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Mandela Effect

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https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/pikachu_mandela_effect.jpg
Left: How Pikachu is falsely remembered.
Right: How Pikachu actually looks.
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Did you know Curious George never had a tail? Or that Pikachu's tail never had a black tip? Or that it's spelled Berenstain with an A and not Berenstein with an E? The Mandela Effect is when a large number of people share a false memory.

When it comes to fiction, this can be anything ranging from misremembering a visual detail to remembering a scene that never existed.

The Trope Namer comes from Fiona Broome, who coined the phrase when she claimed to have falsely remembered that Nelson Mandela died in prison in the 1980s, when he actually died in 2013 following a prolonged respiratory infection. She and around 1,000 people have falsely remembered this event, which led to her creating a website documenting this strange phenomenon (Many fans of the concept also claim it's not Fake Memories, but glimpses into alternate universes, but that's another thing entirely).

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Compare "Common Knowledge", Pop Culture Urban Legends, Viewer Name Confusion. Contrast with Revealing Continuity Lapse, which can unintentionally cause an in-universe Mandela Effect.

Sub-Tropes are:

  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: An iconic line was either never actually said or was a misquoted variant of what was actually said.
  • God Never Said That: Fans either assume the creator said something or misinterpret what the creator said to claim that -so-and-so is canon, when the creator never claimed such a thing.
  • Viewer Name Confusion: Audience members have a mistaken impression of what someone's name is.


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Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • A lot of people remember the Beats by Dre headphones being named "Beats by Dr Dre," which would make a lot more sense considering that they are named after Dr. Dre.
  • Cheez-It crackers have never been pluralized as "Cheez-Itz".
  • Chick-fil-A is often misremembered as Chik-fil-A or Chic-fil-A.
  • Some people claim the Coca-Cola logo originally had a squiggly dash between the two words, akin to a tilde (i.e ~) it's always had a short hyphen-like dash. In addition, some remember Coca-Cola Zero (now Coca-Cola Zero Sugar) as simply being called "Coke Zero" on the can or bottle.
  • Many argue that the household odor eliminator Febreze is actually spelled "Febreeze". In 2017, the official Facebook and Twitter pages of Febreze turned this into an Ascended Meme, as they added the extra "e" to the logo as an April Fools' Day joke.
  • Some remember Frank's RedHot sauce as having a separate "d" and "h", instead of the two being combined into one word.
  • There's a lot of people who claim that the Fruit of the Loom clothing brand's logo once had a cornucopia on it. Some people swear that this is where they learned what one even was. Even employees have stated remembering one. Fruit of the Loom would eventually joke about the cornucopia on their Twitter page and update their main page with the cornucopia logo as an April Fools' Day joke in 2022. The confusion is probably because there are a few real logos out there featuring fruit spilling from a cornucopia (like so) and the imagery is very common in autumnal/harvest-themed artwork. As a result, it's quite easy for many people to think "large pile of fruit" and mentally associate it with the classic Horn of Plenty by default.
  • Froot Loops cereal was never at any point spelled "Fruit Loops". They legally can't spell it that way, because it doesn't contain any fruit.
  • Jif peanut butter is often misremembered as Jiffy peanut butter. This is likely due to some people confusing it with another peanut butter brand, Skippy, as well as the Jiffy Pop popcorn brand.
  • Kit Kat bars have never had the hyphenated name "Kit-Kat". The logo itself just says "KitKat", with neither a hyphen nor a space.
  • The Etch A Sketch has always been named with three different words, and not hyphenated as "Etch-A-Sketch".
  • Many people remember the logo for Lyft having the "f" and "t" as separate. Instead, they are combined, so it almost looks like it says "LYA".
  • The Pillsbury Dough Boy has always had a white scarf. Some people remember him with a blue scarf instead, and some parodies of the mascot (such as on The Simpsons) do indeed depict him with a blue scarf. Even stranger, a common explanation (that they made him look different to avoid copyright infringement) is incorrect: under fair use, a parody of a copyrighted character can look identical to the real deal.
  • Some believe that Oscar Mayer meats were actually once branded "Oscar Meyer".
  • A lot of people remember the sun mascot on the Raisin Bran logo wearing sunglasses. He never has, but some parodies of him depict him this way.
  • Skechers shoes have never been called "Sketchers" even if some think they were at one point.
  • Another shoe brand, Doc Martens boots, have never been known as "Doc Martins".
  • Smokey the Bear's name is actually just "Smokey Bear".
  • Some people remember the U and N in the Sunkist logo clearly being separate letters. Instead, they are conjoined, so it almost looks like it says "Sinkist" instead.
  • A lot of people claim Vlasic pickles used to be spelled "Vlassic", which would actually make more sense, as it rhymes with "classic". The brand is named after founder Frank Vlasic (and the surname is of Serbo-Croatian origin).
  • The 'V' and 'W' in the Volkswagen logo have always been separated, contrary to many people's memories of them being connected. Perhaps the oddest thing is many people remember running their fingers along the V/W and not feeling a gap, and tactile memory tends to be a lot better than visual.
  • Believe it or not, it's spelled Wite-Out, not White Out.
  • La-Z-Boy recliners have never had an extra "Y" in the name (i.e Lay-Z-Boy).

