Berenstain vs. Berenstein

One of the first major eye-openers to the Mandela effect for many was the spelling of a childhood memory. Do you remember the Berenstain Bears? Or do you swear it was the Berenstein bears? Just as sure as some people are that Nelson Mandela died in prison in the 80s, many are positive that our beloved bear family contained 3 e’s… and they pronounced it as such, too. Whether they said “stine” or “steen”, they know without a doubt that “stain” is wrong. This should be easy to figure out, certainly there are family members to ask. After all, Berenst(e)ain was the surname of the husband and wife team who created these books. Even without research, it should be as easy as digging through that old book pile and finding an original book. Is this just an internet hoax?

What does the rest of the family say?

Stanley and Jan Berenstain, coauthors and illustrators of the Berenstain Bears, have sadly passed on. But as this is a family name, there are still other family members bearing this last name, and some have voiced their opinions. The granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Berenstain, Emily, mentioned this on a blog that she has created in memory of the bear family. She finds the situation amusing, and she is approached again and again about the spelling of her last name. She concludes, “…who knows, maybe there is another universe, who am I to say there isn’t? But in this universe, the Bears are and have always been the Berenstain Bears.” Enough said.

It is interesting to note what Jan and Stan’s son, Mike, says in a comment on another blog. He gives us a little back story of the name, mentioning that when his great-grandparents immigrated from Ukraine in the late 1800s, the name was, in fact, Berenstein. It is normal for last names to be modified when coming from other countries, to make them more, well, phonetically friendly to our English language. “In that linguistic region,” Mike writes, “the name tended to come out sounding something like, ‘Ber’nsheytn’.” Thus it was documented as Berenstain. Mike’s theory of this craziness is that people simply have been misreading the name for all of these years.


This is easily debunk-able, just find an old book.

My own original picture from a book copywritten in 1971.

Its hard to put 100% faith in anything we see on the internet now a days. With programs like Photoshop, even a novice can change reality and leave us a trail of false proof. And of course, the tricksters are out there creating their own Berenstein artwork. The expert photo analyzer can easily call these out as fakes. Besides that, typos happen. Since Berenstein make more sense to some, many people simply mistake the spelling without giving it a second thought. The only solid proof one is going to come up with is to go digging through that stack of childhood books in mom’s attic. Upon finding that old book that has been buried for a good decade, one should be sure that this whole Berenstain vs. Berenstein ordeal is a joke. Or–cue Twilight Zone music– its not a joke. They all say Berenstain.

Moving Along

Maybe it is simple human error. But maybe this phenomena is only a piece to a much larger puzzle. It is only one example of the Mandela Effect, for there are many many more cases popping up every day.

Are you a Steiner, or a Stainer?













  1. I’ve always known them as the Berenstain Bears. Every single book that I own contains “Berenstain”, NOT “Berenstein”. To be honest, “Berenstein” doesn’t make any sense to me at all. Maybe these people who swear by “Berenstein” either needed glasses, or they might not have been able to read the font used on the covers of the books.

    • Ha, I do have glasses! I was half blind until I was 8… you may be on to something?
      But seriously, I had read that his ancestors, were in fact Berenstein, and they changed the spelling when they migrated on over to the United States. But that doesn’t really have anything to do with people remembering the E spelling in the books.
      Out of curiosity… are you effected by any of this, or are you just researching the topic?

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