The Mandela Effect and The Berenstein Bears Switcheroo
May 15, 2015 4:40 PM   Subscribe

As it turns out, the name has never changed. They have always been the Berenstain Bears. Every physical book I had ever seen had said "Berenstain Bears". I have always been wrong. Every scrap of physical evidence proves me wrong.

Did Nelson Mandela die in the 1980s?

Did Chakotay die in a mid-season episode of Star Trek: Voyager, and return — with no explanation — several episodes later?
posted by Foci for Analysis (214 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
 
aw man, it is WAY too immediately after waking up for me to be reading about vivid faulty memories
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:49 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's a time memory, like a mirage. Nothing to worry about.
posted by bleep at 4:52 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


IIRC, it works this way: the age at which one learns that the name that looks like “Berenstain” is typically written “Bernstein” is usually quite a few years after having lost interest in the Berenstain Bears books and almost forgotten about them. Then, even more years later, when something jogs your memory and you remember the books, you mentally autocorrect it to “Bernstein Bears”, or at least split the difference and make it “Berenstein” (“-stein” being a common surname suffix, unlike “-stain”), discounting your younger self's recollection of “Berenstain” as an error.

(That is, unless you have encountered people with Ashkenazi Jewish surnames that got transliterated into English via the Hebrew alphabet, ignoring the names' Germanic cognates, and thus are familiar with “-shtain” as a plausible surname suffix.)
posted by acb at 4:53 PM on May 15, 2015 [18 favorites]


The Mandela Effect is a neat idea. The parallel universes theory is a neat idea. But count me in the people who know it's always been A, because it puzzled me to death as a kid why it was spelled like that. And then I grew up to be a proofreader.
posted by fiercecupcake at 4:54 PM on May 15, 2015 [31 favorites]


So FYI the creator of that "false memories = parallel universes!!!!" site, Fiona Broome, is a "professional" ghost hunter
posted by Bwithh at 4:55 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I remember this FPP from some time ago. That's not even a joke. I actually do. It had the part about Chakotay below the fold too.

Also, if this is the weirdest thing that's ever happened to that blogger, he's pretty lucky.
posted by clarknova at 4:57 PM on May 15, 2015 [14 favorites]


I have a very distinct recollection as a kid that Oceania was at war with Eurasia. But I've gone back and checked the books, it's Eastasia. We've always been at war with Eastasia.
posted by justkevin at 4:58 PM on May 15, 2015 [109 favorites]


I'm a Berenstein person. I'm sure it's all perfectly explicable and probably the mysteries of the cosmos don't manifest themselves in children's books about being nice to your neighbours and not eating too much junk food; I assume the mysteries of the cosmos are kind of higher-rent then that. Like maybe they'd appear in a Dan Brown novel for a bit of a laugh but mostly stick to portraiture, that sort of thing.

It just makes my brain itch, is all.

The Chakotay thing is probably a couple's brains desperately trying to make something interesting happen on Voyager, it's a folie a deux as a survival mechanism.

So FYI the creator of that site is a "professional" ghost hunter

Well thank god, I wouldn't feel safe with an amateur running something this important.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 4:59 PM on May 15, 2015 [36 favorites]


I was Papa Berenstain Bear at a bookstore event once. Those costumes are stuffy as hell, but I don't think I've ever been hugged so much.
posted by jonmc at 5:03 PM on May 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


Is this like the proto- gold and blue dress?

I'm also in the Stein camp.
posted by odinsdream at 5:07 PM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Of course this is a much bigger and more interesting topic than JUST spelling-related faulty memories but this is the first chance I've ever had to say that I specifically and vividly remember being taught to spell "dilemNa", with a mnemonic and everything, and spelling it that way in an elementary school spelling bee and taking down Michael Chang who spelled it with two Ms like a dummy. I remember it, I'm not crazy, I'm not!!

So I am finding this alternate universe theory pretty comforting.
posted by peachfuzz at 5:09 PM on May 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


I am also a Universe E person, but I'm putting more stock in the Mandela Effect than the author is. These two examples from AskMetafilter made the Mandela Effect all too real for me: 1) Which TV show intro had someone accidentally roll a paint-roller over someone else's face? 2) "I wanted Sixteen Candles Molly Ringwald, not Pretty in Pink Molly Ringwald."
posted by joan cusack the second at 5:11 PM on May 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


Who here remembers two X-Wings slamming into the neo-Death Star's shields when they were raised in Return of the Jedi?
posted by dirigibleman at 5:11 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Though some of these may be false memories and other issues of mental health, or simply erroneous news reports, the sheer volume and consistency of them raise deeper and more intriguing questions.
So between explanation A, people don't remember things with perfect accuracy and some weirdos have influenced each other to slightly misremember a detail of a TV show, and explanation B, people who watch Voyager actually share Guinan's ability to feel things from alternate timelines, we're going to go with B! Wow, this is a whole new world of violations of Occam's Razor that I had never considered.
posted by RogerB at 5:12 PM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


I always thought Han drew first.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:12 PM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


Look, I wear the hat, I get the ability to pick up on alternate timelines, it's how it works.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 5:14 PM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


What was the name of the cartoonist who drew the Scrooge McDuck books?

Carl Ba_ks.
posted by themanwho at 5:18 PM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think that Mandela link is supposed to be this.
posted by waitingtoderail at 5:19 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


peachfuzz: "I specifically and vividly remember being taught to spell "dilemNa""

Huh. That one's actually listed on the "major memories" list.

I'm really curious about the "9/11 happened on 9/10" one. What the heck?
posted by mhum at 5:20 PM on May 15, 2015


9/11 – Did it happen on 9/11, as most people remember, or on 9/10, as some recall?

What the fuck? Who believes this? No one believes this.
posted by sideshow at 5:23 PM on May 15, 2015 [19 favorites]


I am pretty certain the original Molly Ringwald quote thread (in Ravelry) is still alive. Every few months there's a new post in the thread and people (myself included) flock to it, thinking that someone has finally found the source of the quote, but no. The funny thing is, the quote didn't sound familiar to me at first, but the more I hear about it, the more it seems like I've heard it somewhere.

And It's totally "Berenstain." They had a cartoon and the theme song went (to the tune of Stars and Stripes Forever) "oh, we are the Ber-en-stain Bears, we live in a split level tree-eeee..."
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:24 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Okay, look - there was an episode where the Voyager team met a goo-based life form on some planet that was trying to find a form for themselves so they could stop being goo, and Capt. Janeway let the goo-liens copy the whole Voyager team and the ship itself. And hen a number of episodes later was a bottle episode where everyone was freaking out because it seemed like the ship and the whole crew was literally dissolving and they didn't know why, and the they saw a second Voyager ahead of them and were even more confused, and the they did a cellular analysis and determined that everything was breaking down into the same stuff and you finally realized that we were watching the Goo-lien Voyager and its crew, which had forgotten its origins and decided to try venturing out into space but it went too far from its whole planet and basically melted.

maybe what these people saw was the episode when Goo Chakotay died, is what I'm saying.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:24 PM on May 15, 2015 [21 favorites]


"What the fuck? Who believes this? No one believes this."

Yeah. The real confusion occurs when you try to ask people in what year it happened.
posted by I-baLL at 5:26 PM on May 15, 2015


Really, I just wish they'd figure out how to bring more of alternate-universe Voyager back to our world. I mean, it couldn't be worse.
posted by RogerB at 5:27 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I mean if we're going to talk about Voyager there's also the fact that Harry Kim was replaced by a duplicate from another timestream and no one ever mentioned it again.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 5:27 PM on May 15, 2015 [18 favorites]


Once blonde,heh.
Forage for berrys.
posted by Mblue at 5:29 PM on May 15, 2015


I've caught myself in a few false memories in the past, and have even partially reconstructed some of them to some extent.

Once, someone I knew was a subject of massive national news coverage, and I had a distinct memory of hearing about the incident (before I knew who it was) on a bus, on a very specific stretch of road, when some guy turned his radio on to the news coverage. It was only much later, when I was recounting that story to someone, that I realized I had been halfway across the US at the time the incident happened, despite having a very clear memory of the location. I'm pretty sure that I was actually on a bus and that the rest of it went down just the way I remembered. I'd just remembered it happening near where the guy had lived when I knew him. I remembered that clear as day, though. I could picture it perfectly clearly. Still can, even now that I know it didn't happen that way.

It's weird, but false memories really do happen, and they can be very convincing. Some like Berenstain, are common misreadings. Some are urban legends. Some are conflations or dramatizations or even just bespoke memories we create to neatly tie up connections.

These things, however, are 100% factually true, so everyone else please remember then with me from now on:

1. Barry Goldwater died (at least) twice.

2. Eva Peron's mummy was stolen, only to show up many years later unaccompanied on a subway in NYC.
posted by ernielundquist at 5:31 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wonder if the people remembering the Chakotay death are thinking of Harry Kim? There was an episode where realities were splitting and combining in funky ways, and the Harry Kim we'd been following thus far in the series was killed and the Harry Kim from a slightly different reality took his place in "our" reality. It was kind of odd, and IIRC the "new" Harry Kim was a little weirded out by it himself. < /Trekkie. >
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:32 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hah! Here's the episode I mean - Course:Oblivion
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:35 PM on May 15, 2015


*shrug* Sounds a lot like what Barney and Betty Hill went through- drowsy, altered state of consciousness, mutually coming up with altered memories.

People have a lot of emotion invested into the idea that memories are inviolable and unchanging, which simply is not true.

It's easy to suggest memories to people, and their brains will go right ahead and construct the memory, and Adobe that it's real. Add to the fact that waking hallucinations aren't that uncommon, and well, memory begins to look like a fragile, deceptive construct.
posted by happyroach at 5:35 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]




Huh, that's so weird. I thought I was the only one who remembered it quite vividly as "Berenstein."

I wonder, now, if it was because my family was Jewish, and my father's sly sense of humor emphasized the "-stein" part.
posted by clockzero at 5:37 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have a very vivid memory. It's stronger and more vivid than any other memory I have from that time of my life, say 3 or 4. My aunt had an enclosed porch, the decking painted white. There was a wicker chair, as was the fashion in the '70s, and a ceramic umbrella stand, as in painted and glazed at a "ceramics class" as was also the fashion in the '70s. It was white with pale green vines, and the glaze was "crazed" to make it seem like an antique. It had inside it a hardwood cane with a brass handle, a bright red umbrella with a bright red plastic handle, a bright yellow umbrella of the same type, and a black umbrella with a curved hardwood handle, very British.

