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The movie that doesn’t exist (and the fans who think it does) – Audio Long Reads

When hundreds of people claim to remember seeing a movie called Shazaam – but no such film was ever made – what does it tell us about collective memory?

By Amelia Tait and Emma Haslett

It started with an innocent question posted on Yahoo! Answers in 2009, and snowballed into a thriving subreddit community: did anyone remember an American movie from the early Nineties called Shazaam, starring the comedian Sinbad as an incompetent genie who grants wishes to two children? Thousands of people did, vividly – and yet there was no trace of it.

In this compelling long read, culture writer Amelia Tait talks to the Shazaam true believers, sorts fact from fiction and looks at the notion known as “the Mandela effect”: the theory that a large group of people who share the same false memory used to live in a parallel universe. 

This article was first published on the New Statesman website on 21 December 2016. You can read the text version, which has been updated for the podcast, here.

Written by Amelia Tait and read by Emma Haslett.

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