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Mandela Effect Decoded

- Breakdown -

by John Lash

This entry is the first in a projected five-part exposition that runs in this sequence: Breakdown - Procedures - Analysis - The Encoded Sets - Conclusions. My intention is to offer a gnostic interpretation of the Mandela Effect, encompassing what causes it, how it operates, how it impacts the human psyche, how to decode it, and how to understand its purpose from the viewpoint of its origin.

To my knowledge, this will be the first comprehensive and systematic attempt to deconstruct the Mandela Effect and analyze what causes it to happen.

I will proceed by stages and not announce at the outset what I have determined resulting from my investigation of this phenomenon. Be it understood at the outset that I regard the Mandela Effect as in one respect, a riddle, and in another respect, a test. I will treat the solution to the riddle as QED: that which is to be demonstrated.

I do not ask anyone to take my interpretation on blind faith. On the contrary, I ask you not to do so. Keeping an open but skeptical mind, follow how I describe this phenomenon. In that way, you can decide if you choose to be included in the extraordinary opportunity it presents.


The "Mandela Effect" derives its name from an historical figure whose death some remember as having occurred in the late 80s or early 90s of the 20th century, while others remember it as having occurred in the 21st Century on December 5, 2013, confirmed in the current record. However, residue exists that may be taken as evidence for the memory of Mandela dying in prison 22 years earlier. The book English Alive, written by Kathleen Heugh and Anita Kennet, published in South Africa in 1991, states:

"The chaos that erupted in the ranks of the ANC when Nelson Mandela died on the 23rd of July 1991 brought the January 29th 1991 Inkatha-ANC peace accord to nothing."

The current record of an event remembered and the residue of the same event remembered in another way are key elements in any discussion of the M.E.. Consistent with the Effect, the memory in the current record tends to exclude and occlude the other or alternative memory. In the case cited here, those who stand by the current record will claim that the authors have made a factual error and misreported the events of the time.

This instance of residue proving that Mandela died in the late 1980s or early 1990s, has been widely cited as an explicit and irrefutable example of residue that confirms the occluded memory and contradicts the current record which puts his death in December 2013. Advocates of the Effect rely strongly on such evidence.

However, there is a problem here which no one, to my knowledge, has so far pointed out. Note that the sentence is not merely quoted but the actual text of the book is reproduced. To the "Mandela-effected" (as they are sometimes called), this is even more convincing evidence of the truth of their occluded memories. The problem is, the authors say that Mandela's death in July 1991 brought to nothing the peace accords negotiated in January 1991. Hold on. How could his death in August invalidate negotiations conducted in January, eight months earlier? Is there a factual error here, throwing this residue into doubt as to its veracity?

Perhaps. Whatever here is certinaly a troubling detail which could invalidate the residue. The interpretation of the passage depends on whether the January negotiations were merely talks leading to the accord, or talks sealed by an agreement -- and more specifically, an agreement in which Nelson Mandela's role was defined. And it gets worse. The record shows -- New York Times, dateline Johannesburg, 1991 -- that an accord was signed on September 14, 1991, and the article mentions Mandela as still living at that time. Negotiations leading to the signed argeement of that datye were ongoing from May 1990, but I find there is no specific evidence of talks in January 1991, and certainly not of an accord reached at that time,perhaps involving Mandela as a key factor, apart from the mention in this citation. The citation refers to the January accord, not merely to talks that might lead to it. Needless to say, all this ambiguity is problematic.

Some elements in the residual evidence of Mandela's death in the early 1990s (althoughmost often remembered as in the late 1980s) do not hang together. The evidence is corrupt.

Establishing reside is basic to the study of the Effect, to determine if it is real on its own terms, or merely due to misremembering and ignorance of facts. This example, standing at the origin of the phenomenon and involving the name given to it, shows brilliantly that establishing residue is a meticulous and sometimes tricky exercise. Neverthless, clear and irrefutable examples of residue do occur. Their present what I call the premium instances of the Effect.


As explained in the Introduction, occlusion refers to something being overwritten and consequently concealed by something else. In each incidence of the Effect, you see an occluding factor and an occluded factor. The occluding factor is supported by the memory evidenced in the current record, what you will find in the printed and electronic media if you research the topic today. The occluded factor is the alternative memory that may be, but is not always preserved in residue.

Here is a simple formula that may be useful as a mnemonic device (an aid to memory and conceptualization) expressing the relation of the two memories:

Looking at this formula from time to time can steady concentration on the baffling operations of the Mandela Effect, which tend at moments to get blurred and distorted. The formula states:

The memory preserved in the current record (M on the left), which some people hold as the only one that ever was (power of one), does not match (inequal sign) the memory that may be preserved in residue (M on the right), which some people hold in a state of double-mindedness (power of two), allowing that two different versions of the memory of a single event co-exist.

Power of one: "It was always that way and only that way, as it is now, so the current version stands alone, exclusively." One-track memory.

Power of two: "It used to be another way, held by an alternative memory, not as it is seen in the current record, but now both versions stand side by side, simultaneously." Two-track memory.