I looked down into it, and it was unusually dark, like supernaturally dark. I looked down into it, curious if there was anything inside apart from the cane and umbrellas, and started to reach in...

I'll be fucked if this guy didn't come popping out of that goddamn thing and bit me on the arm, and roared/hissed at me as I fell on my rump crying before disappearing back into the umbrella stand. I was terrified he was poisonous muppet.

To this very day, I've been terrified to go out on that enclosed porch at my Aunt's house...

Which doesn't exist.

And I'm in mortal dread of encountering one of those paint-your-own ceramic umbrella stands with the vines...

Which don't exist. Don't think I haven't googled...
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:39 PM on May 15, 2015 [23 favorites]


It was pointed out to me, possibly on this site, that it is very common for people to remember watching the Challenger disaster live, when in fact the actual incident wasn't carried live on any broadcast network, most people would have been at work and we were all pretty blase about shuttle launches and likely wouldn't have watched anyway. What people remember is the live updates very shortly after the incident, including a long replays of the entire sequence, and they've basically edited their memories.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:39 PM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


Whoa, I have a pretty distinct memory of seeing a Billy Graham memorial service on TV in the 90s or early 2000s. I guess maybe I was seeing a memorial service at which he was speaking? I would have sworn he was dead though.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:43 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


X, the Bear of Xterminate! Raven, the Bird of Pecktoration! Stalk the green girl, destroy!
Nintendo 64!
posted by Mblue at 5:43 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wonder how much of the Berenstain effect could be the side effect of not really "reading" the Berenstain books but having them read to you at an early age. Moreover, if the adult who read them to you wasn't a careful reader (or pronouncer) themselves, you may have heard them say "-stein" instead of "-stain" and then been disoriented years later when you noticed that wasn't the way it was actually spelled.

As for the other memories listed on the site, all I can say is that all of those people are clearly stoned off their asses. I could see people getting that stuff confused back before the internet, but it boggles my mind that people could be so mistaken about easily-Googleable facts.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:46 PM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


Colors – Chartreuse is remembered as something other than yellow-green. Other colors in question include violet (blue-purple or red-purple?) and puce (dark red or purple-brown color, but many recall it as green).

How is this a false memory? I have a poor grasp of what these colours are but only because they're are written vocabulary instead of lived words. Nobody in real life has ever described something to me as "chartreuse" or "puce", so I have no good reference for them. I am certain that a lot of colour terminology has poor recollection once we get beyond the most common ten or so words.

(Indeed, that would make a great study if it has not already been done.)
posted by Thing at 5:47 PM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


What? No. What?
posted by pipoquinha at 5:54 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have a particular vivid, apparently faulty memory about a pop culture thing too, and I even asked about it here. It still weirds me out, because I have detailed memories about having a conversation on this topic with a high school friend in the early 90's, and memories of remembering this conversation with fond nostalgia for years afterward -- a conversation which apparently never actually took place.

Being confronted with this knowledge puts one in a strange place, but not, I think, to the point where alternate realities need come into play.
posted by trunk muffins at 5:55 PM on May 15, 2015


Yeah, I'm not sure the chartreuse thing is a false memory so much as a misunderstanding. I think at one point I thought chartreuse meant a sort of wine purple as well, but that's because I didn't know any better. A lot of these seem to be the same way.

And yeah, they've always been the Berenstain Bears, even if I thought that spelling was weird as a kid.
posted by limeonaire at 5:57 PM on May 15, 2015


9/11 – Did it happen on 9/11, as most people remember, or on 9/10, as some recall?

What the fuck? Who believes this? No one believes this.


This actually makes a little sense, if you were somewhere in the Pacific Ocean you could have heard about it late at night on your 9/10. Then you go to bed and think of 9/11 as being the day after the attacks.
posted by justkevin at 5:58 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ok well I just read this entire thread and it just occurred to me (after googling) that I was holding onto the Barenstein Bears spelling.

Now that's burying the LEED.
posted by Yowser at 5:59 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


[This is a comment from an anomymous contributor.]
I work directly with the Berenstain family and the Berenstain Bears books every day and I cannot tell you how many times a week I have a customer tell me this exact quandary when I'm helping them troubleshoot one of our products. The son of the Berenstains is at this point pretty over the kerfuffle and thinks everyone who thought it was -stein (as I did and still do) is crazy. We privately refer to the brand as Berenstein in our office anyway and have only slipped up on the phone to the son once. It caused a great deal of silent paroxysms around the room for a good 10 minutes while the offender gradually lost more and more color from their face while Mike Berenstain gently explained how to spell his name.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:00 PM on May 15, 2015 [69 favorites]


What was the name of the cartoonist who drew the Scrooge McDuck books?

Everybody knows that! Chuck Jones.
posted by infinitewindow at 6:03 PM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I mean, Carlton Banks.
posted by infinitewindow at 6:05 PM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


Charles Barkley.
posted by trunk muffins at 6:17 PM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


You mean Barkley Cat, Larry the Bird's pet.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:21 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


The real problem is that the universe is being run on an old version of Windows and every now and then it bluescreens and you have to hit Ctrl Alt Del. Sometimes it comes back wrong.
posted by betweenthebars at 6:24 PM on May 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


The first time I watched a video of the "The Princess Bride," when I was about eight, the Richard Marx song "Right Here Waiting" played over the end credits, which made me really happy, because I loved that song. I thought of it as "The Princess Bride Song" every time it played on the radio. I remember watching the movie in school a second time and being excited for the chance to listen to that song at the end because it was my favorite and then getting angry and frustrated when they played some dumb cheap-o version with a generic guitar song that played at the end. Every time I watched The Princess Bride I would hope that FINALLY I'd gotten my hands on the good version but I never did. When the internet was invented, I was like AT LAST, I can figure out why the heck they switched the music around like that, but...you can guess the rest.

If you remember this version, too, memail me and we'll find our way back to our natural habitat of Earth 2 together.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 6:24 PM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I know it's Berenstain because in kindergarten the teacher read it wrong (-steen!), and that's the moment I realized adults are not all-knowing.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:26 PM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


Just read the thing about the "tank boy" from the famous Tiananmen Square image NOT getting run over. WTF? Wow. (I mean I'm glad he didn't get run over, but in my memory his getting run over is what really set things off).

I also have the "watched the Challenger accident live on TV in the classroom" memory.

One possibly false memory that I have that no one else seems to have is the "doo do-doo do-doo" and sax sections of Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side being used in a coffee commercial in the 70s or early 80s.
posted by treepour at 6:27 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Another MeFi-flavored example.
posted by gerryblog at 6:31 PM on May 15, 2015


It's a little disturbing how easily false memories can be created (and how strongly they can insinuate themselves into our minds). See the Elizabeth Loftus experiment where with a little prompting people create memories of being lost in a department store as a child.

I saw the Molly Ringwald AskMe (above) when it was posted and it felt sort of familiar and I kept expecting a real source to be found. I first saw the paint roller post from the link in this thread, and even before clicking through an image formed in my mind—vague but feeling very real.
posted by audi alteram partem at 6:36 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


The only explanation I can logically deduce is that your mind creates the universe.
posted by rankfreudlite at 6:39 PM on May 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


This is crazy. If berenstein is a false memory, what other kind of crazy lies has my brain indoctrinated as truth?
posted by Aranquis at 6:45 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I would have pooh-poohed this entire thing except that, not only was I read the Berenstein bears as a child, I also have two young children myself and have read these books to them as recently as last week.

I would have happily bet a couple of paycheques on the spelling being "Berenstein" and fist-pumped at my windfall.
posted by 256 at 6:46 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


That actually is a great idea to win bets.
posted by odinsdream at 6:48 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


The great thing about the "wrong" link in the FPP is that it's to a Google search results page whose first suggestion is this post. And that since the page is google.se and I'm in North America, the site is mingling Swedish with English. So the field really opens up, ambiguity-wise.
posted by ardgedee at 6:50 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


This sort of thing seems to happen endlessly with famous quotes from movies, too. "Play it again, Sam." "Luke, I am your father." "Hello, Clarice." Even though we hear the lines that way in our minds, even though you can buy bumper stickers saying that stuff, those weren't the actual lines in the movies! (In the case of "Play it again, Sam", it's not even close!)

Good catch, EmpressCallipygos! I didn't think of that episode. I'd cite episodes like that when people go on about how cruddy Voyager supposedly was. I mean, that is some risky, interesting storytelling, to follow the crew for what seems like a regular episode, and watch them all melt away tragically one by one, only to learn that they aren't our gang but are an overly-ambitious new form of life that's forgotten what it/they really are. Janeway dies knowing she's not actually Janeway, but thinking and feeling like Janeway would and dying the way Janeway would die. Damn.

(Did Voyager "kill" the crew more often than the other Trek shows? "The ship just exploded!" was a go-to plot twist for all the shows, but I have a feeling the crew of Voyager died more often and more horribly than the other crews.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:50 PM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


This is like how Milwaukee (??) has a basketball team (!!) that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played for (😮).

The parallel universe explanation actually occurred to me when I found this out.
posted by vogon_poet at 6:51 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


rankfreudlite: "The only explanation I can logically deduce is that your mind creates the universe."

Dude. You're blowing my mind. Which means you're blowing the universe. Duuuuuuuuude.
posted by mhum at 6:54 PM on May 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


World's worst scientist is going to lose it when he (she?) finds out about PAPUA New Guinea...
posted by maniabug at 6:56 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I almost think that it's more likely that you are all playing a big prank on me than that there is a large community of people out there who think that the bears are called "Berenstein"
posted by Kwine at 6:57 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was having a good chuckle until I got to "Misremembering the date of the Challenger explosion." I have an extremely vivid memory of watching the launch and explosion live in my fifth grade classroom. But the explosion happened when I was in kindergarten, and the school I attended then didn't allow tvs in school. Also, I'm pretty sure my 5th grade teacher would not have hyped up the excitement of space exploration and then shown us a tape of the disaster, knowing what was about to happen.

Spooky. I'm still pretty sure it's a run of the mill false memory, though, and not an alternate universe I slipped into.
posted by lesli212 at 6:59 PM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


Emphasis on stain
posted by hellojed at 7:01 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm apparently the only person in this universe that remembers a backstory provided for Jim Rockford in "The Rockford Files", printed in some TV Guide or television column, wherein he was a former policeman wrongfully convicted of a crime, sent to prison, where he met Angel Martin, then exonerated and pardoned by the governor. This explains his friendship with police detective Dennis Becker (his ex-partner) AND how he happens to have a private investigator's license, which only are issued in California to former law enforcement officers.

