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Am I Crazy? Or Is There a Time-Traveler Lurking Around?

Paging Dr. Mandela.....

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I have a prescription to fill, and it's more tinfoil for my hat.

You ever get that itchy feeling that something's not quite right? Are you certain something happened a certain way, or a certain something existed? But when you check your resources, it's completely different than what you remember? Don't worry, you're not going crazy. Some people may think you are. Some people may think I am while reading this. They may offer more than just the extra tinfoil to touch up the rusty parts in my hat. They may have you or me fitted for a straight jacket. But I'm telling you, something fishy's going on.

Before he died, Albert Einstein was on the verge of time-travel. His Theory of General Relativity suggested that time is all relative to the speed you're traveling. He believed that if you went around the world faster than the speed of light, you could beat the clock.

Everyone talks about things in pop culture that are not as they remembered. Whether it's time-travel or something else, there seems to be little inconsistencies in history.

A Little Too Close to Home....

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A couple years ago, I met with an old friend from school. We caught up, told each other what we've done with our lives. We relived old memories from our childhood friendship. I brought up a mutual friend, and asked him if what I heard was true. Did he really commit suicide?

Daryl proceeded to tell a story that I should have already knew. He said that Andy passed away when we were still in Junior High. There was an assembly called on Monday about what happened over the weekend. The school offered any counseling for those close to Andy, and for those who felt similar thoughts.

That couldn't have been right. I didn't move away until tenth grade. Surely, I would have remembered this.

What really bugged me though, is that I clearly remember him paying my roommate a visit. This was my first place on my own, right out of high school. I don't recall us on the best of terms that last time I saw him. But I can still picture him sitting on my couch with his shaggy blonde hair.

Daryl told me he was buried in his hometown cemetery. So after our meeting, I went out to find him. I had to see the gravestone, and confirm the date with my own two eyes. But according to the directory, there was nobody with that name. Strange.

My search was not over, though. When I got home, I surfed the interwebs for his obituary. Daryl and I were both wrong! Andy didn't die in junior high. But he did die before I ever moved out on my own.

Could this have been a result of the Mandela Effect? When I mentioned this to Daryl, he looked at me like I was crazy. I think he was a little offended too.

The Mandela Effect

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Those with doctorates degrees will call it "confabulation," or "false memories." Anyone can misremember something. Or if you experience brain damage, your mind might confabulate these false memories.

But it's quite strange when a large number of people have the same false memory. Call it mass hysteria. Fiona Boome calls it "The Mandela Effect."

Some folks remember the civil rights leader being killed in the 80's. Yet he didn't actually die until 2013. The term is named for this major mismemory, but it's a general term for the many mismemories that have folks scratching their heads.

Is it due to misremembering? Or are we indeed living in alternate realities? What reality do you live in when:

  • Lay-Z-Boy is now La-Z-Boy
  • Madonna's legal birth name is Madonna, not Maria
  • C-3PO has a silver leg
  • Darth Vader says "No, I am your father," instead of "Luke, I am your father."
  • Sinbad did not star in a movie called Shazam

That last one could be confused with Kazaam, where Shaquille O'Neil played a hip genie. There will be a movie next year called Shazam, with Zachary Levi. It'll be based on a DC superhero, in which there was a TV show back in the Seventies. But in this reality, Sinbad never played a genie.

Mandela Effect is quite the trend these days. Some even turn it into jokes or memes. I know I drive my wife nuts whenever I'm arguing with her, and then finally defend myself with "Nelson Mandela."

The Infinite Highway of Alternate Realities

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There are infinite outcomes to an infinite number of decisions. If I decided to turn left instead of right, then an alternate reality would branch out based on my alternate decision. Dr. Hesslein in Escape From the Planet of the Apes compared it to a highway with an infinite number of lanes. Whenever the driver switches lanes, they would essentially switch timelines.

If you ever watched Back to the Future II, you may remember Doc drawing lines on a chalkboard. He draws out the timeline that he and Marty are from. Then he shoots a line out from that one, which represents the alternate timeline that Biff made.

When it comes to these so-called "false memories," I tend to attach to the time-travel/alternate realities theory, rather than confabulation, brain damage, or just making it up.

How did that get there?

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Do a Google search for Mike Tyson vs Peter McNeeley in 1995. Look out in the crowd. You can clearly tell that one spectator has an iPhone. In '95, cell phones didn't look like this. I don't think they even took pictures just yet. Don't tell me this was photoshop. Skeptics have already tried to say there was a camcorder back then that looked like this.

How did an iPhone get to 1995?

The better question: is there a fresh, high-quality video from that fight hanging around somewhere?

Is it Berenstein, or Berenstain?

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Before I knew that it was called the “Mandela Effect,” I called it the “Berenstein Bears Theory.” In fact, that's what I called it when I mentioned this to Daryl.

I used to love reading those books as a kid. Whenever my sister and I would go to the library, I was sure to check one out. And when I searched my parents' garage for my old books, it was staring me right in the face.

Yes, I am of the fraternity that remembers it spelled “Berenstein.” Some think that it was changed to “Berenstain” to sound less “Jewish.” But evidently, it's always been spelled "Berenstain."

The Wood Between the Worlds is a blog that talks about all sorts of sciencey stuff. In The Magician's Nephew, the sixth Chronicles of Narnia book, Digory and Polly travel from London, through The Wood Between the Worlds, and stumble upon Aslan creating Narnia before their very eyes. So what better name than after children's books about traveling to different worlds?

This guy's theory separates the spellings into two universes. “Universe A,” where we currently live, is “Berenstain.” And those who remembered “Berenstein,” once lived in “Universe E.”

He explains that he tried looking up Jan and Stan Berenstain, only to find they were no longer alive. But to his luck, their son left a comment. Mike Berenstain said that an immigration officer back in the 1800s was who changed the spelling to “Berenstain.”

Immediately, I thought of The Godfather Part 2. Vito Corleone traveled from Sicily to New York when he was a young boy. When asked about his name and birthplace, he replied: Vito Andolini from Corleone. The immigration officer of the movie told him that his name would be Vito Corleone from there on out.

Perhaps, the officer that changed their name to “Berenstain,” was our time-traveler.

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The Butterfly Effect tells us that something as small as killing a butterfly can alter a chain of events. Ashton Kutcher did a good job of showing us that. Who knows if the Berenstein's immigration officer set off a chain reaction. Or did he just go an a little vacay, and hit up the Tyson fight in '95? Maybe the traveler is Einstein himself.

But if you remember in the movie, Kutcher's character experienced a massive headache whenever his memories changed from one reality to the next. In 11/23/63, the Yellow Card Man tried to stop Jake Epping from creating too many realities for him to keep up with. Eventually, he had to self-medicate, becoming a drunk. I know that my head is starting to spin.

Any case, I'm sure even Andy would tell me to put down the tin foil and just let him rest.

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