's 2017 Horror Write-off:

The Mandela Effect is Real

Submitted by WriterJosh

You've heard of the Mandela Effect, right? That's a term for when a large number of people remember something that didn't happen.

It was named after Nelson Mandela due to a widespread belief by a surprising amount of people that Mandela died back in the early 90's, while still in prison. Some go on to describe watching his funeral on the news, and even remember riots happening in the wake of his passing.

But of course, Mandela did not die in prison, and in fact would be elected president of South Africa and live for another couple of decades. I knew this, and you probably did, too, but apparently thousands of people did not.

Mandela's supposed death isn't the only example. If you think back, you've probably run into people who insist that something happened a certain way when you are quite certain they are wrong, but the memory is just as vivid for them as the opposite is for you. The best example I can think of is an argument I had with a co-worker years ago about the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Both of us remembered it, both of us had seen it, and both of us acknowledged that Schwarzenegger, of course, played the iconic part of the killer cyborg from the future.

But he insisted that the role of teenage John Connor had been played by an actor named Edward Furlong. Yeah, the name even sounds made-up, and yet, when I checked the IMDb, there is indeed an actor by that name. He's younger than DiCaprio by a few years, and hasn't had nearly as impressive a career, starring in a teen comedy about KISS called Detroit Rock City and a John Waters movie called Pecker. I'm making neither of those names up. And, according to, he was indeed up for the role of John Connor, but lost it to DiCaprio, who would later go on to great fame and Oscar-winning success.

My co-worker was actually angry at me for insisting on the truth. I even pulled up IMDb on my phone, but he refused to accept that, even suggesting that IMDb was wrong.

At the time I wrote him off as just one of those people who can't stand being proven wrong, but over the years, I've met others who steadfastly believe that Leonardo DiCaprio lost one of his most iconic parts to some punk kid I've never heard of. This would seem to be another example of the Mandela Effect in play.

But what causes it? I could understand if one person remembered something different than everyone else, but large numbers of people all remembering the same thing? What could cause delusion on that massive a scale?

Maybe that's the wrong question. The better question is, what if it's not a delusion?

I didn't kill my mother.

Let me explain; there is a theory out there, and don't ask me who started it, that in fact what happens is that humans, due to trauma, a change convergence or other possibilities, are in fact moving through various alternate realities throughout their lives. This leads to several subtle, but noticeable differences in memory. We tend to dismiss it as our memories playing tricks on us, but thanks to the Internet, it's very easy to find others who remember things a certain way, or even third and fourth ways, than what history says happened. Almost all of us have clear, vivid memories that we are certain happened but could not have.

While the differences are usually subtle, usually not even affecting you directly, sometimes they're rather important ones that can change your life. How many times do we hear of rape or molestation victims with "repressed memories" suddenly remembering what was done to them, and who did it, only for the accused to be baffled by the allegations? How many times have you run into someone who seems to know you but you don't remember them at all?

I've been thinking about this a lot, lately, and I believe in this alternate universe theory. And I didn't kill my mother.

Little things have been coming to me, lately. A half-remembered phrase, or a TV series I watched once when I was little that I can now find no evidence of it ever existing. Hell, I remember a movie I watched on TV years ago about a white basketball player rooming with a black clarinetist named Clarence. The two didn't get along, and I even remember it was a musical. At one point, the basketball player sings a number that goes something like "I got my ball/I got my stuff/WHO SAYS?/that that's not enough!"

No one I know remembers this movie, or anything like it. And no, it wasn't High School Musical, which was made when I was already an adult. This would have been the early 80's, and it was on TV, so it could have been produced even in the 70's. No trace of it exists anywhere online. Did I imagine it? Or do I now exist in a reality where it was never made?

If this theory is true, what else about my past isn't a fuzzy or false memory but a very real event that happened in a reality I only used to live in? Maybe I never lived in Cleveland. I only barely recall living there when I was about three years old. Maybe my grandmother really did lock me in her basement, an event both she and my mother swear never happened.

One thing is for sure, though. I didn't kill my mother.

I remember growing to hate her over the years, as she drove my father away with her oppressive negativity. How she lied and told me that he didn't want to see me anymore, when it was she who prevented him from seeing me. How she smothered me for decades, trying to force me into a state of arrested development, how she began to resent me for growing older, and doing things she tried to prevent, like going to college and getting a job. How that bitch made me feel guilty for simply wanting to be an adult like she was! How she told me I was a horrible son for abandoning her because I wanted to build my own life!

I remember the day I decided to do it. I was sick of her ruling over me like some kind of muumuu-wearing dictator. I was tired of her insisting she meet any girl I wanted to date, and that they had to gain her approval before I could even take them out once. I was tired of her using my cell phone like a leash; calling me every few minutes to see where I was, and if I was okay, and if I was coming home soon, and then calling the police when I didn't answer. I was tired of feeling like a bad son for being angry with her over this behavior. It was time I got rid of her.

It's funny how you need ID to buy cigarettes, which only kill you if you smoke them non-stop for years, but no one so much as blinks when you buy rat poison. I mixed it into her coffee, in a large enough dose that it would kill her but small enough that it wouldn't affect the drink's flavor. It didn't take long. She died, blood streaming from her nose and all over the table cloth. She looked into my eyes in those last few seconds, and I didn't see hatred coming from her. I didn't see judgment, or shock, or fear.

I saw understanding. All these years, she knew exactly what she was doing to me. She was simply unable to stop herself.

All these details are indelibly sealed upon my mind. I'll carry the scars with me for the rest of my life. Which isn't fair, because I didn't kill my mother.

She's very much alive to this day. She's calling me on my cell right now. This morning, before I left for work she berated me the entire time I was getting ready for wearing a brown shirt with black pants, because they just didn't go together, as if my boss cares about fashion.

I didn't kill her. I remember doing it. I remember being both extremely relieved and overcome with remorse. I remember cradling her body and weeping over it, still weeping as I buried her in the basement, and yet still feeling, for the first time in my life, truly free. Until three days ago, when I woke up in this reality to the sound of my mother nattering to herself in the kitchen. No matter how clearly I remember it, I didn't kill my mother.