In Part 1, I described an experience that I have shared with a couple of other people, in which we have very distinct memories of B. B. King dying in May of 2005, yet it was reported in May of 2015, that B.B. had died again, at least as far as we were concerned.
Just last week, I learned purely by accident that this phenomenon has been dubbed the Mandela Effect, and apparently a great many people have experienced it. In particular, folks are convinced that a celebrity has died who is still alive (Kirk Douglas for instance), while others have clear memories of a celebrity dying more than once. Even stranger is the fact that many people, who are complete strangers, share the same memories in great detail.
Across the internet, much of the discussion seems focused on movie lines or titles. I dismiss this as either remembering a popular impression of a character's scene or just complete bunk trying to cash in on the interest.
One prime example is the plethora of videos about Interview with a/the Vampire. A quick trip to Wikipedia shows the title as using "the." But even if later issues have changed to "a," it doesn't matter since the author can confirm the original title and there must be thousands of original copies of both the book and movie in circulation.
I call this discussion the "Play it again, Sam" theory, and it includes the Snow White "mirror mirror" and Empire Strikes Back "I am your father" branches of the Mandela Effect hype.
I wanted the reactions of people I knew were level-headed and tended to research things a bit more deeply than Google and hashtags.
Of the people I wanted a reaction from was Joseph Farrell, the well-known author and researcher whom we've interviewed a couple of times on Radio Far Side. I sent him a note asking if he had ever heard of the Mandela Effect. The response was nearly immediate and he wanted to discuss my experiences.
It turns out that it is a topic of great interest to Farrell and his subscribers, who have discussed it at length in member vid-chats. According to his members, this phenomenon is global and seems to have two common factors - celebrities and a period of roughly 10 years.
I was genuinely stunned. After learning of the name Mandela Effect, I started looking around the net for references. It wasn't hard. There are around 511,000 returns on Google, covering websites, blogs and videos. From what I see, about 50% of the data centers around people misremembering movie lines. As I said previously, I find this highly unreliable, since a lot of folks remember the line, "Play it again, Sam," from Casablanca, but that line has never existed, at least in the film itself.
The rest of the data focuses on celebrity deaths. Farrell has specific memories of Helen Thomas, the veteran political reporter, dying during the Clinton Administration and listening to Bill Clinton deliver a eulogy at that time. Yet, any reference to her will mention her death in 2013.
Joseph also mentioned Kirk Douglas being alive, and that caught my attention. I distinctly remember watching an interview with his son Michael talking about his father on the occasion of his death. Yet, according to Wikipedia, Kirk is still alive.
At this point, we discussed reasons for this phenomenon. I wouldn't feel comfortable trying to express his thoughts, but suffice it to say that he thinks it may be an experiment in social engineering that involves manipulating quantum forces and correlating the effects with massive databases to see what has changed. The analogy he used was overlapping multiverses with leaks between them.
I was fascinated with the possibilities, though a bit horrified to think that anyone could be mucking around with timelines and peoples' memories on a mass scale. However, my own theories more or less have the same thing happening, but in a different way.
The Mandela Effect reminds me a lot of several different stories, both fictional and real.
The first is a book that I was enthralled with as a child. It was "A Sound of Thunder," which introduced the concept of 'the butterfly effect' into common culture. In the book, time-travelling hunters from 2055 go back to the Jurassic Age to hunt dinosaurs. An accident leads to a butterfly getting crushed in the past and causes hundreds of large and small changes back in the current time, as the effects of the butterfly's demise ripple through millions of years.
Another favorite book was Robert Heinlein's "The Number of the Beast." Here, a mathematics professor invents a "continua" device that allows the main characters to shift through six dimension of time and space (leading to the reference of 666). The characters are deceived by telepathic overlays on reality during their journey through alternate universes.
Finally, the story of John Titor comes to mind. This may be a bit of an obscure reference, but John Titor was a supposed time traveler who appeared on the internet in various chat rooms around 2000 and 2001. He was supposedly from 2036, and was on a mission to the 1970s to obtain an IBM 5100 computer to help in decoding a number of old machine languages to avoid some Y2K-like problem in the future. He described time as a cone shape extending into the past and future that allowed access to multiple timelines, which could vary greatly or very subtly from our own.
All three stories are worth reading, so do make use of the links, but the salient point is that they all involve time travel and in some way mirror the Mandela Effect. My operating theory is that our timeline has been changed in some way, either in a single event, or in several, and may be ongoing. I suspect that easiest way to do that would be to manipulate very small and discrete parts of the past to change something in the future. The double death/not yet dead phenomenon may be an incidental or intentional result for whatever purpose(s).
And yes, I know this sounds far out. And I do have a much more mundane, though nefarious means of achieving the same result: Winston Smith. If you recall in "Nineteen Eighty-Four," the protagonist's job is to literally rewrite history. He spends his days at MiniTrue making people appear and disappear in history, changing narratives and making sure that the past matches the official party line du jour.
It's not an easy choice, and any of them require a very large departure from what we fondly refer to as "reality." Whether it's Farrell's multiverse leaks, Bradbury's ancient accidents, Heinlein's continua machine, Titor's military time missions, or Orwell's MiniTrue, something is causing an actual phenomenon in which a large number of people "misremember" historic events, but do so in a way that complete strangers "misremember" with exactly the same details.
There is no natural phenomenon that can explain this, and it has only come into the public consciousness with the past two decades. Most of the reports that I find credible more or less occur between the mid-1990s and today. Nor can I find any reference in older texts to similar documented phenomena in the past, so this seems to be something completely new.
If you have experienced it, then you know the very strange and other-worldly feeling you get when it happens. It can literally leave you vexed and paralyzed for a few moments as you try to process the discontinuity in your clear memories.
Either we are all being manipulated somehow (real or perceived), or accidents are occurring (likely in the past) that are changing our current timeline. No matter how you slice this, the implications are truly unsettling.
One way to find out is to bring the topic to wide public attention. By making it a major item of conversation, perhaps we can at least stop it from happening, and perhaps even discover why it's happening. I suspect we will not like the answers behind the Mandela Effect.
There is no reason in physics that time travel is impossible. When we peer into the Universe, we are travelling backwards in time, as we see the Universe only as it was anywhere from minutes to billions of years ago. It is also quite possible that aspects of physics that allow time travel have been hidden from the general public for just the sort of reason we are discussing here.
What is most disturbing, and implied by the Mandela Effect, is that we may be unaware of just how much our lives have been changed.
Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
Here Thar Be Monsters!
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