    Anime and Manga 
  • Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders: Early in the story, there is a scene where Avdol has Jotaro draw a tarot card from a deck to name his Stand. Many fans online have claimed that Jotaro initially draws the World, only for Avdol to have him redo it because someone else had already taken the name. (This is particularly significant because it's often said to be foreshadowing to the later revelation that Jotaro's Stand has the ability to stop time, just like The World.) However, the scene does not play out this way: Jotaro simply draws the Star right off the bat, inspiring the name of his Star Platinum. A video by Hamon Beat traces the misconception to a joke edit of the scene that matches the misremembered details.
  • Many people in the United States swear that they remember watching Trigun on Toonami. It never aired on Toonami in the states and probably would have been very difficult given how death and gunplay are vital to the plot and would be impossible to edit for an after school timeslot. Trigun actually aired on Adult Swim, not Toonami. However, for the Toonami comeback April Fool's joke in 2012, Toonami did show an episode of Trigun, and the movie did air on the revived block in 2013. The funny thing is that Trigun was aired on Toonami... in Latin America (since Adult Swim only aired Western shows in that region), it's possible the confusion stems there.

    Art 
  • In the American Gothic Couple painting a lot of people remember both the man and woman looking straight ahead. In reality, the woman is looking at the man with an ambiguously angry look on her face. Some people also remember them both being elderly, but in fact the man looks much older (the painting depicts a father and daughter, not a husband and wife).
  • People often "remember" a picture of Henry VIII that shows him eating a turkey leg, with there being quite a few parodies of this (nonexistent) portrait. Most likely, people are really remembering this portrait, which shows him holding brown leather gloves which, from a distance, could easily be mistaken for a turkey leg (especially given his reputation as a Big Eater.)
  • A lot of people remember the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial having both of his hands resting on the armrests of his throne. He actually has his left hand clenched in a fist.
  • Some people claim to have gone up to the torch in the Statue of Liberty. This is impossible, as the torch was damaged by a 1916 terrorist attack, and has been closed to tourists since then. The most likely explanation, is they really went up to the crown and mistook it for the inside of the torch, as such people usually describe climbing up a really long spiral staircase to get there, which is indeed how you get to the crown. The torch, however, is only accessible through a ladder in a very narrow passage in the arm.
  • A lot of people remember Mount Rushmore as just being the four Presidents' heads. In reality, George Washington at least has a partial torso. Apparently, the plan was originally to give all the Presidents full torsos, but this proved too expensive/impractical.

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man is often misremembered as "Spiderman" or "SpiderMan" without the hyphen.
  • Tintin is often thought to have orange-red hair. Throughout the original comic, he is actually a blonde, though sometimes strawberry blonde and sometimes even brown-haired. Animated screen adaptations usually make him a full-on redhead.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Susie Derkins' name is commonly misremembered as "Suzie" with a Z.
  • Peanuts: Some people remember Snoopy's tail being a thin black line rather than a white tail with a little black dot on it. They may be conflating him with Odie from Garfield, or Pluto from Mickey Mouse, who do have black tails.

