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The Mandela Effect

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by Tiki Tom, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

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    The Fedora Lounge seems like the perfect place to discuss the Mandela Effect. Generally speaking, the Mandela Effect is about collective false memories. Now, I don’t want to get into the wilder Doctor Who type explanations of the ME. I am just curious if any of my esteemed Lounge friends have any false memories.
    For example, I distinctly remember reading “The Berenstein Bears” to my kids. Apparently that is a false memory that I share with many people. That is not the name of the series. I also remember my mother making “Stouffer’s Stove Top Stuffing.” Apparently no such product ever existed. (Really? I’m still in denial. Someone please verify that it did exist.)
    Those are mild examples of collective false memories. Apparently many people have a Memory that Nelson Mandela died in prison in the 1980s. Apparently many people's “go to” answer to the question “how many U.S. states are there?” Is 52. So i’m told. Hard to believe. Anyways, there are many examples. I’m attaching one of the “less crazy” links available, below.
    I tended to discount the whole ME thing, but after seeing Stouffers Stove Top stuffing on the list, I started scratching my head. False memories? Sure. (I remember that I was quite handsome in my day.) It’s the collective part that seems strange. Any weird false memories? Any collective false memories?

    https://www.snopes.com/news/2016/07/24/the-mandela-effect/

    (Also, please, dementia and Alzheimer’s are a subject for a different thread. Thank you.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2018
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  2. 3fingers

    3fingers One Too Many

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    I wonder if this has always been a common thing or as the speed of information fired at us has increased these jumbled bits and pieces become more confused.
     
  3. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I think people confuse Stouffer's frozen macaroni-and-cheese and other dinners with Stove Top. which was always its own brand, owned by General Foods which was eventually absorbed by Kraft.

    There are people who insist that Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Kraft Dinner are two separate things. No, Kraft Dinner changed its name in the US to Kraft Mac and CHeese Dinner in the 1960s, and and dropped the "Dinner" in the 80s or '90s. In much of the rest of the world, especially Canada, it's still Kraft Dinner.

    During our screening of the Mr. Rogers movie, I had a number of people ask me when and why "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhoood" was changed to "It's a beautiful day in *this* neighborhood." As a devoted Fred-head since 1967, I tried to convince them that it's always been *this,* right from the very beignning of the series, but many of them continued to insist that there was a change that never happened. WHat they're remembering are various parodies and Internet memes which have used "the" instead of the correct lyric.

    And then there's Uncle Don. I've lost track of the number of elderly people over the years who have sworn to me that they were listening to the radio as children the night Don Carney signed off his kiddie show with "That Ought To Hold The Little Bastards." Well, they didn't . It never happened. Uncle Don retired in 1947 with his record of treacly goodwill unblemished by any scandal. Captain Kangaroo, Buffalo Bob Smith, and (sigh) Mister Rogers never said it either, and I don't care how vividly one claims to remember them doing so. (MIster Rogers did show the double-middle finger on a program in early 1968, and I saw him do it when it happened, but he was singing a counting song that involved holding up each finger in succession with a bunch of kids.)

    No little kid ever saw Pinky Lee die on the air, either. The frenetic little man in the checkered hat and the checkered coat with the funny little giggle in his throat and the silly dance like a billy goat did collapse on the air in 1955 from a severe sinus infection, but he didn't die, and not only did he return to the air in a different series in 1957, he managed to live until 1993.
     
  4. scottyrocks

    scottyrocks I'll Lock Up

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    That's really just a one letter spelling error. Does that count?
     
  5. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

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    I think a lot of it is just propagation of mistaken information. I did not see Casablanca all the way through until several years ago. Although I knew, as a trivia question, "Play it again, Sam" wasn't actually said, that was because the spread of the false memory preceded the debunking. Once the false narrative takes hold, it's difficult to dislodge from the public consciousness.

    I'm still not certain if Spielberg is gaslighting us on the first Star Wars movie (I swear the version I saw did not say, "A New Hope" in the opening scroll).
     
  6. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

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    Lizzie’s story about “Its a beautiful day in this neighborhood” reminds me that most people remember the line in Forest Gump as being “life is like a box of chocolates.” The real line was my mother said “life was like a box of chocolates.”
    And of course, any cop or trial lawyer can go on and on about how unreliable human memory is.
    Add to that the fact that many of our childhood memories happened half a century ago, or more, and you can’t help but wonder how these memories have migrated or morphed over the decades. I once read an article on brain function that essentially said “we are not remembering events at this point; we are remembering the last time we remembered them.”
    Kind of makes me sad; for what are we if not our memories? What else are we misremembering?
     
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  7. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    Lawrence Wright’s “Remembering Satan” familiarized many of us with the work of Elizabeth Loftus, whose research showed how people can be convinced they remember witnessing events which in reality never occurred at all.

    It’s a fascinating read, and a disturbing one.
     
  8. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    Yup. And all that has happened in the interim has influenced those recollections. So the memories have been replayed hundreds or thousands of times and the event itself happened only once.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2018
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  9. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I projected that film in 1977 during its original release and the title was simply "Star Wars." I don't remember seeing "Episode IV: A New Hope" until I saw it on television again some time in the '80s.
     
  10. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

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    The thing is, the first time I saw it, why would I notice that? You, on the other hand, projected it multiple times, so you're in a better position to say.


    Sent directly from my mind to yours.
     
  11. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

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    I don’t recall seeing it either. However, I suspect that in 1977 I was more focused on my date (one day I’d marry her) than on scrolling script. How are we supposed to remember such trivia from so long ago? I’m always suspicious of people who say “oh, yes, I recall exactly what happened on August 4th 1967. I was wearing my favorite paisley tie and she had misplaced her ticket stub.” I hear that some people do indeed have memories like that, but certainly not me. But I digress. No, I don’t recall it either.
     
  12. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    I’ve heard it called HSAM — Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory.

    It’s either for real or it’s a helluva magic trick. I’m inclined to believe it at this point, although the phenomenon was identified only a dozen or so years ago and hard data is in short supply.
     
  13. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

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    When I was at university, I once took a class on Chinese History. Uncharacteristically, I actually did the readings for the class and the night before the final, I once again skimmed the texts. Then came the written final. It was the wierdest thing: during the test I pretty much had total recall of the main textbook. I could literally "picture" the pages before my eyes and quote them more-or-less exactly. It was really freaky. Needless to say, I aced the test. That was the ONE AND ONLY time I ever experienced a wierd memory glitch. Would be useful to be able to do that at will. But, as I said, it never ever happened again.

    One of my gripes with the Dan Brown books is that his protagonist, Robert Langdon, is blessed with eidetic memory (more or less, photographic memory). How convenient.
     
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  14. I’ve read where there are about 60 people in the world who have been clinically confirmed to have HSAM, the most famous being Marilu Henner, the actress. There are certainly more who have it, just not been tested and documented. It’s a pretty rigorous test, so I’m inclined to believe it actually exists. Personally, I have a pretty good memory, particularly for peculiar facts. I’ll hear or read something obscure, and it sticks with me. It’s useful for playing trivia at the bar on Wednesday nights, but that’s about it.
     
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  15. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I've never been convinced the so-called obscene version existed. Given how long, and how much, the CIA spent on investigating it, you'd think they'd have seized on anything they could have done to justify that rather thanwind up with nothing to show for it. In the Kingsmen's cut, just before the one minute mark you can supposedly hear the drummer say "F**k!" as he drops ones of his drumsticks, but I can't claim to have ever noticed.

    Per Snopes, it's a myth, based on misheard or deliberately misinterpreted lyrics: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/louie-louie/

    Worth noting the original was written by Richard Berry, not Chuck - I don't believe they were related.


    "Play it again, Sam" was also the title of a Woody Allen movie, in which the lead character, played by Allen, is a movie critic obsessed with Casablanca, who ends up taking romantic advice from Bogart's ghost. Perhaps that helped to popularise the misquote.

    Of course there are many others as well - Shakespeare had Hamlet say "Alas poor Jorrick - I knew him, Horatio", not "Alas poor Jorrick, I knew him well".

    When you have a very popular parody of something, it's often the parody people remember; for example, just a few years ago, something Tina Fey said as a parody of a well-known politician was widely quoted as if it had directly been said by the latter, rather than it being a satire of what had actually been said. People also absorb popular mythologies around them, thus that many folks think they remember something form early childhood when in reality they have simply internalised a story told to them about their early childhood.

    Aside from misremembering on a personal level (Herself and I were talking about Heathers the other night; I remembered the line as "My dead son's gay and I love him", whereas she - of course correctly - confirmed that it was actually "I love my dead, gay son." - ye I had been sure I was right), there's false memory created by external influences. For example, there are people who remember watching Elvis on the 68 Special who insist he played a specific song and they recall him performing it, but when the tapes were brought out of the archives and the show released in full on CD in the 90s, it became clear that the number in question was not in the show. It seems that some influential review of the show had mistakenly inserted it in their take on it, and folks had absorbed that and created a false memory.

    It's not hard to create a false memory syndrome - I remember reading about the experiments done where two groups of adults who had been to Disney as children were asked about their memories, and eventually in p[articular whether they had met Bugs Bunny there. The control group denied this. A second group were shown photoshopped pictures of present day kids with Bugs at Disney, and many of them began to wax lyrical about the time they met Bugs at Disneyland. This despite the fact that that would have been impossible: Bugs Bunny was always a Warner Brothers character.


    That was a later addition. Specifically, it first appeared on the Spring 1981 rerelease print (after Empire had already come out), and then subsequently was the version which appeared on all home video (and likely television) showings. I would venture to suggest that this is the root of the misconception that it was always there, as the proportion of Star Wars fans who saw the original cinema version must be pretty small by now, given the franchise's continued popularity among younger viewers (and increasing alienation of much of the original fanbase).

    The really interesting bit is that it was never widely referred to as anything other than Star Wars until the late 90s - it was first popularly called A New Hope as if that where its true title by the fanboys around the time of the 1997.... I as going to say re-release, but I'm not sure that butchered version counts as the same film. All part of the George Lucas revisionism. Not only can George not leave these things alone, but he clearly can't bear to have anyone have access to the original version and thus subvert the pretence that the latest revision is the only 'true' version. He's B movie Stalin. Even when they eventually did release the original versions on DVD, they were a thrown away, grudging extra on a box set of the revised versions only, and given such a poor picture quality that the contempt for those who wanted them was palpable.
     
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  16. belfastboy

    belfastboy Call Me a Cab

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    My sister, elder by 3 years, and I reconnected at our Mother's deathbed after a 20 year estrangement. We spent many hours talking about our youth, our memories and while it does not exactly count as ME it has been amazing what we choose to remember. Things that are burnt into her memory bank do not exist in mine. AND those memories that we both recall very significantly in our recall of the details. Related to that is I think many of my "memories" of my early childhood are not direct memories but my recollection of the stories the family told about the event and are decidedly not mine. Or my recollection of seeing family pictures of events, birthdays, picnics, etc etc and forming a memory based on said picture not the event itself.
     
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  17. 3fingers

    3fingers One Too Many

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    I have seen this with my sisters. One especially has apparently deleted anything that doesn't fit with what she chooses to remember. I dunno, maybe it's a gift.
     
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  18. nick123

    nick123 I'll Lock Up

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    “Shazam” starting Sinbad is a non-existent 90s movie...but I remember it!
     
  19. Inkstainedwretch

    Inkstainedwretch Practically Family

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    Misremembered movie lines are a subject unto itself. Johnny Weissmuller never said "Me Tarzan. You Jane." Jimmy Cagney never said "You dirty rat!" He also never said "Top of the world, Ma!" What we remember are decades' worth of stage impressionists doing their celebrity schtik.
     
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  20. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Kirk never said "Beam me up, Scotty!" - the nearest he ever got was "You can beam us up now, Mr Scott."
     

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