Mandela Effect example depicting the "berenstain" vs. "berenstein" bears book cover from the simpsons.

The Mandela Effect

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Updated Apr 10, 2023 at 01:25PM EDT by Zach.

Added Aug 13, 2015 at 11:05AM EDT by Ari Spool.

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The Mandela Effect is a slang term for the phenomenon in which a large group of people shares false memories of past events, referred to as confabulation in psychiatry.[13] Some have speculated that the memories are caused by parallel universes or alternate realities spilling into our own, while others explain the phenomenon as a failure of collective memory. The term was coined by Fiona Broome in 2010 and became an increasing subject of interest in 2012. As the concept and term became more commonplace throughout the 2010s, it became a prevalent topic around social media, as well as appearing in memes.


In 2010, blogger Fiona Broome coined the term "Mandela Effect" to describe a collective false memory she discovered at the Dragon Con convention, where many others believed that former South African President Nelson Mandela died in prison in the 1980s during his imprisonment. That year, Broome launched the site[1] to document various examples of the phenomenon.

See, I thought Nelson Mandela died in prison. I thought I remembered it clearly, complete with news clips of his funeral, the mourning in South Africa, some rioting in cities, and the heartfelt speech by his widow.

Then, I found out he was still alive.

Additionally, Broome described other widely-held false memories beyond the belief of Mandela dying in prison, including various nonexistent Star Trek episodes and rumors about the death of the Reverend Billy Graham.


On August 23rd, 2012, a post titled "Berenstein Bears: We Are Living in Our Own Parallel Universe" was published on the blog The Wood Between Worlds,[2] which described a widespread memory of the children's book series Berenstain Bears as "Berenstein," explaining the false memory as the result of an alternate reality spilling over into our own. In December 2013, the /r/mandelaeffect[3] subreddit was launched for discussions about the phenomenon.

Many publications have published stories about the Mandela Effect throughout the 2010s, including BuzzFeed,[4] Vice,[5] The A.V. Club,[6] WGN,[7] Seventeen Magazine[8] and Heavy.[9] On November 29th, 2014, the YouTube channel ShineTheLight73 uploaded a video titled "The Mandela Effect Exploded After The 2014-2015 Biblical Blood Moon Tetrad," which garnered upwards of 900,000 views and 2,200 comments over the next three years (shown below).

On December 18th, 2015, YouTuber ReignBot uploaded an explanation of the Mandela Effect (shown below, left). On August 30th, 2016, YouTuber Shane Dawson posted a video titled "Conspiracy Theory – The Mandela Effect," which gathered upwards of 4.08 million views and 71,000 comments within five months (shown below, right).

On October 13th, BuzzFeed[14] published an article highlighting various examples of the Mandela Effect. On December 8th, Redditor carc posted an infographic containing various Mandela Effect examples to /r/MandelaEffect (shown below).[15]

infographic of all the examples of The Mandela Effect on various products, persons or brands

On April 7th, 2017, James Rolfe of Cinemassacre, known as the Angry Video Game Nerd, posted a video to YouTube exploring examples of the Mandela Effect in movies, gaining over 4.4 million views in five years (shown below). In 2020, the medical advice blog Healthline[17] published a piece on the Mandela Effect offering examples of it and trying to explain how it happens.

Berenstein Bears VHS Tape

On August 5th, 2016, Redditor diamondashtry submitted a post titled "Holy shit – found Berenstein evidence while packing," claiming to have discovered a Berentstein Bears VHS tape with the names "Berenstein" and "Berenstain" appearing on the official label (shown below). Within 72 hours, the post gained more than 340 votes (93% upvoted) and 180 comments on the /r/MandelaEffect[10] subreddit.

Berenstein Bears VHS Tape famous photo

In the comments section, Redditor jumpsiedaisy replied that "basic analyses" on photos showed no traces of digital editing. That day, the news site Heavy[9] published an article titled "Berenstein Bears: Did Reddit Prove the Mandela Effect?"

