What’s Next for Fiona

This will be a rant.

Here’s what happened, early in March 2023.

In late February, once again, the Mandela Effect website/archives needed to be moved to new hosting. (Spikes in interest – and traffic – have always been an issue. Every year or two, I have to switch to increasingly high-powered hosting. The continued interest in the topic astonishes me.)

So, at my Facebook Page, I alerted readers about the pending move.

On March 7th, I announced that the actual move was in progress.

But then, in response to some very demanding comments, I had to (yet again) explain that – receiving 1k to 5k emails/day – there’s no way I can read every email sent to me, much less reply to them.

And frankly, I usually feel as if don’t have anything new to say about the Mandela Effect.

Until science can offer better explanations for the more extreme anomalies (the ones that aren’t simple confusion, media errors, or memory glitches), and resolve the archaic aspects of Newtonian physics, it’s all speculation.

And then…

The Facebook comments that followed were even more unattractive. They were insulting. Abusive. Worrisome.

Most were so inflammatory that Facebook automatically hid them from public view, though I could read and delete them. (And did so.)

Here’s what I said, after a bout of well-earned, knee-wobbling mix of rage and anxiety:

Yes, I deleted my most recent post, explaining that the Mandela Effect website was (finally) being installed at new hosting.
Facebook did a good job of hiding the most troubling comments and retorts, so others couldn’t see them.
But, in light of the vitriol I’ve just read and deleted, it’s time for me to step back from the Mandela Effect altogether.
What started as a fun, speculative conversation back in 2009 has become something so apparently polarizing, I’m appalled.
I wish all good things to those who continue related research and conversations.
After today, it’s not something that I can pursue.

So, now you know why – in March – I did a quick U-turn regarding website hosting for my Mandela Effect (dot com) site.

At least for now, I’ve retired it.

(Note: In September 2023, after I’d had time to think about this, and feel less agitated, I came up with a better solution than WordPress.com: YouTube.)

What’s Next for MandelaEffect.com

The most important articles and comments from the Mandela Effect website are still available and FREE to read, in my Mandela Effect archives ebooks(Note: As an author and Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

As I see it, the Mandela Effect was just a quirky topic I put online to see if anyone else had the same mistaken memory (about Nelson Mandela’s death) that I did.

I haven’t commercialized the topic as others have. (But hey, good for them, seeing a way to pursue their interests, profitably! <– I mean that sincerely.)

The books and movies referencing the Mandela Effect…? Their producers never contacted me. Ditto most Mandela Effect events and conferences.

I’ve never run ads on my website, either.

(Over the past 14 years, I’ve earned less than $1k from the topic, including my books, total. That hasn’t even covered the Mandela Effect site’s hosting bills, for heaven’s sake. I’m NOT looking for sympathy; I’m just explaining that my brain doesn’t seem wired for business.)

It’s time for me to shift my resources to my longer-term interests. The ones where I have expertise.

What’s Next for Me

I’ve decided to follow the examples of J.D. Salinger, et al, and focus on my work.

I’ll continue to study paranormal phenomena (but probably not the Mandela Effect).

Over the next few months, I’ll streamline my ghost-related websites so they’re easier to navigate. Essential information will be easier to find.

I’m looking at alternate ways to share what I know about the Mandela Effect, too.

Mostly, I plan to share my best – and freshest – observations and discoveries in books and videos.

    • YouTube videos are free to watch. I like that.  A lot. Also, they can reach a wide audience, perhaps even wider than my websites have. (Update: Maybe not!)
    • Related books, especially printed books, will allow me to continue my work with fewer distractions.
    • My ghost-related ebooks will be free in Kindle Unlimited, at least for the first three months. Also, portions of them will be in audiobooks, totally free to listen to, as well.

In general, I love fun, intelligent speculation about odd and unexplained phenomena. I thrive on mutually respectful conversations with a sci-fi undertone.

The geeky “what if…?” questions are what most intrigue me.  They’re not wholly serious. Not usually, anyway.

But… answering repetitive questions, and demands for attention…? No, thanks.

For years, I tried to please everyone.

It didn’t work.

That’s why I’ve made – and will probably continue to make – radical changes in my online presence.

And try to stick to my resolve. (As if that’s ever worked for me. * chuckle and sigh * )

AI, Trolls, and Sherlock Holmes

This morning, replying to a critical comment at Facebook, I was startled.

