Paranormal specialist Fiona Broome first coined the term Mandela Effect. Published on her website in 2009, Broome wrote about her fateful encounter with a group of people at a conference. The conversation drifted around the tragedy of Nelson Mandela’s death in his prison cell in the 1980s.
It was quite extraordinary for Broome to find a group of people who, along with her, remembered an event that never took place with such detail, right from Mandela’s widow’s speech on the TV down to the extent of the news coverage. More shockingly, the details they remembered were identical. A collective memory that didn’t exist. And thus, the mystery began for Fiona Broome.
The Mandela Effect didn’t stop with the story of Mandela’s false death. The concept grew with Broome’s website, and other such stories started to emerge.
Theories Behind Mandela Effect
Broome explained the Mandela Effect through pseudoscientific theories. Each universe has alternate versions of the same reality. And, according to her, differences between the events or objects that created the Effect were from the movement between parallel realities or multiverse.
Another theory is that this reality is a virtual reality system, and false memories are software errors. Another wild theory behind the Mandela Effect is that it’s a glitch left behind by time travelers when they changed history. And, the least scientific explanation is that the Effect is caused by spiritual attacks linked to Satan, black magic, or witchcraft.
But, there are some scientific explanations behind this phenomenon. There is no concrete evidence behind it but a mere glimpse of what might be the reason behind this mystery.
As mentioned above, one of the main reasons for the Mandela Effect is false memories created or imprinted on a person’s brain. The likelihood of this is more than remembering memories from an alternate reality.
False memories can have an enormous impact on one’s life- from changed eating habits to life-altering decisions that can even have fatal consequences.
What exactly are false memories, and how are they created? When we try to recall a certain memory, rather than remembering it perfectly, it can get influenced by other similar memories in our brain, and eventually, the memory can come back to us as incorrect and unreliable.
To oversimplify and understand the general process, think of our brain with compartments to save each kind of memory, and the neurons which deliver those memories to us are packed close to each other. These close neurons can get swapped and create false memories.
More Memory-Linked Concepts
Priming is also referred to as suggestibility and presupposition. It is the influence of factors before an event. For instance, before you meet someone, a mutual friend might comment on the person’s height or any physical feature. These comments, be it positive or negative, can influence the way you remember this person after you meet them. Memories stored in our brain can change over time, and they are not always a hundred percent accurate.
This is the brain’s own process of filling up a gap in memory to make more sense or to give it some meaning. This is not the same as lying but more like creating memories that never happened.
- Post-event Information
These are the small, indirect, and faint changes to information after an event. Post-event information could be as subtle as remembering the wrong color of a shirt to as dramatic as remembering a face differently.
The Spread Of Memories Through Internet
No borders or walls can stop the long and mighty arms of the internet from reaching far and wide. It’s no coincidence that the Mandela Effect has increased and spread more in the Digital Age. The internet is another way to influence memories in the masses.
The Internet can spread information at lightning speed. It’s amazing and scary at the same time how people can get influenced by the abundance of information that reaches them through both reliable and unreliable sources.
And, with information comes the risk of misinformation. A minuscule amount of information is fact-checked, and therein lies the danger of misinformation and falsehoods through the internet.
Even if it’s said a million times not to believe everything you read on the internet, it’s no secret how easy it is for us to get influenced consciously and subconsciously.
Misinformation and lies can gain traction and even create a movement. People create communities around this misinformation, and what seemed as news starts taking the form of reality.
The Internet has become the space to share personal views, opinions, life events, and so much more. Each of us has an account of the details of events or memories that we want to share with the world.
And, we are taking in all these accounts and gulping it all down every single day. This has the effect of coloring our own memories with the memories of others, even if it’s with the memories of total strangers. For example, if your friend saw a movie and wrote about it in great detail, and let’s say you read your friend’s account of it, there’s a high chance after a few years, you might think you have watched that movie.
It’s only been a decade since the term Mandela’s Effect has been going around, and there’s still a lot unknown about it. From a scientific point of view, it seems to be caused by the fallibility of the human brain and mind.
For the more adventurous thinkers, it’s the link between other realities and a portal on the great unknown out there in the Universe. Whatever the cause or reason is, we still have a long way to go to understand the mystery behind Mandela’s Effect.