some part of the world who all share the same alternate memory of the U.S.or Canada or other countries.
If you haven’t already, you should check out Fiona Broome’s website, www.mandelaeffect.com. Lots of people share many of your alternate memories, I including Jiffy peanut butter. There’s a separate article on that – I did a little research on that one.
It’s all very, very odd, but you are not crazy.
Others think NZ was once one island, and as mentioned above, some think Australia was shaped differently. As an Australian born and bred – with an Australian born and bred mother and grandmother, and a New Zealand born and bred father – I am definitely in a position to confirm or deny these claims.
I KNOW WITH ABSOLUTE, POSITIVE, 100% CERTAINTY THAT AT NO POINT IN TIME HAVE THESE CLAIMS EVER BEEN TRUE. NO MATTER HOW HARD SOME MAY HAVE STUDIED GEOGRAPHY, THEIR MEMORIES OF AN ALTERNATE SOUTH PACIFIC WERE NEVER REALITY IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM! YOU CAN CALL THAT STATEMENT ARROGANT IF YOU WANT. BUT IT’S SIMPLY A FACT, REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOU THINK YOU MAY REMEMBER.
My Dad has on more then one occasion mentioned the old tongue-in-cheek NZ shirts that showed NZ and Aus and read “North Island, South Island, West Island”. As Mum pointed out when I told her about this LUNACY, it’s a fact we were taught in school that Captain Cook proved NZ was TWO islands by sailing between them. And it’s notable that these claims are almost always made by AMERICANS, pretty much never by persons in Australia or New Zealand. As someone on Reddit said:
Your ignorance is not an instance of the Mandela effect.
There seem to be two main categories of experiences here.
The first category consists of minor discrepancies between reality and memory that can’t easily be explained away. These discrepancies often concern personal experiences and can’t be proved wrong. An example is someone who read the Berenstain Bears books every night when they were a kid and knows in their heart that it’s spelt Berenstein, and there’s nothing that conclusively proves that their memory is false. After all, Berenstain isn’t inherently more correct than Berenstain, and it’s conceivable that the true spelling could at some point have been Berenstein.
The other category consists of common misconceptions born from ignorance. These discrepancies have simple explanations and are trivial to disprove, and it takes a staggering degree of arrogance and stubbornness to assume that your belief is correct and the world’s changed around you (e.g. by saying “<x> is in the wrong place” or “<x> has moved”). The geographical beliefs are the most frustrating because no one from the region in question would ever share your belief — it could only be held by someone who’s absentmindedly browsed a few world maps as a kid and didn’t pay attention. A few that I’ve seen here are “New Zealand should be north-east/west of Australia” and “Australia should be be nowhere near SE Asia”. These are demonstrably false.
If New Zealand was north-east of Australia, it would be in the tropics and wouldn’t have its glaciers and snowfall. If it was west of Australia, it wouldn’t lie on a fault line and also wouldn’t have its natural features. You can see the southern lights in NZ, which would not be possible if NZ was not south of Australia. If Australia was further South, it would be way colder. Unlike Berenst(ae)in, if the geography of the area changed in even a minor way, this would have a massive ripple effect.
North Americans in particular are notoriously geographically illiterate, and it’s almost laughably offensive that a non-Australian/NZ resident would be so confident in their knowledge of geography that they believe parallel universes are a more likely explanation for the discrepancy than them simply not knowing enough about the region. This also applies to people doubting the positioning of Japan, Russia, Madagascar, and all the other places that’ve been mentioned in this sub.
Please be critical of your memories.
There were multiple Aussies and Kiwis (New Zealanders) responding to the first Reddit thread I posted, saying similar stuff. WE Aussies & Kiwis (I’m both – a dual citizen, Australian by birth, New Zealand by descent) KNOW our geography & physical place in the world haven’t changed – despite what some Americans THINK they remember (and are absolutely wrong about – 110%). To quote one New Zealander on the Reddit thread, “they refuse to take into account my ‘testimony’ as a New Zealander. I can vouch that it has ALWAYS been here, and the Oceania region is EXACTLY like what is shown on maps. But no, apparently these islands have been shifting 6000+ miles for without me noticing a thing. That is ‘sorta sad’.”
We have seen, at least in the cases shown here, that the “Mandela Effect” is little more than faulty memories, or memories of misinformation. To quote a Kiwi Reddit user, “WHY is it so hard to admit that your memory was wrong?” I’ll close with a discussion of a “test” on faulty memories:
Memory inaccuracy can also arise from what’s known as “source monitoring errors”. These are instances where people fail to distinguish between real and imagined even. US professor of psychology, Jim Coan, demonstrated how easily this can happen using the “Lost in the Mall” procedure.
This saw Coan give his family members short narratives describing childhood events. One, about his brother getting lost in a shopping mall, was invented. Not only did Coan’s brother believe the event occurred, he also added additional detail. When cognitive psychologist and expert on human memory, Elizabeth Loftus, applied the technique to larger samples, 25% of participants failed to recognise the event was false.
(It’s worth noting that on some ME forums, you’ll find people who had no ME memories UNTIL reading about others’, and decided they rang a bell.)