The case of Mandela's death defines the Effect which comes to be named after him. In many instances, the occluded memory is not supported by evidence in the form of residue. In this unique case, the inceptive example of the Effect, it clearly is. Of course, it could easly be objected that the authors of English Alive made a factual error. End of story, there is no Mandela Effect, just misremembering and mistaking facts. Such a response typifies the mindset of those who hold the occluding memory (M1), who generally will not allow the occurence of genuine alternative memories. They presume an exclusional view (power of one).

By contrast, those who hold the occluded memory (M2 ) do allow for others to hold a different memory, no conflict or argument required. Generally speaking, the Mandela Effect is not divisive in the manner of, say, flat earth theory. At least it does not have to be. Unfortunately, those who hold the occluding memory supported by the current record tend to reject and ridicule those with alternative memories.

Without residue, those who hold the occluded memory (M2 "That's how I remember it having been, not as it is remembered today.") have nothing but their subjective conviction to stand against those who hold the occluding memory (M1: "That's how it is remembered today, and it has always, exclusively been like that."). Those who hold the occluded memory are said to be impacted by the Effect, while those who hold memories consistent with the current record are not.

It could be argued, however, that both groups are impacted by the Effect, but in different ways. The difference being, the group who hold the occluding memory consistent with the current record deny there is any such phenomenon in the first place. What does not exist cannot effect them, they assume. But denial of the Effect does not prove that the occluded memories are invalid and unreal. Those who hold the occluding memories attribute instances of the Mandela Effect to misremembering, mistaking of facts, or false memory syndrome enigmatically shared by a large number of people in exactly the same way. They pass off what is baffling to those who admit being impacted by the Effect as a mere mistake or "confabulation."

In short, those who hold the occluded memory admit and allow that both versions are valid, while those who hold the occluding memory do not. The latter are massively in the majority around the world, but the former may by now run into hundreds of thousands, and their number appears to be escalating.


If the matter ended there, it would be easy to dismiss the M.E. as some kind of bizarre abberation of human memory. Consensus resides with the group who see no change. Those who do see it are perhaps deluded. But it does not end there. Far from it. No matter how much evidence in the current record supports the occluding memory -- JIF has always been the brand name of that peanut butter, never JIFFY -- if there is any residue in evidence of the occluded memory, well, "Houston, we have a problem." Or is it, "We had a problem"? Those who deny that the M.E. is a genuine phenomenon of a baffling kind, possibly paranormal in origin, had/have a problem -- because residue is something real and tangible that cannot be dismissed by anyone who values evidence and the proof-process.

In the current debate on the Mandela Effect, you frequently hear the expression "in this reality." For example, "In this reality, the place is called The Home Depot, not just Home Depot. Many people remember the name of the business as Home Depot, but in this reality it is not shown that way." "In this reality" refers to the objective evidence of the current record, as well as the subjective evidence of those who hold the occluding memories. But, if residue of Home Depot, contrasted to The Home Depot, can be found in some artifactual form such as a photo, film clip, artistic reproduction, electronic file, etc., then such residue also exists "in this reality." Doesn't it?

"In this reality" is not a rigorous term for investigation of the Mandela Effect. Likewise for the commonly heard expression, "on a different time-line." The group holding the occluding memories and the group holding the occluded memories appear to be operating on different memory-lines, not different time-lines. If a couple, say, Jane and Dave, sat together in the theater for the premiere of Interview with a >THE Vampire, they would experience seeing the title at the same moment. At that moment, the title would read either way or they might both see it in the same way. Later it would be remembered differently by each of them. And to this day, Jane and Dave still live in the same moment, as we all do, existing in the same time-line, but able to experience divergent memory-lines.

To be clear, I would argue that there are not two time-lines in play, but two memory-lines operating in the same linear timeframe. The linear continuity of time is not split by different memories of what happens in the course of time. "Time is unity." (A line from the film Lucy, released August 2014, which in some ways may have predicted the origin and purpose of the Mandela Effect.) There is no rational basis for presuming such a split in time. The split occurs in recollection of events over time, in the recall process operating through time, not in time itself.


Here is a list of some useful terms for analysis of the Mandela Effect, including some innovations of mine*. Please note, these terms are merely suggested, not imposed or enforced:

current record


*occlusion, occluding memory, occluded memory

at the current moment - not "in this reality": obviously, the M.E brings two realities into play at once

memory-lines - not time-lines: "Time is unity."

*directional signal, defining the M.E. itself as a signal of decisive importance within the presumed planet-wide awakening of human consciousness at this historical moment

*archontic: the ET or alien parasite factor described at length in Gnostic teachings surviving from antiquity

*Supernatural, as possible cause of the M.E. Might be defined as a divine force working through paranormal effects

*corrupt files, conventional ideas of the Supernatural

*Lucy-Lucifer theme, evident in several cases of the M.E. example of an *encoded set

cyber-meddling, possible contamination of the M.E.

