The Conspiracy Issue… Again

Today, yet another news story portrayed the Mandela Effect as a conspiracy. (And – until they corrected their mistake – made it seem like one of my videos said things about Georgia O’Keeffe that I’ve never said.)

The Mandela Effect is NOT a Conspiracy

I’m about to rant, and I’ve said a lot of this before but, apparently, either people don’t know me, don’t listen to me, or what I say doesn’t convey well in text.

Here’s the recording of this article, and yes, it’s says “ghost hunting podcast” when it’s not, but it’s a busy day and I want to clarify this point as quickly as possible… so here it is.

The Mandela Effect is Not a Conspiracy Theory

In this four-minute podcast, Fiona replies to recent articles claiming the Mandela Effect is a conspiracy theory. And yes, it’s a rant, and it has nothing to do with ghost hunting. (Sorry about that.)

From the very beginning, back in 2009, I’ve tried to make it clear that – in my opinion – the Mandela Effect is not a conspiracy.

It’s something quirky. It’s a little bit sci-fi. Mostly, it’s baffling.

I believe that people’s alternate memories can be explained in a variety of ways. I’ve talked about that many times in the past, but if you’re new to the Mandela Effect, the top three on the list are:

  • News reporting errors
  • Simple mistakes
  • And – for fun – perhaps parallel realities, which is where this wanders into sci-fi.

The Oxford Dictionary tells me that a conspiracy is “a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful.”

I had never taken seriously the idea that the Mandela Effect is part of a secret plan by anyone.

In addition, I don’t see how it’s unlawful.

The only harm could come from people who take it too seriously, or become unreasonably introspective, questioning all of their memories. When the latter happens, I always encourage people to speak with a professional in memory studies or the mental health field.

Back in 2009, when our conversations about the Mandala Effect started, the topic was fun. There was a lot of “wow, this is pretty weird,” when total strangers seemed to share almost identical memories that did not fit recorded history.

I’m sorry that whimsy does not convey well in text.

After a few years, the Mandela Effect went viral. I couldn’t keep up with all of the reports, pranks, spoofs, and trolling. (The latter is a side of the Internet that I find deeply disappointing, but I guess that’s human nature.)

A few years ago, I stepped back from the Mandela Effect website. Oh, it’s still online, most of the time. But there wasn’t a lot more that I could say.

The topic was in the wild, and others seem to be having fun with that – or not -and that was out of my control.

At this point, I’m having difficulty keeping the original Mandela Effect site online. Traffic spikes would require a level of website hosting at a cost that I just can’t justify.

Besides, plenty of other websites now document every possible addition to the Mandela Effect, and they seem to be having fun doing so.

Yes, people have suggested that I could put advertising on the site, but I find that abhorrent. I will not commercialize the Mandela Effect with jarring advertisements that have nothing to do with the topic and serve only to annoy website visitors.

So, I’ll admit that I’m a little bit irked when I’m misrepresented, and people are sent to the Mandela Effect website expecting some juicy conspiracies.

Instead, visitors will find about 8 – 10 years of light banter and whimsical speculation… and the occasional stunned visitor who stumbles onto a lot of memories he (or she) is now questioning.

Oh, I take people’s memories seriously. I never want it to seem as if I’m laughing up my sleeve when people report sincere alternative memories, and their theories about the Mandela Effect. I’m always interested in a fresh viewpoint on the subject.

But I do want made it clear that, from the very beginning, I have rejected conspiracy theories. I don’t believe that there is one unified explanation for the Mandela Effect.

And I certainly don’t think it is evidence of a secret plan by a group to do something harmful. In my opinion, it is not a conspiracy.

I hope that answers people’s questions, and I really hope journalists stop trying to turn the Mandela Effect into something sinister, when it all started out as a fun, engaging conversation… and a bit of a mystery.

6 thoughts on “The Conspiracy Issue… Again”

    1. You’re right, Vivek. And yes, I’m keeping the site online, because it’s important to have that information available, but I’m not raising the level of hosting beyond what it is now.

