The Impawsible Berenstein Bears

There are some childhood relics that we simply can’t let go of. Call it misplaced nostalgia, but certain aspects of our young lives shouldn’t be forgotten and left to crumble in the sands of time. After all, who could forget the first seasons of Pokémon and how that dictated the social hierarchy of our middle-school lives? And who can’t help but smile when they remember the fond times when they actually made good episodes of Spongebob? And of course, who can ever forget the lovable, relatable family that were the Beren….stain Bears.

I’m sure most of us have heard of that Berenstain Bears rumor; but to those who aren’t aware, there’s been some mass controversy regarding the namesake of those funny little bears. Specifically, a good majority of people remember the spelling to be “Berenstein”, as opposed to “Berenstain”. Crazy, I know, and probably even a bit miniscule were it not for the fact that this mass memory tampering has become a worldwide phenomenon.

Go right ahead and ask a friend; they’ll swear on their life that it’s “Stein” and not “Stain”. But going through the original 1962 publications of the book, one can clearly see that it’s been spelled “Stain” all this time. So then, were we all just too dumb to read? If that’s the case, those books sure did a lousy job of helping us learn morals and whatnot.

According to Stan Berenstain’s son, the name has always been said incorrectly, even in his childhood, thanks in part to a know-it-all teacher who insisted the spelling was “Stein”. It probably doesn’t help that the cartoon produced in the 80’s practically pronounced the name “Stein” on a regular basis. Probably cause they thought they knew how to spell too. Seriously, did these books teach anyone how to read?

There have been some other theories on why everyone thinks it’s “Stein”, the most plausible being a Jewish heritage invoked by both Stan and Jan Berenstain respectively. The story goes that they decided to change the name from “Stein” to “Stain” due to the unfavorable view on Jewish people during the time-frame in which the books were initially published. And that may very well hold water…if it weren’t for the fact that the books repeatedly preach Christian morals and views.

While it’s true that Stan was indeed Jewish, his wife was Episcopalian and pushed for a more Christian approach regarding the books and their teachings. So there goes that reasoning out the window, forever to be forgotten like the many who forgot the Berenstain spelling. Of course, there is one more theory circulating out there that could explain all this; the ever popular Mandela Effect.

In short, the Mandela Effect refers to the idea that false memories, such as our elusive “Stein” or “Stain” debacle, are in fact simply glimpses into parallel worlds and alternative timelines. The theory was coined by Fiona Broome who noticed that a lot of people thought Nelson Mandela had died in prison way back in the 80’s. Whether that’s an issue of the Mandela Effect at work or just people not reading the newspapers again is up to discuss for another time.

Being based on quantum mechanics and considering the strange nature of our world, it’s not too much of a stretch to put your money on the Mandela Effect. At some point, a good portion of individuals indirectly crossed over into another universe, this universe, in which the spelling was “Stain” and not “Stein”. The “Stein” universe is in fact the original universe these individuals traversed from and are now away from home.

Crazy? Possibly. A bit comical? Oh yes. The best way to describe the Berenstain Bears name fad going around? Most likely because so far, no one has come forth with an actual theory as to why we all just happened to forget the spelling of our wonderful, colorful bear family. And truth be told, we might never know why our memories have been displaced from time. All we can do is hope and pray that maybe, just maybe, we can also forget the horrible, horrible new seasons of Spongebob. Maybe.

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