    Films — Animation 
  • 101 Dalmatians: Some people remember Cruella De Vil's name being spelled as "Cruella De Ville" or something similar. While the name is obviously a pun for "cruel devil", a lot of people remember it as being more creative than just putting a space in the word "devil".
  • Aladdin: Some people have stated that they remembered the Genie being voiced by Tim Allen rather than Robin Williams.
  • There are many who claim that you can see Bambi's mother being shot. Although it was considered to be shown early on in development, the final movie never actually shows her moment of death. The film does have a scene later on that shows adult Bambi getting shot in midair, which may be responsible for the confusion.
  • Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper: No, the title is not Barbie in the Princess and the Pauper, as Barbie plays both Anneliese and Erika. However, some people believe that it is the actual title, likely because of many other Barbie films beginning with Barbie in. Even this very wiki made this mistake at one point.
  • Belle from Beauty and the Beast has hazel eyes, but is often remembered as having brown eyes. This might be due to people not being able to tell the difference, an association with her hair being brown, or official material showing her with what appears to be brown eyes, such as her design in Ralph Breaks the Internet, or some promotional material for her Disney Princess incarnation.
  • A lot of people remember Incredibles 2 coming out long before it did, sometimes as far back as the '00s, with some people even saying they watched it. It's possible they are confusing it with The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer, which only came out a year after the first movie, and is a Sequel in Another Medium to the original (but was later made non-canon). It's also possible people just assumed it must have already come out because of the fourteen-year gap between the two movies.
  • The Jungle Book: Many (perhaps most) viewers remember Baloo clearly singing in "Bare Necessities" the line "Where ever I'd wander, wherever I'd roam, I couldn't be fonder of my new home." Now, it sounds like he's singing "Where ever I'd wander, wherever I'd roam, I couldn't be found(?) of my new home". While the sing-a-long confirms the word is supposed to be "fonder", it's still odd he would pronounce it that way (especially if it's meant to rhyme with "wander"), and there are a lot of people who say they've watched the movie tons of times as a kid and remember him saying it the normal way.
  • Several fans of The Lion King (1994) firmly believe that when they first saw the film in 1994, Simba and Nala had twin cubs at the end, not just one. Most likely they're thinking of the similar Babies Ever After ending of Bambi, which does feature twin fawns.
  • Shrek: Many people remember the titular ogre saying "Change is good, Donkey". This line is never uttered at any point in any of the Shrek movies by any character. People may be confusing King Harold's line "Yes, he is a bit different, but people do change for the ones they love" in Shrek 2 with Shrek's line "That'll do, Donkey" from the first movie.
  • The Evil Queen never says "Mirror, mirror, on the wall" in Disney's version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Unlike in the original tale, she says "Magic mirror on the wall". The Italian dub changed the phrase but suffers the same fate: the queen says "Specchio, servo delle mie brame" ("Mirror, servant of my desires") and everyone remembers "Specchio, specchio delle mie brame" ("Mirror, mirror of my desires").
  • The Transformers: The Movie: Many fans misremembered Optimus Prime as crumbling to dust after he fades to gray upon death, possibly mixing it up with Starscream's death, since the latter does disintegrate after turning gray. This has led to rumors of a more violent alternate cut, which has never been proven to exist.
  • The title of Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation is frequently misremembered as "How I Spent My Summer Vacation". While that was its Working Title until it was changed later in production, people still tend to think that's the final title.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey: A lot of people remember the famous line "My god! It's full of stars!" being uttered in the movie, when it's really only said in the book. There is an audiobook where it is also said, and the opening crawl of sequel 2010: The Year We Make Contact ends with a recording of that line, which may be why some people claim to so clearly "hear" someone saying it in their memories.
  • The Exorcist: During the famous Vomit Indiscretion Shot scene Regan has some kind of feeding tube attached to her nose. Quite a few people say they never remember it being there before, and claim they would have remembered something like that. Curiously, in the Scary Movie 2 parody of the scene she doesn't have any feeding tube.
