The Berenstein VS Berenstain Debate – The Mandela Effect

Very recently, It has come to light that a very popular book and TV series by the name “The Berenst(A/E)in Bears” has had a mysterious name change…or has it?

Millions of people world-wide, when asked, remember and spell the books as “BerenstEin”, and swear that it was spelled that way. Age ranges from 25 year olds to 60 year olds and above. Each time, almost ALL of them remember it spelled with an E.

Many theories exist as to why this has occurred; theories such as The Mandela Effect and other general ‘time shifts’ spearhead the controversy, yet no-one can exactly pin-point it.

In fact, this issue has existed for quite some time. Maybe not with as much light as today, but decades ago, the show was commonly misspelled as BerenstEin in external documents; newspaper clippings, television schedules and posters alike. Of course, this does not explain why so many people remember it as being with an E, and remember it with such passion and certainty.

As briefly touched upon previously, The Mandela Effect has really brought this to light. The Mandela Effect is, as described by the dedicated Reddit board, “…the effect where a lot of people seem to remember an event happening, that did not happen. ‘Widespread alternate memories’.”

The name ‘Mandela’ snaked it’s way cleverly into this title by its own ‘Mandela Effect’ wherein many thousands seem to remember Mandela dying in prison in 1980, when of course he sadly passed in 2013.

The specific website ‘The Mandela Effect’, which appears to be self-hosted, bears hundreds of ‘effects’ listed, from an illustrious and vague missing Star Wars scene to the death of Betty White, from the spelling of Barbara Streisand to the now infamous BerenstEin Bear debate. Note – as of publication of this article, the aforementioned website has been temporarily unavailable due to a surge in traffic.

Intrigued by this, I set out to find answers myself.

First,  I looked to adults around me. With my age being only 16, I do not remember ever reading the aforementioned book, but adults around me almost certainly do. In fact, I asked 50 adults (from family to neighbours) to spell it as they remember it, with a 90% success rate of “BerenstEin”. (45 out of 50)

Secondly, I studied past and present literature. As far as recorded proof, EVERY book of “Berenstein Bears” bore the A rather than the E (BerenstAin). Issues came to prominence when studying external literature, such as television guides (one of which was detailing the premier, yet ‘misspelled’ it as “BerenstAin”). Although not definite, and what could easily be a simple spelling error, it seems odd that a detailing of a shows entire premier would be misspelled.

Next, I found a rather interesting website by the name of www.80scartoons.net. This website has been taking ‘screenshots’ of its own history for over ten years. Within this, I found a rather interesting thing. An April 7th 2000 version (and ALL previous versions) spelled every instance as BerenstEin. Every instance, from copyright disclaimers to title headers. But, from an edit on August 5th 2001, and ALL thereafter, all instances of the word were changed to BerenstAin.

Is this proof of alternate universes? I’m sceptical.

Of course it’s a really freaky thing to happen, for millions of people to ‘remember’ the exact same thing as each other, yet it hasn’t actually happened that way. Of course that’s odd, but there must be a natural explanation.

After long revisions of theories, I have concluded that it came as a simple ‘following’ of popular culture at the time of release/ popularity. Such spellings as Frankenstein and Goldstein were drilled into our young minds, “Stein not Stien!” Perhaps this caused us to read any further instances of “stain” or likewise as “stein”, because its almost second nature to us. Secondly, it is easier to pronounce BerenstEin than BerenstAin. Common lingual related psychology leads us to pronounce words as easily as possible, especially more so when we were younger, and more impressionable. (For a very long time, I pronounced “Gnasher” from the comic ‘Dennis and Gnasher” as “Gh-nasher”, not taking into regard of the silent G.)

Despite the theory of alternate timelines and universes being mystical and entertaining reads, it is my belief that our remembrance of the word “BerenstEin” only came around due to popular culture at the time, emphasis on spelling these words properly, and the ease of which we read words to ourselves.

Of course, nothing can be proven or disproven here, so I’ll leave it up to you to decide!

What do you think about the Berenstein VS Berenstain debate, and do you believe in The Mandela Effect?

-Benjamin John Wareing

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