The Berenstæin Bears

Do you remember that wholesome and pure children’s show that ran during the 1980’s and was recreated in the 2000’s? The one starring a family of bears living in a tree house as they endured challenges that taught them important lessons about proper human (or rather, bear) behavior? Yeah, that one! What was that called again?

Oh yeah! The Berenstein Bears, right?

Wait a second. Something looks… Off. Take a closer look at the logo. See how it’s spelled?

Wait… The BerenSTAIN Bears? Surely something’s wrong with this picture. As far as I can remember, the show was always The BerenSTEIN Bears. The internet seems to be in nearly unanimous agreement, too! What’s going on?

If you were alive during the 1980’s, you may have once been under the belief that Nelson Mandela died whilst serving time in prison. Or maybe you are under the impression that the United States contains 51 states. Perhaps you believe that chartreuse is a magenta or maroon color.

However, this is all wrong. Nelson Mandela survived his time in prison but unfortunately died in 2013. The United States actually only has 50 States (not including Puerto Rico, which is a territory), and chartreuse is a bright yellow-green.

It’s going to take a LOT of chartreuse to make me accept that.

Perhaps this would be less alarming if these were the mistaken thoughts of one person. But how can this phenomenon be explained when half or even the majority of people experience these false beliefs? Coined in 2010 by blogger Fiona Broome, the term The Mandela Effect has been used to describe mass false beliefs.

Of course, it still doesn’t make any sense! How are so many people incorrect and firm in their beliefs? Well, a few theories have been published on the matter. Some have hypothesized that The Mandela Effect is direct proof of alternate dimensions and that perhaps, we once lived in a world where we could mourn the death of Nelson Mandela whilst watching the Berenstein bears and dining upon chartreuse plums in our beautiful 51 states. A less eccentric hypothesis states that these beliefs are based on what seems collectively more logical. For example, it would make perfect sense for Nelson Mandela to have died in prison, given the cruel and neglectful treatment he faced. Berenstein is a far more common surname than Berenstain (Leonard Bernstein’s name is pronounced that way, for example). “Perfect numbers” seem unrealistic, and the idea of the US containing 50 states seems too precise. 51 seems more realistic, so we assume that must be correct, as well as possibly confusing Puerto Rico as a state. As for chartreuse’s true color, we have no explanation for that as of right now.

The color of deceit. 

So, what do you think? Is this phenomenon proof that reality is so much more than we see, or is it an easily-explained failure of logic? Next time you turn on the TV, watch the news, paint your house, or glance at a map, keep an eye out for any “dimensional shifts”.


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    I remember learning about this a couple years ago, it fascinates me to the point of mild obsession. I am just itching for a chance to write about it or give a speech about it in school!

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