I. Am. Freaking. Out.
For many of you, this post is going to make you question everything you know...
I'm sure most of you remember reading The Berenstein Bears books when you were little. The series contains some of the most beloved children's literary characters of the modern age.
I was a major book nerd as a child. Unlike most of my peers, I looked forward to getting my summer assigned reading, and I took pride in the fact that I was usually able to complete the entire list by mid-July (thus leaving the rest of the summer to tackle the rest of the library's young adult section). Since the age of five, I have spent the vast majority of my free time with my nose in a book. Therefore, I have pretty strong memories about this favorite pastime, and the authors, books and characters it involved.
The Berenstein Bears were some of my absolute favorites.
I've been referring to the series as The Berenstein Bears throughout this post, which probably seems totally normal to you if you're familiar with the series.
BUT... that's not right.
The actual, correct title of the series is The Berenstain Bears — with an A.
What? What? WHAT?!
I was absolutely shell-shocked to find out that I've apparently been spelling their name wrong this entire time.
Unable to come to grips with the fact that I've been incorrect about something for my entire life, I called my mom and forced her to unpack my childhood library and put my mind at ease. The mind-f*ck continued as she confirmed that the title is, in fact, The BerenstAin Bears (the bears were named after the authors, Stan and Jan Berenstain).
I distinctly remember The BerenstEin Bears, and there is nothing on god's green earth that will convince me I am wrong.
Many other fans don't believe it, either. There are currently forums upon forums across the internet insisting that the name was once BerenstEin. And a popular theory is circulating as to why the name was "changed."
This theory has been named The Mandela Effect.
It states that shared false memories are in fact glimpses into parallel worlds with different timelines (based on the fact that thousands of people apparently remember Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 1980s, despite his having been released from prison in 1990 and going on to become the president of South Africa).
Mandela Effect believers say that the name of the books was actually Berenstein at one point, but we've shifted into a parallel universe or an alternate timeline in which the title of the books is now The Berenstain Bears.
Y'all... I'm pretty sure I've slipped into a parallel universe.
Writer and "paranormal consultant" Fiona Broome believes that The Mandela Effect is based on quantum mechanics. I've spent uncountable hours on her website, poring over other "false memories," similar to The Berenstein Bears phenomenon.
I. Am. Freaking. Out.
If you have some time (and don't plan on getting much sleep tonight) check out the list of most popular topics currently trending on the site. I was shocked at mildly horrified to learn how many things I'm "wrong" about...
Most importantly, I remember very vividly The Berenstein Bears being spelled with an E, and calling it that all my life. Learning that I may have been wrong for all these years has brought on what can only be described as an existential crisis.
What do you remember?