The King Henry VIII turkey leg mystery

I am going to add my voice to the countless others already clamoring about King Henry VIII and his famous turkey leg painting that, apparently on this timeline, never was..

A little explanation is in order.

I have written countless times about ‘time sips’ and the Mandella Effect here, here, and here, just to name a few.

The full conundrum can be found on the Mandella Effect website–this website may also spark interest that you will keep reading the rest. Basically, countless people remember seeing this painting with King Henry holding up a giant leg of fowl.. And countless people become shaken when they are realized to be wrong about that very fact. There is no such painting. Nothing in pop culture that resembles the memory we all have.. and nothing which can answer the reason why that very memory includes the same exact details..

I have been searching, for about a year, for something to disprove my proof of the Mandella Effect: This very painting. This entire King Henry issue hit me much harder than anything involving the Berenstain Bears, or even Nelson Mandella himself. As a matter of fact, I always knew Mandella to be alive. At least when I started paying attention to national and foreign news in my early teens in the 1990s..

My son Ayden, age 4, told me that when he was “a kid,” the ‘green light’ was on ‘top of the red light’. That made me laugh.. then a few other events occurred and my personal world was rocked, and figured that my son, saying how the red light changed from his own 1 year old memory, had a time slip.

That is how I arrived to the whole Mandella effect to begin with, along with Starfire Tor on Art Bell and callers to his program saying that they believed Mandella died in prison.

Now back to the subject at hand, or in hand, the turkey leg.
I recall exactly what others recall.. a painting. An opulent setting. The grand feast in front of Henry, his eyes were heavy and looking somewhat sad. The turkeyish leg in his right hand, so on the left hand side of the painting. And I also vaguely recall somewhat of a window setting behind him, maybe.

The memories are so much the same as others.
And get this.. I recall it being discussed in my 4th or 5th grade social studies class, with all of the kids looking at the painting and chuckling. This would have been in the late 1980s…

Yesterday during a family breakfast at Friendlys, I used the crayons that my son was given to color to create this quick little picture of what I remembered, so I can show my wife in further detail:


The waitress showed a bit of interest, so I asked her if she recalls that painting with King Henry VIII eating a turkey leg. She chuckled, and said “of course I do, that looks just like it.”
Indeed it does..

So it goes back to the idea that we all saw the same thing, or series of things, which formed a similar image in our minds.
but why so exact.. Could we all have been this tricked? This mind-warped? Could the same joke thought of Henry eating a giant feast coupled with famous paintings be this able to fool the brain?
Why so many pop culture references to a painting that does not exist..
Why does every single person I talk to say they saw this painting?
And why is it gone?
Disturbing to say the least.

Ending with this quote may be the best:

“I love Bill Clinton. I think we should make him king. I’m talking the red robe, the turkey leg – everything.”  Tim McGraw on Bill Clinton in 2014. I wonder if he had his Mandella Effect hit him yet?


    1. Could it have been in a cartoon? I vaguely recall something like this from loony toons or disney.

  1. I remember, quite vividly, seeing this picture in a text book or history book between 4th-7th grade. It was the first picture I ever saw of Henry VIII. I got really into his reign in the middle of High School and would always recall that picture. I found out, literally a few hours ago, that it never existed and I can’t believe that something I remember so clearly, apparently was never even created. I asked all my friends but they never recalled seeing it, though they aren’t particularly interested in history. It’s tripping me out knowing that so many other people have seen the portrait as well, yet it apparently didn’t exist.

    1. I know, and felt the same way you do now when I found out.. Interesting that about 99% of the people I ask also remember this and 100% of them are shocked when I tell them apparently the picture never existed

  2. I’ve seriously spent half my work day trying to find this painting. I know it exists (or maybe existED in another dimension?)
    Your drawing is how I recall the portrait as well. I remember as a kid my mother had a large coffee table book filled with paintings and portraits of kings and queens and I can vividly remember the Henry VIII painting with the turkey leg. I just asked my brother too and he remembered easily… I barely had to describe it – he knew exactly what I was talking about.
    We’re going to see if my mom still has the book.
    I was already weirded out by the whole BarenstAin bears thing. This is just blowing my mind.

    1. Love your comment. I am glad you spent the day doing something important (Seriously. ) I have been on a quest myself to find this for a long time since I wrote this post.

      If there is ANY mind numbing mystery, it is this turkey leg.

      I know–100% sure of this–that I saw the illustration in a grade school social studies book. And now that is gone.

  3. I’m a history buff and remember the painting also. The king was dressed in opulent fashion, and the leg-of-fowl served to demonstrate his regal standing. It has been quite a while since I viewed the portrait, but do recall it having been available via Internet search.

  4. I remember it also. I had to check a Garbage Pail Kids website just to see if that’s where I saw it! No luck finding it!

  5. I thought this Mandela thing was crazy when someone told me about it so I started looking into it to find reasonable explanations, and in most cases, I can find that. But this missing leg has me feeling like I’ve entered the Twilight Zone. As opposed to others, I cannot find another person that I know that remembers the leg. They are all familiar with the painting, but they have no memory of the leg and the leg means nothing to them when asked about it. This is flabbergasting. In the world I grew up in, this painting was incredibly famous. It was known on a level with the Mona Lisa or American Gothic MAINLY BECAUSE of the Turkey (or whatever) leg. Everyone thought it was absurd to have that in the painting and that’s the main reason it was so well known. This painting was in history books and I vividly remember discussing it in class. The teacher explained to us that Henry VIII was the first King to have Turkey for Christmas Dinner and included it in the portrait to show the prosperity of England. There are several references to this in pop culture: Happy Days, Pepto Bismol, and The Simpsons for starters. And these were not the inspiration for some “false memory.” These were reflections of the reality we all lived in and accepted. I do not remember a Mandela funeral in the 90s, and most of the other effects do not have much interest to me, but this one is the craziest thing I have ever tried to wrap my brain around. I only remember one painting, but thats not to say there couldn’t have been two, but I only saw one. It was practically identical to the Holbein standing painting, but he was holding the leg in his left hand (right side of painting)

    1. I have tried wrapping my brain around it as well. Of all the ‘time slips’ it’s the one thing I can come to grips with at all.. it deeply haunts me .. thank you for your great comment

  6. This is not the image I was looking for as I remember a standing portrait almost identical to the Holbein, but I have read that many of you remember a painting more like this. I am unable to find the original source thus far so I do not know if this is a copy of something or an original itself or when it was created, but Amazon is selling this:

  7. That’s so close to what I recall .. but he’s standing .. yes.. not completely accurate but close

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