Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall…

Another topic among Mandela Effect enthusiasts goes back to a classic fairy tale, and the famous verse of a witch. In the story, this witch often checked in with her mirror on the status of her beauty… to make sure she was still the most beautiful woman out there. (Kinda like an old-fashioned Instagram). But what’s got us scratching our heads is this: did her little poem begin by addressing her mirror as ‘Magic Mirror’, or did she simply say “Mirror, Mirror”?


Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, also known as the Brother’s Grimm, first published their tale in 1812, in Germany. Since then, there have been several remakes of the story, even the authors themselves revised it in 1857. An excerpt of our verse is seen in the picture below:

Now, really no translation is needed… since it is plainly clear that there is a double word at the beginning of the verse. But FYI, spieglein translates to “mirror” from German.


So, why the confusion?

If it’s always been “Mirror, mirror,” why is this even a thing? Well, I doubt that we are all familiar with the original German text, and that’s where our memories stem. A lot of us first experienced Snow White in the Disney film from 1937. See the clip down below. (Our verse starts at 0:41)

Or, maybe you were read this timeless classic as a child, and your memory comes from a book. The following is authored by Wanda Gag from 1938.


Mirror, Mirror on the wall

In fact, every version in text that I have found on the internet does, indeed, say “Mirror, Mirror.”

A Theory

When I hear the Mirror verse in my head, it is not the same voice of the Disney witch in the above clip. I hear a shriveled up little witch voice. I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days, and I realized the error in my thinking. Have you ever heard “Nibble, nibble, like a mouse… whose been nibbling at my house?” It has the exact sing-song rhythm, and uses double words in the beginning, like mirror, mirror. (It’s from Hansel & Gretel, by the way.)

So I dug deeper into this concept, into nursery rhymes and fairy tales in general, and this pattern is repeated in many texts. The following is a handful of stories:

“Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me.” ~The Frog King (aka The Frog Prince), The Brother’s Grimm

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.” ~ Rapunzel, The Brother’s Grimm

“May-bug, May-bug, fly away home,” ~ Thumbelina, Hans Christian Andersen

“Tweet, tweet, what a beautiful bird am I.” ~ The Juniper Tree, The Brother’s Grimm

“I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date.” ~Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll


This sing-song pattern also makes it into many Mother Goose nursery rhymes, which most of us are very familiar with…


“Donkey, donkey, old and gray”

“Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man”

“A riddle, a riddle, as I suppose, A hundred eyes and never a nose!”

“Barber, barber, shave a pig.”

“Baby, baby, clap your hands!”

“Billy, Billy, come and play,”



The history is dizzying, and leaves us wide open for different memories of the same story.

Although, I distinctly remember “Mirror, Mirror on the wall,” It is very possible that I heard “Magic Mirror” just once, in a Disney film. My memory of that was replaced by reading the story, and of course, just following the ‘rules’ of stories and poems we were flooded with in our wee early years.

Is this an example of the Mandela Effect? Many will still claim it is. Personally, I say it can be explained away.








  1. I’ve always heard and remember it as “mirror, mirror”. . . Guess Disney didn’t have such a big impact x)

    This whole Mandela effect is such an interesting concept. Just proving how bizarre reality is… is anything real?
    You can’t really trust anybody’s version of events, not even your own. Eerie.

    • Right. It’s one thing for someone to remember something wrong, it happens all the time, really. But for a collective group of people to remember the SAME  thing wrong? And wrong in the exact same way? I think there is a lot going on in this world that the general population can’t even fathom. 

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