Common Explanations

As a general rule, there is normally an identifiable solution and explanation to most Mandela Effects, or at least theories. These usually relate to key factors and information regarding the subject mixed with a common memory bias or other psychological effect.

This list is by no means exhaustive and may not fit certain examples at all. It’s simply to be used as a guide to why some Mandela Effects exist in the first place failing any hard explanations on a given subject.

NOTE: For theories and explanations on ACTUAL Mandela Effects, please view the postings here.

Misinformation effect

That misinformation affects people’s reports of their own memory. I believe this to be a key factor in many Mandela Effects. Simply seeing the claim from another person may sway recollection of your own memory, especially if you lacked concrete or deep memories or connections to the subject to begin with.

Confirmation bias

The tendency to search for, interpret, or recall information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses. Those seeking Mandela Effects will often be more easily persuaded by other claims. And with such claims they may agree with, they will often discard any countering evidence or claims.

Misattribution of memory

When information is retained in memory but the source of the memory is forgotten. This is sometimes present in Mandela Effects where we forget where we know something from or why it’s familiar, possibly leading to incorrect attribution of the original source confounding the confusion factor.


A form of misattribution where a memory is mistaken for imagination, because there is no subjective experience of it being a memory. Many Mandela Effects may have started out as imagination rather than real memories.


Facts cannot change; however, they can be revealed to be untrue or nonfactual, thus is the case with many things throughout human history. As science and technologically progresses, so does our understanding of the world around us. Unfortunately for us, our brain is not always built to accept new ideas and new facts. People who either intentionally, or unintentionally (they do not know the new information) can also spread these misconceptions, thus perpetuating these erroneous beliefs into society. This is how misconceptions are born and at the heart of many Mandela Effects.

False memory

A false memory is the psychological phenomenon in which a person recalls a memory that did not actually occur. It’s often cited with and has a strong connotation to some type of trauma such as sexual abuse and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While it would be quite rare for Mandela Effects to originate as false memories, it could fit in those lesser known or less believed ones as the scenario would typically be very specific to the person with the false memory. Because of the trauma involved with these cases, the subject would be quite resistant to accept any new evidence in opposition of their belief as their brain has literally implanted this idea as a counter to protect itself from mental harm, thus introducing cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance

Cognitive dissonance not an explanation per se, but rather a by-product. It is one of the main causes for so many people to be so resistant to evidence and ideas contrary to their beliefs and memory. Cognitive dissonance can be the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values. Please note the use of “can be” as there is many purists that don’t accept the broader definition and scope of cognitive dissonance applying to memory versus reality.


Confabulation is a disturbance of memory which produces fabricated, distorted, or misinterpreted memories about the world, without the explicit or conscious intention to deceive others. People who confabulate in this way produce incorrect memories about the most trivial details (as seen with most Mandela Effects) but range up to more complex fabrications as well. They are generally extremely confident in their recollections and will typically resist any contradictory evidence (possibly related to cognitive dissonance in this manner).


125 thoughts on “Common Explanations

  1. Can there really be this many idiots, with so much vivid imagination, that would turn easily explainable things into grand conspiracies like this? Universe slipping, dimension changing, etc.? I am just floored that so many people would go to such incredible and outlandish extremes to explain these sorts of memory errors, or simple spelling changes that occur with time?? How do you think languages change over time as they do? Olde English didn’t need a conspiracy or a dimensional shift or an elite group of new world leaders to become the English language as it is today. It just required small changes here and there over time to eventually become a completely different English than it was in times past. Change over time, due to a misspelling here and there, etc. That is all that is happening. Very simple and not mysterious at all to a rational, thinking person. The convoluted explanations offered by some people here are just plain silly. Perhaps our schools are no longer teaching people how to think rationally or critically anymore, leading people to such ridiculous conclusions? To me, the only mystery here is how so many people can be duped into believing outlandish and silly explanations when critical thinking would offer rational explanations instead. It makes me have real concern for the future, since if people are so easily manipulated to believe complete garbage, some charismatic person would have no problem at all leading the American masses over the proverbial cliff. Oh, wait. That is exactly what is happening….

    • Yes, is the short answer. Lol. I have a theory that I believe, given the correct tools and opportunity, I could probably substantiate quite convincingly. I believe it has to do with what I call “Death of an idea”. In the case of Nelson Mendella, the proverbial death of what he actually represented to a huge number of people.

      He was a catalyst, an agent of potentially radical, strongly desired change. He was charismatic, seemingly super-human to many of the people who followed him. He changed the core of his followers very identity, fueled rage and anger in millions of his fellow countrymen and women, tapping emotionally charged energy that was directly a result of the actions of Nelson Mandella himself. Of course, to the millions of angry masses that were his followers, he was not really a person. He was, in the sense that they knew he existed as a human being just like them, but in the ways that matter to the subconscious mind, he was simply the primary link to a part of their consciousness that developed as a result of his action. They never, for the most part, shook his hand, spoke to him, looked him in the eye… nothing. Nor did they see endless streams of information and high definition images of the man like we see today with public figures or otherwise psychologically stimulating individuals. Once he was arrested, this agent of change became the subject of wide spread grief mixed with a different kind of hatred. This would have been very similar to the hatred and despair felt by the black community when MLK was shot. Yes, he was, the man himself, still apparently “alive” in the literal sense, but he had been removed from the sphere of influence and veritably buried alive in a prison cell.

