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The Mass Memory Discrepancy Effect

Nelson Mandela

The phenomenon popularly being termed "The Mandela Effect" is characterized by a significant number of people collectively "mis remembering" Nelson Mandela being reported as dying in prison in the 80's, and not in 2013 after being released.

Anyone familiar with this, though, would recognize there is fierce disageement regarding the "mis remembering" label. This is taken to the point at which people are arguing that their memory isn't in fact faulty, and records of the original event have somehow been altered at a later point in time. In other words, the memory of the group concerned is correct and it is the physical evidence today of that event which has been changed. Although they have an alternative memory of the event, these memories are just as real to them as any others.

Fiona Broome popularized the name back in 2012 when she noticed several people being certain of his 1980's death. The term took hold after the concept was seen to apply to many other memories. Check out mandelaeffect.com for more of these.


With so many people claiming to remember Nelsons 80's prison demise, this is clearly an area worthy of proper investigation.

If it were just one person's false memory involved, nothing special is thought of it. Forgetfulness is normal and happens to us all, as does getting some details wrong. It could even be dismissed when it happens to a small number of people too, especially when the event took place years earlier. An example might be a few friends who later in life meet up and remember things from when they were at school together, only to find somehow the details were not accurate.

When this happens to many people, however, we are seeing the Mass Memory Discrepancy Effect (MMDE) in action. The internet is making this easier to identify and discuss, but still proper research and references are not organised centrally. That's where Alternate Memories comes in - a place to register each of these incidents in a controlled, central way whilst allowing discussion and further investigation to help find some answers. It's not only the Mandela Effect type discrepancies that are of interest here - often "memes" become ingrained in the public consciousness which most people actually know never happened, a good example being "Beam me up Scotty!".


Alternate Memories

The Mandela Effect is a class of the broader MMDE, and there are other references to this phenomenon too such as the Retcon (Real-life Retroactive Continuity) Effect. The characteristic is always the same - a significant number of people have only their alternate memory of a past event occurring for which there is now no evidence.

To facilitate this, a tracking system has been implemented using a classification known as the "AM Refs" which have two types: Reported Incidents and Historical Events.

Reported Incidents

The "RI-YYYY-NNNN" AM Ref is for an event being reported initially by one or very few people. The idea is to add it to the system for discussion, clarification and voting. When enough interest has been shown, using the voting and other mechanisms, it can be moved up to a Historical Event. This is the raw feed for new incidents and avoids duplication. HE's are also classified into areas such as people, movies etc. This helps with spotting patterns or trends, which a straight list might miss.

RI is the Reported Incident identifier, YYYY represents the general consent for the year of the event and NNNN is a sequence number. The YYYY value might not always be straightforwards, for example when dealing with changes in the Bible, so a judgement will be taken regarding this in some cases. The designation for "unknown" is "X", so for example the AM Ref HE-198X-0001 for the Mandela Effect shows the original event took place in the 1980's. The date is always the earliest known of the ones in question, because there may be more than one after the first and more yet to arise. Since the whole id merely serves to identify the incident, this is not a problem in practice. Extra information would be used to support this decision, for instance in the Bible example it could be the year of the first KJ publication.

Historical Events

The "HE-YYYY-NNNN" AM Ref is for well recognised Mass Memory Discrepancy Effect events, such as the original Mandela Effect itself. These can and should still be voted on, and any new relevant details be added and discussed as and when they arise. The voting in particular allows some degree of analysis to be performed, and provide an indication regarding the strength of perceived discrepancy of the incident. The same approach to the YYYY value as for RI's is taken.

Trademarks and Copyright

This site serves to document and reference Mass Memory Discrepancy Effect incidents of the kind popularised by "The Mandela Effect". Purely to illustrate this phenomenon and for research and educational purposes, some images and quotes may be shown relevant to the incident in question. All copyright and ownership rights of these remain solely with the original owner. Fair use applies, and in no way is this site attempting to pass off or imitate the material it appears alongside to illustrate. 

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#mandelaeffect #alternatememories #mmde