The “Mandela Effect” has been making the rounds more and more in recent years, and it has thoroughly rewritten how we view our collective past.
The main idea is that parts of society have a shared memory of something that never happened. It is called the “Mandela Effect” because it was “discovered” when a writer came to realize that Nelson Mandela did not die in prison in the 1980s, as a great many people believed.
The term “Mandela Effect” was first coined in 2009 by Fiona Broome when she created a website to detail her observance of the phenomenon. Broome was at a conference talking with other people about how she remembered the tragedy of former South African president Nelson Mandela’s death in a South African prison in the 1980s.
However, Nelson Mandela did not die in the 1980s in a prison—he passed away in 2013. As Broome began to talk to other people about her memories, she learned that she was not alone. Others remembered seeing news coverage of his death as well as a speech by his widow.
Broome was shocked that such a large mass of people could remember the same identical event in such detail when it never happened. Encouraged by her book publisher, she began her website to discuss what she called the Mandela Effect and other incidents like it.
There are several examples, particularly in pop culture, that have resonated over the years. Comedian Sinbad was (allegedly) never in a movie about a genie, the Monopoly guy never wore a monocle, etc. However, there is a recent revelation that has been making the rounds, and it has absolutely thrown me off my game: Ed McMahon was never affiliated with Publishers Clearing House, much less going around and handing out their million-dollar checks to people.
Entertainer Ed McMahon never handed out big checks at the doorsteps of Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes prize winners, nor did he ever work for the company. However, there appears to be a large number of Americans who believe that he did. This is an example of a false memory, known as the “Mandela Effect.”
Many of you, like me, are undoubtedly now questioning reality itself. And you are right to. You are now living in a reality where the Golden Girls lied to you.
Snopes did the digging and has come to the conclusion that, once again, this is all a mass hysteria event. Ed McMahon has never even been affiliated with Publishers Clearing House. Instead, he was a spokesperson for, and had his face on the envelopes of, American Family Publishers and their clearing house sweepstakes.
However, I have a more compelling theory: Ed McMahon was affiliated with Publishers Clearing House and the so-called “Mandela Effect” is actually a CIA operation meant to test their ability to confuse and gaslight an entire nation. And it’s working. I don’t know what to believe anymore. I am confused and scared and I just want to go home now.
I could have lived without the knowledge that a core memory of mine – and a core memory of society’s – wasn’t real. But that’s what happened and I have to live with this knowledge. But I won’t go down quietly. I demand to know who is going around trying to gaslight all of us, but I want them to know it will not stand.