This has to be the TRUTH! It explains so much! I remember this! Why can't you????
posted by Chitownfats at 7:03 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


You know what music doesn't play the first time we see Darth Vader? The Imperial March.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 7:06 PM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


[Fixed the link to the "1980s" article in the post; it had also been pointing to the Chakotay article by accident, looks like.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:09 PM on May 15, 2015


I first saw Return of the Jedi as a four year old. I didn't see it again until I was fourteen. From the original viewing, I distinctly remember that the Rebels were returning to the blown out shell of the first Death Star to salvage it and the "trap" was that the Empire hadn't abandoned it after all. I spent years trying to reconcile my memories with the movie before giving up.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:10 PM on May 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I wonder if the prevalence of the false memory of watching the Challenger explode in a classroom was caused in any part by the fact that It did happen in a Punky Brewster episode.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:17 PM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


This basic premise of things that you're sure existed, but never did, reminds me of the thing that Boing Boing's Rob Beschizza came up with: the 19A0s, an entire decade that somehow fell through the cracks. (Its mirror image also appears in one of the most stunning pranks ever played at MIT, in which, while a student was home on a visit, his dorm-mates plastered and painted over his room door, and everyone--including his roommate--pretended to have never met him when he returned.)

I think that sometimes, in a sort of mental sleight-of-hand, our mind fills in details that seem very much like they should exist. Take Chakotay's death, for example; the combination of Voyager's relentless use of the reset button (to the extent that it's actually lampshaded in the "Year of Hell" two-parter, in which Chakotay has a prominent part), plus its indifference to any sort of meaningful character arc for most of the characters, means that it seems not at all unlikely that the show could have had him die in an episode, then have him come back several episodes later sans explanation, out of sheer sloppiness. (If it seems like I'm exaggerating, then try this: attempt to list, without referring to Memory Alpha or other references, exactly what Kes' psychic powers were.) Given that no one in the link above can even mention the specific season, or even pin it down to Before Seven of Nine or After Seven of Nine, it's more likely that what they're misremembering is Robert Beltran having a big episode in which he's either badly hurt or actually killed but resurrected with the reset button, then doesn't have anything major to do for several episodes, then has another big episode, which probably happened at one time or another to everyone on the cast.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:17 PM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


Well, the hairs started standing up on the back of my neck reading the major memories post and comments. The whole idea of false memories is almost as creepy as the alternative that is being offered.

I also would have said I watched the Challenger disaster live in a classroom. [On a tv wheeled in on a cart. You know, in the olden days.]
posted by Glinn at 7:18 PM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


(I did watch some Punky Brewster so who knows!)
posted by Glinn at 7:19 PM on May 15, 2015


a lot of guys try to pick up girls and they get called assholes, this never happened to gertrude stain
posted by idiopath at 7:19 PM on May 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


The real problem is that the universe is being run on an old version of Windows and every now and then it bluescreens and you have to hit Ctrl Alt Del. Sometimes it comes back wrong.

ITYM Ctrl Alt Dal.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:22 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


As someone whose real surname is exasperatingly close to, but definitely is not, "Berenstain" (or any variation thereof), I can attest to that name's aggravating habit of invading all proximate name spaces.
posted by thomas j wise at 7:26 PM on May 15, 2015


I can vividly remember watching TV the day Punky Brewster blew up.

America died that day.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 7:32 PM on May 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


I always thought Han drew first.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson


Its written 'Hain'
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:34 PM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm a little too young to have been in school for the Challenger Disaster, but there was a teacher in my elementary school who was supposedly a semi-finalist in the Teacher in Space program, so even a couple years later there was still a lot of emotions and vivid re-tellings of what happened.

Given how large and publicized the program was, I'm sure every school had a teacher who could have been on board Challenger, which is probably another contributing factor to the prevalence of false memories.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:34 PM on May 15, 2015


I just asked my wife to spell the name of the bear family from the kids' book series (I didn't want to subconsciously sway her answer with pronunciation). The good news is we both grew up in Universe E. I also grew up in a universe where, in American football, you used to need 9 yards for a first down instead of 10. As a young teenager, I asked my Dad when they changed it. He became... a bit concerned about me.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:35 PM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I wonder how much of the Berenstain effect could be the side effect of not really "reading" the Berenstain books but having them read to you at an early age.

YMMV, but I was in the -stein camp, and I've probably read their stories a hundred times to my daughter over the past year. If you'd asked me at any point in my life before 2 minutes ago, I would've confidently spelled it -stein.
posted by jpe at 7:35 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have a very distinct memory of my parents taking me to a formal, traditional Japanese restaurant (a ryotei) when I was four. This memory is perfect in each sense. I mentioned to my dad at one point since it's a pretty weird choice of eatery to which to take a kid that age. He was baffled; we'd never done anything like that.

Yeah it turns out my memory is somehow something my brain copied wholesale from Shōgun. But I like the idea that instead of me watching a TV miniseries it's actually that I visited an alternate dimension in which my family was the kind that took their kids to fine dining from other cultures.
posted by winna at 7:36 PM on May 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


I can vividly remember watching TV the day Punky Brewster blew up.

This is why you should always remove the doors from refrigerators before you put them out for the trash.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:37 PM on May 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


Given how large and publicized the program was, I'm sure every school had a teacher who could have been on board Challenger, which is probably another contributing factor to the prevalence of false memories.

Yup. My elementary school had a teacher who was also short-listed. She got far enough along to hook us up with some beans that had been in orbit that we germinated. Or so my memory goes.
posted by thecjm at 7:38 PM on May 15, 2015


I think the Challenger disaster was actually seen in classrooms:

Myth #1: A nation watched as tragedy unfolded
Few people actually saw what happened live on television. The flight occurred during the early years of cable news, and although CNN was indeed carrying the launch when the shuttle was destroyed, all major broadcast stations had cut away — only to quickly return with taped relays. With Christa McAuliffe set to be the first teacher in space, NASA had arranged a satellite broadcast of the full mission into television sets in many schools, but the general public did not have access to this unless they were one of the then-few people with satellite dishes. What most people recall as a "live broadcast" was actually the taped replay broadcast soon after the event.

posted by bleep at 7:41 PM on May 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


When I was a tween and trapped between some dreadful adolescent Scylla and turbulent adolescent Charybdis, my father would tease me by asking how I could possibly resolve such a dilemNa.

I have never in my life spelled it properly on the first try.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:42 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Time is just a joke, change is all we understand
Life is a mirage, only a mirage dancing on the desert sand


Many thanks to Todd Rundgren for explaining it so clearly.
posted by Splunge at 7:56 PM on May 15, 2015


For what it's worth, I recall it as BerenSTAIN, so we are okay there. And I never had an issue with dilemma, I was positive for years about the spelling of vincinity. To this day, vicinity seems wrong.

But I have long wondered about this sort of thing (memories that seems crystal clear but are at odds with the world). And as with any good theory, my notion on this involves parallel universes and paranoid schizophrenia.

Okay: first off, the proviso that I do not believe this to be the case, I just find it an interesting thought experiment.

First of all: we assume a multitude of universes -- every time a decision could go more than one way, it goes all the ways. Our consciousnesses are not unique. There are countless myriads of mefites who look and think just like you reading this comment right now, and countless more who are instead binge-watching Game of Thrones instead.

These consciousnesses, however, are not anchored to one reality: they slip back and forth, perhaps during sleep and dreams (no real reason for dreams, but I like the poetic aspects of it). You and I think we are the only versions for the same reason that when you stand on a beach watching the sunset, the reflected light on the water extends straight toward you.

Also: everyone's memory is infallible. We might forget facts, but what we remember experientially is what we actually experienced.

So - you are not in the same world you were in yesterday, and neither am I (although we were not in the same world as each other then). The differences might be trivial and never noticed. Perhaps the world you were in yesterday had the Yankees win the 1949 World Series in six games instead of five, or maybe it was below the level that even a dedicated Wikipedia search could find: some unremarkable secondary school student in Brazil slept in and missed a math exam six years ago, leading her to different marks and a different job. Or maybe a seal ate a penguin on the Ross Ice Shelf when the penguin got away in this world.

However, as I say, everyone's memory is infallible. If you are surprised your house keys are in your jacket pocket this morning when you were sure you left them on the front hall table last night, that is because you did. When you meet someone who insists that Lloyd Bridges once guest-starred in Star Trek, this is because that person's consciousness was in a world where everyone saw that episode. And those whom we label paranoid schizophrenics really did experience a world where the RCMP replaces people's molars with radio transmitters.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:57 PM on May 15, 2015 [12 favorites]


Did you ever walk into a room in a home that you have lived in for many years... And you reached for a light switch, in the dark, but it wasn't there? For a moment you were sure that the switch was there. Muscle memory, not even thinking about it. For a moment, you are disoriented. A second or two like the universe has pulled a mental carpet out from under you. Then you reach for the correct spot. The light goes on. But for an augenblick it was in the wrong place. Reality was wrong.
posted by Splunge at 8:06 PM on May 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


1) I have a friend who's a retired cop. When he first came over here from Scotland, he claims to have gotten a job writing stories for the Berenst__ns.

2) If I ask him how it's spelled, and he tells me, whose memory should I distrust?
posted by sneebler at 8:07 PM on May 15, 2015


My partner and housemate and I just talked about this. My partner is 48 and grew up in North Dakota; my housemate is 20 and grew up in Texas. They both offered the correct spelling when asked. I probably would have given the -ein spelling but had no cognitive dissonance about the -ain spelling, probably because I never cared for the books as a kid and disliked the couple I encountered as an adult so much that I never read them to my kids, either.

Our theory is similar to the one up-thread about the age at which you're exposed to people whose last names end in -stein. People living in cities on the east coast, for instance, aware that there are such things as Jewish people in the world, might be more inclined to see "stain" and "stein." Whereas we in the benighted Midwest had no pressure or filters to prevent us from accurately seeing "stain."

