Saturday, March 31, 2018
Actually, when I gave a title to this blog I was going to talk about my recent trip to Florida and calling in UFOs. However, as I quickly discovered, even this well-established quote from Spielberg's famous movie "ET" has now become a controversial subject. The well-known phrase from the movie "ET phone home" which is said by the alien as he points upward into the sky has apparently shown up in seven-year-old movie trailers on YouTube as being "ET home phone." As such, it is now considered to be part of the growing body of literature on the so-called "Mandela Effect."
The Mandela Effect refers to many famous well-known facts and quotes that seem to have been changed over time. They range from the belief that South African leader Nelson Mandela died 30 years before his actual death, to the quote from the "Forrest Gump" movie that "Life is/was like a box of chocolates," to remembering Ed McMahon delivering a giant Publishers' Clearing House prize check, to the belief that there are 51/52 states in the United States. Snopes weighs in on the Mandela Effect stating that it is nothing more than a "collective misremembering" of facts.
But ask yourself: Why would "history" be rewritten to make "ET phone home" turn into "ET home phone"? What would be the point of this? Is there a message in this weird convolution? Are the ETs here (home) and not out "there" (galaxy)?
As an attorney and someone trained in a bit of psychology, I have always been extremely interested in the concept of the memory of a witness. In the courtroom, it is well-known that the memory of an eye-witness is notoriously unreliable. Memory can be easily erased or manipulated by emotion - particularly if the event being witnessed was shocking, unexpected or traumatic. Eye-witnesses to gun battles and murders often innocently finger the wrong suspect based upon incorrect memory. In terms of psychology, human beings are extremely vulnerable to influence and needing to find "order" or "cohesion" in our reality. Most people are extremely susceptible to hypnosis and therefore they can be manipulated by the hypnotist.
In many ways, our society has become a master of hypnosis. As a (very) young girl, television was in its early days. My brother and I weren't allowed to watch much TV. Commercials were limited to roughly one 60 second commercial every hour. That soon changed. Today, I cannot even count the number of ads - often ten or more - that interrupt a show every ten minutes or so. The timing has also changed, since today the human brain has been entrained and wired to accept much faster, smaller slices of visual data. Watch an old movie from the 40's or an old black-and-white TV rerun show like "Leave it to Beaver" and you will experience an entirely different sensation of time. It is, by today's standards, almost unbearably slow!
My very first job as an intern in Boston at age 16 was to work for the association of advertisers. I learned a lot about the "art" of manipulation through advertising. Having lived several times in Europe as a young person, I was able to witness the difference between American and European advertising. The Europeans were still operating on the assumption that an advertisement could communicate with a sweet story or fun humor. Whereas in the United States we had already discovered the dark arts of subliminal hypnosis and treating the American public like a moron with massive single-word repetition and overtly "stupid" actors (making us, in the audience, feel superior). Today, the Europeans have learned that our American advertising tactics are indeed effective, and European advertising has become more like ours.
Anyway, I have a different theory about the Mandela Effect. Rather than being a defect of the collective memory, I wonder if it isn't a product of tiny manipulations of the movie, advertising, television and publicity business. They make unannounced changes in their products all the time... After all, we have been collectively "hypnotized" by our televisions and movies.
I was invited by Paramount Pictures to attend the prescreening of the recent sci-fi movie "Arrival." It turned out I had a number of weird synchronistic similarities with the main character played by Amy Adams (e.g. expert in Romance Languages, home on a lake, telescope in the living room, expert in alien languages, etc.). I carefully watched the movie on a Monday night in New York City. I distinctly remember hearing the characters discussing the 12 giant UFOs surrounding planet Earth and the 144,000 people who would be taken up and away with these craft. The number 144,000 stuck in my head because it seemed to be a direct reference to the 12 tribes of Israel and 144,000 "chosen" people in the Bible's "Revelation" Chapters 7 and 14. Colonel Weber, played by Forest Witaker, explained this to the others while inside one of the military tents. I remember the scene very well.
Strangely, when I saw the movie again, only four days later in a movie theatre, that line about the 144,000 was gone. I know I was not mistaken. But why would producers change one line out of a movie that was due in the movie theatres around the country only four days later? Was this some weird Mandela Effect that wasn't the result of a bad memory over several decades but only a few days? None of these explanations made any sense at all. I actually confirmed my weird impression with a psychic friend who confirmed that the specific line was no longer in the final cut version of the movie. Why? Is this some kind of hidden "message" that the number of people who will be saved or escorted off earth by the alien spacecraft has either increased or decreased from 144,000? Was the line removed has having too much of a religious overtone?
I don't claim to have any answer. I assume things change over time - even "classic" lines from movies and advertisements. Our beliefs change over time. Our cumulative concept of reality changes over time. I also assume our memories can play tricks on us. But I also believe in a multiverse and our unintentional passage between similar, but non-identical, dimensions and universes. The best evidence of the Mandela Effect is not in products of advertising, commercials, movies or television - since these can be easily altered - but rather in events out of our own lives...