That is, as sincere and layered as a comment may be, it could have been written by AI.

With the abrupt emergence and growing sophistication of GPT-3, -4, and so on, can we trust anything we read online?

(Yes, I know the logical response is, “Okay, but could we ever trust it?”)

With this new reality, how do we deal with critical — but sincere-sounding — comments?  Replying to them could consume valuable time better spent more constructively.

(As I type that, I wonder if it’s any better to spend time replying to AI-generated comments that sound cheerful and supportive. Or to spend even one moment of our valuable time dealing with snarky critics, whether their voices are real or AI.)

Will we need digital signatures to identify those who comment? But if we each use digital signatures, how do we also protect our privacy?

Have the lines already blurred?

Here’s why that question comes to mind:

Recently, I’ve been helping an overwhelmed cousin with her audio/visual business, providing voiceovers for some of her clients. I don’t mind helping her for a few hours a week, while she hires new voice actors.

Her voice and mine are so similar, most people — including her clients —  won’t realize that what they’re hearing isn’t actually her voice. (That’s why I volunteered, short-term.)

But even in that context, this gets tangled. After all, my cousin is the “voice” for several clients.

So, in audiobooks, local ads, and videos, people think they’re actually hearing the voice of Jane Doe (or whomever), when it’s actually my cousin. Or, in some cases (for just a few weeks), it’s me.

Okay, that seems like a harmless deception in a low-tech context.

[September 2023 update: It may have been part of a later problem. At my request, my cousin re-recorded the material that used my voice, and worked with clients to replace the older ads, etc. So now, if you hear “my” voice anywhere except on my YouTube channel or at my websites, it’s not me. ]

But I wonder where we draw the line.

What safeguards we can put in place, without it becoming a privacy risk to the broad populace?  After all, the problem is actually a tiny, malicious minority, albeit one with the potential to wreak broad-scale havoc in a world that’s already a bit of a tinderbox.

I don’t want this to become a question of “do the ends justify the means?”

Asimov’s “Three Laws…” – prescient or too simplistic?

This morning, my husband referenced Isaac Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics.”

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

So, how do we define “harm,” and how can we trust AI — sentient or not — to understand acceptable boundaries when it’s learning from the Internet? After all, that’s where boundaries are trampled and exploited daily.

As content creators, website owners, forum moderators, and participants in social media, these are some daunting issues to address.

As Conan Doyle said in The Boscombe Valley Mystery, “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”

The questions then become:

  • What appears to be an obvious fact, but is actually deceptive?
  • And how can we tell the difference, in the fast-paced realm of social media?

I’m not sure we have much time to consider this. At the pace AI is developing, we may be coping as we sort this.

“Good enough” may have to be good enough, whether that means shutting down comments altogether (as I sometimes do), or learning to shrug off (and perhaps delete) those we don’t have time for.

For now, the answers aren’t clear, but it’s an immediate and emerging issue most of us need to consider, as content creators, as members of the online community, and in the everyday world.

When Science Studies the Mandela Effect

While I appreciate healthy skepticism and investigations into Mandela Effect memories, I’m often irked by news articles and reports that brush the entire topic aside as “you’re just confused.”

However, even when the journalist or researcher has preconceived ideas about the Mandela Effect, I can appreciate the nuances of scientific investigation.

That’s why I’m pleased with this article, even if it leans into the “it’s all false memories” mindset.

When someone can indicate where a confusion may have started, that’s useful.

Two Sherlock Holmes quotes come to mind at the moment. One is from “The Boscombe Valley Mystery.”

“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”

The other is from “The Sign of Four.”

“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”

Regarding the Mandela Effect, I’m 100% supportive of constructive and reliable research that leaves us with the truth, however improbable it may be, depending upon your viewpoint.


2023 update: Here’s another superb article about the Mandela Effect: [CNN] The ‘Mandela Effect’ describes the false memories many of us share. But why can’t scientists explain it? 

Lucid Dreaming and the Mandela Effect

Can lucid dreaming be a factor in the Mandela Effect?

Until I read this article, Is Dreaming Real?, that hadn’t crossed my mind. Not seriously, anyway.

The possibility is intriguing.

I have long maintained that the Mandela Effect isn’t a single cause-and-effect experience.

That is, it’s not all false memories. It’s not all errors in news reporting or the media.

Even my favorite—and possibly most extreme (for now)—theory, parallel realities, can’t explain every Mandela Effect memory.

