During the last few weeks, a disturbing Mandela effect has been taking the internet by storm. Countless people claim to know a footballer by the name of Mohammed Salah, who supposedly plays for Liverpool, despite no such person existing. A tiktok with over two million likes as of Monday posted by @lfcxvs claims that many people could swear that a footballer by the name Salah existed.
A Mandela effect, coined after South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela, also known as false memory is a phenomena, where a person claims remembering something happening which did not happen, or happened completely differently to how the person remembers. It was named after Mandela following many people’s shock upon hearing the news of Mandela’s death in 2013, having vividly remembered him dying in the 1990’s. Researchers believe false memory is a combination of suggestibility, misunderstandings, and blank spots the brain looks to fill in.
What is shocking, and perhaps disturbing in the case of the so-called Mohammed Salah, is people so vividly remembering a player who not only never played for Liverpool, but seemingly never even existed. There is a player named Mohammed Salah Al Neel, who plays for Qatari side Al-Arabi Doha, though many of those who claim Salah’s existence how come out to refute the idea that Al Neel could be Salah.
The similarity of details regarding the false memory of Mohammed Salah is also mysterious. Lots of people have come out to describe him as a left footed winger, who has played for Liverpool for many years. His nationality, they allege is Egyptian. Many claim remembering him as one of the “footballing superstars.”
Liverpool Football Club haven’t commented on the mystery, though striker Roberto Firmino shared an appearent sarcastic message on Instagram wishing Liverpool had a “superstar like this Salah.”
False memory expert Elizabeth Loftus commented on the case to Channel46News:
“It is a very unique false memory case in that it is very rare for so many people to agree on the existence of something that has never existed. Most likely this is a case of suggestibility tapping on some existing triggers in the minds of these people.”
If you’ve heard of Mohammed Salah, we want to hear from you: contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.