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At the risk of over planning, I will begin by telling my savvy readers what they likely already know. The “Mandela Effect” is a phenomenon in which large groups of people remember history differently than how it is currently recorded. Like many Gen-Xers, I remember the day Nelson Mandela died in prison. There were sad songs, funerals…none of it happened in this timeline. He was released from jail and became President of the South African Republic.

Psychologists and scientists say it’s a form of mass delusion. How convenient. Given that we’ve done horrid experiments with nuclear weapons that tore a hole in the ozone layer, it is no great leap in logic to imagine that some day we’ll conduct horrid experiments with a Time Machine that will rupture timelines and create alternate realities. But is there proof that humans aren’t the only ones experiencing this shift?

Can AI hold proof of the Mandela Effect? Read on.

When I heard the song Del Shannon’s “Runaway” last night on an Amazon Music AI-generated playlist, called “My Soundtrack,” my husband said he liked this song and also “Teenager in Love” by the same artist.

I said, “I don’t think it was Del Shannon. I think the version I hear in my head is the one by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers.” Then I said, “No, wait, it’s someone else. No, wait, I think they both sang it, but not Del Shannon.”

I was sure there was a Frankie Lymon version, because I could hear his pure, high, fast, sweet voice singing it. I could also hear the lower, slower version but I was positive Frankie Lymon sang it, too. I searched iTunes and YouTube in vain. The version simply doesn’t exist anywhere.

I decided to put my memory to the test. I asked Alexa to play some music by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers and waited for “Teenager in Love” to come on. It did, but the voice was NOT Frankie Lymon. I asked who sang it, and Alexa said, “This is Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers.” But it wasn’t.

A glitch in the matrix

I stopped the music, and asked Alexa to play “Teenager in Love” without giving an artist attribution. The same version played. When asked, Alexa told me that it was “Dion and the Belmonts.” Okay, so Dion sang it, too. But where was the Frankie Lymon version?

I said, “Alexa, did Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers sing ‘Teenager in Love?’”

Alexa responded confidently. “No, Dion and the Belmonts sang Teenager in Love. Would you like me to play it?”

There are two songs by Frankie Lymon that are similar in sound and title to this paradoxical song: “Teenage Love,” and “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” I believe this may be why I hear the elusive, high notes of Frankie asking the stars up above why he must be a teenager in love. But, Alexa is suffering from the Mandela Effect, too.

To put it to another test, I asked, “Alexa, play ‘Teenager in Love’ by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. She said, “Now playing ‘Teenager in Love’ by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers.” And up popped the Dion version again.

I asked, “Alexa, who sings this?”

With great confidence and pride, she responded, “This is ‘Teenager in Love’ by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers.” A glitch in the matrix.

I already have an explanation for why I think Frankie Lymon sang it – I mashed up two similar songs in my brain. But that doesn’t explain why Alexa insists a song both exists and doesn’t exist — a musical Schrödinger’s cat. I came to three possible conclusions for why this is happening:

1. Somebody somewhere made a human mistake.

2. Alexa listened in on my conversation with my husband and the AI decided it was better to just go along with my mistaken notion that Frankie Lymon sang a version that doesn’t exist.

3. The most frightening conclusion: experiments in the future have caused an irreparable rift in the space/time continuum, and now we are straddling multiple timelines, headed for doomsday.

Today, it’s just Doo-Wop. Tomorrow, it may be certain doom.

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