Berenstein Bears Stuffed Toy Tags

On September 16th, 2017, Redditor mochanutcoconut submitted a photograph of two stuffed bear toys with tags clearly displaying the name "Berenstein Mama Bear" and Berenstein Brother Bear" (shown below). Within four days, the post gathered upwards of 61,200 points (84% upvoted) and 3,800 comments on /r/mildlyinteresting.[16]

Berenstein Bears stuffed animals with toy tags confirming elements of the Mandela Effect

Various Examples

Oscar Meyer vs. Oscar Mayer

Many people falsely recall that the American lunch meat company Oscar Mayer is spelled "Oscar Meyer."

Oscar Meyer vs. Oscar Mayer Mandela Effect example

Monopoly Man's Monocle

The character Rich Uncle Pennybags, also known as Mr. Monopoly or Monopoly Man, has never been illustrated with a monocle.

Monopoly Man with and without the Monocle

"Luke, I Am Your Father"

Many falsely remember the villain Darth Vader uttering the line "Luke I am your father during a fight," with the protagonist Luke Skywalker in the 1980 science fiction film Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.

Sinbad's Shazaam

A rumor that comedian David Adkins (a.k.a. Sinbad) starred in a 1990s comedy film titled Shazaam began circulating online, with many claiming to remember the film in detail. On October 3rd, 2016, Adkins tweeted that the false memory may have come from a block of "Sinbad the Sailor" films hosted in 1994 (shown below).[12]

Most famous Mandela Effect, the Sinbad’s Shazaam movie that never was

On December 23rd, 2016, Imgur user alexanderlik uploaded a picture of a VHS tape box for Shazaam, featuring Adkins as a genie on the cover (shown below, left). On December 28th, Snopes[11] published an article titled "Sinbad in a Bottle," listing the rumor as "False" and speculating that people were mistaking it for the 1996 film Kazaam starring Shaquille O'Neal (shown below, right).

Shaq on cover of Kazaam that probably caused part of the confusion

Additionally, the article noted that the VHS tape cover art appeared to use a picture of WWE wrestler Chavo Guerrero (shown below).

WWE wrestler Chavo Guerrer who was photoshopped into the image making the fake VHS cover for Sinbad Shazaam

Snow White "Magic Mirror On The Wall"

Many falsely remember the queen from the Disney film Snow White saying "mirror mirror on the wall" when gazing into her mirror, however, she actually says "magic mirror on the wall" (shown below).

Forrest Gump "Life Was Like A Box Of Chocolates"

A quote in the film Forrest Gump, "life was like a box of chocolates," is often misremembered and misquoted as "life is like a box of chocolates." However, in 2016, YouTuber Jeremy Hetrick posted a video showing two versions of the scene, one where Hanks seems to say "was" and one where he says "is" filmed from different angles (shown below). The scene may have been used in some cuts of the film.

Henry VIII Turkey Leg Portrait

Many remember a portrait of King Henry VIII holding a turkey leg, some claiming they remember seeing it in school textbooks and history books. However, no portrait like this exists. In April 2014, a Redditor posted an interpretation of the image to /r/Glitch_in_the_matrix[18] (shown below).

King Henry's non-existent turkey leg portrait was also potentially referenced in a scene in The Simpsons where Homer, playing King Henry VIII, holds a turkey leg (shown below).

SpongeBob Movie Goofy Goober Guitar

The SpongeBob Movie Goofy Goober Guitar Mandela Effect or SpongeBob Movie White V Guitar / Peanut Guitar Mandela Effect refers to a Mandela effect where users believe SpongeBob SquarePants plays a white or purple v-shaped guitar or, by some accounts, a star-shaped or double guitar during the "Goofy Goober Rock" scene at the end of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie when in reality, he plays a peanut-shaped guitar. The effect was noted online as early as 2019 and went viral on TikTok in late 2022.

Fruit of the Loom Cornucopia

Fruit of the Loom Cornucopia and Fruit of the Loom Mandela Effect refer to the Mandela Effect involving a large number of people remembering the clothing company Fruit of the Loom having a cornucopia on its logo despite the logo never having the item on it. The existence of the logo at some point is additionally supported by an amount of unreliable circumstantial evidence.

Search Interest

External References

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Top Comments

Fernie Canto
Fernie Canto

So the person discovers he had the title of some old book series wrong all this time.

Hypothesis 1:
"Huh, I guess I just never paid that much attention to the title; and considering that Berenstein is a perfectly understandable misspelling of Berenstain, it's not surprising that some other people made the same mistake. How curious."

Hypothesis 2:


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