It's funny to me that a story from Voyager is one of the other examples. As a young woman, I worked at a magazine called Lesbian Connection. The five of us on full-time staff were all Star Trek fans and always talked about new episodes of The Next Generation. (That and LA Law.) I have a very vivid memory of coming to work one day during the first season of Voyager and one of my co-workers talking about how startling it had been to see a scene with Janeway and Torres in Engineering, working to solve a problem together. Two women! Working together on a tech/science/engineering problem! Who'd ever seen anything like that on TV before?

This memory is vivid and detailed. And it has to be false, because by the time Voyager debuted, it had been over two years since I'd left my job at LC. I assume I've mashed up one of the many conversations we had at LC about Star Trek with a conversation I had, or my own observation, about Voyager.

I love this sort of thing. Even as it makes me feel a little unhinged.
posted by not that girl at 8:12 PM on May 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


In my case, it was always pronounced Ber-en-steen based on how it was read to me by adults. I never really noted the spelling as a kid, and probably wouldn't have been able to spell it on my own during the time when I was interested in the books. As I recall, the word doesn't come up much WITHIN the books, mostly just on the title pages. In the book everyone is just Papa Bear, Sister Bear, etc. You could tell from the cover art or its placement in the library that it was going to be a Berenstain Bears book and didn't really read the cover text carefully (and even if you did, first and second grade is when you're learning about all these funny words like "island" that are spelled differently than they're pronounced, so it probably wouldn't faze you.)
posted by Peregrine Pickle at 8:15 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


*Timothy Leary – Former Harvard professor and LSD enthusiast, or serial killer as well?

In my dad's universe Timothy Leary and Tom Lehrer were the same person. He was really disappointed when the guy who did the funny songs got into dope (it was all dope to dad).
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:24 PM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


In my dad's universe Timothy Leary and Tom Lehrer were the same person. He was really disappointed when the guy who did the funny songs got into dope (it was all dope to dad).

Well, Lehrer did seem to be a fan of the ol' dope peddler.

(Not really a false memory, but for a long time I believed that Leary played Rufus in Bill & Ted. Not sure how I got him mixed up with Carlin.)
posted by neckro23 at 8:31 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


When I was about seven, I saw a doll smile at me.

It was my Dana doll, one of Barbie's bandmates from the eponymous Rockers. I thought she was prettier and cooler than rockstar Barbie, although neither of them were as cool as Jem. One day I was alone in my room, making up some story, and I asked Dana a question -- I don't remember what. And she smiled at me. The doll has a little smile anyway, but it got wider, I would have sworn to you. I watched her carefully after that, but the expression never changed again.

I'm not about to tell you that a doll broke the laws of time, space and matter to smile at me, but I still don't know what happened to my eyes there.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:37 PM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


I cannot fucking believe it's not Berenstein. Bring me back to my alternate universe please?
posted by sonmi at 8:41 PM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


This basic premise of things that you're sure existed, but never did, reminds me of the thing that Boing Boing's Rob Beschizza came up with: the 19A0s, an entire decade that somehow fell through the cracks.

Also worth remembering the sincere conspiracy theory that inspired that, also on metafilter, the New Chronology.

The 19A0s was fun to me because it explained where early 2000s hipster bands got their aesthetic, which is kind of mysterious otherwise.
posted by vogon_poet at 8:44 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I work directly with the Berenstain family and the Berenstain Bears books every day and I cannot tell you how many times a week I have a customer tell me this exact quandary when I'm helping them troubleshoot one of our products. The son of the Berenstains is at this point pretty over the kerfuffle and thinks everyone who thought it was -stein (as I did and still do) is crazy. We privately refer to the brand as Berenstein in our office anyway and have only slipped up on the phone to the son once. It caused a great deal of silent paroxysms around the room for a good 10 minutes while the offender gradually lost more and more color from their face while Mike Berenstainstein gently explained how to spell his name.

FTFY
posted by clockzero at 8:47 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


When I was a kid, maybe 5 or 6 I could see spider webs between my fingers. This is not a joke. I'd look at my hands and see black strands like a web between my fingers. I would wash my hands several times a day. I even showed my hands to my mother and she just laughed. I guess it eventually went away. But for a while it was too real. I can even see it as a memory right now. My hands with the ancient bathroom sink behind them. And I recall the fear.
posted by Splunge at 8:50 PM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


Countess Elena: "When I was about seven, I saw a doll smile at me."

Splunge: "When I was a kid, maybe 5 or 6 I could see spider webs between my fingers."

Whelp. I guess no sleep for me tonight.
posted by mhum at 8:54 PM on May 15, 2015 [16 favorites]


I can sing you some atonal nursery rhymes if you like

la la la la la-laaaa
posted by Countess Elena at 8:59 PM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


I could read really young and it always bothered me that everyone around me pronounced the name "Berenstein" when it was clearly spelled with a "stain" at the end. However, I just figured it was one of those things where at some point they had been on TV and everyone had seen that they said it "-steen" and ran with it, kind of like how people say "Rafe" when they pronounce the first name of Ralph Fiennes. It honestly never occurred to me before I read this thread that people actually thought it was spelled "Berenstein."

I have loads of false memories. I used to hallucinate as a child so I'm very much used to questioning not only my recollections of my perceptions but also my actual perceptions as I'm perceiving them. I do remember that at one point a friend and I both realized we had completely forgotten about one of our teachers, just totally wallpapered over her in our minds. It was a weird moment. Suddenly a whole year of memories from 8th grade science class came rushing back.
posted by town of cats at 9:02 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just saw an example of "dilemNa" in the wild in a Metatalk thread, and I wouldn't have ever noticed it if not for this thread. Thanks Metafilter!
posted by themanwho at 9:18 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Spelling mistakes that you remember being taught in class. Two possibilities:

A) You have somehow slipped through dimensions to a parallel world with no differences except that a common spelling mistake is dominant

or

B) Some teachers are dumb
posted by benzenedream at 9:19 PM on May 15, 2015 [14 favorites]


Also, WRT the idea of slipping/sliding between subtly different parallel universes, it's a fairly important part of Stephen King's Dark Tower series.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:19 PM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


When I was a kid, maybe 5 or 6 I could see spider webs between my fingers. This is not a joke. I'd look at my hands and see black strands like a web between my fingers.

I recall being maybe three and coming into our living room and noticing the wheat field that had grown up through the floor and was waving in the breeze. Not as alarming as your spiderwebs but no less mysterious. The best I can reason is that at that age I couldn't separate something on the TV from the room around it, but I have never forgotten the wheat field.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:23 PM on May 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Fiona Broome, is a "professional" ghost hunter

Wow. Now imagine this. Imagine if you were a professional deer hunter; you hunted deer for a living. But the thing is, you never actually caught a deer; forget that, you never actually laid sight on an actual deer.

or...

"What do you do for a living?"

"I hunt bears."

"Holy shit, that sound dangerous."

"Not really."

"What, aren't bears dangerous?"

"I dunno, never seen one."
posted by el io at 9:54 PM on May 15, 2015 [19 favorites]


I have had my share of weird experiences as a child. I don't imagine that I can explain them, time being as it is. It was a very long time ago. And, as this thread shows, perception is a variable. Memory is fallible. Indeed it mat not even be useful at all.

A couple of other stories.

My parents had a wooden monkey. It sat on their dresser. Now I may have had a fever at the time, but I remember laying in their bed and watching the tail of the monkey (made of some kind of fiber) fall off. And fall off. And fall off. This went on for a while. I finally got out of bed. I expected to find a huge pile of monkey tails. But there was nothing. So I got back into bed. And the tail kept falling off. Over and over again.

And my favorite.

I was in the living room of the old house. I was playing with cheap plastic cowboys and indians. on cheap linoleum. My grandmother was on the couch behind me. The phone in the kitchen rang. I could see the phone through the arch that was between the living room and the kitchen. But I was really busy with my toys.

I see my mother pick up the phone. The I turn back to my toys.

Behind me my mother screams and runs to the bathroom to cry.

My grandmother say, What could that be?

And I looked at my grandmother and said, "Uncle Vincent died."

And I went back to my toys. I found out later that night, after much crying, that I was right. I DID NOT hear her say anything. She just screamed and ran. How the fuck did I know it?

To this day I don't know.
posted by Splunge at 9:58 PM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


You people are freaking me out.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:00 PM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


BOO!
posted by Splunge at 10:01 PM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Not as tragic or freaky, but years ago I was living with a roommate that I was not getting along with so I decided to stay home and play video games instead of going out to a bar with him. A few hours later, being a young, resentful shit, I was struck by a jealous overpowering feeling that he had met someone. I remember putting the controller down, and cursing bitterly. I awoke the next morning to a beaming, annoying face cheerfully talking about this wonderful woman he had met (who ended up moving in shortly thereafter).

Winning lottery numbers? No chance.

Pre knowledge of my roommate's love interests? DING!

Lamest superpower ever.
posted by Debaser626 at 10:11 PM on May 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


dirigibleman: "Who here remembers two X-Wings slamming into the neo-Death Star's shields when they were raised in Return of the Jedi?"

*raises hand* I can still see 'em skittering and exploding over the surface of the shield in my mind.
posted by barnacles at 10:19 PM on May 15, 2015


I've always considered my mind and memories somewhat fallible, and I'm amazed at all the people (especially in the comments on that Mandela page) doubling down and insisting that "My MEMORIES aren't wrong, REALITY is wrong."


But "dilemna" has always been the right spelling. That one I'm sure of.
posted by mmoncur at 10:45 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm psyched to see everyone's strange memories! Odd spellings, webbed hands, these all rule!

Once, I saw aliens in my backyard as a youngin with sleep paralysis (Zeta Reticulans, AKA Greys AKA those dudes on the Spencer's Gifts posters that say Take Me To Your Dealer), and it freaked me out and sent me into a real damn panic. But then a couple years back I had sleep paralysis again and saw a tall feminine demon-humanoid in my bedroom, placing one hand gently upon my abdomen while I was immobilized, and I thought she seemed really great, and now I wonder if maybe what I perceived as "aliens" were in fact just normal demons like the lady I saw in my adult life.

So, like, maybe if I'd known more about Occam's Razor as a preteen, I would have just been like, "oh, cool, it's just an extremely sexy otherworldly demon" and i would have been much more chill about the whole thing and if i'd played my cards right maybe I could've even made out with them
posted by Greg Nog at 10:52 PM on May 15, 2015 [14 favorites]


No no, Dilemna is an Irish girls' name. Dilemna O'Donnell was my childhood best friend.
posted by bleep at 10:56 PM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I just saw an example of "dilemNa" in the wild in a Metatalk thread, and I wouldn't have ever noticed it if not for this thread. Thanks Metafilter!