*PSIQ (or PSYQ), your capacity for detecting how you are conned, duped

*entrance exam, test designed to show the above; also, pun on en-trance, to be entrained, entranced, under a spell

*premium, cases of the M.E. that carry or encode a transcendent message for the human species, which can be read by decoding the instances of the Effect and preserved in resdiue in a clear, irrefutable way

*propitious, cases of the M.E. that capture human attention in a way that tends to prepare the mind for receiving the message carried in the Effect

*text/talk anomaly, evident in those cases where spoken residue preserves the occluded memory and text does not, or vice versa

*encoded set, a cluster of instances of the M.E. that encode a coherent message and exhibit thematic unity

*notation: another fine > NICE mess: the occluded form written first in bold, the occluding (current reality) form in CAPS

*gnostic adage: "All the clues in the world....

hermeneutics, the art of guiding and shaping an interpretation toward a clear and successful end

*vector: the guiding effect of the M.E. signal which directs human attention in five distinct ways, as explained in the Introduction

*decode prompts: cases of the M.E. which cue the investigator in how to proceed in decoding it

*comedic flair: that aspect of the M.E. which exhibits and invites comedy, demonstrating wit and humor on the part of the paranormal/Supernatural agency causing the Effect

Example of how the terminology fits the phenomena : another fine > NICE mess exhibits comedic flair, suggeting how the cause of the M.E. likes to use humor to get your attention. Also, it illustrates a case of the text/talk anomaly. Finally, it works as a decode prompt: it hints at the difference between fine and nice which, when you examine it, indicates that there are two ways to approach the M.E., through ignorance ("nice", nescient) which may include ignoring it entirely, or with finesse, intellectual skill, higher knowing. The latter would be the gnostic approach.


Here I list 15 categories of the Mandela Effect in a breakdown derived from the hundreds of reported cases. To my knowledge the list covers all the various types of instances of the phenomenon so far under consideration. If it proves to be incomplete I will revise it in the course of the investigation.

The first instance of the Effect, named after Nelson Mandela, occupies a class by itself. Call it category X. This category deserves special attention as it exhibits the marks of an encoded set, although it is not a set or cluster of effects. It is a stand-alone case that presents the example of other instances of the Effect which I will show to be encoded. In other words, the naming of the Effect after this individual is not random or arbitrary. The name of the individual is encoded with information that refers to the purpose of the Effect. Thus it can be said that the label "Mandela" is a decode prompt cueing or coaching those who seek to investigate the Effect.

X The Mandela Effect, initial instance named in 2010 -- although Google search trends indicate that interest in the yet-unmamed Effect were underway some years earlier. This case also presents an example of a historically famous person or celebrity remembered by many to have died at a certain time, but who then turns up alive later. More on this type of M.E. in part two, Analysis.

C-1 Movie/TV dialogue: Forrest Gump, "My momma always said, life is > WAS like a box of chocolates." "It's a beautiful day in the > THIS neighborhood."

C-2 Movie/book titles: Interview a > THE Vampire

C-3 Song lyrics ; "Got down on my knees and I began > PRETEND to pray" (Mamas and the Papas, California Dreamin')

C-4 Actions, gestures, or details changed in films or TV series: Judge Judy does not bang her gavel

C-5 Celebrity name changes Sally Fields > FIELD. Suzanne Somer > SOMERS

C-6 Biblical variations: "The lion > WOLF shall dwell with the lamb" (Isaiah 11:6). Lord's Prayer: "Thy kingdom come on earth > IN THE EARTH, as it is in heaven."

C-7 Product name changes: Jiffy > JIF. Including punctuation: Kit-Kat > KITKAT (loses the hyphen)

C-8 Name changes of corporations, businesses and other public bodies: JCPenny > JCPENNEY. Smithsonian Institute > INSTITUTION.

C-9 Logo/icon/emblem changes: VW icon with a horizontal gap between the upper V and the lower W, used to be with no gap, one seamless insignia. "Pigtail" twist in the bar crossing the F in the Ford emblem

C-10 Geographical changes: Australia shifted north close to Borneo, previously remembered as more south and separated by a vast sea. Note: it is questionable if these changes occur in the actual terrain or merely on the maps of the terrain.

C-11 Anatomical changes in the human body: heart squarely in center of chest, previously remembered as partially on the left side, liver larger and higher in the torso, many more

C-12 Weird animals, reptile, fish and insects, new species not seen before or remembered to have existed, or species as they have been remembered are altered

C-13 Astronomical, celestial. Changes in the shape and appearance of the moon, positions of stars in the constellations, layout of the Milky Way and position of the solar system in the galaxy

C -14 Historical events remembered differently: the JFK assassination, for instance

C-15 Anecdotal, personal incidences: e.g., the previously unknown relative who shows up at a family reunion, or the husband who never liked ketchup suddenly, in the current reality, likes it and says he always has.

So, that is the breakdown in textual form. For a spoken commentary go to the Tracking Page.

J:L:L 25 February 2017 East Patagonia


Material by John Lash and Lydia Dzumardjin: Copyright 2002 - 2018 by John L. Lash.