Historical Events  General
Bologna Stopped Clock

Bologna station clock stopped for 16 years from 1980

The Bologna station clock worked properly from 1980

The next train will be delayed

A Mandela Effect from the 1980's has been identified.

This is an early example of a scientifically-studied instance of the Mass Memory Discrepancy Effect, of which the Mandela Effect is a sub class.

The background is that after the tragic atrocity of the Bologna Centrale station bombing, the blast stopped the clock at 10.25am on Aug 2nd, 1980. Many photographs were taken of it at this moment and used as a symbol when reporting the story. It was quickly repaired and worked normally from then on. However, it broke in 1996 and, as an act of remembrance, it's hands were set to 10.25am and it was not repaired.

A team of Italian psychologists, Stefania de Vitoa, Roberto Cubellib, and Sergio Della Sala then decided to study the false memory phenomenon and found most people thought the clock had been stopped for the entire 16 years since the explosion. This includes staff actually working at the station during this time, and many travellers would have seen and relied on it daily during this period.

There was no term for the MMDE at this time, but it sounds to many like the early documentation of a Mandela Effect, or large-scale alternative memory situation.


The study is also described here, and was published in 2009:

We administered individually a formal questionnaire to 180 healthy participants (90 males and 90 females) aged 54.39 (SD 7.7, range: 46->67) familiar with the Bologna station or working there inquiring on their knowledge of the event. The relevant questions focused on whether interviewees remembered the clock working normally or as set at the explosion time during the 16 years in which it had been working. Of the 173 participants who knew that the clock is now stopped, 160 (92%) stated that the clock has always been broken. 127 (79%) further claimed to have seen it always set at 10.25, including all 21 railway employees. Most interviewees did not know that the clock had been working for over 16 years and stated that it had always been broken. From the 173 people who knew that at the time of testing the clock was stopped, a subgroup of 56 citizens who regularly take part in the annual official commemoration of the event has been further considered: only six (11%) of them correctly remember that the clock had been working in the past.


Once this came to light in the modern-day Mandela Effect community, some interesting observations were made. For example, in the Reddit Mandela Effect sub:

I am Italian, all I can say is: No-Fu*king-Way. This is literally the first time in my life that I hear such a thing about that clock. Literally everyone in Italy can tell you that the clock was stuck at 10:25 am from 1980. I was such in disbelief when I read the OP that I immediately did a google search about this matter in Italian. I've found this interesting news article from Michele Serra, a very well known journalist here in Italy. The article is from august 2001, and... believe me, I'm struggling to find the words to describe the impossible disbelief my mind is battling while I'm writing this. Translated to English: "Forced by the explosion, the clock was stuck at the very time of the massacre, but it was fixed sometime in the following months: there is only one problem though: no one noticed. People from Bologna, and the rest of Italy, were totally positive that the clock did show ever since and forever the exact time of the massacre, they were so positive about this fact that no one noticed the clock working from 1980 to 1995. When it broke again in 1995, following a request from the railroad union, the clock was forcedly stuck at 10:25 am. But you can't find a single citizen from Bologna that is not convinced that the clock was actually stuck from 1980. We are left here, asking each other: Is it really true that the clock worked from 1980 to 1995? And how come we didn't notice? How come nobody complained?" -------- Again: to me this is behind unbelievable. This is the original source in Italian for everyone interested: http://www.repubblica.it/online/cronaca/orologio/serra/serra.html