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Mandela Effect - Breakdown

by John Lamb Lash


This entry is the first in a projected five-part exposition that runs in this sequence: Breakdown - Analysis - The Encoded Sets - Conclusions - Confirmation. My intention is to offer a gnostic spin on 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 material will be the first comprehensive and systematic attempt to break down 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 may be included in the extraordinary opportunity it poses.

jll : Flanders - Andalucia, October 2016

The "Mandela Effect" derives its name from an historical figure whose death some remember as having occurred in the 80s or early 90s of the 20th century ("Mandela died in prison"), while others remember it as having occurred on December 5, 2013, as confirmed in the current record or media deposit of collective memory. This date is an item in the current recorded memory, CRM,

Those who believe that the alternate version of memory, AVM, giving an earlier date, is true, find themselves in at odds with those who insist that the current record is true and "it has always been remembered that way." The concept of the CRM, the current recorded memory, is central to the enigma of the Mandela Effect, and bears close analysis, as does the AVM, the alternate or overwritten memory.

The Mandela Effect can be defined as a mnemonic anomaly. Mnemonic (nuh-MON-ik) means "of or relating to memory and the process of remembering." It derives from the ancient Greek word mnemonikos, closely related to the goddess Mnemosyne (new-MOS-uh-knee), the mother of the nine Muses.

The Effect produces two distinct memory-lines. The AVM group do not find widespread evidence to support what they remember in the current record of collective memory preserved in text, film, photos,personal testimonies, etc, but sometimes they find residue, or residual evidence that supports the (now overwritten) version of events as they remember it. When residue can be found, it appears irrefutable that two distinct memory-lines are running simultaneously.

Take note, 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. There is no rational basis for presuming such a split in time. the split appears in recollection of events over time, not in time itself.

The CRM memory-line is supported by current evidence such as the Wikipedia entry on Nelson Mandela recording his death in 2013. Those who exhibit the AVM memory-line are obliged to find conflicting evidence in residue, such as a newspaper article from the 1980s reporting Mandela's death, otherwise they can easily be dismissed as misremembering.

The two memory-lines on the death of Nelson Mandela comprise the initial case of the phenomenon of mnemonic anomaly named after him. Hence, those who remember events that are not preserved in the current record are said to be impacted by the Mandela Effect -- now applied to all cases of the Effect, not just the initial case. Those who remember events consistent with the evidence of the current record, and who see no difference in memories, are also under the Effect, in another way. They cannot be dismissed as misremembering, however, because evidence in the current record (text, news reports, photos, film footage, internet files, etc) supports what they remember. The fact that they do not remember the AVM might suggest that they are undergoing selective amnesia. This is a curious notion, for sure.

McDonald's has always been displayed in this way to one group (CRM), but others can remember when it was MacDonalds (AVM). Those in the CRM memory-line may not be misremembering something as it was known in the past: suppose they are remembering a different version of the past which happens to be preserved in current-day evidence. To them, McDonald's (current, Irish spelling) UTB MacDonalds (Scottish spelling), Mac instead of Mc, and no apostrophe for the possessive case.

In this breakdown I list categories of the Mandela Effect as well as classes of error or specious and falsified instances of it. In all there are ten categories in three groups -- strong, moderate, weak -- and five classes of error. The case of the first instance of the Effect, named after Nelson Mandela, stands in a class by itself, sui generis. Call it category X. This category deserves special attention as it exhibits what I shall call an encoded reference. As such, it sets the example of other instances of the Effect which are also encoded. These instances may be contrasted to instances which are neutral, or non-encoded. I will indicate the encoded and non-encoded instances in the breakdown, but I will not interpret the encoded instances until both the breakdown and analysis of the phenomenon has been presented, hopefully in a clear and adequate manner.

Strange Attractors by Naive John

Incidences of the Mandela Effect may be regarded as strange attractors operating in the depths of the endopsyche, the human subconscious, by signalling outwards to granular details in the field of the exopsyche, the realm of normal everyday observation. One day, what used to be Home Depot is now seen to be The Home Depot. What used to be jcpenny is seen to be jcpenney.

This attractor is the basis of Self Organization. There is no apparent order at all to the actions of the Strange attractor. On the surface it appears to be pure Chaos, but nevertheless there is order of a subtle kind which only appears over time when looked at in the right perspective. Its analogy in consciousness is the willing function. Yet, when tied to Awareness - the Zero - it is spontaneous, unpredictable. It appears to be chaotic, yet it has order of a subtle, fractal kind.

