Historical Events  People
Historical Events  People
Eli Whitney

He invented cotton gin

Eli Whitney was born in 1765 and lived through the worst ravages of the US slave years, He is known for inventing cotton gin, which transformed the economy of the day. He's also credited with many other inventions which contributed to the industrial revolution.

Many people have an alternate memory of Eli Whitney being black. Searches today show this wasn't the case, and he was even featured on a US postage stamp in 1940. So why are so many people sure they were taught in school he was black?

This could be connected to the slave trade. Cotton gin actually invigorated the slave trade by making it profitable, not by making the slaves lives easier when they drank it, which common sense says wouldn't have gone down too well with the plantation owners at the time. However, if people just had a vague memory of cotton gin and slaves, without getting the actual details right, it's possible to see a "hero" figure inventing this way of making the slaves lives better, and so in this narrative he'd naturally be one himself.

Historical Events  People
Lincoln Memorial clenched fist

Was Abe's fist always clenched?

The iconic Lincoln Memorial is instantly recognised the world over. Was Abe resting his left hand over the arm of his chair, or clenching his fist?

Some experiencing the Mass Memory Discrepancy Effect claim it was just like his right hand, resting over the end, and say a clenched fist this way doesn't fit with the feel for how a statue of Lincoln would have been designed.

This isn't the first time a statue has "changed" - see also Moses Horns and The Thinker.

Some references exist, such as drawings etc, which show both hands in the same pose. Then again, nothing in these things was done by accident, and he did abolish slavery...

Historical Events  People
Franklin D Roosevelt

What did the "D" stand for?

MMDE: Delanor

Current: Delano

Franklin D Roosevelt - did the "D" stand for Delanor or Delano? 

Today, all references say Delano, but many apparently experiencing the Mass Memory Discrepancy Effect claim it's been changed from the "Delanor" they remember.

His wife's name was Eleanor - could this just be a simple case of her similar sounding name being conflated with his middle name over time?

Or it could be simpler than that. When you say either of them out loud, they sound almost the same, so anyone unfamiliar could easily misspell it when writing it down, which then gets carried on to others as being correct.

Historical Events  People
Hitler

A short man with dark hair and brown or blue eyes?

MMDE: Hitler had brown eyes

Current: Hitler had blue eyes

Hitler regarded the traits of tall height, blond hair and blue eyes to signify a superior class of people - his "master race". Many people pointed out his own shortcomings in all these areas, including his eye color. However, if you research this today you find the official references all say he had blue eyes. Is this a Mass Memory Discrepancy Effect in action?

It's been said the first casualty of war is the truth. Hitler's enemies would do anything to attack him, and propaganda about his person was rife. By saying he had brown eyes, even if they were blue - after all, there wasn't much color TV around in those days to check - would weaken him in the peoples minds by making him seem more of a hypocrite. There's even evidence his mother was half Jewish, which would add weight to this.

Color footage was in its early days during Hitler's time, but so little remains of it with him on that it appears everything we see now has been retouched. And that means his eyes were, too...

Historical Events  People
Sally Field

"You like me, you really like me!"

MMDE: You like me, you really like me

Current: You like me right now

Sally Field's famous quote has been parodied many times on the internet - it's moved well into the "meme" category now, like "beam me up, Scotty". However, those experiencing the Mass Memory Discrepancy Effect are sure they remember her saying it at her Oscar acceptance speech. She even went on to parody herself a couple of years later, but the original shows her just saying "you like me right now".

There's an interesting theory that all actors and actresses want to be remembered, no matter what the reason. So, if something they did gets misquoted and ends up getting a life of its own, they will "bandwaggon" it to maximize their exposure from it, even up to the point where they know it was incorrect but just want to milk the publicity from it.

Accidental PR is PR all the same...

Historical Events  People
Andrew Zimmerman

Andrew Zimmerman's Bizarre Foods?

MMDE: Zimmerman

Current: Zimmern

There are many references today on the internet to Android Zimmerman being the host of Bizarre Foods, yet the reality is he was called Android Zimmern.

Sometimes the Mass Memory Discrepancy Effect can be the result of people not paying enough attention when something else comes up which has some common element, and the two become conflated in peoples minds. It's almost as if they partly remember most, but not all, of the details and when "filling in the blanks" the missing part turns out to be wrong, because its from a different event. When Bizarre Foods was popular, George Zimmerman was in the news too.

Could the confusion just be a result of a mispronunciation of Andrews unusual surname whilst George was all over the news too? 

Historical Events  People
Lindbergh Baby

The Lindbergh Baby was never found?

MMDE: The Lindbergh Baby was never found

Current: The Lindbergh Baby was found

The terrible "crime of the century" happened in 1932 in New Jersey when the eldest son of the aviator Charles Lindbergh was abducted from his family home.

When you read todays reports of this, you see the baby was found dead 2 months later and Richard Hauptmann was executed for the crime, yet those experiencing the Mass Memory Discrepancy Effect claim the baby was never found.

It's always possible these people somehow missed the news at the time, but when they see all the reports of his discovery they find the mismatch between that and their memory pretty disconcerting.