The Mandela Effect is NOT False Memories

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.

Meanwhile…

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 at my Mandela Effect website.]

 

 

Revisiting My Podcasts

Recently, a friend commented on a podcast I’d recorded many years ago. He tactfully suggested that I might want to listen to it and perhaps revise it.

He was right. Listening to myself, I was hideously embarrassed.

Sure, my advice back in the early 2000s was among the best in the field. In fact, few websites — then or now — offered the scope of ghost hunting information I’ve been sharing since the 1990s.

But now…? Ouch. Some of my oldest advice no longer applies. (I mean, really… comparing film developing methods at Target and Walmart, for ghost photos…? And some of my earliest ghost orb analyses…? Yes, I’m blushing, even as I type that.)

So, short term, I’ve removed all of the old podcasts from Libsyn, where they’ve been hosted.

Some will return, either as-is or updated. Others will become videos, so I can add visual content. And many of my other, old podcasts might be best forgotten.

For now, I’d rather have no podcasts online than provide bad — or at least outdated — advice.

 

 

Your Memories are Your Memories

It’s one of those days when I feel more than a little misunderstood… but that may be the result of this heat wave. Many people seem a bit frazzled by it, and perhaps they’re venting.

And perhaps I am, too.

Though I’m still encouraged to see scientific references (including quantum connections to the Mandela Effect, albeit highly speculative at this point) I’m frustrated when people still want me to provide a definitive answer to their personal, alternate memories.

Worse, they want me to agree with whatever answer they’ve already selected.

The Mandela Effect is a phenomenon, not an explanation.

I’m still hopeful that people will understand that, so we can resume the fun, science-fiction-y conversations we had before the Mandela Effect went viral.

 

 

 

 

 

Mandela Effect Turning Point?

I am absolutely delighted to see this article at SK Pop, “What is the Mandela effect? Quantum Physics expert provides insight on evidence of multiple realities through reports of false memory syndrome.”

Here’s why, with a brief journey through Mandela Effect history.

Way back when…

Okay, it was 2009 – 2010, shortly after I launched the MandelaEffect.com website.

That’s when our related conversations were fun. It was speculative. Very sci-fi. Thoroughly geeky, and often hilarious.

We talked about quantum theories, and referenced holodecks, Star Trek episodes, Sliders (TV series), and so on.

Then people discovered that their memories of the Berenstein Bear books weren’t quite correct; the books were about the Berenstain Bears.

(George Takei was among the very first to post about this. And George, if you see this, we know each other through mutual friend Bjo T.)

And then, the Mandela Effect topic exploded.

Sharing our memories, theories, and insights, we found patterns of anomalies.

Some pointed to false memories, media errors, and simple confusions.

A few – like the more detailed memories of Nelson Mandela’s death and funeral, plus the Berenstain Bears topic – lingered and remained intriguing.

But then… trolls found us. Some reported obviously fake memories and — not realizing that I could see their IP numbers and time stamps, and consistent grammar/spelling errors — they tried to post supporting, “Me, too!” claims to enhance their credibility.

Big yawn.

And then, outside the Mandela Effect website, conversations turned ugly.

Conspiracy theories started.

Some were vicious. And they’ve lingered at sites like Reddit, etc. That’s why — to my chagrin — the SK Pop article says, “… the Mandela Effect is an interesting conspiracy theory in which many people misremember similar things about pop culture or lifestyle.”

No, the Mandela Effect was never intended as a conspiracy theory.

In fact, our discussions began as a quirky phenomenon I wanted to research among friends.

That’s all.

Our early conversations mixed speculation and science. We didn’t take ourselves seriously.

That’s why, when the topic became politicized in some circles, I walked away as fast as I could… but sadly. I’d loved our debates about the fun/sci-fi aspects of the Mandela Effect, and hated how they’d been lost in the din of contrived controversy.

I’d be thrilled if we’ve reached a tipping point where our whimsical, entertaining conversations — with the occasional quantum references — can resume.

Fingers crossed, the SK Pop article and others like them will restart fun, speculative discussions about the Mandela Effect.

2022 – A New Year, New Projects

It’s 2022 and it’s time for some big changes.

After several years in Florida, we’ve returned to New England and ready to resume ghost research in this area. It really is one of the most haunted parts of the United States. And, for me, one of the most fun areas to explore.

Trees

Of course, with snow still on the ground in some of my favorite parts of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, most investigations are still “on hold.”

This month (March 2022), I’ve started re-releasing the Mandela Effect archives books, so that people will understand the real roots of that topic.

(Yes, much of it can be attributed to false memories and mistaken news reports… but some of it isn’t that easy to explain. The latter are what interest me most, along with the fun of explanations straight out of speculative fiction.)