It's just my stupid tablet. I can't hunt and peck with a stylus to save my life.

Also, I can't spell for shit.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:57 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


At first I thought Berenstein and was amazed to see Berenstain and was thinking of all this parallel universe shiz
But now I'm slowly remembering as a kid saying BEAR-EN-STAIN (like a bear and a clothes "stain") and people laughing at me and saying it's BERN-STEEN, you know the way they laugh at people who don't know how words are pronounced that they would have only ever read in books so how the fk are they supposed to know?
I feel SO VINDICATED
posted by pravit at 10:58 PM on May 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I used to get visits from a giant, totally round head that would float in the corner of the ceiling and teach me important secrets about the universe. Think I may have still been in my crib at the time. So, not recently, I mean.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:02 PM on May 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


I always knew it was Berenstain. Which is not surprising because my parents and my brother and I were/are huge word nerds. But I have absolutely no memory of actually reading any of their books, only seeing them in the library.
posted by matildaben at 11:22 PM on May 15, 2015


9/11 – Did it happen on 9/11, as most people remember, or on 9/10, as some recall?

What the fuck? Who believes this? No one believes this.

This actually makes a little sense, if you were somewhere in the Pacific Ocean you could have heard about it late at night on your 9/10. Then you go to bed and think of 9/11 as being the day after the attacks.
posted by justkevin at 5:58 PM on May 15 [+] [!]


Can someone please assure me I'm not insane in thinking this conjecture is totally not in keeping with how time zones work (in before "that's not even funny", etc...)?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 11:34 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I know that Billy Graham is still alive (as of this comment), but I apparently sentenced cousins Jimmy Swaggart and Mickey Gilley to death several years ago. In Mickey's case probably 15 years or so ago. Swaggart's a doofus, but neither he nor Gilley have done anything to me. Why would I mentally kill them off like that?
posted by bryon at 11:40 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hey, pop quiz, remember the TV commercial with the gorilla jumping on the suitcases? What brand suitcases?
posted by argybarg at 11:44 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Samsonite, right? Everyone agrees, at least everyone I've asked.

Only it was American Tourister.
posted by argybarg at 11:46 PM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


s/reality/this\ timestream/g

This will help immensely when talking with conspiracy theorists...
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 12:12 AM on May 16, 2015


I specifically remember Berenstein. Why? Because I remember taking the time to commit the fact that it was Berenstein and not Bernstein to memory. As a child, I did not misspell things, so I'm more inclined to believe the alternate universe theory than that I was mistaken about the spelling all this time. I never watched the TV show and my parents never read those particular books to me, my first exposure to them was after I learned to read.

I also remember seeing the Challenger blow up on TV, on the CBS News minute thing they used to do between shows during the day. It was either just before or just after The Price is Right. I was at home with my mom in her bedroom watching TV that morning. I can see how some might conflate that with the fairly widely shown return to flight several years later, which they did show live in class at my school.
posted by wierdo at 12:15 AM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]




I also remember seeing the Challenger blow up on TV, on the CBS News minute thing they used to do between shows during the day. It was either just before or just after The Price is Right. I was at home with my mom in her bedroom watching TV that morning.

This is something that has puzzled me for a while -- I definitely remember seeing the Challenger explode live on TV, at home, by myself, but whenever the topic comes up, everyone else seems to have seen it at school, and I can't think why I wouldn't have been at school if it happened during school hours.
posted by rifflesby at 12:19 AM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Can someone please assure me I'm not insane in thinking this conjecture is totally not in keeping with how time zones work (in before "that's not even funny", etc...)?

Sadly the conjecture is totally in keeping with how time zones work. New York is at UTC-5; some Pacific islands are at UTC-12. Anytime it's earlier than 7:00 am in NY, there are places where it's still the previous day.

However: the first plane hit at 8:46 am. So in the case of the 9/11 attacks, it truly was 9/11 or later everywhere in the world, not 9/10. (In some parts of the Pacific it was already 9/12, though.)
posted by equalpants at 12:26 AM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that's what my internal math was saying. Thanks for the assurance.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 12:31 AM on May 16, 2015


"Berenstain" is too much like a dad joke to seem real.
posted by Segundus at 12:32 AM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't understand Mandela though; thinking he died in prison misses the most important thing about him. It's like believing Pontius Pilate actually let Jesus off on a technicality.
posted by Segundus at 12:37 AM on May 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


In the original version of the movie, Han actually did shoot first. In the 20th anniversary re-release, Greedo was shown to so we could be comfortable in rooting for Han, the now-morally-unambiguous hero. Bollocks.

I'm in the "Berenstein/Mandela-died-in-prison people are all nuts" camp.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 12:40 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ok, my entries on shallow multiverse experiences:

The 1993 Russian parliamentary coup involved actual, serious urban combat. As in, the world was riveted, everyone was going 'Oh #$%&, it's Russian civil war II doomsday'.

Johnny Cash died in 1999.

Billy Graham died around 2007.

Chartreuse is a red-purple color, a sort of purple maroon, the shade of a wine stain on paper that has dried.

On a more personal note: I have either an extremely vivid personal memory or an intensely concrete lucid dream that I have never been able to dispel.

My family has a cabin in the Sierras, near Columbia, up on a mountain side. It was my grandmother's house. I was staying their in the summer of 2003 by myself. What is in my mind was waking up early, around 7:00 AM or so, and going outside. And I looked out at the open meadow slope that was below the cabin, and I saw a large black ape maybe in the 6 to 7 foot range, at the far edge of the meadow, near the tree line. He was walking with a bipedal gait. He paused, looked at me, and after a second, and then he kept walking. And then I felt an acute wave of fear overcoming me, and I just stayed inside. To this day I don't know if I experienced that or just dreamt it in the early morning.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 12:43 AM on May 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'd swear there was an episode of TNG where Tasha Yarr got sucked into some kind of pit of black goo, but everybody looks at me like I'm crazy!
posted by anazgnos at 12:43 AM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I guess life is just a crazy dream.
posted by Segundus at 1:15 AM on May 16, 2015




OH GOD I'M FINALLY HOME
posted by anazgnos at 1:19 AM on May 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


Chartreuse is a red-purple color, a sort of purple maroon, the shade of a wine stain on paper that has dried.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 12:43 AM on May 16 [1 favorite +] [!]


The first time I recall hearing of the color, I was under the same impression. Then eventually I figured out I was conflating it with puce.
posted by Peregrine Pickle at 1:46 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't understand Mandela though; thinking he died in prison misses the most important thing about him.

People misremembering and misdating the death of Steve Biko?

The 1993 Russian parliamentary coup involved actual, serious urban combat.

Misremembering the 1991 actual coup, perhaps because footage of that was also shown during the 1993 standoff (and remember, Yeltsin did shell the Russian parliamentary building).
posted by MartinWisse at 2:21 AM on May 16, 2015


So when I was a kid, I never paid much attention to song lyrics, partly because I could never make them out on our crappy radio, and partly because Mom and Dad always had it tuned to the Boring Songs From the Seventies station. But I do remember that at one point for some reason I listened intently and figured out the words to the chorus of a particular song: "Do you feel the same? Am I only dreaming / Or is this burning an eternal flame?"

Some years later, I was in junior high, and the version by The Bangles came on the radio. I was intrigued, because I didn't know a lot about music, and it was one of the first few times I'd heard both the original version and the remake of a song. It went pretty much just as I remembered it, though with a bit more modern sound.

Problem is, "Eternal Flame" wasn't a remake. It was written, according to Wikipedia anyway, by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly and Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles. So ... how did I know the words?
posted by darksasami at 2:25 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Count me as a Berenstain person; that's what my parents called it when I was a kid, so it surprises me that so many people got it wrong. Having studied German, I also am hyperaware of word endings -ein and -ien.

"-ein" words, in German anyway, are always pronounced with a long I, as in "eye".

"-ien" words are always pronounced with a long E as in "bean". There are exceptions with English pronunciation with these words, but they should default to the German pronunciation.
posted by zardoz at 3:13 AM on May 16, 2015


KENNEDY
SHOT
FIRST

posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 4:08 AM on May 16, 2015 [17 favorites]


LeRoien Jaune: The 1993 Russian parliamentary coup involved actual, serious urban combat.

I don't know what counts as "actual, serious urban combat" but there were armed battles during the 1993 struggle between Yeltsin and the parliament. The official death count is 187 and hundreds more wounded.
posted by Kattullus at 4:08 AM on May 16, 2015


omigod the page on moving countries. It couldn't be that you are crap at geography, it must be an alternate universe with clues left in the movie Dazed and Confused.
posted by harriet vane at 4:36 AM on May 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


This is something that has puzzled me for a while -- I definitely remember seeing the Challenger explode live on TV, at home, by myself, but whenever the topic comes up, everyone else seems to have seen it at school, and I can't think why I wouldn't have been at school if it happened during school hours.

Could you have been home and sick like I was when it happened?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:37 AM on May 16, 2015


oh it gets better: the Dazed and Confused screencap comes from the David Icke forums.
posted by harriet vane at 4:37 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Where I lived, and I think elsewhere in New York State, there was no (high) school on the day of the Challenger disaster because of Regents exams or something (if I recall correctly!).
posted by gubo at 4:51 AM on May 16, 2015


Berenstain. Like the letters actually say. Read some of these to my kids. The word plainly is Berenstain in giant letters on every book cover. So weird. Like finding out people have gone through life thinking the sky is green.

"Uh, just look at it."

"Damn! It is blue!"

Wonder where my blind spots are...
posted by umberto at 5:00 AM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I could have sworn Batman (1989) was released in 1986.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 5:08 AM on May 16, 2015


So on this phrmomenon, my kids' pre-k education is through our city. My son finished the program, my daughter is midway through. As an inscentive to help child literacy, they have a 1000 books before kindergarten program. That means we read 100 10-book book bags. These books were donated by families, or represent a style of literature, maybe local, maybe nonfiction, maybe poetry. Every book bag is different, and you never know whether you are getting the book with Harold and the Purple Crayon, the very complete and nearly unabridged Nutcracker, or the non-fiction snore fest People in the Arctic (the first book that my son said was really long and boring). These books are all kids books, but one book bag may take you 45 minutes, or you may have one book that takes you that long. they've evened them up mostly, but there are a few book bags that take a week's worth of attention span.

So, it took a while, but finally we had a Berenstain Bears book. I remember, because I flipped it over, reread the title multiple times making sure that it wasn't a fake. I went so far as to look up the cover picture on a Google image search. Sure enough, I misremembered.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:28 AM on May 16, 2015


But... In the DAZED AND CONFUSED scene he's spinning the globe, so you don't get a chance to see - isn't it possible that that's just some gum on the globe or something?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:34 AM on May 16, 2015


I have had my share of weird experiences as a child. I don't imagine that I can explain them, time being as it is. It was a very long time ago. And, as this thread shows, perception is a variable. Memory is fallible. Indeed it mat not even be useful at all.

I have a theory about this. So I have a lot of weird memories from when I was really little, let's say 3-7 years or something like that, which defy any sort of explanation, too. Like the memory of watching a PBS special about sharks where a man gets his all his arms and legs bitten off and is writhing on the deck of the ship after the pull him out of the water. Or the one where my brother, wearing yellow fleece Winnie-the-Pooh footie pajamas, fell down all our stairs and faceplanted into my mom's potted cactus. These are memories that were, and are, very vivid to me, things that I thought about all the time and which formed a part of my personal childhood mythology, but which never ever happened.

But! Going back over them later, and talking to people who were involved (like my mom and my brother), I've come to the conclusion that they were actually dreams, and since I was too young at the time to really be able to seperate dreams from reality, I just processed them as memories and they stuck around. I actually stiil had problems telling the difference between dreams and reality until I was in college, so maybe it's just that my wires are crossed. But I think it's a convincing explanation.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 5:36 AM on May 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


On the Challenger, I don't remeber what grade I was in. It was in 1-3 though, because what most people in my school remember was how we found out. My sister was 2 years older than me, and a boy in her class that would have been minimally diagnosed with ADHD asked to use the bathroom. At the time his teacher was the principal... Because my elementary school was so small that the principal also taught history. (K-8 121 kids).

Anyway, so Chis, this kid asked to use the bathroom and happened to wander by the library - which was the only room in the school with a TV. He returned back to his class and told them palefaced what he saw. The principal went sort of nuts, saying that he shouldn't lie (which was something the kid did regularly), and eventually the situation escalated to the Principal shouting and kicking him out of the classroom (not common, but not uncommon either). Loud enough that everyone in the school heard the commotion and our teacher and several students came to the door. Them the librarian came out, equally palefaced. Instant silence and everybody in our school knew.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:47 AM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Could you have been home and sick like I was when it happened?

Sure, I guess I could have been. That's the most likely answer. But man! What are the chances?
posted by rifflesby at 5:49 AM on May 16, 2015


In the original version of the movie, Han actually did shoot first. In the 20th anniversary re-release, Greedo was shown to so we could be comfortable in rooting for Han, the now-morally-unambiguous hero. Bollocks.

That was a joke.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:52 AM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Cause I remember how it really happened obviously much better than Lucas.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:53 AM on May 16, 2015


Empress, I'm pretty sure it's the logo of the globe maker. Or maybe Atlantis.
posted by harriet vane at 6:17 AM on May 16, 2015


This happens to me a lot, I'd always thought because I like to make things up and believe them.
Now, I know that I'm actually skipping universes constantly.
It's a good day when you discover you're a mutant/warlock and not just a pathological liar.
posted by signal at 6:23 AM on May 16, 2015


I like to think I'm both.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:37 AM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm from Universe E.

I feel like the big question implicit in the multiple universe theory is: when did universe E collapse into universe A? And why? Was it actually a swap - is there a version of me who grew up here in universe A who is now reading this same post on Metafelter, and typing something about how she (or he, maybe they never transitioned) is from universe A? Or did half of the people in A get their memories overwritten with E memories?

Or maybe we all just misremembered it or something.

But damn, seeing "Berenstein" just looks so right to me. And I remember looking at the title closely and deciphering it to realize it was not "Bearenstein".

Given the timeframe, maybe Earth E was destroyed in a nuclear war, and we are the ones who made it out. Somehow. Which, again, leads to the question of what happened to the A-world person I replaced. Is he just a cinder in the radioactive remains of New Orleans E? Or maybe there was only ever one, and Someone did a huge change, and the Berenst[e/a]in Bears are a side effect?

Shit, maybe all you A people are actually the invaders, and...

Seriously, this kind of discrepancy is the kind of thing realityfuck stories begin with.
posted by egypturnash at 6:53 AM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


“You don't remember what happened. What you remember becomes what happened” - John Green, An Abundance of Katherines

Many many, years ago I went with some friends to see a band at a local bar. The band was called '13 Engines'. When we entered the place the doorman said the cover was $6.50. "That's 50 cents an engine" I joked, and my friends laughed but the guy at the door didn't even crack a smile.

Cut to almost 20 years later, and I hear one of my friends telling that same exact story, only in his version he's the one making the dumb joke. I call him on it and he's 100 percent sure it was him who said it and I'm just as sure it was me. One of us has a false memory, not just about what we saw or heard, but about what we said.

Anyway, it was me. I said it.
posted by rocket88 at 6:57 AM on May 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


As a kid, I was close friends in my home town with a guy who has subsequently dealt with some fairly severe symptoms of mental illness - visions of supernatural beings, voices, that sort of thing - but before it became really evident that this was going on, he was experiencing a lot of superficially plausible false memories. We once had this conversation over the phone where he was like "dude, did you come home this summer?", and I was like no, wait, what are you talking about? And he was like "I remember that you came home and we went to [other friend]'s house and got drunk and...", and I'm like no, no man, none of that ever happened. Not even a little bit. I did not do or say those things. I was five hundred miles away from those places.

The terrifying thing about that conversation, though, aside from the fact that my friend seemed to be drifting out of touch with reality, was that I got off the phone and had to go ok, wait, am I sure about this? The way I remember it now, I was rattled enough that I had to confirm my own memories with people around me.

And then I'm thinking about it, and I wonder about my memory of my friend's false memory. Did it really go like that? I know I must have told the story a few dozen times by now, probably more than once in writing, because the whole moment felt so weird and did so much to drive home how weirdly mutable and unreliable memory can be. How much have I reshaped it by telling it? And then even as I think about the perfectly mundane story he told me on the phone about getting drunk and having some kind of argument and people talking shit, the content of that feels like it could be an actual memory easy enough.

Anyhow, I get the appeal of the alternate universe thought train. It's slightly more pleasant than directly confronting the knowledge that brains don't work very well for very long and the whole of your experience and being is a volatile pattern destined to inconsequentially but painfully flicker out of existence altogether at any moment, assuming you're lucky enough not to experience its total derangement first.

Happy Saturday, MetaFilter! I think I'm going to take a walk and get stoned and not think about mortality for the entire rest of the day.
posted by brennen at 7:12 AM on May 16, 2015 [20 favorites]


lollymccatburglar: "But! Going back over them later, and talking to people who were involved (like my mom and my brother), I've come to the conclusion that they were actually dreams, and since I was too young at the time to really be able to seperate dreams from reality, I just processed them as memories and they stuck around. I actually stiil had problems telling the difference between dreams and reality until I was in college, so maybe it's just that my wires are crossed. But I think it's a convincing explanation."

Somewhat along those same lines, I have a couple memories of things that actually happened, but only came back to me in a dream years later. Things that I have asked family about and their reaction is "you remember that?", because I was really young when they happened. It's not like these memories are of some major event, one is a scene of a cousin's birthday party when I was 2.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:13 AM on May 16, 2015


This "slider" theory, which I don't believe, comes close to explaining how I heard Alice Cooper's "Paradise City" in 1980, and nobody believed that the Guns n' Roses song everyone knows was a cover version.

Infuriating comparisons to Hanoi Rocks' "Lost in the City" do not apply. The songs are too different.

What I remember is cyclical repetitions of:

"Take me down to the [unintelligible] city
Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty"

Because that's how I recognized the song.

When the GN'R version came out, and I realized it was "Paradise City", instead of what my 6-year-old brain had only been able to render as "very last city", I immediately had that "Oh! That's what they were saying!" reaction, followed by, "So who did the original?"

I really believe it was Alice Cooper, even though I'm pretty sure it's nobody, and never happened.

The faulty sci-fi theory I'm willing to float, but don't believe in, for why we remember things wrong, is that our lives start over again, in an endless loop, and we have scraps of memories of previous trips, and that's why we have deja vu, or can't trust anybody, or get angry or scared for no reason. All those experiences are the old recordings bleeding through to muddle the new signal. It's not other realities, it's just slightly different runs of the same reality, over and over again.
It's why names and phrases I'm hearing for the first time sound ancient and familiar, and why I remember conversations with people that the other person doesn't, it's why people say, "What did you meant by [xxxyy]?" and that's a thing that I not only know I didn't say, but never even would say, but everyone in the room insists I did, and I wind up having a panic attack over why the whole group is ganging up to gaslight me like that. Thankfully, that last one hasn't happened in twenty years, but on the three or four occasions I can recall, it was damn terrifying every time.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:12 AM on May 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Sometimes I feel like hallucinating regularly as a child prepared me really well to not trust my brain too much. Once you have a clear and vivid memory of your pet goldfish floating around your room bathed in creepy luminescence, it's easier to accept you might be wrong about the smaller stuff.

But I'm universe E.
posted by deludingmyself at 8:16 AM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Another one:
The horse in "Shadow of the Colossus" is "Argo", right?

Apparently, it's "Agro", which I find stupid, and the way the kid says his name in the audio of the game is obviously "Argo".

But all online sources say "Agro".
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:33 AM on May 16, 2015


And those whom we label paranoid schizophrenics really did experience a world where the RCMP replaces people's molars with radio transmitters.

I would put my wisdom teeth back in if they could receive the 80s era CFNY.
posted by srboisvert at 8:42 AM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was home sick the day of the Challenger explosion, so I did see it live. I was also sick on the 1 year anniversary, oddly enough. I remember thinking, in later years, that I was one of the few people I knew that had seen it, so they clearly did not show it live at my school.

And it's totally Berenstein.
posted by Turd Ferguson at 8:43 AM on May 16, 2015


Billy Graham and Jimmy Swaggart are still alive, but Jerry Falwell died in 2007, Oral Roberts died in 2009, Billy James Hargis died in 2004, and Dr. D. James Kennedy died in 2007.

