Remember the Berenstein Bears?
How come they changed the spelling to “Berenstain?”
When did that happen?
Well… It didn’t happen.
At least, not in this universe.
Stan Melvin Berenstain was born in 1923, and he never changed the spelling of his name.
So, it stands to reason that the books wouldn’t have, either.
Here’s another one:
“Luke, I am your father!”
Who could forget such an iconic line?
Most people, apparently.
Because, that’s totally not what Darth Vader said.
It’s actually, “No, I am your father,” and this is one thing that has absolutely never changed in any of the editions of the film that have been released since 1977.
The scrawl on this copy of the script used in the original documentary calls for neither a “Luke” or a “No.”
In the actual film, however, James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vader utters, “No, I am your father.”
But, don’t feel bad.
Even James Earl Jones seems to remember it as, “Luke, I am your father.”
Why is that?
It’s the Mandela Effect at work.
Yes, civil rights icon Nelson Mandela.
Or was it 1918-1980something????
We’ll get into that real soon, but first:
Ever seen or heard of this guy?
That’s Abe Vigoda.
He died at the beginning of 2016 at the age of 94, but almost nobody seemed to mention him in their “2016 sucked because all these famous people that I liked are now dead” posts.
And that’s odd, because despite playing a memorable role in The Godfather and starring in Barney Miller for several years, Abe Vigoda was probably most well known in the final 30 years of his life for being dead.
People magazine first reported him dead in 1982.
A local paper in New Jersey did the same in 1987.
He became a running gag on Letterman.
He popped up in the Good Burger movie in 1997:
But a lot of people still thought he was dead.
And, it’s possible at that point that the jokes about the mistaken reports might have actually contributed to the myth.
So, they continued…
“Roastmaster General” Jeff Ross had a running gag at Friars Club roasts that Vigoda attended.
Ross would say, “My one regret is that Abe Vigoda isn’t alive to see this.”
Vigoda, on cue, would then jump up from his seat and shake his fist.
Laughs all around…
And he also appeared frequently on Conan O’Brien’s show to make fun of his fake death, even making a memorable appearance on his final Tonight Show episode before returning multiple times on Conan’s TBS show to poke fun at his “death.”
In fact, reporters were hesitant to believe TMZ’s breaking story of Vigoda’s death in early 2016, because it had been erroneously reported and then joked about so often.
It was a lot like that when Nelson Mandela died in prison.
That didn’t happen, either.
Nelson Mandela was definitely in prison for a very long time.
But, he was released from prison on February 11, 1990.
It was kind of a big deal.
He served as not only the first black President in Post-Apartheid South Africa, but the first true democratically elected President in the history of the country from 1994-1999.
Also, a pretty big deal:
Oh. I almost forgot the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993:
All of these things happened AFTER he was released from prison.
And, all of these things are pretty hard to do if you’re alive, let alone if you’re dead.
So why do people think he died in prison?
In a word: Confabulation.
Confabulation is generally used to describe medical patients with memory loss due to brain damage or filling in memories with invented facts, but it can also refer to a collective misrememberance.
And, we have this woman to thank for creating the term “Mandela Effect:”
That’s Fiona Broome.
She and a security guard named “Shadow” coined the term “Mandela Effect” during a conversation they were having at Dragon Con.
I really just wanted to type that last sentence.
Now I can retire.
But I won’t, because it actually gets even weirder/cooler from here!