Star gazing can be an inspirational pass time. Even, it turns out, if you’re not the one doing it. While driving my stepdaughter home on boxing night she became enthralled by the starscape of a perfectly clear sky, describing the sheer beauty of our universe by picking out the constellations she could see. Not surprisingly, perhaps, this led to a conversation about the nature and mystery of the universe we inhabit. I was explaining some of the writing I’ve been working on regarding parallel worlds and she began nodding enthusiastically with a growing smile. I did what any vaguely sensible man does when his stepdaughter clearly has something important to say and stopped talking. You see, her imagination and enthusiasm are younger than mine and therefore well worth listening to. Immediately she was a teenager again (except more endearing than the first time) as she excitedly asked, “Have you heard of the Mandela effect? You’ve got to look up the Mandela effect.” Not far into her explanation I realised she wasn’t kidding. I really did have to find out more, because something appears to be changing history. So, thanks Steff. Here’s what I found and some of the thoughts it set in motion.
The Mandela effect became a coherent concept when, in 2010, Fiona Broome, now owner and editor of the site http://mandelaeffect.com/, was surprised to hear that Nelson Mandela was still alive. Surprised, because she had vivid memories of media footage of his funeral after he had died while still imprisoned. She even recalled footage of ensuing riots.
Ok, so one person might, for various reasons have developed an inaccurate memory of an event that in fact never happened but when she began talking about this, Fiona discovered that many others shared this same memory. They even recalled details that were the same as she remembered before she had spoken of them. To a great number of people, right up until that moment, this had happened and was part of their shared experience of history. Part of their reality.
Things then started to get a little more weird. Other people, in large numbers, began talking about other quite vivid and certain memories that turned out to be no longer true. Again, one inaccurate memory alone does not a phenomenon make but here were large numbers of people all sharing the same clear memory of a precise detail discovering that detail had not just changed in the present but from the history of their shared memory of their consensual reality. For instance, the Coca cola logo has, for many, retrospectively changed. It is widely remembered as having a hyphen between the two words. They will even describe the idiosyncratic shape of that hyphen. In this reality, however, it is a dot. It has always been a dot. There are many others. Darth Vader never said those immortal words, “Luke, I am your father”, The Queen song, “We are the champions” does not end with the line, “Of the World” and so the strange inconsistencies, for so many, go on.
I say, so many, because for many others reality has remained consistent. They don’t experience these anomalies, while for the rest these same, highly specific details are different in their perceived history and indeed their present, until that difference is pointed out to them. Usually with a jaw dropping effect, so strong is their conviction that the world has not just changed but has somehow always been different from the one they thought they were living in. Very subtly different, but perhaps all the more unsettling for that subtlety.
I should make it clear at this point that in spite of the inevitable conspiracy theories that have grown up around what are essentially the observations of Fiona Broome, she herself is not party to them. I say this because I get the impression she’s getting bit tired of being held to account by the media and those in argument for every theory that someone else comes up with. She simply found that something interesting seems to be happening that poses the question, “What is going on?” So in the interest of exploring that question, in my next post I’ll be back in the multi-disciplinary laboratory between the worlds to try out some ideas of what it is that might be changing history.