I used to get Jimmy Swaggart and Jerry Falwell confused all the time, since I didn't watch any of them, and I can see folks getting Billy Graham confused with them or Hargis for similar reasons.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:52 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


With Christa McAuliffe set to be the first teacher in space, NASA had arranged a satellite broadcast of the full mission into television sets in many schools,

Yeah, that explains how I saw it live. We were all in the cafeteria of my grade school (which doubled as a gym/auditorium) with a big CRT TV on a cart wheeled in. It would have made sense for our school to get it live, since we'd been studying space stuff for weeks; Christa McAuliffe was a New Hampshirite and schoolteacher, so my NH elementary school was swelling with pride about it.

Later that day, I remember talking with Seth about how I thought the first bit of disintegration was just how shuttle flights are supposed to look. One part of this memory might be unreliable, as it may have been another student to whom I'd been talking. However, I am certain it WAS Seth who, a year later in the boy's bathroom, explained to me what the F-word meant. "It's when a guy... and a girl... DO IT" he said, raising his eyebrows conspiratorially. "Huh," I said, nodding.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:57 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Canadian TV -- I think it was CTV -- carried the Challenger launch live. I was watching it at home while studying for my grade 12 chemistry final. All sorts of people on the US-Canada border would have been able to see it live.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 9:25 AM on May 16, 2015


Memory is weird.

There were a bunch of time when I was younger that I just knew in advance of a raffle or some kind that I was going to win; and then I did. This happened more than once, enough for me to wonder if I had some weird ability to see part of the future, even though I knew that made no sense.

It took me a long time to realize that what was happening was just that I always wanted to win. And those times that I did, I mistook that as predicting it. When I didn't, I forgot.

And so my memory turned that into predicting the wins.

Memory is weird.

(Also: I thought it was pronounced "Berenst-een", but I don't really remember the spelling. It was always "dilemMa" for me.)

(Also also: This is a great thread.)
posted by vernondalhart at 9:33 AM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


However, I am certain it WAS Seth who, a year later in the boy's bathroom, explained to me what the F-word meant. "It's when a guy... and a girl... DO IT" he said, raising his eyebrows conspiratorially. "Huh," I said, nodding.

Wait, that's what it means in this universe?
posted by Rock Steady at 9:45 AM on May 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Mister MooFoo - I would say that Wander very clearly says "Agro" (with a slightly drawn out "ah" syllable at the beginning) every time you call for the horse's attention, but my wife maintains that in casual situations (in the course of normal gameplay, for example) it could be heard the way you hear it.

Having said that, this clip WHICH CONTAINS A MASSIVE SPOILER ABOUT SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS FYI has what we both agree to be a very clear enunciation of "Agro".
posted by radiosilents at 9:56 AM on May 16, 2015


rankfreudlite: "The only explanation I can logically deduce is that your mind creates the universe."

Dude. You're blowing my mind. Which means you're blowing the universe. Duuuuuuuuude.

Someone has to blow it. The universe can't blow itself. INFINIDUUUUUUUUUUUDE!!!!!!
posted by rankfreudlite at 10:00 AM on May 16, 2015


I could have sworn Batman (1989) was released in 1986.

Maybe you have the movie's release tangled up with the release of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, originally serialized Feb-June 1986. Since TDKR was the clear cultural antecedent of Burton's film, there's no way they could've come out the same year, but Batman and 1986 do have a connection.

Batman '89 serves as one of my primary historical anchor points -- in large part because I was 12 and that was an amazing summer for big-budget movies: Ghostbusters 2, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Licence to Kill, Star Trek V, Gremlins 2, The Abyss, and probably some others I'm not remembering.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:06 AM on May 16, 2015


I love this parallel universe stuff. The Berenstain Bears doesn't feel that mysterious to me, though. I did have a brief moment of WTF when my daughter watched the show or we read some books. I certainly remembered it as Berenstein but I'm comfortable chalking that up to a greater familiarity with ...stein, both through names and through Frankenstein. I always chuckle at the theme song, though. "They're kind of hairy about the torso. They're just like people but only more so." How are they more like people...than people?
posted by firemouth at 10:19 AM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Has anyone considered the possibility that the person who wrote the books was wrong?
posted by rankfreudlite at 10:19 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I spent a lot of time as a kid finagling ways to stay home from school and my mom generally played along, so I suspect that's why my memories of Challenger are that I was home when it happened and that a friend of mine and I biked to a nearby shopping center to run an errand for my mom and sort of loudly discussed the tragedy in line at the bank so that we would be spreading the news. The entire memory makes no real sense if I stop and think about it.

I always chalked up my Berenstain/Berenstein Bears thing to the fact that -ein was the ending I was more familiar with and that -stain would have made the name ugly and so probably wasn't right. Combine that with the fact that I think a lot of people "fill in" words instead of actually reading them makes the error seem reasonable. I'm named Genevieve, but a lot of people see that the first letter is G, the name is long, and there's a v and some i's and e's in there, and I get called Guinevere all the time.

On the other hand, you got me on the dilemna thing. I do it all the time and have no idea why but it looks right to me.
posted by PussKillian at 10:20 AM on May 16, 2015


I have lots of false movie memories that come from reading novelizations of movies as a kid of movies that I'd never actually seen. For example, I've never seen Jaws, but I read the book, and up until a few years ago, my memory was the exact opposite.

Another interesting case is when I saw a guy on the street wearing a t-shirt and my first thought was "I used to have that exact shirt" and that was it, until a few hours later that the actual memory popped up. I didn't used to have that shirt, I had actually designed the shirt 5 years earlier while doing freelance work. I did the design, turned them in, and never actually saw the finished product until that moment. But my instant memory was of me owning and wearing the shirt.

I actually find these sort of things hilarious and interesting. I for sure fall into the "cosmic joke" category of metaphysical thought. If there is a God, it has a wicked sense of humor.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:34 AM on May 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


From the Chakotay link:

I personally believe that either our memories are being overwritten by another reality, or we make short jaunts to other realities without noticing it.
I believe it is the former. As our memories for the most part, everything that defines us. If we get a few days of memory from a reality almost identical to ours, we most likely wont notice.


I love how overwhelmingly chill this dude is!
posted by Greg Nog at 10:34 AM on May 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


radiosilents, still sounds like "Argo" to me. That second syllable is always "go".
posted by Mister Moofoo at 10:49 AM on May 16, 2015


And, if we're still taking the opportunity to share weird tales from childhood, especially ones that evoke a sense of can I be remembering this accurately, then here's one of mine. Raised mostly by my mom, sister and grandmother. Grandma had a friend named Annie. Annie had had a son who died in a car wreck, years earlier but at about the same age as I was at the time of the story. I don't quite know, maybe 9 or 10. Earlier in the evening, I was eavesdropping and my mom and grandmother were talking about this tragedy. It was something I'd never heard of before. I guess every year on the anniversary of his death, a framed picture would fall from the wall in Annie's home. This really scared me and I found myself unable to stop thinking about it. All evening long, I was really focused. Throughout my bath, tv time books and finally bedtime. Alone in the dark, I hear a thunk and sure enough, a framed picture had fallen from my bedroom wall. It was a little print of Rockwell, the one with the boys choosing sides in a baseball game. I screamed, mom and grandma come running. I show them, toldthem I overheard the talk about Annie's son. They tried to comfort me but, frankly, the facade of reassurance was fragile. I could see that they were afraid.

Years later, no one remembers this but me. Did it happen, did it kind of happen or is it entirely a false memory? Not ever knowing is quite the dilemna.
posted by firemouth at 10:52 AM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


For about three years I have been plagued with insomnia. After experiencing a series of vivid and quite intricate dreams, I began to wonder about dreams as in "What's the deal?"
So I began to pay attention to the moment that I slip into sleep. As it turns out, it is not an on/off thing but rather some sort of gradient. My mind begins to stray from one state, and enters another (what either state is, I have still to determine). I am, however, quite sure of the dream-state. It seems that the mind is presented with several possibilities, and picks the best one ("best": still to define).
posted by rankfreudlite at 11:00 AM on May 16, 2015


I was also home "sick" (during a period of frequent truancy at age 13), and I'm 99% sure I watched the Challenger disaster live on C-SPAN. (I remember long periods of switching among various camera feeds with almost no narration or commentary, so it can't have been a news network like CNN.)
posted by mubba at 11:19 AM on May 16, 2015


Dr. Frankenstein?

That's Frankenstain!
posted by Splunge at 11:34 AM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Is it just me, or do many of these false memories involve truancy? Stay in school, children!
posted by rankfreudlite at 11:37 AM on May 16, 2015


I was in Florida when the Challenger explosion happened. Teachers used to take students outside to watch shuttle launches - once they got a bit off the ground they became visible from where we were, and you could see them go up until they left the atmosphere. It was neat, but of course, not so neat that day. I remember teachers and kids crying because they actually saw it happen live. Now this thread is making me wonder whether this memory is actually false.
posted by heisenberg at 11:38 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just because some memories are false doesn't mean all memories are false. Just because some people didn't actually see it doesn't mean no one saw it.
posted by bleep at 1:04 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I always pronounced it Beren-steen, because my mother pointed the pun out to me at some point. I just called her up and blew her mind over the whole "stain" thing.

I have pretty vivid memories of being able to watch TV with my eyes closed--also of TV announcers speaking to me. Pretty sure these were actually dreams. The amazing thing about being a kid is not quite knowing the rules of the universe so these sorts of things can seem plausible.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:32 PM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


My personal belief regarding bizarre but plausible memories of distant events are that they are dreams that made their way into memory via crossed wires.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:57 PM on May 16, 2015


Anazgnos wrote: I'd swear there was an episode of TNG where Tasha Yarr got sucked into some kind of pit of black goo, but everybody looks at me like I'm crazy!

I'll bet that you're thinking of this scene from the 1980 Flash Gordon movie. He kinda looks like Tasha Yar there...
posted by parilous at 3:42 PM on May 16, 2015


I can't help myself, but this post has opened a painful wound. I remember a Matt Groening Life in Hell cartoon that included a famous quote from John Mitchell during the Watergate investigation: "I was not privy to the thrust of his aegis". If you Google this quote you will find my original question on this at Ask Metafilter - and nothing else. There is apparently no evidence of this quote anywhere, much less a Life in Hell cartoon using it. But everyone is wrong, and I don't know why they're lying! I can see the cartoon and the quote clearly in my mind. If you know Matt Groening, please ask him to step up and back me on this. Thanks.
posted by Jackson at 7:30 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have The Big Book of Hell and The Huge Book of Hell right here. They're far from comprehensive, unfortunately, so if it's not in either it won't rule anything out, but I figure scouring for a positive is a good enough excuse for me to reread them.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:20 PM on May 16, 2015


I remember as a kid Jerry Anderson shows like Thunderbirds and Space 1999 being really cool. And then watched them a coupe years ago, and oh my god. Somebody must have changed the universe around me.
posted by happyroach at 11:58 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Anazgnos wrote: I'd swear there was an episode of TNG where Tasha Yarr got sucked into some kind of pit of black goo, but everybody looks at me like I'm crazy!