Now, if we add lucid dreaming to the possible reasons people recall elements of a different past, this topic becomes even more interesting.

Well, it is for me, anyway.

The Mandela Effect is NOT False Memories

Note: As an author and Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


This should be clear: The term “Mandela Effect” describes the phenomenon, not an explanation of it.

When a reporter or blogger claims the Mandela Effect is a “theory,” they haven’t done their homework.

Likewise, when the Mandela Effect is brushed off as “false memories,” the person is — perhaps conveniently — missing the point.

And they’re insulting our intelligence at the same time.

Yes, some odd memories can be explained as false memories. With a little research, you may be able to find where the mistake happened.

(If it’s a false memory, it’s not the Mandela Effect; it’s a false memory.)

But many people’s first-person stories about the Mandela Effect aren’t so easy to dismiss.

What’s not the Mandela Effect

Everyone has had a moment (or two or three) where they said, “Wait… I really believed [something] was real.”

That “something” could be a small incident, or it might be something big and troubling.

For example, an early, possibly traumatic moment may have been discovering that Santa Claus doesn’t deliver gifts on Christmas Eve, after all.

At the other end of the spectrum, there’s the frustration of thinking you left your car keys or the TV/streaming remote in a certain location… but it’s not there when you look.

Those aren’t the kinds of beliefs and memories we’d describe as the Mandela Effect.

Likewise, there are assorted other reasonable explanations for conflicts between what a person remembers and what actually happened.

Ruling out obvious answers

Here are some commonplace explanations for “different” memories of the past:

    • faulty news reporting
    • jokes taken seriously
    • hyperbole by those who like to stir up drama
    • what some scientists term “broken telephone effect,” referencing a party game (sometimes just called “telephone”).

Those are part of everyday life. When we find a reasonable explanation among them, we’re unlikely to think about our mistaken memories again.

In other words, if there’s a clear answer to our past confusion or misunderstanding, and it makes sense, it’s not the Mandela Effect.

Most of us recognize that.

We do our homework. We fact-check our recall and our memories.

That’s common sense.

If all the answers were simple, I wouldn’t have started the Mandela Effect website.

Once the novelty of a personal, baffling memory wears off, many of us keep looking for answers. That was — and still is — the reason for the Mandela Effect website.

At first, I hoped others might offer a simple explanation for my memories of Nelson Mandela’s funeral. (So far, no easy answer is a match.)

Then, when more memories — different from recorded history — emerged, the Mandela Effect became really interesting.

And fun.


I’m not sure whether to feel sorry for those who choose the simple “false memories” explanation.

They’re missing the intrigue of exploring a wealth of evidence, such as credible 19th-century doppelgänger reports, that may point to parallel realities and Many Interacting Worlds.

For me, that’s the fun part of Mandela Effect speculation and research.

Yes, for those who rush to simplistic answers, perhaps life may be complex and challenging enough.

That’s okay. They have my sympathy, and – really — I have nothing to prove.

However, I’m irked when small, vocal groups of critics (and reporters rushing to meet a deadline) suggest that we’re not bright enough to fact-check our own memories. Or throw other, badly flawed accusations at us.

My message to them is this: Attempting to brush aside the Mandela Effect as “false memories” will not make science vanish.

(After all, 19th and 20th century efforts to ignore quantum physics merely delayed its inevitable emergence as a serious study affecting everyday life and perceptions.)

I applaud those who continue to seek answers to the curious aspects of the Mandela Effect.

And I’d really like the insulting rhetoric to cease.

[This rant was expanded from part of a longer article that appeared at my Mandela Effect website.]



What I’ve Learned about Ghosts in the Past 30+ Years

Note: This is copied from my post at Medium. I suppose it’s kind of a manifesto, but – mostly – it explains what I’m focusing on, now.

Okay… I won’t bore you with everything I’ve learned in those 30+ years. Instead, here’s what I believe is important.

Most ghost hunters are sure of two things.

One is: Something odd is going on at haunted places. Usually, it seems to be both earthly (like a living person) but also unearthly (invisible, in most cases).

It’s there. Then it’s gone. Then it’s back again.

The second thing is: We don’t know what that “something” is.

Our ghost hunting tools and devices confirm the anomalies. But they can’t tell us what that “something odd” is, or why we sense or detect it.

So, after years of observing various ghostly phenomena — with devices that often distance us from it — we still don’t have answers.