Mandela Effect – What is it?

Fiona Broome explains the meaning and origins of the phrase “Mandela Effect.” (It came from a 2009 conversation at Dragon Con that led Fiona to launch the ht…

I’m also working on re-releasing my most popular ghost-related books, and outlining new ones.

Later this year, I’m looking forward to researching remote, haunted locations with quirky histories.

One site that I want to explore more: America’s Stonehenge. I’ve investigated it in the past, but I feel like something (perhaps something big) was overlooked.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook for ghost-related news, and the latest Mandela Effect references… even if I’m wincing when those articles and reports seem not to understand the roots of that topic.


Thanks to Mikhail Nilov for the photo of trees, and to Blue Arauz for his photo of Maine.

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

Fiona Broome learned during 30 years ghost huntingNote: 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.

Why Ghost Hunting – Hollow Hill

Why do people go ghost hunting? Are they “hunting” ghosts like people hunt animals…?In this video, Fiona Broome explains that ghost hunters are hunting for…

 

Summer News – Updates

As of August 2021, Hollow Hill contains around 300 articles (previously 500+). And, I’m continuing to remove really old & outdated posts (which will be updated as time permits).

I’ve also added a “News” page at that site, which includes site news (so I don’t need to keep posting it here), some general/recent news headlines that got my attention, and a list of my current/available books. (I’ll add to that page as more books are available.)

ALL of this is so YOU don’t waste time reading outdated articles (or getting lost at Hollow Hill, since it’s rather large), and I have more time for projects I’m working on for Halloween (aka “ghost hunting season”)… especially books. Including new books, such as stories from my favorite (and weirdest) investigations.

Speaking of books… I am revising my older books, and – as I release them – most will be in Kindle and (sometimes) in print, as well as at Kobo, Apple Books, Google Play, and so on.


Late July News

After weeks of work, Hollow Hill is back online. It’s far smaller (and continuing to be pruned & weeded), and navigation is sleeker with sitemaps organized by categories. That should speed load time, as well.

Hallowfields’ Ghost Hunting for Beginners course is now at HollowHill.com, too. (Hallowfields.com will redirect to it.) Merging the two websites streamlines maintenance. The course needs expanding, with links to content already at Hollow Hill… but that’s a later project.

In the near future, my Broome Theory info will be expanded with supporting evidence (pro and con), and become a book. Until mid-late August 2021, that site is mostly a placeholder… and, apparently, attracting a lot of attention.

I like that: What started in the 1990s as “what if…?” speculation (and tagged with my surname, jokingly, by slightly skeptical friends) is now fitting nicely into a larger context.

If some “ghosts” are alive & well in their own time, but we’re sensing them in our reality, perhaps that’s a two-way street. And that connects with the Mandela Effect, with the possibility that we – individually or collectively – can sometimes transit to, or at least sense things in, other realities.

Yes, that sounds terribly sci-fi, but… well, it’s fun to think about. Do I take it seriously? No, of course not, but there’s always that possibility that it might be true.

Now, with the Hollow Hill site redesign more-or-less complete, I’m fine-tuning this site and Hollow Hill – and working with the new managers of Ghosts101.com and MandelaEffect.com – before working on ghost-related books.

Mostly, I’m feeling good about progress!

Clarifying the “Rabbits” Reference

My copy of “Rabbits” just arrived. So far, it looks like a fun book.

Also, I’m always impressed when someone successfully writes fiction in the first person. To me, that seems far more challenging than third-person storytelling.

But, since – this week – several friends mentioned page 256 (hardcover edition) and journalists are now asking me about this, I want to respond immediately.

Most of the description on that page of “Rabbits” seems pretty good. And yes, it’s fiction, so I’m not going to have a meltdown over a few misstatements. Mr. Miles included a common, boilerplate summary of my role in Mandela Effect discussions, and – in the context of the story – it’s “good enough.” (I mean it.)

But, for purists (and enquiring journalists), here’s what I’d like to clarify:

  • I’ve never claimed that I coined the phrase, “the Mandela Effect.” It was verbal shorthand developed in a 2009 Dragon Con conversation. The phrase may have been coined by Shadowe, Dragon Con’s Security Manager. Or it may have been quipped by my husband. Or by someone else who joined that brief, “green room” conversation. It’s possible that I came up with the phrase, but unlikely.
  • My then-manager, Marc Tetlow may have been the person who suggested changing my description from “ghost researcher” to “paranormal consultant.” Or, it may have been someone else, when the Ghost Hunters’ TV series producers briefly objected to me using the phrase “ghost hunter.” I don’t recall. It was a long time ago. (Personally, my self-description of choice is “blip analyst,” usually said in a flippant tone of voice. Really, I don’t take myself – or job titles – that seriously.)
  • I have never claimed that I remembered Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 1980s. I’ve tried to make a point of explaining that I’d thought I’d remembered that, but – since that was a very busy time in my life – it may have been someone else’s funeral. I do recall that it pre-empted the usual TV shows my family watched. You can read more about that at Nelson Mandela Died in Prison? (I have yet to find a reasonable explanation for what I’d thought I’d seen, but I’ve never claimed that what I recalled was absolutely, positively, Mandela’s funeral.)