Terms in Use

M.E.: Mandela Effect, also called the Quantum Effect

current record: evidence of things remembered as preserved in public media, historical archives, and collective memory

media deposit: newspapers, books, internet materials, photos, footage - any kind of media in which memories are deposited for future reference

CRM: currently recorded memory, consistent with the current record and matching evidence found in the media deposit in its present condition

AVM: alternative version of memory, not supported by the current record when the M.E. comes into play

Category X: the initial case by which the M.E. has been defined

memory-lines: two distinct narratives deriving from CRM and AMV (not to be confused with "time-lines")

mnemonic: referring to the process of memory (nuh-MON-ik)

mnemonic anomalies: incidences of differing recollections due to the Mandela Effect

residue: evidence of AMV contradicting the current record

encoded reference: example of the ME that contains an inference, like a clue in a crime scene

non-encoded or neutral reference: example of the ME which does not carry an allusion or function as a clue but merely brings attention to ananomaly of memory


The term "Mandela Effect" was coined in 2010 by paranormal investigator Fiona Broome who calls the phenomenon a "global anomaly of synchronous memories based in alternate histories." The current generic definition found on the reddit platform dedicated to discussions of the Effect is: "The phenomenon where it is discovered that a global, well known fact has apparently changed for a large group of people." Wikipedia defines it as "a situation where a number of people have memories that are different from available evidence." Numerous definitions use a dismissive or debunking spin, attributing it to confabulation and collective misremembering. The debate over whether or not the Mandela Effect is, in the first place, genuine, and then, an extraordinary or paranormal event of some kind, rages on as I write.

Many people dismiss the Mandela Effect as another distracting psyop on the Internet, or mere misremembering. If it is a psyop, how it could be accomplished is still open to question. By whom and for what purpose, also. Big questions there. To my knowledge, no one so far has produced a convincing case for this view of the phenomenon. (In the analysis, I will go over a hypothetical argument for the psyop explanation.) If it is a case of bad memory, then it remains to be explained how thousands or hundreds of thousands of people can misremember in the exact same way.

I offer this provisional definition: a collective recall process presenting distinct memories that differ from the current evidence of the topics remembered. This discrepancy in memories -- Sally Field or Sally Fields? -- produces a typical response in two cases that always come out in the same language: "I don't recall it having been that way, I remember it differently" (AVM: Sally Fields), or "I remember it as always having been the way it is now" (CRM: Sally Field).

Note how the Mandela Effect invariably produces a division, a divergence not only of memories but of those who hold those memories. This fact calls to mind that old joke: "There are two kinds of people in the world, those who think there are two kinds of people in the world, and those who do not."

Categories and Classes of Error


X The Mandela Effect, initial instance, sui generis


1 Movie dialogue: Forrest Gump, "Life was like a box of chocolates." UTB "Life is like a box of chocolates."

2 Movie/book titles: Interview with the Vampire UTB Interview with the Vampire

3 Song lyrics ; "I pretend to pray" UTB "I began to pray." (Mamas and the Papas, California Dreamin')

4 Celebrity name changes*: Sally Field UTB Sally Fields

I designate these examples as strong because there is ample and irrefutable residue to support the AVM. Analysis of residue is a task unto itself and belongs properly to the second part of this exposition.


5 Biblical versions: "The wolf shall dwell with the lamb" UTB "The lion shall lie down with the lamb" (Isaiah

6 Product name changes* : KitKat UTB Kit-Kat

7 Logo/icon changes (graphic): VW icon with a gap between the upper V and the lower W, UTB without the gap, one seamless insignia.

NOTE: There is skant but solid residual evidence of the AVM in the form of still photos, film footage, and presumably solid medallions (although I have not seen one myself). The VW anomaly presents a strong case for an alteration of material reality by contrast to digitally based residue. The distinction between photo-digital and material residue comes up strongly in the conclusions of the Mandela Effect. A clip from a movie showing a VW with the old seamless logo is photo-digital evidence, subject to digital manipulation. But a AVM of the medallion you can hold in your hand or examine on a car or van is material evidence, suggesting that the Mandela Effect, whatever it is, can alter material and physical objects.

I designate as moderate those incidences of the Effect which might be due to mundane variants or extraneous factors that do not require an inexplicable event to be altered. For instance, the Bible (5) can be found in many translations. "Lamb to wolf" could be a difference in translation. It's not, however. Even if this turns out not to be the case, as happens in some instances I will highlight, the fact that it could have been so places 5 in the set of moderate instances. Likewise, for product names (6) which may exhibit spelling variations or can be changed over time, as well as logos (7) which may also change if the management of the company changes or the same management deems the variation to be more attractive -- for instance, the mermaid of Starbucks.

The probability that some of these instances are due to corporate decisions in marketing their products make this set moderate. However, strong residue will push some of these instances into the first set -- the Ford logo, for example. This is also an encoded instance.


8 Geographical changes: Australia shifted north close to Borneo UTB more south and separated by a vast sea

9 Anatomical changes: heart squarely in center of chest UTB partially on the left side

10 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.

Before looking at classes of error, I will cover my reasoning for the application of the three sets within the ten categories.

The asterisk * indicates cases that depend on anomalies of spelling and/or punctuation which can easily be mistaken or manipulated. Many people cannot spell mispell. Like I just did. The correct way is misspell. Those who claim they remember it "as always having been" (PRV) mispell would insist there is a Mandella Effect at play. But that is plainly not so.

Continued in audio commentary...





Material by John Lash and Lydia Dzumardjin: Copyright 2002 - 2017 by John Lash.