Friday, May 6, 2022

Richard Lattimore, Dik Van Dyke, and the Mandela Effect

Continuing from my 202 post "'Richard' Lattimore: most misprinted name ever."

"Richard Lattimore" is a common enough mistake to merit a Wikipedia redirect.

On this same Wikipedia page, two Richards have crept into the list of references.

Amazon has five pages of results for Richard Lattimore.

The New York Times website even has an obituary for Richard Lattimore, though it looks like the original print edition was for Richmond.

I still find it hard to believe that this error could be so very prevalent. No other misprinted name even comes close in terms of frequency. I also have my own experience of having reading a dozen or so books that were very clearly by Richard Lattimore before suddenly discovering in 2011 that it had been Richmond all along. Prior to 2011, there was absolutely no question in my mind that the man's name was Richard, and I would have laughed at the suggestion that I might have just misread his name hundreds or thousands of times.

This sort of thing is an example of the Mandela Effect -- crystal-clear memories which, judging by the evidence of the present, appear to be entirely false. The effect takes its name from the conviction, shared by a surprising number of people, that Nelson Mandela died in prison in the 1970s. They remember this (or remember seeing it in the news at the time) in great detail and with perfect clarity -- but most everyone else has equally clear and detailed memories of Mandela serving as president of South Africa in the 1990s and finally dying in 2013. The dismissive explanation of this is that these people's memories are of the death of Steve Biko, misremembered as Mandela -- but those who find themselves unable to doubt their memories embrace a variety of more extreme hypotheses, often involving parallel universe or "timelines." Apparently at some point they passed from the Mandela-dies-in-prison timeline into the Mandela-becomes-president timeline, somehow bringing some of their memories from the old timeline into the new one.

Sometimes, it is said, even physical traces of other timelines infiltrate this one. For example, many people remember the Lord's Prayer in the Bible saying "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." This is not what it says in the current timeline, but a trace of the original text still survives two verses down.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matt 6:12-15).

When I first discovered the Mandela Effect concept, one of the example that really struck me was the breakfast cereal Fruit Loops -- which had apparently always been called Fruit Loops even though I clearly remembered it being Froot Loops. That was years ago. Then, earlier this year, someone on 4chan announced that we were back in the "golden timeline" and that it was Froot Loops once more -- and it is! Now, apparently, it has always been Froot Loops, and Mandela Effect websites will tell you that many people incorrectly remember it being spelled Fruit, which is just the opposite of what they used to say.

So do you allow reality to gaslight you into rejecting your own crystal-clear memories, or do you insist that your memories are right even if that means rethinking the whole nature of the universe? I lean toward the former option, especially because most of the alternative memories are so easy to explain as errors. Reading an unusual name like Richmond or Berenstain as a more common one like Richard or Berenstein seems like a very natural sort of mistake. Getting Biko and Mandela mixed up, especially before the latter became president, also seems pretty easy. Even in the meta-Mandela case of Froot Loops, I think there's an explanation: confusion with another popular Mandela example, Looney Tunes, which people misremember as Toons. In one case, the "oo" spelling is correct and the standard spelling is a common error; in the other, the standard spelling is correct and the "oo" spelling is a common error. It would be very easy to misremember which is which.

What brought this whole topic back to mind was my discovery -- today! -- that the actor Dik Van Dyke has apparently always spelled his name Dick Van Dyke. When I was a child, we watched Bye Bye Birdie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins, and even old reruns of The Dik Van Dyke Show -- and I very clearly remember his name being spelled Dik. I specifically remember wondering why he spelled Dick in such an unusual way and concluding that he probably did it for the same reason that John Bongiovi dropped the "h" from his name when he became Jon Bon Jovi: to emphasize the similarity of his first name to his last.

It just doesn't seem possible to me that these memories could be wrong. Misreading Richmond as Richard, and thinking nothing of it because Richard is a perfectly normal name -- that makes sense. But how could anyone misread Dick as Dik, notice how extremely strange that is, come up with a theory for why it's not Dick, and still somehow fail to realize that it actually is Dick?

I don't have any good explanation -- it would obviously be just a bit extravagant to postulate a parallel universe in which Dick Van Dyke spells his name without a "c"! -- but I think this sort of thing is worth noting.

Note added: Writing this post made me question my own memories so much that I actually checked Google to confirm that Jon Bon Jovi was as I had remembered him. I had a sinking feeling that I was going to discover he had always been John Bon Jovi and that his first hit had always been called "C-3PO We Wish You A Merry Christmas." Fortunately, there was no cause for alarm. We're still in the golden timeline.


Dik van Dijk said...

What is this?:—

By the way, Dik van Dijk would be the correct Dutch spelling.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

It looks like even the Dutch spell it "Dick."

Ra1119bee said...


The Script is being re-written,IMO.
Just like a Play.

Those of us who remember the past are going to be a threat.
Especially the Boomers.
We remember what real food tastes like.
News Flash ; tomatoes aren't pink

In 2000 I went to Burger King, bit into my whooper junior, and knew immediately
that it wasn't real beef.

Collectively and IMO, Gen Z have little to no clue as to what's real and what's not.
They think Impossible Burger tastes just like real beef, because they are comparing
Impossible Burger to what they have been eating which they thought was 'real beef'.

Oh, I've always known Dick Van Dyke to be DICK Van Dyke.
My family loved the Dick Van Dyke show.

I do have to admit that I always thought Sally Field was Sally Fields.

Fruit Loops were Fruit Loops.
Rod Serling was Serling, not Sterling

Also, speaking of Rod, you might want to check out an episode of the Twilight Zone
released on March 14, 1963 called The Parallel.

I actually believe in a Parallel Universe which I think our Soul transcends to
every night in our REM sleep.

I personally believe that the Firmament is the Parallel Universe.

Also on July 21, 1969, while watching our little black and white TV my grandfather said: "How do we know that's the Moon"?

*** I've always been around those who question this illusion ;-)

Dik van Dijk said...

"It looks like even the Dutch spell it "Dick.""

No, the "ck" combination does not occur, and this means that in this case it's a loan-word ("loan-name"?) from English. Another example would be:
Dutch name: Harrie.
Dutch loan-name from English: Harry.

Frank said...

Hearing about the Mandellu years ago, the first thought that came to me was the Mandellu was part of the "strong delusion" in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; AND the deceit elaborated in Matthew 24:24.
Our LORD goes on to say in Matthew 24:25: Behold, I have told you before.
I'm sticking with my initial impression.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...


God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe the Fruit of the Loom logo features a cornucopia!

But who's being deluded -- those who believe their memories and disbelieve all current evidence, or vice versa?

Frank said...

But who's being deluded?
Those who do not love the truth.
Now, ask me what is truth...

White sands, red sun

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