Working Title #003: The Mandela Universes

Reality is a pretty strange place.

We like to think of it as solid, dependable, unchanging. . . “real”. It’s funkier than that. An electron evidently can be in two places at the same time. They are both particles and waves. (Flip floppers! Pick one or the other and be it, sez I!) Let’s not get started with string theory.

And then you have the Mandela Effect.

There is a phenomenon where some people collectively misremember certain things. Its name comes from Nelson Mandela. Some people absolutely remember that he died in prison in South Africa in the Eighties. The more sane among us remember that he died in 2013.

There are other examples – is it “Sex in the City” or “Sex and the City”? Is your bologna’s name Oscar Meyer” or “Oscar Mayer”? When you were a kid did you read “The Berenstain Bears” or “The Berenstein Bears”? True or false – in the movie Casablanca Rick says, “Play it again, Sam.” Does Kit Kat have a dash? Is the dash in Coca Cola a hyphen or a tilde?

Maybe they’re all electrons.

There are all kinds of explanations people have formulated to explain this. Some follow along the concept of The Matrix and we’re all in a computer that occasionally has a hiccup (maybe an electron being in two places at the same time).

One theory uses the concept of alternate universes and that we “slide” between the two (or more). The universes are enough alike so that we don’t really notice it except for these minor changes. It sounds weird EXCEPT that the UK’s Royal Astronomical Society MAY have some evidence. There’s a “cold spot” in the universe where the radiation spewed by the formation of the Universe occurred back in the Big Bang. No, I don’t understand it but that’s what they say BUT they can‘t really explain it. It shouldn’t be there and nothing drives scientists more wiggy than having something that shouldn‘t exist actually exist and they can’t rationalize it. One possible explanation (not the official one just yet) is that another “bubble universe” bounced off ours (or we bounced off them – whatever). If that were so, it would prove the existence of alternate universes of which there is an infinite number.

Of course, those of us who are geeks already know all this. Star Trek, for example, long ago discovered the Mirror Universe. And alternate universes are a stock in trade in the comics. If you lived on Earth One in the DC Universe, your reality will have changed a gazillion times. The folks at Marvel claim they have never done a real re-boot of their universe (at least they used to) but I remember issues of the Fantastic Four where they met JFK and later President Johnson. Marvel just doesn’t refer to those anymore; they aren’t part of the official canon. Mandela Effect.

Me – I’d be happy to be in one of those alt universes. If I can pick, I’d like the one where Al Gore won the presidency. The events of 9/11 might still have occurred but I don’t believe Gore would have gotten us into the Iraq War. And I think he would have taken steps to solve climate change while there was still time to do it. And, needless to say, no President Cheeto. He would never have won the Electron. . .sorry, Electoral. . . College.


DC and Marvel are inherently Mandela Universes. If you lived in either of them you would, on a regular basis

4 thoughts on “Working Title #003: The Mandela Universes

  1. OK. It’s Oscar Mayer, Sex and the City, The Berenstain Bears, and Elsa says, “Play it once Sam.” And the “cold spot” could be an alternative universe. Or , or, or . . . Maybe this is when God decided that the time was right to create our world and place Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. And we are all descendants of this event? WHY is this harder for you to believe than Science Fiction versions?

  2. IMO It’s: Sex and the City, Oscar Mayer, The Berenstain Bears, Elsa says, “Play it once Sam”, Kit Kat bars and Coca-Cola. What I don’t understand is people who can accept an alternate or bubble universe theory for the “cold spot” in evolution . . . but cannot accept that at some point in His plan of creation; God stepped in and made Human Beings in His own image.

  3. I want to live in the universe where George Reeves lived to see the first Comic Con where he was mobbed by the now adult fans and their kids, where Christopher Reeve didn’t get thrown off his horse and won an Oscar, where the Green Hornet series lasted 5 seasons and Bruce Lee got a presidential medal for his contribution to action movies and died in his 80s, the GOP party was replaced by a more moderate electorate, Donald Trump was arrested for harboring Russian mobsters on American soil, where Magnum got a sequel with his daughter as the star, where DC made movies just as entertaining as Marvel, where Disney park prices were frozen for a decade and their workers made $20 bucks an hour, where Bernie Sanders was president and Elizabeth Warren was vice-president….

  4. Re: “Play it again, Sam.”

    Here’s the actual dialogue from the entire memorable scene:

    Ilsa: (sitting at table)Hello, Sam.

    Sam: (as he is setting up the piano) Hello, Miss Ilsa.,,,I never expected to see you again..

    Ilsa: It’s been a long time.

    Sam: Yes, ma’m. A lot of water under the bridge.

    Ilsa: Some of the old songs, Sam

    Sam: Yes, ma’am (starts playing the piano)

    Ilsa: …Where is Rick?

    Sam: I don’t know. I ain’t seen him all night.

    Ilsa: When will he be back?

    Sam: Not tonight no more. He ain’t comin’…He went home.

    Ilsa: Does he always leave so early?

    Sam: Oh, he never…, well, he’s got a girl up at the Blue Parrot. He goes up there all the time.

    Ilsa: You used to be a much better liar, Sam.

    Sam: Leave him alone, Miss Ilsa. You’re bad luck to him.

    Ilsa: Play it once, Sam, for old times’ sake.

    Sam: I don’t know what you mean, Miss Ilsa.

    Ilsa: [whispered] Play it, Sam. Play As Time Goes By.

    Sam: Why, I can’t remember it, Miss Ilsa. I’m a little rusty on it.

    Ilsa: I’ll hum it for you. [Ilsa hums two bars. Sam starts to play] Sing it, Sam.

    Sam: [singing]
    You must remember this
    A kiss is just a kiss
    A sigh is just a sigh
    The fundamental things apply
    As time goes by.
    And when two lovers woo
    They still say, ‘I love you’
    On that you can rely ,
    No matter what the future brings

    Rick: [rushing in] Sam, I thought I told you never to play… [stares at Ilsa]

    Check it out on YouTube: