Sometimes I really can’t help being amused by the newest fad.

We all heard about the existence of the ‘Mandela Effect’. It’s all over internet, and as every internet meme it is spreading fast. Suddenly thousands, no, millions of people are experiencing something weird: their memory seems to be off, and they remember things slightly different from the facts today. It’s not really clear to me if they remember things different from other people’s changed memories, or that the different perspective is a shared one.

We all know who Mandela was. Internet tells me there are people who are adamant that Mandela died in 1988, while in reality he died only three years ago, in 2013. Hence the name: Mandela Effect.

Many years ago, about 30 years, I think, but in the light of our timeshift phenomenon it could be 31, here on Dutch television there was a very thorough documentation about memory. I remember, (and I am sure I remember correctly) that there were people telling about their memories being different from the real happenings, and scientists explaining about the causes: not because of any weird effect, but simply because people are in the habit of adapting their memories in the course of their lives. We all know how some early memories become almost indistinguishable from the stories we heard all our lives. Hearing those stories over and over again may give us the feeling we actually were there when the events happened.

Anyone with brothers and sisters must be familiar with the fact that , talking about family experiences from childhood, the stories differ; every person has his own memories about how it happened, when, who was there, etc. Depending on the importance of an event for every individual, recollections vary. And the power of recollection in each of us varies too.

Try pinpointing if something happened when you were 6 or 7, and you have to rely on other facts of that time, your school, your friends, to know when it was. Was it summer? Winter? Details are always hard to remember, even with events from a few years ago. I could be wrong thinking it was only 5 years since this or that happened, it could easily be 7. ” Really, so long ago already?” we wonder. “I could have sworn… Time flies, doesn’t it?”

As for the ‘Mandela Effect’ – when the name was born I don’t know, but it has spread in no time, and suddenly people are ‘recognising’ the feeling en masse. Next is the connection with the Cause of the ‘mystery’, and the most prevalent theory is, as far as I know, that it has to do with CERN and the LHC.

Now is the LHC definitely a cause for worry, as are many things where scientists are free to experiment and conscience is safely left behind. But there is no proof that this Mandela Effect has anything to do with whatever people experience, nor if it exists at all, and since many people are freely speculating with their common sense tucked away outside their brains, the meme spreads.

The theory: the gap between dimensions is widening, and the proof for that ‘fact’ is that one person remembers something in demension A, while another remembers the same fact in dimension B. Articles are written about it, books are published and sites are collecting the telltale experiences of individual people.

It’s funny, really.

For when I checked out a Mandela Effect site, curious to find out what these ‘proofs’ were, I found hilariously little substantiality. Let me give a few examples:

Words that are spelled different from what  someone remembered. Oh, jee, then this is more serious than we thought, for looking at spelling it seems that almost all English (and Dutch) speakers occasionally shift dimensions when they are writing.

A cartoon figure, a kind of monkey without a tail is remembered with a tail. Big deal. Of course it is. Monkeys have tails, and when one hasn’t, our brain adds one. There is no psychologist in the world who would doubt our ability to ‘correct’ something in our memory because it makes more sense.

Mona Lisa is remembered without a smile, and now she has one. Well, that is serious! Maybe those people who think they never saw the smile should consider they never looked closely enough. But then, Mona Lisa isn’t exactly Laughing Out Loud. What makes this painting so famous is precisely that mysterious ‘does she smile or doesn’t she’ quality.

Another one: does Darth Vader say “Luke, I am your father” as many remember? No, he says No, I am your father.” Why do we remember the wrong sentence? Because the real sentence is far less smooth, while the first one is. So we remember the first one, which then becomes the ‘right’one.  It’s exactly the same as StarTrek TOS’ “Beam me up, Scotty”, an expression widely used, while in reality what is said is “Scotty, beam me up”. Remember, that sentence is 50 years old, when the LHC was not in the picture but our tendency to adapt expressions for easy use was.

The last example is really something. It’s about Moses, who is sometimes pictured with horns, while on other paintings he is without. Absolutely definitely a case of ongoing dimensional shift, proclaims the site.It doesn’t occur to the writer to Google the subject before telling nonsense: the horns are the mistranslation in Latin of the Hebrew word ‘Kerenim‘ that means horns as wel as beams of light. Mozes face was beaming, of course. But the horns stuck, and were added to some of the pictures, but not all.

I could go on and on.

But let’s just place our common sence back where it belongs: with our critical factories.

I’m personally convinced that there are many dimensions, and weird things happen. But in order to understand even the slightest bit of our complex reality we shouldn’t run after every meme that spreads like wildfire. Our memory isn’t 100% reliable, never was, and never will be. But we can rest assured: without the ‘Mandela Effect’ there are plenty of mindboggling mysteries left for us to think about.