Historical Events  Movies
Cheshire Cat

MMDE: We're all mad here

Current: Most everyone is mad here.

What did the Cheshire Cat say?

The mysterious Cheshire Cat is firmly lodged in many peoples memories having read about him, or equally likely seen him, in Lewis Carrols famous Alice in Wonderland.

In the Disney adaptation, many remember him saying "we're all mad here", and this phrase is referenced many times on the internet. It's this way in the original text, too. The problem is in the Disney movie, the phrase he uses is "Most everyone is mad here".

This Mass Memory Discrepancy Effect is likely explained by the phrase being different in the original, which is of course the authoritative source. However, it is remarkable just how many claim to have only seen the movie yet are sure they know the phrase.


The quote is misquoted many times, and in some unexpected places, too.

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.”

-- Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

The novel was written in 1865, and most people know it was by Lewis Carrol but don't realise that was the pseudonym of Charles Luttwidge Dodgson. It was unique at the time for being aimed at both adults and children, both of which found different meanings throughout the work. It is world famous, and has been adapted for the theatre, radio, big screen and television many times as each new medium emerged. Translated into over 100 languages, a sequel in 1871 was written called Through the Looking-Glass.

The origin of the story is one a day when Dodgson was on a boat with the three young daughters of a friend, and started making up a story to pass the time. He just came up with the idea of a young girl called Alice who was bored and wanted an adventure. Later, on another boat trip, he elaborated on the earlier story and one of the girls - who was actually called Alice - asked him to write it down for her. This became the first draft of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland now commonly known as Alice in Wonderland.