So, I hope that answers people’s questions about the “Rabbits” references to me and the Mandela Effect.

Meanwhile, Mr. Miles’ explanation for alternate/competing memories – also on page 256 in “Rabbits” – is pretty good.

My own explanations are more diverse, and you can read them at The Mandela Effect, Explained (Sort of).

After I’ve had time to read “Rabbits,” I’ll write a review. At first glance, it looks amusing and fun. I hope the author does very well with his book, and any other projects related to it. (To me, it looks like a fascinating concept for a fun, engaging movie. I’m hoping Mr. Miles already has an option for it.)

And, in general, I’m almost rabidly (not “rabbitly”) enthusiastic about innovative fiction by original thinkers.

Ghost Hunting in 2021 – Changes, As Usual?

Since the tumultuous start to January (2021), I’ve been watching trends in ghost hunting and paranormal research.

They’re not quite what I’d expected… not that I had a clear idea of what might be next.

Frankly, I think anything is possible in the upcoming months.

The graphs – Ghost hunting v. paranormal research

In February 2021, two online search trends got my attention. The first was ghost hunting. It’s going back up. (My website traffic suggested that, too.) Here’s the trend since 2016:

Ghost hunting trends - Feb 2021

It’s not massively trending, but while ghost hunting had seemed in the doldrums since Halloween 2019, the 2020 spike was a surprise. The question is: will this trend improve?

It’s too soon to tell.

Another trend – but a downward one – also surprised me.

Paranormal research trends 2016 - 2021

For several years, far more people were searching for “paranormal research,” rather than “ghost hunting.” They were looking for anything weird and unexplained, not just ghosts but also UFOs, cryptids, Bigfoot, and so on.

Have those trends flipped?

Regularly – since 2004 – it’s looked as if the ghost hunting “fad” was fading.

Many people lost interest in ghost-related TV shows after they tried ghost hunting themselves and decided:

    • The TV shows were a lot of hype. (And yes, some were.)
    • OR, their own experience (at a haunted site) was interesting – and probably paranormal – but not worth pursuing.
    • OR, “real” ghost hunting was too expensive and time-consuming.
    • OR… perhaps a mix of all three.

But now, ghost hunting is showing signs of life again. (Pun intended.)

That’s partly because – spending more time at home in 2020 – people realized their own homes might be haunted... if only a little. Some paused and decided ghost hunting might be interesting, after all.

What’s next?

2020 may have changed how people think about ghost hunting. I’d like to believe that. The field was beginning to feel stagnant.

Meanwhile, a new generation of ghost enthusiasts are entering the field.

They’ve grown up watching their parents’ ghost hunting shows.

Now they want to experience it for themselves, in real life.

That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be ghost hunting as we did in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

In fact, my instincts suggest people are ready to explore ghost hunting as a personal encounter with something extraordinary

Sure, I could be wrong. Six months from now, the phrase “paranormal research” could be trending again, and “ghost hunting” may ebb until its annual Halloween spike.

Does that matter? Maybe, but I’ve never been someone to follow the mainstream.

  • When everyone else was in ooh-and-ahh mode, gazing at their digital thermometers, I was showing friends how to use their hands to find anomalous hot and cold spots.
  • When others insisted ghosts only appeared at night and needed a “lights out” setting, I was identifying sites with daytime ghostly activity.

So, yes… I’ll admit it: I may not be the best predictor of trends.

And frankly, I’d rather create my own.

Whatever is next, I think we need to take a wholly fresh look at ghost hunting. There’s more to explore and far more to learn.

Let’s see where 2021 leads us, and what we discover. Every day is a new adventure!

This could be our best year so far.

December 2020 – Expect a Shift?

2021 looks like a year for major changes in paranormal research.

I believe that – like most everything we’d become accustomed to, prior to 2020 – a “new normal” will emerge in ghost hunting, and it may look very different from what we’ve seen in the past.

Or, we may want to revisit trends that flared briefly in the past. Those include trends from a decade ago, but don’t overlook what happened with Spiritualism after World War I. Much of the social upheaval – and tragedies – of that era bear a startling resemblance to our current situation. Will history – or at least trends of that era – repeat? Only time will tell.