  • There was Forrest Gump's famous line "Life is like a box of chocolates." Or so it seems by most people. The line is actually "Life was like a box of chocolates," as he is quoting what his Mama used to say (and when Mama says it later in the film, she leaves off the "like").
  • Gremlins: Stripe's name is often misremembered as "Spike".
  • Home Alone: "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from "The Nutcracker" is heavily associated with the first two films, despite not actually playing in either film. It does play in the 2021 sequel Home Sweet Home Alone, though.
  • The Hunger Games: Some people remember a player falling out of their pod during the countdown scene before the timer reaches zero and instantly exploding in a ball of fire. No such thing happens in the movie, nor it is mentioned in the book. The most likely theory is that some are people confusing it with The Starving Games, a parody movie of The Hunger Games, where in a similar scene it is specified that the field is booby trapped with explosives, and LMFAO jump out of their pods during the countdown scene, exploding in the process.
  • When Will Smith punches out the alien in Independence Day, many people remember him saying "Welcome to Erf" with a stereotypical African-American accent. When watching the film, Smith quite clearly says "Earth" without such an accent.
  • Many people incorrectly recall Dolly of the James Bond movie Moonraker as having braces.
  • Jurassic Park (1993): There's a longstanding rumor that one version of the film includes a shot of the T.rex's head crashing through the wall of the visitor's center during the climax. There's no evidence this ever existed, and in the comments for this video Steve Williams (who designed the T.rex animatronic) says no such shot was ever filmed. This is conflating the T. rex coming out of nowhere in the visitor center and a previous scene of Rexy crashing through the car roof.
  • The Karate Kid (1984): A lot of people remember Daniel's headband being white with a red sun and rays, similar to the flag of Imperial Japan. It's actually white with a blue flower pattern, which almost looks black in some shots.
  • The Chokey from Matilda is often remembered as an Iron Maiden, but is actually just a closet with spikes.
  • Mrs. Doubtfire: There's a scene where Doubtfire throws a lime at the back of Stu's head. When he turns around, she says it was a "run-by fruiting". A lot of people say the line used to be "drive-by fruiting", even though the former makes more sense. There was even a band called "Mr.Doubtfire" that had an album named "drive-by fruiting", complete with a picture of a lime.
  • Eddie Deezen is congratulated repeatedly on the streets by fans for his iconic role in Revenge of the Nerds, where he defined the nerd on screen for generations to come. The problem is: Deezen never was in Revenge of the Nerds. He was considered, but he was never cast. The character they're most likely thinking of, Skolnick, was played by Robert Carradine.
  • Everyone knows about the iconic scene in Risky Business where Joel dances around the house in a shirt, socks and sunglasses. Except he wasn't actually wearing sunglasses in the scene. He's also wearing a pink shirt in the scene, while parodies almost always have the person wearing a white shirt.
  • Robocop: Murphy dies 26 minutes into the movie, but many people remember him dying much earlier.
  • Scary Movie: In one scene Shorty states "I see dead people" after getting high, a reference to the horror movie The Sixth Sense, released the previous year. However, many clearly remember him saying "I see white people" instead, which would be a racial joke. Their memories may be from the film Undercover Brother (which came out in 2002, 2 years after Scary Movie), in which the black title character does say "I see white people" as a reference to The Sixth Sense.
  • Many people seem to remember a genie movie named Shazaam starring Sinbad. There is no evidence of it ever existing in the first place. There is even a fanmade VHS photoshop and a CollegeHumor sketch starring the man himself. The most likely theory for this is that people are misremembering Kazaam with Shaquille O'Neal. The false memory is likely also influenced by First Kid, a 1996 family film that came out around the same time as Kazaam, and actually does star Sinbad. Furthermore, the First Kid VHS features a Kazaam trailer.
  • The famous line "Hello, Clarice" from Silence of the Lambs was never said. Hannibal does say "Good evening, Clarice" at one point, which may be responsible for the confusion.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Many people erroneously remember Kirk yelling "KHAAAAAAAAAN!" as a Skyward Scream with a spinning overhead shot, when the scene itself is just a straightforward close-up. The misconception may be thanks to the Seinfeld episode "The Dealership", during which George screams "TWIIIIIIIIIX!", parodying that scene while using such a shot.
  • Star Wars:
    • Many viewers misremember C-3PO being made entirely out of gold metal in the original trilogy. In reality, one of his legs has a silver piece. This might be due to some toys and the like depicting him as fully gold (possibly due to not wanting to spend money on something most people wouldn't notice). Anthony Daniels even said in an interview that the stills photographer (i.e, the person who was taking pictures of him every day) one day suddenly asked him "why are you wearing a silver leg today?" Meaning even he somehow didn't notice it!
    • The famous line "Luke, I am your father" from The Empire Strikes Back was actually "No, I am your father."
    • A lot of people misremember Leia either wearing sandals or going barefoot when in her slave outfit from Return of the Jedi. She actually wore ankle-length boots, which can be clearly seen in promotional pictures. Although concept art did show her those ways.
  • Rose's line "I'll never let go" in Titanic is sometimes misremembered as "I'm so sorry, Jack." She does say a similar line earlier on ("Jack, I'm sorry! I'm sorry, I'm so sorry!"), for having believed him guilty of stealing the diamond.
  • There's this famous exchange: "So, what does it do?" "That's the beauty of it! It doesn't do anything!". Many people claim to have heard it in some movie or TV show, but there's no evidence of the phrase being in anything at all. Below are some of the most commonly purported sources.
    • The famous condescending Wonka meme from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a shot of him reacting to this question, and although this answer would have been very in-character, he actually says "Would you like to see?" before starting the machine. After it's done, he's asked the question again, and this time says "Can't you see? It makes everlasting gobstoppers".
    • The Simpsons: In "Much Apu About Nothing", Homer reasons that "there's not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol is sure doing its job". Lisa tries to demonstrate the absurdity of this logic by picking up a random rock and claiming it must be the reason there are no tigers around. Homer doesn't get the point and asks how the rock works, and Lisa exasperatedly replies "It doesn't work!". However, this setup is rather different than the imagined context of the mystery quote (a Mad Scientist-type character describing some invention). The only parallel is that the thing's lack of functionality is precisely the point of it, but that's not the same as saying that's the beauty of it, especially since Lisa immediately follows this up by saying "It's just a stupid rock!".
    • In one of the Known Space books, a character is asked "what does it do" about a machine, and is told "It's beautiful! Why does it have to do anything?" It's possible people are mangling this into the mystery quote.
    • The only known work which actually contains dialogue to this effect is Burke's Law episode "Who Killed 711". A detective interrogates a murder suspect about a bizarre contraption he's built:
    Tim: What is it?
    Harold: Well, it's my therapy. I'm still perfecting it.
    Tim: What does it do?
    Harold: Do?
    Tim: Ye- What's it for?
    Harold: Well, nothing — nothing. I mean, that's the beauty of it. Every machine in the world does something, but not mine.
    This might be the original source of the quote, but it's relatively obscure and is rather more long-winded than how it's usually quoted — though it might be that people originally quoting it were condensing the actual dialogue into a convenient soundbite.
  • The Wizard of Oz
    • Some fans are convinced that when they first saw the film, at the very end the camera panned down to show the Ruby Slippers under Dorothy's bed, revealing that her adventures in Oz were Real After All. The movie has never ended this way; the All Just a Dream ending was specifically written because 1930s viewers were thought to be "too sophisticated" to accept a straightforward live-action fantasy.
    • In the scene where the gang first enters the Haunted Forest, the Scarecrow is suddenly and inexplicably holding a gun. Most people don't seem to have noticed this, and seemed shocked when it's pointed out, saying they would have noticed something so odd and out of place.
  • This gave rise to an Urban Legend that the film X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes originally ended with a final, horrifying Wham Line after the protagonist gouges out his own eyes to end the torment of his affliction: "I CAN STILL SEE!", but the line was allegedly cut from all subsequent versions of the movie. No version of the film ever did include such a line, but the origin of the misconception comes from Stephen King, of all people, who misremembered it as being spoken during the movie's final shot, mentioning it in one of his nonfiction books. Being a horror writer, King presumably filled in the line himself in his recollection just because it does seem like such a perfectly chilling note to end the story on (for instance, Roger Corman has since said that he wishes he had actually thought of it).