      I call this pre-imprisonment Nelson Mandella “Mandella A”. Mandella A died in a very real way once the realization set in that he was not only in prison, but he very well may die a prisoner. To hope for him to emerge alive, not to mention for him to return and complete the mission he had previously been pursuing, was akin to wishing someone back from the dead. Even when he, yeeeears later mind you, was released, he was very subdued relative to what he had been in his youth, obvuiously anybody would be at that point. He looked very different, he was no longer his energetic, charming, blissfully angry self… basically the enemy had successfully broken him. Another important factor is that he was no longer married. Especially at the time of his imprisonment, this would have been a very large part of his perceived identity. this is especially true since his wife gained an exponentially louder public voice during his time in prison, only to be estranged from him at almost exactly the same time he was to be released.

      Regardless of the past state of conscious awareness in the millions who claim he died in prison, for the most part this was most likely not something they were aware of at the time – but the Mandella who was released and the man many of them voted in to the office of their Presidency, was not the same man as Nelson Mandella A. They may have casually referred to him as the same person, they may have never even acknowledged the doubts or differences in their emotional connection to the man, but they undoubtedly would have existed. He was a shell of his former self, and for all they knew, it wasn’t even him. I know, personally, had i been one of these revolutionists, I would have been extremely conscious and aware of the possibility that his “enemies” who imprisoned him to begin with, simply killed him and pretended he was alive, while they created a convincing old man lookalike to exploit their own interests. It would, after all, be incredibly beneficial to have the ability to assume the role of someone their public protestors trusted implicitly. “I am Nelson Mandella!” Sure, says the brain… for the sake of safety the subconscious mind would likely choose to only believe that until the moment he did something that Mandella A would never have done. Obviously this trust was never actually broken and thus there was never confirmation to their subconscious that this “Mandella B” was not the same person. That does not change the fact that, the entire time he was back in the political sphere of influence, their subconscious would never have allowed them to truly accept him as the same change catalyst as before, regardless of their conscious acknowledgment of him as having the same name and same basic physical characteristics.

      The simplest analogy is this – Imagine you live in a village with one well of drinkable water. There is no other well for hundreds of miles, and you have no way to travel hundreds of miles. Your 20 years old, lets say, and some mortal enemy conquers your town, and allows some of you to live. They build a barricade around the well, and divvy out water to the people sparingly. You never see the well during this time, though they reassure you that is where the water is coming from. All of a sudden, some thirty years later, they tear down the barricade, revealing a dirty, weathered cylinder of rock that used to be the beautiful, cherished and perfectly maintained town well. It is “the same”, but it’s clearly weathered, clearly been mistreated, shunned, used only for the sake of keeping people barely alive. In addition to that, it has been under the control of people who, as far as you are concerned, wouldn’t care if you died of thirst in the first place. Now, all of a sudden thirty years later that enemy says, “You are free to drink from the well, infact… heck, get the water yourselves!”

      Ok, why all of a sudden are we being allowed access to this? What is the true motivation for this? Is this just a rouse to get us to drink poison? Even if it ends up being a simple case of laziness by the enemy, or that the enemy just gave up and really doesn’t care any more… it doesn’t change the state of distrust of the people being reintroduced to it. Inevitably, regardless of the situation, they have to drink it, so it’s not as if “courage” or some sort of choice in the face of alternatives actually existed… as far as they knew they were about to drink their last cup of water. This would eventually subside, the fear I mean, but this wouldn’t change their ultimate perception of one well existing in the past, very much seperate and independent from the new one. They may call it the same thing, but as far as the brain is concerned, this one location and this one thing has two very different origins and very different emotions associated with each.

      This is just one explanation, there are countless ways to frame this logically without involving Cern. While I admit that past states of spacetime may very well decay or deteriorate just like the deteriorating material that we use to define them, I have to assume that this is very much an unlikely reality given the considerable number of more logical, scientific evidence driven possibilities. Even if such decay did occur, to credit humans with creating it is, I must say – quite absurd, laughable even. For the record, if you understand the basic idea of the anecdote here, then I’d be happy to provide the actual science behind it. The actual theory in it’s literal form is completely neurologically based, but i figured an anecdote would do a better job of conveying the basic idea than to rattle off a bunch of terms and concepts that most of the public doesn’t understand.

      Side note – I initially developed the idea around the assumption that false claims of “Mandella dies in prison” were very likely to have been circulated in attempts to stir civil unrest among his followers during his imprisonment. This is what led to the logical outline of the theory, but it became evident quite quickly that this assumption, likely as it is to be true, was not necessarily a foundation of the theory. The theory is very sound when only based on simple brain functions and recurring psychological phenomena that are very well researched and are shockingly common. The only difference being that the context of the anomalous memory is almost always unique to an individual, or to an isolated handfull of individuals. The Mandella Effect is only unique in the sense that it is so wide spread and the symptom so specific among those claiming to have it.

