Most people, if not everyone, recognize the Berenstein Bears as a large part of their upbringing, whether it was reading the series of stories or watching them come to life on television. The famous characters are known largely for the life lessons and values that were taught to young children as they were just starting to learn how to read. Recently, these beloved characters became a huge part of an ongoing conspiracy theory that many generations are having a difficult time wrapping their minds around.
For most of us, the Berenstein Bears played an important role in our childhoods, as those stories were introduced to us as we were in the beginning stages of learning how to read. On top of that, they provided morals and values that we would keep with us throughout our lives. So when news broke out about the spelling of the Berenstein name, everything we thought we knew about life seemed like one giant lie.
Throughout this blog post, I have been spelling the name as I, as well as many many more people, remember it – with an “E” in the “-stein” part of the beloved name. However, it has been revealed somewhat recently that millions of people across several generations have been misspelling the name, placing an “E” in “-stein” where there is supposed to be an “A” (i.e. The name is “Berenstain,” not “Berenstein.” Are you mad yet?). Not only do we remember the Berenstain name being spelled a certain way, but we also remember it being pronounced “beh-ren-STEEN,” with an understood “E” somewhere in the last syllable of the name – whether it was before or after the “I” in “-stein.” Yet when we go back to our old copies of the books, VHS tapes, TV guides, and what have you, we find that the name has always been spelled with an “A.” In fact, everywhere you search on the internet will return the results of it being spelled “Berenstain,” with an “A” placed in the space we all swore we saw an “E” our entire childhood. This seemingly simple oversight caused quite an uproar across the many generations that grew up reading and watching the Berenstain Bears, sparking different conspiracy theories to explain the phenomenon.
Many people, instead of simply accepting the fact that they’ve been spelling (and pronouncing) Berenstain wrong their entire lives have come up with the outlandish, yet oddly rational conclusion that we have somehow crossed parallel universes in the past ten to fifteen years. It is outlandish because it transcends all logic, but rational because nobody is willing to believe anything else. Many people want to use this tiny blip in our universe to prove the existence of parallel universes, and that we have crossed over from an “E” universe into an “A” universe (Y2K anyone?). All physical evidence points to the conclusion that Berenstain has always been spelled with an “A.” The only evidence of it ever being spelled with an “E,” other than the photoshopped photos and vintage TV guide typos that are circulating the internet, is that many people across several generations swear that the name has always been spelled and pronounced the way that we remember it.
The more rational portion of our population (which admittedly does not include myself) attributes this odd happenstance to what is referred to as the “Mandela Effect.” Essentially, the Mandela Effect is referred to during instances where a specific detail about an event is misremembered. This name came about a few years ago upon the death of Nelson Mandela, which came as a shock to millions of people who swore he died in prison, despite being released in 1990. On top of all of that, in order to once and for all debunk the notion of the existence of multiple universes, Mike Berenstain, the son of Jan and Stan Berenstain (the original creators of the Berenstain Bears), revealed in an interview that for his entire life, people have been misspelling and mispronouncing his name, but chose to address it more recently due to the controversy that is has caused.
Personally, I am not completely against the idea of there existing other universes, mostly because the explanation that people have just been mispronouncing and misspelling Berenstain seems a little too vanilla for me (and I also enjoy a good conspiracy theory). You, the reader, may remember Berenstain being spelled with an “E,” just like everyone else, and swear that it always has been that way. But I guarantee that if you dust off the covers of your old copies of the Berenstain Bears, you will find what everyone else has been finding: an “A,” and a childhood full of lies. Once you do this, come to your own conclusion. Are you Team Mandela Effect or are you Team Parallel Universe? Let me know!