BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Have you ever sworn that something is true for some time, but then shocked to realize that you were wrong? This happens to all of us — but what you might not know is that sometimes, we can remember spellings, phrases, or events that never existed to begin with. This is known as the Mandela Effect, and it’s more common than you might realize.
The origins of the Mandela Effect, as one would imagine, stem from a strange shared memory relating to the death of Nelson Mandela, a former president of South Africa. A Forbes article that focuses on the concept in-depth notes that many individuals claim that Mandela died in prison in 1985, and some even report seeing news coverage or funeral speeches from his widow during the time period. Despite all the discussion over the idea, however, this shared memory was false — the real Nelson Mandela died in 2013, and even the Nelson Mandela Foundation itself has put out a statement regarding the matter. The term ‘Mandela Effect’ would later become a blanket term for any situation where many people believe a fact that never existed to begin with. This isn’t to say that this idea solely applies to historic figures or deaths, however: a majority of cases of these false memories apply to famous figures and products from pop culture. These situations, known as examples of the Visual Mandela Effect (VMA), are far more common — especially here in the United States.
As part of a listing of some of the country’s most frequent instances of the Mandela Effect, E-Conolight compiled a list of the most trending examples that have been debunked across the United States. By analyzing the 24 commonly-searched keywords on Google Trends from the entirety of 2022, the group was able to pinpoint some of the most memorably misremembered products and franchises throughout the country.
When it comes to North Dakota in particular, the most frequently searched example of a VMA comes from the breakfast aisle at your local grocery store. Contrary to what many North Dakotans believe, ‘Captain Crunch’ cereal is actually called ‘Cap’n Crunch’. This is a common misconception that is shared with the residents of plenty of other states — particularly Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Here’s a list of the most commonly misremembered product names in every state.
|Product/Brand||Misremembered Version||The Most Searched States|
|Capn’ Crunch (Breakfast Cereal)||Captain Crunch||MN, ND, SD, WY|
|Cheez-It (Snack Cracker)||Cheez-Its||NH, OK|
|Chick-fil-A (Fast Food Chain)||Chic-fil-a||AL, DE, GA, SC|
|Chuck E. Cheese’s (Pizza/Arcade Chain)||Chuckie Cheese’s||LA, RI|
|Clif Bar (Energy Bar)||Cliff Bar||HI, ME|
|Double Stuf Oreo (Cookie)||Double Stuff Oreo||MD, MO, NC, VA|
|Febreze (Odor Eliminator Brand)||Febreeze||MI|
|Froot Loops (Breakfast Cereal)||Fruit Loops||AK, AR, TN|
|Funyuns (Snack Food)||Funions||CA, CO, FL, TX, WA|
|Grease (Film)||Grease Lightning||NV|
|Jif (Peanut Butter Brand)||Jiffy||MI|
|KitKat (Candy Bar)||Kit–Kat||ID|
|Mike and Ike (Candy)||Mike ‘N’ Ike||NY|
|Oscar Mayer (Meat Brand)||Oscar Meyer||IL, NE|
|Rice Krispies Treats (Snack Food)||Rice Krispie Treats||IA, KS, KY, MT, UT, VT, WI|
|Sex and the City (Television Show)||Sex in the City||DC|
|Skechers (Shoe Brand)||Sketchers||WV|
|Smokey Bear (U.S Forest Service Mascot)||Smokey the Bear||NM|
|The Berenstain Bears (Media Franchise)||The Berenstein Bears||OR|
|The Flintstones (Media Franchise)||The Flinstones||IN, NJ|
|Totino’s Pizza Rolls (Frozen Food)||Tostino’s Pizza Rolls||AZ|
|Bic Wite-Out (Office Supply)||White-Out||OH|
|York Peppermint Pattie (Candy)||York Peppermint Patty||CT, MA, PA|
The most widely accepted reasons for how these misunderstandings develop lie in the idea of confirmation bias and routine. If we mishear or misread a brand during our first encounter with it, we’re unlikely to think twice about the name — meaning we often won’t stop to second-guess the false memory unless we’re actively confronted by the truth. Regardless, the idea of the Mandela Effect serves as a fascinating example of human psychology, and how long we can hold on to wrong ideas without changing them — even if the right answer is right in front of us.