Maybe it’s time to accept that we have no proof of ghosts. In fact, we may never have proof. Not the scientific kind, repeatable in a lab.

I suggest that it’s time to set aside the distractions and, instead, experience whatever-it-is… the ambience, the eeriness, and — perhaps — an encounter with an actual ghost.

That doesn’t mean you should drop your guard. Not wholly, anyway. After all, we’ve learned that some of what lurks at “haunted” sites can be dangerous.

Instead, let’s increase our awareness: Feel the cold spot instead of fixating on the thermometer. See what accompanies the EMF surge instead of concentrating on the detection equipment.

After decades in the field, I’ve learned the value of experiencing the haunting instead of making it a science experiment. After all, this is reality, not a lab.

We’ve measured and speculated and produced lofty theories.

They’ve led us nowhere.

Maybe it’s time to admit it’s a mystery. Perhaps it’s time to step into the wonder, and explore what’s there.

The most valuable part of ghost hunting may be the opportunity to experience an extraordinary connection with another time.

Let’s not squander this, staring at devices that merely confirm what we already know: Something odd is going on at haunted places.

Observe the phenomenon closely. Let’s use our five (or six) senses to their fullest.

That genuine encounter with “something odd” may be among our richest, most exciting adventures.

Here’s a sort-of related video, from HollowHill.com. Though I recorded it to explain the purpose of that website, the theme is similar to the article, above.


In a Word: Wonder

For years, I’ve tried to explain why I’m interested in ghost hunting and other quirky topics.

In contrast with my everyday life, that’s always seemed… well, odd.

In a word - Wonder / Fiona Broome explainsI couldn’t even explain it to myself.

For much of the past 10 years, I’ve described myself as a “blip analyst,” explaining that I look for unusual things, especially in the context of the mundane.

But, not even able to explain my interests to myself, I’ve struggled to grasp what connects the dots… why some topics fascinate me and others are just “meh.”

And sometimes I’ve wandered down paths where – at a certain point – I had to pause.

And then say, “No, this isn’t right for me.”

(That’s rarely judgmental, on a broad scale. Often, it may be a topic or field that interest others far more. And I’ve had difficulty articulating when and why I lost interest.)

Today, I watched a video that helped me understand that elusive ingredient that holds my interest, in every aspect of my life.

That includes everything from admiring beautiful sunrises and sunsets, to trying to bake absolutely awesome chocolate chip cookies, to witnessing paranormal phenomena, watching parades, and visiting theme parks like Disney World.

The word is: wonder.

Here’s the video. It’s about half an hour long, and – for me – it was immensely important and insightful. And yes, he’s talking about stage magic, not witchcraft or Merlin or anything like that.

I think everyone should see this, because – no matter what your interests, career, or background – I think it’s what many of us aspire to.

WDS 2019 Main Stage Keynote – Nate Staniforth on Real Magic

“Where do you find wonder after you’ve lost it? It’s in the daily business of living.” For many in our world, magic is often connected with laser beams, smoke machines, rabbits, and tight leather pants. But not for Nate Staniforth.

Note: this is best watched on a large-ish screen, like a TV. If you have a streaming service that includes YouTube, search for “WDS 2019 Staniforth” and this video should be at the top of the list.


When Art and Paranormal Activity Intersect

Often, after standing in a cold, damp, miserable site for two hours – with  nothing paranormal happening – I think, “there must be a better way to do this.”

But I keep standing there, waiting, because all the evidence suggests the site really is haunted… perhaps dramatically so.

And usually, if I keep waiting, the bone-chilling tedium was worthwhile. If I thoroughly research a site before visiting it, and confirm that it is a likely paranormal site, there’s an 80% chance the site is haunted. Or something paranormal is going on, even if it’s not “ghostly.”

The problem is, ghost hunting can be like waiting at a street corner for hours, hoping to see a green, 1964 Ford Mustang. And your only evidence is that – over the past 20 years – lots of people mentioned seeing one pass that street corner.

Whether you actually see a ’64 Mustang – or think you do – may depend on how long you stand there.

Patience. That’s all.

Are There Better Options?

In paranormal research, I think we need to expand our horizons. Explore offbeat theories that might lead us to something useful.

I mean, really, we’re already delving into topics many people consider too “out there” to take seriously. Why not go all-in, and see where the fringes take us?

