I was “today years old” when I found out Van Gogh did not paint “The Scream.” Now, I’m questioning everything.

Is this a Mandela Effect?

“The Scream” by Edvard Munch

So, for those of you who don’t know, or aren’t sure, the Mandela Effect is the idea that people experience events from alternate realities or parallel universes. (Some say we slide between universes.) It’s called the Mandela Effect because many people remember Nelson Mandela dying in prison, while current history (as of this writing–haha!) states he was released from prison and became President of South Africa.

There are many things I can state for sure happened, I can see it in my mind, and yet these events never took place.

For instance, my daughter and I were trying to decide between matte or patent leather shoes for her military blues. I urged her for the matte, and I was wrong. So, we went back the store to buy the patent ones, and they weren’t there. I remember holding them up and looking at them both, the matte and patent, and then telling her to buy the matte.

She tells me she doesn’t remember the patent leather ones in the store. She was trusting me blindly in returning to the store–because I’m mom, after all. But, I remember seeing them side-by-side on the shelf. As we stood there in the aisle, she laughed at my “mis-recollection.” I laughed, too, but still it bothered me. I held those darn shoes in my hands! They were real to me!

Was this a Mandela Effect, or a false memory?

Psychologists call the Mandela Effect an example of confabulation, or false memory. Psychologically, this involves mistakenly recalling events or experiences that haven’t taken place, or the distortion of existing memories. Of course, the Mandela Effect is harder to believe than false memory, because we know that eye-witness accounts are less reliable than forensic evidence.

Still…it’s jarring when it’s YOUR memory.

There are many examples, but do you remember “Jiffy” or “Jif” peanut butter brand?

What about you? Have you had a false memory that stunned you? Tell us about it!