A new conspiracy theory has taken the Internet and childhood nostalgia by storm. A popular kids book series known to most of the population as “The Berenstein Bears,” is actually called “The Berenstain Bears.”There is more info here, where the conspiracy was noticed in 2011.
For those who grew up reading the books and have the word “Berenstein” ingrained in their minds, the fact that the title really is “Berenstain” is quite a shock to the system. A quick Internet search of the book covers and the official PBS website reveals that “The Berenstain Bears” have been there all along.
The shock of this revelation has led some to believe in alternate or parallel universes in which “The Berenstein Bears” were created and “The Berenstain Bears” is some massive, crazy, Internet hoax.
Some people say that this is an example of the Mandela Effect, where a lot of people remember Nelson Mandela having died in prison.
Here is a debunking:
According to author and paranormal researcher Fiona Broome, it all relates to the phenomenon of parallel realities. Her theory, which is outlined on her website themandelaeffect.com, is that we exist in a world of parallel universes that each have their own histories and timelines. Occasionally, individuals from these universes “slide” into an alternate timestream creating a changed reality. One of those changed realities, as explained by Broome, is the death of Nelson Mandela.Each timeline is consistent with its history, so it will not do any good to look at old books or Wikipedia. The site asks some physicists:
Although most of us recall Mandela's passing in 2013, Broome and her followers suggest otherwise. In fact, she and the many posters on her website claim that they have distinct memories of Mandela dying in prison in the 1980's. They even go as far as describing detailed accounts of media coverage, news reports, on-air broadcasts of his funeral, and more.
So that leads to the question, is any of this scientifically, or at least theoretically possible? Could Nelson Mandela actually have died in the 1980's? Could the Berenstain Bears, as also suggested by Broom's website, actually have been the Berenstein Bears?So maybe Mandela was in a Schrodinger cat state, where he was alive in one universe, and dead in a parallel universe. The proponents of the many-worlds interpretation absolutely believe that is possible.
After reading the many responses on themandelaeffect.com, I became intrigued by not only the concept of the theory, but the passion behind it. So I decided to do further research.
While theories exist which support the idea of parallel universes, particularly the Many-Worlds Interpretation, I remained unsure. As a journalist with little knowledge of quantum physics, I soon discovered that it would be wise to reach out to the professionals.
Andrew S. Friedman, a National Science Foundation Science Postdoctoral Fellow at Massachusetts institute of Technology (MIT) and Visiting Research Scientist at the MIT Center for Theoretical Physics, breaks down the Many-Worlds theory.
“In certain interpretations of quantum mechanics, such as the Many Worlds Interpretation of Hugh Everett and Bryce DeWitt, the equations of the theory are taken to mean that whenever a quantum event occurs, the universe (or the observer) splits and branches into two parallel timelines.
“In most views, these timelines no longer interact, which is why they could be considered parallel.
“Needless to say, your theory would have to describe alternative timelines which are not parallel, and somehow interact with one another in order to make any sense of the fantastical claims of the Mandela story.”
He believes there's a more logical explanation.
“Personally, I think the examples you mentioned tell us more about human psychology, the fallibility of human memory, and the intense desire to believe in fantastical ideas.These guys do not seem very sure about it. And they are low-ranking physicists. Couldn't they get any big-shots to weigh in on this issue?
“In my view, these things have nothing to do with parallel timelines as discussed in physics, and instead present evidence for the amazing range of ways humans can be fooled by themselves or others.”
Fred Alan Wolf, an American theoretical physicist and National Book Award Winning author of Taking the Quantum Leap agrees.
“I doubt that this had anything to do with parallel universes. It would be stretch to attempt to put these recalls in terms of quantum physics.”
It is a sad day that some crackpot delusional paranormal researcher makes as much sense as our leading theoretical physicists. I will say it: There are no parallel universes, and this has nothing to do with the concept. These are people with bad memories or bad spelling.
I suspect that mainstream physicists are reluctant to criticize the Berenstain Bears conspiracy because they are afraid of undermining the case for quantum computing, black hole holograms, and other modern ideas that are fashionable and get a lot of funding.