    Literature 
  • The Berenstain Bears: One of the most famous examples would have to be the debate over whether the title is spelled as Berenstain or Berenstein. While it's officially Berenstain, there is a large amount of people who claim it's Berenstein, to the point where even some official merchandise uses that spelling. This has led to a (mostly tongue-in-cheek) conspiracy theory that the people who remember the latter spelling were transported from an alternate universe. Some people who remember the latter spelling even remember mispronouncing it as "Berensteen" or even "Barenstine".
  • Curious George: Although George is Inexplicably Tailless note , people tend to misremember him with a tail.
  • Some people remember The Picture of Dorian Gray as being "The Portrait Of Dorian Gray". Some Spanish translations even render the title as El Retrato De Dorian Gray ("Retrato" means "portrait". "Picture" would be "imagen.")
  • Warrior Cats:
    • There are a few scenes where fans commonly picture the setting incorrectly, to the point that even the official art later gets it wrong. For instance, despite common belief, it wasn't actually snowing when Bluestar journeyed through the forest with her kits to bring them to Oakheart in Bluestar's Prophecy, and even though The Darkest Hour takes place during the winter, the BloodClan battle is often depicted as leafy and green (including in flashbacks in the official manga).
    • Many fans remember Firestar's final death in The Last Hope being due to lightning striking a tree, and said tree falling on him. He actually died due to his wounds, while at the same time a tree already fallen over was struck by lightning. This is likely due to fans either getting it mixed up with Mudclaw's death (which was due to being crushed by a lightning-struck tree) or one of Firestar's earlier lives (in which a tree fell on him, but no lightning was involved).
  • The title of Interview with the Vampire is often misremembered as Interview With a Vampire. This may be because the two sound nearly identical when spoken quickly, and because "The Vampire" seems to imply there's only one vampire in the world.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Barney & Friends episode "Playing it Safe", many adults remember Derek (controversially) saying "A stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet". In reality, when Baby Bop asked why you shouldn't talk to strangers, Derek replies with "They might be bad people" - quite the opposite of his misremembered line.
  • Some people recall the titular host of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern being Andrew Zimmerman.
  • Many Doctor Who fans who watched "Spearhead from Space" on its original broadcast are convinced that they saw the Autons smash the glass of the shop window after coming to life in Episode Four. In reality, the show did not have the budget to do this, so the camera cuts away as they are about to break it, before inserting a sound effect of breaking glass, and doesn't cut back to the Autons until they have broken out.
  • I Love Lucy has some viewers who conflated Ricky's tendency to mispronounce "explain" into him scolding, "Lucy, you've got some splainin' to do!" Once an Episode.
  • The opening theme from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood had the lyrics "It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood", which many people including the developer of the Tom Hanks biopic remember falsely as "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood".
  • Actress Sally Field has two Mandela Effects:
    • Some people remember her surname being plural.
    • In her famous televised speech, she says "You like me, right now, you like me!" rather than "You like me, you really like me!" which is what is usually quoted instead.
  • Many people believe that Sex and the City was called "Sex in the City".
  • Many people remember seeing Marlin Perkins being bitten by a rattlesnake on an episode of Zoo Parade. He was actually bitten during a rehearsal for an episode, which was never shown on television.

