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Science in 140 characters: What scientists are tweeting about

It started when a user on Reddit said he used to work in a rental store where he would watch Shazaam, according to an article tweeted by physicist Sean Carroll.

Written by Jamie Mullick | Published: January 9, 2017 1:39:36 am

False memories
@seanmcarroll
Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist

In the last few years, hundreds of people have gone online with their memories of a 1990s movie supposedly called Shazaam, featuring comedian Sinbad as a genie. It turns out no such movie exists. It started when a user on Reddit said he used to work in a rental store where he would watch Shazaam, according to an article tweeted by physicist Sean Carroll. Online, the “memory” was backed by hundreds who claimed similar recollections. Though there was a similarly themed movie called Kazam, with NBA star Shaquille O’Neal as a genie, these people claimed they remembered each separately. Eventually, Sinbad himself had to clarify he had never been in any such movie. The article said this incident led to the creation of the expression “Mandela Effect”, a theory that a large group with the same false memory lives in a parallel universe (the name comes from those who believe Nelson Mandela died while in prison). “If the choice is between ‘my memory is wrong’ and ‘all of reality has been altered’ reality doesn’t stand a chance,” tweeted Carroll.

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