Remember the Berenstein Bears books? The popular book series was cherished by many as children and in some cases, treated as a precious family heirloom. These books found their way into people’s fond childhood memories. However, in this reality at least, the actual name is “Berenstain Bears” and not “Berenstein Bears”. This fact has come as a shock to many. People are confused as to how they got the name of their beloved book series wrong for several years. Those who haven’t even read the books distinctly remember the name as “Berenstein Bears”. After much speculation, the official records of the Libarary of Congress were checked and people found out that the name of the series was always “Berenstain Bears”, named after the authors, Stan and Jan Berenstain.
How it all started
The series about a family of bears, first launched in 1962 and continued on to become a TV series in the 1980’s. From here it branched out into an array of computer games, and had a movie adaptation in the works. Many fans couldn’t believe they got the spelling wrong, with most of them remembering for sure that the books they grew up reading definitely said “Berenstein” on the cover. Some fans went so far as to producing pictures, proving that there were books printed with the name “Berenstein” once. One fan posted a bizarre photo of a toy Berenstain Bear but with the label reading “Berenstein Bear” Was it really a massive typographical error or was there something else in the making?
Strong proponents of the name “Berenstain” came up with a crazy theory that the name of the books was actually Berenstein at one point, but everyone shifted into a parallel universe where the title of the books is “The Berenstain Bears”. This is where the Mandela effect comes into play. The theory states that shared false memories are actually glimpses into parallel worlds with different timelines. The term was coined by writer and paranormal consultant, Fiona Broome. It was based on the fact that thousands of people apparently remember Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 1980’s despite having been released from prison in 1990 and going on to become the President of South Africa. Mandela didn’t actually pass away until 2013. Broome is of the opinion that the theory is not crazy but based on quantum mechanics.
There was a picture circulated online by believers of the theory. The picture contains the spelling “Berenstein Bears” which they claimed to have proved the theory. But many rationalists believed that the image was photoshopped and photo forensics proved the same. There is a logical explanation to this huge collective misunderstanding. –stein is a more commonly used suffix in names than –stain, therefore people simply remembered the series having the more common spelling by mistake. It does sound pretty reasonable and does not involve any mind-boggling theories.
Human memory is a peculiar thing and very surprising in its scope and power. It is also disappointing in its fallibility. The phenomenon of false memories and fabricated recollections of past events that feel true is especially vexing. It seems so real that people refuse to accept evidence to the contrary. People’s recollections are disrupted and distorted by associations, experiences, imagination and peer pressure. The list of psychological and social factors that distort memory is exhaustive. It may take a while to deconstruct the list and find a straightforward reason. Until then, the world will have to keep guessing.