Start with speculation, test it, follow-up with brainstorming, and extract the most promising elements.  Amplify those to see what happens. Repeat.

But where can we find fresh speculation? Where are the fringes?

Well… that leads to an article I read. It connected art with a sort-of paranormal headspace.

Art as a Path to the Paranormal

Are you ready to go way out on a limb, into speculation…?

Here’s the link that started today’s “what if?” musings: Susan Hiller, Conjurer of Paranormal Activity Through Conceptual Art, Has Died at 78.

In that article, I learned:

“Hiller eschewed the term ‘conceptual art’, saying she preferred the word ‘paraconceptual’ to describe her practice, given her interest in the supernatural.”

Later in that article, writer Alex Greenberger explained,

“it often seemed as though Hiller wanted to transport her viewers to another dimension or headspace by cinematic or aural means.”

That’s an extraordinary approach.

Would it work? Maybe. I have no idea. I’m not sure whether her goal was more than slightly shifting viewers’ headspace.

The paranormal and art

Then, I was more intrigued when I read a related article in The Guardian, where Hiller said,

“All my work deals with ghosts.”

Many creatives have expressed something similar as a figurative reference.

I’d love to know how literally Hiller meant that, and how it fits with specific art installations.

EVPs from 1971

In that same article, I read,

“She worked with the experiments of Latvian psychologist Konstantīns Raudive, who believed that tape recorders left in soundproofed rooms could pick up the voices of the dead – including Winston Churchill and James Joyce.”

In the past, I’d read about Raudive, but hadn’t followed-up to learn more.

Today, I found a YouTube video of his 1971 EVP recordings. I didn’t realize anyone was working with EVP, that long ago.  Not this seriously, anyway. (It’s a 5-minute video, and the recording quality is scratchy, but the voices are intriguing.)

Konstantins Raudive EVPs Sampling From the 1971 Vinyl Flexi Disk

Konstantins Raudive EVPs sampling from the 1971 vinyl flexi disk, that contained actual EVP examples of his recordings. My Edison home cylinder phonograph was used as a background. Konstantins Raudive (1909 -1974) Studied parapsychology all his life, and was especially interested in the possibility of the afterlife.

What Are We, and What Are Ghosts?

Here’s another point I’m pondering: Hiller said,

“You know, we are pixels; we’re light.”

That reminded me of one of Vivek Narain’s comments on a recent trends article. He mentioned holograms, and – as usual – suggested several unique ways of looking at paranormal activity.

To me, his observations resonate with Hiller’s “we are pixels” explanation. It was interesting synchronicity.

I’m not sure if anyone else follows the connections I see between Hiller’s concepts, experimental work by Raudive, Vivek’s comments, and my research which spans many apparently distinct fields of study.

(I say “apparently distinct” because I’m not certain they’re truly separate, except in how we categorize the phenomena and explain it to ourselves. I don’t mean to sound flippant when I say, “We’re making this up as we go along,” but that’s how it seems, most of the time.)

Question Everything

I believe we need to explore how, when, and where we encounter paranormal activity. We should always question whether there are better research techniques.

After all, standing around in a “haunted” site, waiting for something to happen… it may not be the most productive use of our time.

I’m not sure how far out on a limb we should go, with research techniques. Do we go more electronic, or back to “old school” ghost hunting methods? What about creating environments – as Hiller and Raudive did – that might be more conducive to paranormal activity?

Today, I have no answers to this. Not even a clue.

But, I applaud Hiller’s work and hope to see some if it in real life, in the near future. I might try some EVP recordings around it. And, I’d be intrigued if her installations resonates – no pun intended – with how we feel immediately before and during a paranormal encounter.

Maybe there is an access point to those experiences. I’m not sure we can deliberately create it, or if it would be safe to try to.

For now, the Hiller story and the Raudive recordings are the kinds of breadcrumbs I watch for.

Nonsense or an Invitation?

If this seems like nonsense, that’s fine. I grew up in the halls of MIT. I spent countless happy hours, playing with strobes and other toys in Doc Edgerton’s lab. That was my childhood context, and – even now – it’s part of who I am.

So, I sometimes geek-out on innovative approaches to research. For me, nothing is too “out there” to consider. (Whether I take it seriously is another matter…)

But, if anything in this makes sense to you, or you can put more of this puzzle together, I’m interested in your theories. Sometimes the “what if?” questions lead to the most fascinating answers.