      In the past month, site demands exceeded the maximum bandwidth 879 times, so people saw error messages. I don’t like that, but I’ve reached my limit on what I’m willing to pay per month. (The least it would cost to keep the site reliably online, and absorb the regular traffic spikes, would be US$399/month. Umm… no, especially since the site’s traffic keeps increasing, monthly. I’ve drawn a line, and that’s it.)

  1. I thought that you were warming up to the idea of conspiracies, Fiona, but, now, it seems that you are getting more upset about them, again, like you were in the past when you told people that you didn’t want them posting stuff about conspiracies in relation to The Mandela Effect. It really could be a conspiracy, though I will agree with you that that is unlikely, at least for all of them. I will also agree that some journalists are misrepresenting the subject as a conspiracy theory when it might not be. I think that the journalists are jerks and they just don’t take the subject seriously, so they don’t see it as a big deal if they get their facts wrong, so they don’t care to pay attention, carefully, to what they’re posting. Unless there is some punishment for this kind of behavior, you can expect it to continue. Yep, I’m a totalitarian.

    1. Hi, Mark!

      It’s not that I think all conspiracy theories are preposterous. Some have merits… just not enough for me to buy into them, wholesale.

      What upsets me is when my opinions – expressed at the M.E. website or kept to myself – are misrepresented, big time.

      And, what upsets me more is when that presumption by a reporter or blogger sends a fresh wave of traffic to the M.E. site, and the site crashes.

      For the past couple of months, I’ve been scrambling to reduce bandwidth at the site, and put the information into trusted data streams. Hence, the books I’m compiling from the site, so that information is available – free – to those who may want to know the truth about what was said.

      I’m not convinced I can keep the site online. Not as I see more and more mainstream sources repeating… well, whatever site, article, book, podcast, news report, or video they think tells “the real story” of the Mandela Effect.

      Then traffic spikes even more, and… well, at this point, I don’t see it ebbing at all.

      And that frustrates me more than anything.

      When it’s in tandem with a blanket misrepresentation of the topic, I’m beyond irked.

      I hope to post about this topic – and record it – soon. But today, I’m doing what I’m doing almost every day – and yes, I’m hearing “Pinky and the Brain” in my mind as I type that – I’m editing and formatting more books to make the Mandela Effect conversations available to more people.

      Otherwise, they’re staring at a “bandwidth exceeded” error message at the website, and default to whatever was said in whatever resource explained the Mandela Effect to them.

  2. Hello! I am a student at a small University in Wisconsin and I am doing a research project on a topic of my choice that relates to science in some way. Over the years, I have grown fond of understanding the Mandela Effect and after seeing a lot of videos and reflecting them back to my memory, I really want to believe it is real in some way. However, I have been doing research and finding more sources that debunk the Mandela effect rather than discussing ways that this could be a possibility and finally I came across your website. I found your website to be refreshing considering you take the time to explain how I am not going crazy and that the memories I have are valid. Long story short, I am wondering if there would be ways I could ‘argue’ with people who debunk this all while providing strong pieces of evidence that could help people realize that this could be realistic.
    Thank you for taking the time to read this, I truly appreciate it.
    Best wishes, Emma.

    1. Emma, thanks for your comments. In my opinion, no one will believe the Mandela Effect until he or she has an unshakable memory that isn’t matched by the current history.

      You may be more successful than I’ve been, but -for me – well, arguing has been a waste of my time.

      Oh, I keep trying, now & then. But the results are the same. (I know: definition of insanity, right? lol )

      All I can do is send them to lists of alternate memories. In recent months, some of the (apparently) most compelling have appeared in magazines such as Good Housekeeping and Readers Digest. That’s about as mainstream as it’s likely to get.

      Still, most will default to Wikipedia’s favorite dismissal of the topic, and insist it’s conflation, memory defects, etc.

      It’s like arguing politics; the other person may be completely wrong, but getting him or her to admit it will take a deeply personal experience and a major “ah-ha!” moment.


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