In another dimension, popular “beginner books” feature a family of friendly bears who teach children about morality and life lessons. They are titled, The Berenstein Bears. In another, we saw news where Nelson Mandela, the tireless apartheid activist, passed away during his incarceration in Africa. We may have also learned about Greenland and Iceland in geography. And then, there was Svalbard.
If you think that the books titled The Berenstain Bears have a misspelling, if you believe that Nelson Mandela died in prison, or you never knew of the existence of Svalbard, then you may be experiencing the Mandela Effect, or “ME” for short. It is a recent phenomenon whereby some of us diverge from society in our memories of the past. These memories are oddly different from the majority. The Mandela Effect is relatively new and hypothesizes there are people who merged into this reality from another.
What is The Mandela Effect?
According to internet sources, the Mandela effect (ME) was first written about in 2012 in a Stranger Dimensions blog post titled The Wood Between Worlds. Authored by a physics student named Reece, the piece posited a hypothesis on The Berenstein Bears problem. His explanation was a parallel universe, “At some point in the last 10 years or so reality has been tampered with and history was retroactively changed. Somehow, we have all undergone a ?/2 phase change in all 4 dimensions so that we moved to the stAin hexadectant, while our counterparts moved to our hexadectant (stEin).”
Articles explaining the phenomenon credit Fiona Broome as the originator of the name Mandela Effect. Broome discovered other people who had false memories similar to hers. Specifically, that Nelson Mandela died during his imprisonment in the 1980s. “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.”
As the Internet buzzed over the ME paradox, it quickly earned a title as a conspiracy theory. Causes for the false memories were attributed to everything from confabulation of memory, alien invaders, the European Organization for Nuclear Research known as CERN, and a time-traveler altering time.
Are We Living in a Simulation?
More recently, as an off-shoot from ME, a new theory has gained recognition in surprising circles. Over the summer, billionaire Elon Musk (PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla) made a public statement on reality. “We are almost definitely living in a ‘Matrix Style’ simulation.” The Silicon Valley mogul told a reporter at San Francisco’s code conference that the odds we are not living in a simulation were billions-to-one.
Certain philosophers, physicists, and scientists are exploring the notion of reality through this simulation hypothesis; that our experience of reality is a giant computer simulating our existence and was created by a more advanced intelligence. These experts are looking to the past to define our current state of existence. This includes the rapid advancement of technology and our memories within it. Inside this paradigm, the Mandela Effect is a glitch in the matrix we are living in, but not conscious of.
Most academics are skeptical of the simulation theory. However, others are investing considerable time, effort, and financial resources toward explaining it. In a piece with The New Yorker titled, Sam Altman’s Manifest Destiny, staff writer Tad Friend explores the possibility that there are two technology billionaires secretly working to find the right scientists to crack the simulation code.
Does this mean The Matrix and The Mandela Effect are real?
The idea of a superhuman race or intelligence designing simulations may be new according to contemporary philosophy. But Descartes, who coined the phrase, “I think therefore I am,” and other philosophers were theorizing about existence long before Atari, Nintendo, and The Berenstain Bears.
Most of these modern-day scientists refute or negate spirituality and consciousness in their research efforts. Whereas, with the Mandela Effect, we cannot escape it. If there are individuals who either experienced an extinction event on another timeline or a natural merging of one parallel’s timeline into this one, one thing is for certain. It will be small oddities like The Berenstein Bears, the spelling of Chick-Fil-A (check it out!), and popular culture, which bring the glitch’s novelty to our attention. It will make us question who we really are.
Only through the culture of questioning consciousness-based spirituality will we bring these altered memories to critical mass. Not, the evading of consciousness in the very question, “What is reality?”
About the Author
Courtney Marchesani is the author of The Energetic Psychopath: How to Protect Yourself and Recover from Violence. She designs integrative health plans for the highly sensitive person. The Huffington Post GPS for the Soul, Elephant Journal, and OM Times Magazine feature her works.