    Myth and Religion 
  • The Bible: Many people remember a Bible verse saying that the "lion shall lie down with the lamb". This phrase doesn't appear in any translation of the Bible. The closest equivalent is Isiah 11:6, which starts with "and the wolf shall dwell with the lamb". As the rest of the verse says "and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them" it's possible people are just getting the different animals mentioned in the verse mixed up.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • While Bob Holly did win the Intercontinental Championship from Jeff Jarrett, as many fans in attendance remembered, the win was planned in advance for the storyline to set up a controversial rematch at the following pay-per-view show. This is why that one IC title win is never acknowledged in WWE canon, even if fans remember Holly winning it.
  • Marty Jannetty wasn't kicked through the barbershop's window by Shawn Michaels, like many fans remembered, but instead thrown through the window after the superkick.note 

    Tabletop Games 

    Theme Parks 
  • Cinderella's castle has never been the entrance to the Magic Kingdom, despite what a lot of people claim.

    Video Games 
  • Some people remember completing the Wind Temple before the Earth Temple in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. This is impossible in all versions of the game, as Makar will not appear until the Earth Temple is complete.
  • There has never an iteration of the MechWarrior series on PC where you could get out of your 'Mech. This error is usually caused by one of four things:
    • Misunderstanding the external camera in MechWarrior 2 (which could rotate around your Mech, including an approximately ground level view).
    • Mistaking the Xbox game MechAssault for a PC release, which did feature the option to move around in battle on the infantry scale.
    • Mistaking MechWarrior: Living Legends for an official release (it is actually a fan-made Game Mod of Crysis Warhead).
    • Mistaking obscure PC Mech-Sim G-Nome for a MechWarrior title, which did feature the option to steal enemy mechs as a tactic.
  • It was long widely agreed among Monster Hunter fans that Deviljho, a Big Eater monster debuting in the third generation, is so ravenous that it would even eat its own severed tail. However, a random tweet in late 2022 pointed out that nobody has ever actually recorded this behavior, leading the fanbase to scramble for proof... and it turned out there was none. It had never been part of the monster's behavior in any game.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pikachu is often remembered with a black stripe at the end of its tail. This is likely because its ear tips are actually colored black, so people extend that to its tail. Muddying things even further is the Cosplay Pikachu introduced in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, which actually does have a black tip on its tail.
    • Many players who started with Gen 1 (especially Yellow Version) misremember rock types as being immune to electric type attacks. Electric moves actually deal normal damage to rock types. The confusion is likely because most of the rock types encountered in Gen 1 were also ground type, which is immune to electric.
  • Undertale has several fan ideas that many people seem to forget aren’t true in the actual game:
    • So little is known about W. D. Gaster that the in-game sprite most fans believe to be his may not actually be his. In fact, there are at least two possible sprites for Gaster, but the second often goes ignored due to the popularity of the first. Gaster also isn’t shown to have floating hands with holes at any point, yet most fan works depict him this way. Additionally, Gaster is at no point even implied to have been a skeleton, but he is usually depicted as such in fan works.
    • Papyrus is usually portrayed as hating puns, since he yells at his brother Sans when he makes them coupled with excuses to get out of actually doing any work. However, he actually makes the second-most puns in the game (second only to the narrator), one even being found during an exchange with Sans.
    • Regarding SOULs:
      • While there is evidence in the game pointing toward different SOUL colors representing different traits (orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue, and purple being Bravery, Justice, Kindness, Patience, Integrity, and Perseverance respectively), the red soul trait is never hinted at in-game. Many use the fact that the protagonist’s SOUL has more Determination than anyone else’s in the game to argue that it is the red SOUL trait, but little evidence to back up such a claim exists.
      • Things such as Magic or Love have been used as the white SOUL trait that the monsters have, but this isn’t alluded to either.
      • Hate is not canon, nor has it ever been mentioned. The idea of Chara’s SOUL trait being replaced by Hate (or corrupted by it) is entirely fanon.

    Webcomics 
  • Batman: Wayne Family Adventures: Due to a mistake with the Twitter account misprinting the bios, many remember Damian's introductory box reading "still working on their people skills" rather than "his people skills", leading to a significant amount of the fandom thinking he is nonbinary.
  • Square Root of Minus Garfield: Referenced in "Mandela Effect Garfield", which replaces the misremembered "mirror, mirror" line with its proper "magic mirror" version. The comic's description also describes various instances of the Mandela effect.

