o you remember the Berenstain Bears? But do you really?
You may be aware that the Internet exploded a little while ago when someone realized that the Berenstain Bears, beloved ursine family of children's books and television, is — and has always been — actually spelled BerenSTAIN and not BerenSTEIN.
The revelation sparked actual chaos amongst many full-grown adults who remember it as Berenstein. We've all worked very hard to accept that our collective memory has been totally false all these years. But now, there's a new development in the -ain/-ein dilemma, and it only confuses things further.
There's a name for the phenomenon of collective false memories: the Mandela Effect.
The term was coined in 2010 by blogger Fiona Broome to describe a specific false memory she came across at the Dragon Con convention. Apparently, many people believed the former South African President Nelson Mandela died in prison in the 1980s.
Meanwhile, the man actually lived until the ripe old age of 95. He died in 2013 at his home, surrounded by family.
That's not the only false memory that many people share.
Do you remember a ’90s movie called Shazaam, starring Sinbad as a genie?
Many have clear, distinct memories of this movie, but it didn’t exist.
Sinbad himself tried to help put the rumors to rest.
There is a movie from 1996 starring Shaquille O’Neal as a genie. That’s called Kazaam, and it’s real.
Sinbad also hosted an afternoon of Sinbad movies on TNT, during which he was dressed as a genie, so that may be where the conflation happened.
But, it’s still super strange that so many people have the same completely untrue memories.
It doesn't end there, though. Remember in The Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader says, "Luke, I am your father"?
No, you don’t because that’s not the line. The real line is, “No, I am your father,” but so many have misquoted the wrong version of it that it has become a trope all its own.
But that's not the only misquoted line that's made its way into the lexicon.
What does the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves say to the mirror hanging on the wall?
It’s not, as you might think, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”
The actual line is, “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”
But perhaps the most earth-shattering example of the Mandela Effect for the most people has to do with a family of cartoon bears…