Wait, hang on, that's a false memory? Because if so, it's one I have too.

I remember seeing a green china cat ornament of my mum's dancing around the shelves in our living room as a child, but I know that was a fever hallucination.

There was also the New Year's party a few years ago, when I watched my friend pop the cork of a champagne bottle and distinctly saw it fly through the wall of the living room. I would write this off as none of us being ... exactly sober at the time, but we didn't find the cork until the next day -- in the kitchen, where it would have landed if what I saw was correct.

When I was little, I often had memories that seemed to have been recorded in the third person, so I would see myself doing whatever actions I had done, from outside. (My housemate just told me that lots of people have third-person memories from early childhood, because the actual memory gets overwritten by the accounts of the events you hear from other people who were there. Most of my third-person memories were of things I was doing by myself, though.) I remember telling my mum about this when I was four or so, though, given this thread, I guess you should take that memory with a grain of salt too!

My mum also told me that once, when I was four and had just started primary school, I very matter-of-factly reported having an out-of-body experience in school assembly. I was apparently concentrating on the assembly, then concentrated so hard that I just lifted up out of my body.

I was a very bright and bookish child, and wished fervently that I would discover Matilda-like telekinetic powers in myself, but I did not.
posted by daisyk at 4:54 AM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just remembered another, very widespread, "false memory," one where I very strongly recall the "false" version of events. When the Essex teenager Leah Betts died in 1995, after taking Ecstasy and then drinking 15 pints of water, there were was a huge anti-drugs poster campaign about her. Many, many people remember the posters showing the famous photograph of Leah in a coma, with tubes and wires around her. I do too. I was eleven at the time, living fairly close to where Leah lived, and had a classmate with very nearly the same name, and with the huge media frenzy around her death, the whole thing hit me (and probably all my peers) very hard. I have one particularly clear memory of walking past the railway station and seeing that poster with the coma photograph. The posters were everywhere, though.

When I wrote an essay about her a few years ago, though, I discovered that the posters actually had a school picture of Leah, smiling and looking healthy. I really can't square this with anything I remember.

Here's the Wikipedia article about Leah Betts (the coma picture is right at the top, be warned) and here's the talk page section about the false memory.
posted by daisyk at 5:20 AM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


There is also the disturbing idea that anything that happened pre-Internet that didn't make its way onto Wikipedia can now be labelled a false memory. It seems more likely that there were things that happened that didn't get recorded 100% than hundreds of people remembering something that never happened.
posted by bleep at 7:00 AM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's like we're so used to everything being documented completely that we can't conceive of something not being documented, therefore it must not have happened.
posted by bleep at 7:01 AM on May 17, 2015


> Anazgnos wrote: I'd swear there was an episode of TNG where Tasha Yarr got sucked into some kind of pit of black goo, but everybody looks at me like I'm crazy!

Wait, hang on, that's a false memory? Because if so, it's one I have too.


The best thing about that particular false memory is that people are just remembering what would have been a way cooler way to handle what was basically the same outcome. It's an episode where:

- there is a malevolent pit of black, animate goo
- the goo very much demonstrates its capacity to suck people into it
- the goo murders Tasha Yar, literally straight up kills a major cast member

So...goo murders Tasha by sucking her in, right? Terrifying, epic death?

Nope. Death by random shitty energy blast.
posted by cortex at 8:19 AM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's also disturbing how resistant a lot of people are to the very notion that memory is fallible. If you look at the comments on that Mandela Effect site, people are coming up with alternate excuses for everything they get wrong, from common spelling errors to news stories. So some people there got Diane Fossey and Jane Goodall confused and were proposing 'Jane Goodall was murdered by poachers' as an alternate reality until someone pointed out they probably confused the two. That's just one that's kind of obvious and a direct, understandable substitution. A lot of them aren't as simple and immediately recognizable as that.

If you pay attention to how your own memories are formed and how you create narratives, there's a HUGE amount of filling in involved. Our memories are formed and affected by cultural biases, memes, misunderstandings, conflations, and a million other things that go well beyond simply objectively recording events. We're not just databanks. We're pattern recognizing, narrative creating, connection filling-in machines. We use all kinds of fuzzy tools to discover and recognize patterns, and unsurprisingly, sometimes those tools fail. Sometimes, they even fail in common ways, so we can find other people who have made the same mistakes. The most obvious and concrete example from those comments being something like a misspelling. Maybe some subset of people incorrectly applies a spelling convention, then they go out and misspell a word in a consistent way, which spreads the incorrect spelling, and you just subconsciously 'correct' it in your head when you see it, as in the Berenstain example. That's how a lot of 'correct' spelling conventions are established in the first place.

I kind of like discovering false memories I have, because by deconstructing those errors, you can see how your memory works in the first place. How you connect unrelated events and concepts, how you condense and manipulate narratives (a really common one is to 'remember' some thing that played out as taking place in a shorter period of time), and how your biases mold the things you remember and those you don't.

Sometimes, I'll start dozing off in front of the TV while something is on--usually a kind of boring, formulaic TV show--and I'll start dreaming half-way, constructing pictures to go with the music and dialog on screen. And I love it when that happens. I've seen some very surreal and eerie episodes of Law and Order that way that are much better than the boring regular versions.

Brain glitches can be pretty fun sometimes.
posted by ernielundquist at 8:31 AM on May 17, 2015 [9 favorites]


Dang it. I need to get this off my chest.

An extremely long time ago, I complained to a friend that some shitty dude at my job had gotten on my work computer and tried to go to the stupid Hamster Dance site to "show it to me," and it alerted IT at this terrible, toxic company that I was fucking around.

About a thousand years later, she mentioned in passing that she doesn't listen to me about interesting internet things because of that time I showed her Hamster Dance. To this day, she remembers that I was the shitty dude in that story doing that to HER. And to this day, I am enraged that she impugns my character like that, and plan to take her some day to one of those TV judge shows or something to clear my name once and for all.

The moral being: I know they're not always fun and good, and the other moral being that my friend is the worst.
posted by ernielundquist at 8:52 AM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


I remember as a kid Jerry Anderson shows like Thunderbirds and Space 1999 being really cool. And then watched them a coupe years ago, and oh my god. Somebody must have changed the universe around me.
posted by happyroach at 2:58 AM on May 17


That's not reality changing, that's not even a false memory - that's just a visit from the Suck Fairy.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 9:07 AM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


Nope. Death by random shitty energy blast .

I just rewatched this again for the first time since its first run, a couple of weeks ago, in this glacially-slow rewatch of the whole series I've been going on at not-much-faster than it first aired. Rewatching TNG is one giant, brutal long-form exercise in stark exposure to the fallibility of memory. It's simultaneously worse and more interesting than the version that lives in my head.
posted by brennen at 12:54 PM on May 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


This should be part of every high-school curriculum across the globe. We all have anecdotes to confirm how this is real, but the important thing is how politicians and advertisers use this knowledge to form us and direct us.
posted by mumimor at 4:00 PM on May 17, 2015


I actually have several of these false memories, one very personal, and one about a movie. I've always had this distinct memory that after I got an NES for Christmas one year, my dad would bring me downstairs after bed time, to the living room of our old house we'd lived in until I started elementary school, to play Super Mario Bros. together. I distinctly remember the layout of the room and everything.

But that couldn't have happened, because we got the NES for Christmas a few months after we'd moved into our new house. My uncle moved into our old house, and I would stay over with him some nights, and play Ghostbusters and Donkey Kong on his NES; I must have been conflating that with playing Mario with my dad in our new house. But the false memory is still very vivid.

Speaking of Ghostbusters: does anyone else remember Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight" playing when Viggo the Carpathian takes over the museum in Ghostbusters II? I've heard it's a common misconception that that song is in Ghostbusters, possibly stemming from the similarity between "In The Air Tonight" and the song that plays when Walter Peck disables the reactor and releases the captured ghosts in the first movie, but I haven't heard anyone who thought it was in Ghostbusters II. Maybe I thought so because I knew it wasn't in the first one, and so it must be somewhere?
posted by branduno at 5:23 PM on May 17, 2015


I get that this is a fun internet party game, but seriously, knowing how many millions of those berenstain bear books are in print, including like 50 in my mom's basement alone, if no one can produce a single copy with berenstEin, ..... how is this a serious hypothesis.
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:02 AM on May 18, 2015


It seems like there is a bit of a mix-up of two categories of things. False memories (Mandela's death) and a mass misunderstanding of something.

The latter category for example includes most people's belief that pineapples grow on trees.

There's all sorts of minor discoveries like this. I only realized this year that there are two entirely different creatures we call Bats. There's microbats and megabats. The latter don't echolocate and even recently it is still controversial whether they are closely related to microbats or are closely related to primates - so flying monkeys!
posted by vacapinta at 1:52 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


False memories (Mandela's death) and a mass misunderstanding of something.

Well, the example of the first thing sort of flies in the face of history, and depends on some profound ignorance of world events. That seems pretty misunderstanding-y.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:52 AM on May 18, 2015


Splunge: "Dr. Frankenstein?

That's Frankenstain!
"

That's also a common mistake. It's actually Frankenstain's monster.
posted by mhum at 11:58 AM on May 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


My favorite is, how many atomic bombs were dropped on Japan in WW2?
posted by Jacen at 3:39 PM on May 18, 2015


Er ... two?
posted by daisyk at 9:35 AM on May 19, 2015


My wife and I were discussing this phenomenon (and I found the page by Google not knowing it was recently given a FPP) and she just got mad at me when I suggested her memory was false: she remembers Amidala's famous line from Star Wars Ep III as "this is how democracy dies— to thunderous applause."

The problem being that the line is actually liberty not democracy.

Turns out, she's not the only one who has this apparently false memory. So I guess this is a full-on canonical example.
posted by norm at 6:57 PM on May 26, 2015


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