  2. First of all, it’s always been Bearenstain, not stein. I remember being a kid and figuring out that I was wrong about it being stein. I think every kid at first thinks its stein for a w hile, and if you don’t eventually figure out that it’s actually stain as a kid then you will probably end up being a weird adult who insists it used to be stein.

    But what gets me is the collective ignorance surrounding definitions of certain words. The most widely misused is the word ‘moot’. Besides the fact that some people think it’s ‘mute’, the people who refer to ‘moot points’ are referring to points that are no longer relevant because the subject has either already been decided or no longer matters due to other factors. But the actual definition of the word ‘moot’ is exactly the opposite. Moot actually means, “subject to debate, dispute, or uncertainty, and typically not admitting of a final decision.” So a moot point is a point that hasn’t been decided yet, but everyone uses it to mean a point that has been decided. Isn’t that weird? And there are others, like the word ‘peruse’. Most people think that if you’re ‘perusing’ a document it means you’re skimming over it, but ‘peruse’ actually means a thorough reading of a document, rather than a casual one.

    • Except, you are wrong in both cases. Yes, moot does have the meaning you specify but moot also means “of little or no practical value, meaning, or relevance.” Peruse also has multiple meanings, one being careful reading and the other meaning skimming. The irony here is that these words may have been misused enough in their original intent that the second, contrary definition now also applies, but these aren’t recent developments.

  3. I remember “Looney Tunes” from my childhood (1980s) which you claim to be the modified version. It was still “Tunes” back then.

    It’s you being english-speaking people that are the problem. When you heard “Looney Tunes” you “expected” the word to be “Toons” because it’s short for “Cartoons”. And it sounds similiar. So you have confabulated original “Looney Tunes” to be “Toons”. This is commonly happening.

    Please also note that all of the Mandela effects always sound similiar to the original texts it’s never something completely out of place – e.g. “Hooney Worm” instead of “Looney Tunes”. Pretty much in the same way people write “their” instead or “they’re” or “there” in any possible combination. They think about the meaning but unconsciously use incorrect word to describe it. Same with “Toons” (short for “Cartoons”) instead of “Tunes”.

    • I remember it as having always been Looney Tunes as well. Your point about the expectation of how a word is spelled based on its phonetic pronunciation is the cause for many of the so-called Mandela Effects. It’s the same with misquotes from movies or TV shows, since a certain phrase that is repeated, parodied, and referenced over and over using the wrong version of the quote gets imprinted onour collective minds.

      For Looney Tunes, though, it was always spelled “Tunes” since it was a parody of Disney’s Merrie Melodies cartoons, using an adjective and then a musical reference for both titles. (And yes, before anyone says anything about it, Disney’s was always spelled “Merrie” rather than “Merry.”)

      • Sorry, Disney’s was Silly Symphony, not Merrie Melodies, that was also Warner Bros. But the reason behind using Tunes was the same.

  4. You are missing the Oscar MAyer / Oscar MEyer Mandela effect. I definitely spent my last 40 years under the mistaken assumption it was MEYER, only to find i am far from alone

  5. The simplest explanation is very often the correct one.
    So it is very easy to debunk most or even all of the current outlandish ‘Mandela’ theories. It’s more than likely all caused by a simple human ‘failing’ or consequence of our brains constantly trying to comprehend the world around us by taking shortcuts and filling in any blanks. For example, our eyes take in much more information than our brains can cope with and so our brains rationalise it all and see shapes in clouds etc etc.
    One possibly excellent example of our brains in action, is the ‘Mandela’ scene in the Bond movie where the character ‘Jaws’ meets the love of his life. He smiles at her to reveal his metal teeth and she smiles back to reveal her braces and it’s love at first sight. That’s how many remember the scene, however… it didn’t happen. She had no braces.
    Now, the producer missed a trick there because the scene would have made much more sense if she did have braces. So have our memories just re-compiled the scene to make it more rational?
    But just one final point after all the debunking. Before ruling out any outlandish theories we also have to accept that science itself is in a state of confusion just now – and has been for 100 years or more. Particle physicists examining the minute world of everything around us have discovered a very real problem with our reality, something which just gets left hidden in the science cupboard so we don’t have to actually freak out about it. If you’ve not heard about this do some research!

    • I assume you are referring to the fact that our reality doesn’t actually exist? I came to grips with that at about age 10. lol. Consciousness is the only thing we should be studying, any physical aspects of the subatomic realm being tested outside the context of their direct interaction with some conscious based control, are pointless tests. Buuuuut what do we know right! Fuck the millions of people who are out there saying, “Ummm… really? At this point are you still not able to come to grips with this consciousness thing?” lol.

  6. My personal experience. Always Been Oscar Meyer, Always been Fruit Loops, (What the hell is a Froot), Field of Dreams always said, If you build it, THEY will come. I put up a gym from scratch and I use to say that exact same saying because of that movie.

    Here is proof.

    How about the end of the song by queen, We are the champions. Who can explain that, the bible passages where it changed from Lions to Wolves, I can go on and on but it serves no purpose as people are always going to hate, debunk or go against the grain.

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