False Memories, AKA the Mandela Effect

A tip of the hat to fellow blogger, Dumbest Blog Ever (DBE), for the idea for this post.

DBE left a comment on one of my blogs earlier this week: Music Monday: Making Things Right, Nearly Fifty Years Later, which noted how I had been singing the wrong lyrics to my favorite Bruce Springsteen song for over 40 years.

DBE suggested it may be an example of the Mandela Effect, something I had never heard of before. So of course I had to look it up, and here is what I found in Wikipedia:

False memories can sometimes be shared by multiple people. In 2010, this shared false memory phenomenon was dubbed “the Mandela effect” by self-described “paranormal consultant” Fiona Broome, in reference to her false memory of the death of South African anti-Apartheid leader Nelson Mandela in prison in the 1980s (he actually died in 2013, after having served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999), which she claimed was shared by “perhaps thousands” of other people.

A further search of the Internet uncovered other examples of this effect, and so I thought I’d share a few of them:

  • Rich Uncle Pennybags (or Mr. Monopoly) has been the de facto mascot for Monopoly, the Parker Brothers (now Hasbro) game that somehow made real estate exciting. Some insist Pennybags completes his top hat and business attire ensemble with a monocle, but that’s not true. He’s never worn one. People appear to be conflating his depiction with that of Mr. Peanut, the Planters mascot who sports a single corrective lens.
  • While both Jif and Skippy brands have lined store shelves, there’s never been a “Jiffy” brand.
  • “Hello, Clarice” has become a default line reading for people looking to emulate Anthony Hopkins’s creepy Lecter from the Silence of the Lambs movie. But the killer never says the line in the movie. Instead, he says “Good morning” when meeting Starling for the first time. This is a line I have used many times; I guess I need to stop.
  • Remember Tom Cruise dancing in his underwear, a dress shirt, and Ray-Bans while home alone in 1983’s Risky Business? Your brain got most of it right. If you watch that now-iconic scene again, you may be surprised to see Cruise isn’t wearing sunglasses.
  • Curious George has never had a tail, but many people believe he does.
  • Froot Loops is the way it is spelled on the box of cereal; I would have guessed it was Fruit Loops if someone asked me.
  • “Mirror, mirror on the wall” is actually “Magic mirror on the wall” from Snow White.. Another one I had wrong…
  • The line “Play It Again, Sam” in the Movie “Casablanca” is actually, “Play It, Sam”. Who hasn’t uttered this line incorrectly?

So looking back on my post, it does seem that my thinking the line from Thunder Road was “Mary’s dress waves” qualifies as an example of the Mandela Effect, since many people apparently thought the same thing, even though the real line is “Mary’s dress sways.”

And for one final example, some people may have thought they once actually read something interesting on Borden’s Blather. Trust me, that has never happened…


64 thoughts on “False Memories, AKA the Mandela Effect

  1. Nah… I’m going with similar sounds for your song lyric and Mirror Mirror.

    Adding to Tippy: I know multiple people who ordered “super salad” with their meals when they misheard “Soup or Salad?”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There used to be a website dedicated to misheard lyrics. My fave from the site has always been “hit that perfect meatball” (bronski beat). There’s also my mother with “nobody walks in a lake” (missing persons). And Barry Manilow used to include one in his show – “Looks like tomatoes”.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I always thought it was Borden’s Bather and about a guy who spent much of his life in water. Some of your comments make a lot more sense now. And were you the guy who once Blogged about peanut butter being the secret ingredient in a Jiffy Lube?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Doesn’t Springsteen get something out of this deal since you’ve been misleading people for years with his lyrics? Maybe this is his big opportunity to teach an accounting class.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Have to tell you and Jim this. Talking about messing things up with wrong lyrics, etc. You will be happy to know that I just started reading a John Grisham novel! I had thought up until yesterday that you all were talking about James Patterson and then I looked up a title one of you had recommended and another title and was like Oops!! LOL!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. My mother taught us a prayer – gentle Jesus meek an mild…- and I always wondered why we had to bless the mice in Plicity and where was Plicity? I guess this started my interest in mice as later on I had forty white mice. I wonder how many years it was before I realised the words were ‘bless my simplicity.’

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I wonder now if future generations will label the Pandemic times as a Mandela effect – not nearly as atrocious as we paint it to ourselves.

    I read the latest Kathy Reichs novel, ‘The Bone Code’. And although she’s placing the action during the year of 2021 😉 otherwise than a mention of the Pandemic – the murders are more thrilling than the times we live.

    Perhaps, putting it in perspective… hmm…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. These irregularities in what we remember are an odd mix of accepted thought (albeit erroneous) and stereotypical models. We label them as false memories, but they are received as accepted truths. We have all spoken the phrase, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too”, but the actual phrase historically is “You can’t eat your cake and have it too”. Oddly enough, although the phrase we use now makes no logical sense, it still seems able to convey what we mean when it is used. This phenomena is global and always eye-opening when we recognize it. Entertaining post, my friend!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am guilty of using hte wrong version of the eating cake saying, and I never thought that it doesn’t make much sense in that literal context. Yet we still know exactly whatthe person is trying to say when we hear the phrase. Great example…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What news to wake up too! Sorry it will always be “Mirror, Mirror…” to me. And now I need to watch Curious George again! I know that Clifford has a tail. 🙂
    Our minds can definitely play tricks on us, can’t it!
    Fun post.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. My mother used to sing a ditty that sounded like maresy dotes and dosey dotes and I always wondered what she was talking about. What the heck were maresy and dosey. Later on I found out that it was mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy. I don’t know if she actually sang it wrong or I miss heard it.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. One explanation for this has something to do with string theory, and multiple universes. The idea being that the memories come from alternative universes where those things actually happened. Or at least that’s how I remember it.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I have noticed multiple examples of my falling victim to the Mandela effect over the years. I’ll be darned if not a single one comes to mind other than the ones you mentioned. I will be keeping my eye out for them now. I’ve seen Casablanca so many times, the play it again, Sam one I knew was wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. THIS WAS SOOO FASCINATING! Also, the non-existent Jiffy peanut butter brand ABSOLUTELY BLEW MY MIND!!! LOL I literally opened another browser window to google it thinking THIS CAN’T BE TRUE— IT’S BLOODY TRUE! (Sorry for the caps, I’m easily excitable)!! lol

    Liked by 1 person

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