A contributor on Reddit has shared that while packing for a move, she found an old Berenstain Bears VHS tape that has a “Berenstein Bears” label on it. Now others are wondering if this is evidence of a wild theory called The Mandela Effect or just a random typo.
Here’s what you need to know.
A Redditor Found a VHS With an Official Label Spelled ‘Berenstein’
For years, many people have wondered why they remember the Berenstain Bears as being spelled with an “ein” at the end. In fact, so many people are positive that the books used to be spelled this way that a wild alternate universe theory has cropped up to explain the discrepancy. But no one has ever found proof that the books were ever spelled in any way but “Berenstain.”
Until now. (Possibly.)
Redditor diamondashtray posted that she and her husband were getting ready for a move and going through an old VHS collection. She found a Berenstain Bears video on VHS and it included a front label that reads “Berenstain” and a spine label that reads “Berenstein.” Here’s the front label that she shared:
And here’s the spine label, spelled “Berenstein.”
One Redditor commented that they ran the photos through a basic analysis and “if it is an edit then it’s really good one because it doesn’t show any traces at all. Just putting that out there.”
It could be a photoshopped picture, except another poster found an ebay listing that has the same spine, with the same spelling on picture number 7 of the listing. You can see it here.
The Mandela Effect Is a Conspiracy Theory That Alternate Universes Exist
The Berenstein Bears theory is a little confusing if you haven’t heard about it before. To best understand it, look at the name. Does the spelling “Berenstain Bears” seem wrong to you? It does for hundreds of people (maybe even more) who swear it used to be spelled Berenstein. They use this as an example of a “glitch in the matrix” because many vividly remember the “ein” spelling. They say it’s an example of a theory called the Mandela Effect.
The Mandela Effect refers to a group of people who are absolutely positive that Nelson Mandela died in prison (which didn’t happen.) Their theory is that other people share this same false memory because there was an alternate history or parallel universe where that really happened, and our two universes somehow merged. Others have posited that perhaps someone traveled back in time and altered things slightly enough to change Mandela and Berenstain, causing a ripple effect that only a small percentage remember. (You can read an in-depth explanation of the Mandela Effect on Reddit here.) Of course, scientists aren’t backing up this theory and it’s pretty far out there. But it’s an interesting thought experiment, nonetheless.
On a Reddit thread where someone found a TV Guide that had “Berenstein Bears” written on it, one person explained the Berenstein Bears feeling this way:
All I was saying is that for a large number of people the name is spelled Berenstein. I can vividly recall reading these books when I was a kid and I very clearly remember seeing the E in STEIN. Everyone that I know or spoke to about this remembers it being STEIN. So, there is something strange going on here, because at some point the children changed.
It would be one thing if one or two people were like ‘Oh, I remember this being spelled STEIN.’ but that isn’t the case. People everywhere are claiming they remember it being spelled that way. Can that many people all have the same false memory?”
Meanwhile, others offer a simpler explanation. Vice interviewed Dr. Henry L. Roediger, an expert in false memories, who said that people likely just remember the name as “ein” because that spelling is more common, such as with Einstein, Frankenstein, and Goldstein. As kids, they could have easily gotten that mixed up.
Now we have a VHS that shows the wrong spelling, Berenstein, on an official label. The explanations for this VHS label are varied. The simplest Occam’s Razor type explanation is that it was just a typo. This may even point to the idea that it was a common typo found occasionally on official Berenstain products, and this is why people remember the name being spelled wrong. But there’s a faction of people who believe this is proof of the Mandela effect or even the “our universe is a hologram or computer simulation” theory. It’s a glitch that snuck in and wasn’t corrected, they say.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.