My own projects

Recently, and with the help (okay: strong nudge) of one of my publishers, we’re updating several of my websites. If you’ve been to HollowHill.com recently, you’ve seen that redesign unfolding. This site (FionaBroome.com) is also a redesign-in-progress.

I’m updating past articles and deleting really outdated ones. Currently, HollowHill.com has 451 active articles. I’ve retired another ~130, at least for now.

We’ll redesign & update my other sites in 2021.

Speaking of 2021…

Right now, I’m expecting a shift of attention in the paranormal field. It’s going to affect both the U.S. and the U.K, at the very least.

Throughout 2020, ghost research has been on a roller coaster.

  • At first, everyone was distracted by political headlines.
  • Then, the pandemic sent people home. Suddenly, people noticed all the creaks and “weird stuff” in their homes, and worried they had ghosts, or worse. I scrambled to republish “Is Your House Haunted?” with a heavy emphasis on debunking, to help readers overcome their anxieties.
  • The enclosed spaces of haunted sites made ghost hunting a health risk. Cemeteries were safer, but – with fresh graves as reminders of the pandemic – even they weren’t so attractive. So, for most ghost hunters, investigations were on hiatus.
  • As Covid Fatigue set in, people turned to familiar entertainment for comfort. That included ghost hunting shows, apparently making a strong comeback. But… for how long, with what kinds of shifting interests, and how will that affect real-life ghost hunting in the immediate future?
  • As Covid vaccines and other health measures reduce health threats, people are eager to resume more normal routines… but 2021 may be a “new normal.” Will that include real-life ghost hunting, and what will the new version look like?
  • And we’re fast approaching a major political (and possibly social) shift as America’s leadership faces a change, and Brexit’s deadline is weeks away. That could shake-up even more of what we’ve thought of as “normal.”

What’s next?

Early in 2021, I’m expecting another somersault in paranormal research. I’m not sure how early. A lot hinges on the political scene, the weather, and the pandemic, as well as the jobs market and finances in general.

  • It might be a resurgence of local ghost hunting groups. (Traffic at my free ghost hunting course, at Hallowfields.com, suggests that.) People may want to get out of the house more. And telecommuters whose jobs are now permanently at home… they’ll have far more free time than they did, pre-pandemic. They’ll also want more social opportunities. Ghost hunting could be a good match.
  • As people get less of an adrenaline rush from news headlines, they may fill that gap with ghost hunting TV shows. Will they want the same kinds of shows, or new approaches, or both? I think the adrenaline factor may be key, perhaps returning us to preposterous, “Extreme Paranormal” style shows. (I hope not.)
  • I’d love to say that books about ghost hunting (and paranormal nonfiction topics) are doing well, but the average book in Amazon’s top 20 (for that category) is selling less than a copy a day in Kindle. Sales are only slightly better in printed editions; that’s normal in this niche. If people aren’t devouring ghost-related nonfiction books when they’re stuck at home, I’m not confident that will improve in the near future.
  • On the other hand, I think haunted inns, B&Bs, etc., will attract more visitors. People are eager to travel, and an almost-guaranteed ghostly encounter will give them a fun/chilling story to tell when they get home. (B&B owners should consider a nightly “ghost story” chat around the fireplace, or in the site’s most haunted room. At the very least, it’s entertainment.)
  • This isn’t a truly new idea, but one that’s gaining popularity: virtual and self-guided ghost tours.  Theatrical troupes may provide the most drama, but tech skills will help, too.  (Here’s one in Atlanta, GA.)

I believe people – both ghost hunters and TV show fans – will be open to something new. So, I’m working on a project that takes my ghost research in a very different direction. It’s a little radical, so it’ll be separate from my work at HollowHill.com; that will remain a how-to website for ghost hunters.

(My first article at Medium is a preview. I’m not sure how frequently I’ll post there, but it seemed the right place for that kind of statement.)

This new project is still evolving. Nothing is firm, yet, but I hope to be able to talk about it by mid-2021.

Meanwhile…

I’m continuing to update my websites, a little at a time. (If a site looks weird at one visit, check again in a day or two. We’re still in the “hmm… not so sure” phase of the redesigns.)

I’m revising past books that are now out-of-print, and may finally publish the topic-specific guides I’ve been musing about.

Trend-watching is also part of my daily routine. I’m using a variety of websites – far beyond, say, Google Trends – for that kind of research, because I’d like the new project to hit all the right notes.

And, of course, we’re celebrating the holidays at home. It’s going to be a quiet Christmas, but – for us – it’s the right thing to do. We’ll make up for it in 2021.

Happy holidays, whichever you celebrate – if any – and I hope your new year is filled with tremendous fun and great adventures!