    Web Original 
  • Clippy, the default assistant in the English version of The Office Assistant, a discontinued intelligent user interface for Microsoft Office, is a paperclip who is often remembered as dancing, but in reality, he didn't do anything besides the occasional blink.
  • Spoofed in one of the April Fools 2019 articles on ToughPigs, which states that the entirety of Season 13 of Sesame Street is in fact a Mandela effect fabrication.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • Caillou: The episode "Caillou is Getting Older", which has Caillou and his dad find a dead bird, is often misremembered as having the dad lie that the bird died of old age when Gilbert the cat had killed it. In the actual episode, the bird's dead with no explanation.
  • Dora the Explorer: Benny the Bull is falsely remembered as having a nose ring.
  • The Flintstones has never been spelled "The Flinstones". The confusion has come from how it is often pronounced, the first t being either silent or not clearly voiced.
  • Goof Troop: People frequently believe that Max's unseen mother was officially dead due to Goofy saying something along the lines of "She's up there amongst the stars" in regards to her. No such line was ever uttered in the series, and Max's mother is just non-existent, with her never being mentioned at all.
  • Some people think that the very first broadcast of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown did include a scene where the Great Pumpkin does appear and that the scene in question has never aired since nor been on any home video release of the special. In reality, the Great Pumpkin character never appears in the special, just as he is a figment of Linus' imagination and has never been seen in any Peanuts media.
  • King of the Hill: According to urban legend, in the original airing of "Pigmalion", you could briefly see Trip's bloody mutilated corpse hanging off a hook in the background while Peggy and Luanne rejoice over their little "victory". However, it never happened and is likely a result of false memories.
  • Lilo & Stitch:
    • A lot of Fan Art shows that many fans of Stitch misremember his ear notches being near the tip of his left ear and near the base of his right ear. It's actually the other way around. Even Disney themselves make this mistake in some promotional material and merchandise, usually by flipping his image. This error has even extended to some of their own produced or licensed works such as Disney Sorcerer's Arena.
    • Depending on the Artist, Stitch has been depicted with the ear notches in other spots (or sometimes without them at all), with round notches instead of his actual triangular ones, without the dark blue markings on the back of his ear tips, with a differently shaped or even colored back marking, with his aqua countershading missing between his lower lip and chin, with light blue pawpads instead of their proper dark blue ones, with only three toes on each foot instead of four, and so on.
    • Some fans falsely remember Stitch calling his Love Interest Angel (Experiment 624) as his "boochiboo"; he actually pronounces it as "boojiboo". Lilo was the one who mispronounced it as "boochiboo" in The Series episode "Angel" (due to her not being a native speaker of Tantalog, the experiments' language).
  • Looney Tunes is often misremembered by many people as "Looney Toons" (as in, "cartoons") rather than musical "tunes" (in keeping with the theme set by Silly Symphonies and Merrie Melodies). The confusion is likely because of the symmetry with "Looney", and because "tunes" and "toons" are homophonic in most dialects of American English, and because Tiny Toon Adventures (abbreviated as Tiny Toons) does spell it as "toons".
  • Several people remember classic Mickey Mouse having suspenders on his red shorts. Mickey only ever wore suspenders on red long-legged pants in the animated short Clock Cleaners. Some Mickey plushies do have him with suspenders on his red shorts, but they are the exception and not the rule.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964): Many claim there is a version of the special where the Bumble had a toothache that Hermey fixed, leading to his Heel–Face Turn, instead of Hermey simply ripping out the Bumble's teeth like in the popular version. While the special has been edited a bunch over the years, there is no evidence of this particular version existing.
  • Many fans remember Shaggy from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! as having a prominent Adam's apple drawn on his throat. He doesn't.
  • According to the DVD commentary for The Simpsons episode "Sideshow Bob Roberts", the talking The Flintstones phone that Bart plays with in kindergarten apparently came about because one of the writers swears that he's seen one in real life, only for one of the other commentators to insist that no such toy exists.
  • Jordan Minor of Geek.com invented a whole bunch of "missing episodes" for Street Sharks and posted them on the site's forum for a lark, and it wasn't long before people circulated (and quite truly believed, including saying that they saw them) the urban legend that those episodes existed. Even people who worked on the show misremembered Adam West and Henry Winkler voicing characters, even though they were never actually involved with the show, only claimed to be in those fake missing episodes.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "I Was a Teenage Gary", people often misremember that there was a scene where Squidward transforms into a snail, and there was even a rumor that it was deleted after the first airing. There's no evidence of the scene ever existing, it wasn't shown in the initial airing, and the transformation itself has always been offscreen.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: Superman is often remembered as having red underwear, but his underwear is actually black, reflecting only a shimmer of red light. His cape and boots are red, so people are probably extending that to his underwear. In Justice League Unlimited, he actually does have red underwear.

    Other 
  • The Fortean Times devotes a lot of space to discussing this phenomenon. Is it mistaken identity, bad memory, evidence for crossing between alternate dimensions? Its discussion forums have a whole section devoted to discussing the Mandela Effect.
  • Many people remember there being a Blatant Burglar Emoji, but no such emoji ever existed. They may be remembering the ninja emoji.

    Real Life 
  • A study was conducted to research the strange occurrences of false memories that many individuals believe. During the study, participants were divided into two groups - those with above-average memory and those with normal memory function. To test the two groups, participants were told about the terrorist attacks on 9/11. During that time, the person conducting the study casually mentioned the footage that caught the plane crash of Flight 93note , even though such footage has never existed. In the above average and average memory groups, about 1 in 5 individuals said they remembered the footage of Flight 93's crash. Not only did they claim they remembered it, but they explained the emotions they felt while watching the video.
  • On August 2, 1980, a neo-fascist terrorist group detonated a bomb at the Bologna Centrale railway station in Bologna, Italy, killing 85 people. For years afterwards, residents of Bologna remembered the station's clock having stopped at 10:25AM, the time of the attack. In fact, the clock was repaired shortly after the bombing, and was only permanently set at 10:25 in commemoration of the event 16 years later.
  • Many thousands of Spaniards remember very clearly where they were and what they were doing when the fascist coup attempt known now as "The 23-F", because it happened on 23 February 1981, was broadcast live on TV. They will describe in detail the fear and uncertainty they felt while watching armed policemen assaulting the Congress, shooting their weapons and threatening the President and the Vice President after they ordered the assailants to surrender immediately. But the video was not broadcast live: it was only recorded in a tape the TV general director hid in his office until the coup was defeated and finally broadcast on the 24th.


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