Historical Events  Books
Historical Events  Books

What nationality was Aladdin?

MMDE: Arabian

Current: Chinese

Arabian Nights is one of the most famous stories ever told.

It's unique blend of adventure, magic, mystery and exotic locations has thrilled countless generations down the years. So you'd have thought something as fundamental as the apparently obvious race of the lead character, Aladdin, would be known to all by now. Guess what? He's been Chinese all along.

The Aladdin story is part of the "One thousand and One Nights" told by Scheherazade, a concubine who's life literally depended on her not completing a story in order to keep the Sultan hanging on for more, because if he thought he'd no futher use for her, he''d have her killed.

The legend goes that Aladdin, the story, was created as part of this, along with the Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves story and the Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor, amongst others.

Historical Events  Books
Jack Daniels Whiskey

Not all he's cracked up to be?

MMDE: Humpty Dumpty is an egg

Current: Humpty Dumpty is not an egg

What is Humpty Dumpty?

As soon as most people see the name, a mental picture of a fat egg with thin arms and legs perched precariously on a wall springs up. Why is this? References today show many images this way, but there's nothing in the original which remotely indicates he was in any way connected to eggs.

In fact one origin story has him as a cannon. This make some sense - it was on a wall, it is described as being broken beyond repair by "all the kings horses and all the kings men", i.e. an army, and has been linked to a battle in Colchester, England, during the English Civil War in 1648.

Historical Events  Books
The Diary of Anne Frank

Eternal poinancy

MMDE: The Diary of Anne Frank

Current: The Diary of a Young Girl

Many people are suprised to learn that Anne Frank was born in Germany in 1929, because they know she later died in a German concentration camp. That's not the issue here, however - it's the title of her famous work: was it "The Diary of Anne Frank" or "The Diary of a Young Girl"?

This is unusual for a Mandela Effect because there is a great deal of residue for the "misremembered" version, including a well-known stage play.

It's included in several top books of the 20th century lists, and since it was written in 1947, the copyright has expired so it is now available online, where the title is shown as "The diary of a young girl".

Historical Events  Books
1984 Julia

I love Big Brother

MMDE: Julia was an agent for Big Brother

Current: Julia was not an agent for Big Brother

In Orwell's '1984', most people remember Julia as having worked for Big Brother with the Thought Police from the start in order to entrap Winston. That's not the way it reads now, though. How can it have changed?

It isn't in the original novel or the early films, and only one scene in the remake in the year 1984 suggests it, but it does it in way that itself isn't conclusive. It's when Winston is in room 101 and she appears - but he was under such stress he could have been hallucinating.

The idea she was working for Big brother could well come from the fact most most people will have only seen this film version, and that scene is the one they'd remember the most.

In the novel they meet again at the end and she's described as having a new scar across her forehead. Both her and Winston's words and actions, when it's all over and they are brainwashed into loving Big Brother, make it clear she got the same treatment as him.

Historical Events  Books
Sherlock Holmes

Even a world class detective couldn't find a reference in the novels

MMDE: Sherlock Holmes says "Elementary, my dear Watson" in the orignal novels

Current: The quote is only in the films and TV series

In the original Sherlock Holmes novels, do you remember him saying 'Elementary, my dear Watson'? If so, you may be experiencing an MMDE, because as famous a quote as it is, he never did and it was only added in the films.

His first appearance was in 1887 in A Study In Scarlet as a character in a series of short stories in The Strand Magazine. His creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, realised the popularity of the character right from the start, and by 1927 he'd appeared in 4 novels and 56 short stories.

He holds the Guinness World Record for "The most portrayed movie character in history", so you can expect to find the quote many times in his films. But the original novels? There appears to be no clue...

Historical Events  Books
Macbeth witches

A childrens misquote?

MMDE: Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble

Current: Double, double, toil and trouble

Shakespeare's famous 1606 play, Macbeth, featured the 3 witches who's various prophesies to him included the message that he shall be king. They were best known for this, and the spells they cast as they tossed various horrible artifacts into their cauldon.

But many people recall this as either "Hubble, bubble" or various combinations such as "Hubble, hubble" or "Bubble, bubble" etc - none of which contain the word "double". Is this a Mandela effect or just a misquote from children seeing the scary witches and associating the phrase with the sound their big black cauldron makes?

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Historical Events  Books
Oliver Twist

Seconds please

MMDE: Please Sir, can I have some more?

Current: Please Sir, I want some more

When young Oliver Twist went up to Mr. Bumble, bowl in hand, to ask for seconds, what exactly did he say? Most people remember it as 'Please Sir, can I have some more?', but this isn't what is in the book or the movies. It's 'Please Sir, I want some more.' Are all these people with this false memory experiencing an MMDE?

Many also remember it slightly differently as "Please Sir, may I have some more?". 

It's been the subject of parody/satire over the years, with many assuming it's the can/may version. For example, Olivia Twist, the version with a girl as the lead often acted out by schoolchildren at Christmas, has her saying "Please Sir, can I have less?". Whatever he said, Mr. Bumble certainly got the message...

Historical Events  Books
Hunchback of Notre Dame

She does in the book, but not in the movies

MMDE: Esmeralda is rescued and lives in the movies

Current: In the original book she dies

Victor Hugo's classic "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" was wriiten in 1831. It tells the famous tale of the unfortunate hunchback, Quasimodo, who was deformed and made deaf from his bell-ringing in the rafters of the Parisian cathederal, and his love for the gypsy girl Esmeralda.

In the book, she is actually rescued by him at one point and taken into the catherdral, where he cries "Sanctuary! Sanctuary!". However, things don't work out and she does die at the end.

There have been many movies and remakes, including the 1927, 1939 and Disney versions, but in each of these she lives at the end. Is this just the Hollywood effect or something else at work here? 

Historical Events  Books
Romeo and Juliet

Wherefore art thou, balcony scene?

Most people, when asked to name the most famous scene from Romeo and Juliet, would reply with the balcony scene. This is understandable because it's probably the best known play in the world, and has been retold many, many times in the 500+ years since it was written. You see it in every theatrical production, every movie - even in every parody.

Yet this isn't in the original.

The only reference is to a window.

Even stranger - Shakespeare wouldn't even have known what a balcony was because there was no balcony at the time anywhere in the whole of England. The earliest use of the word "balcony", according to the Oxford English Dictionary, was in 1618 which is 15 years after Romeo and Juliet was first performed.