Investigation: Is Deceased Golden Girl Rue McClanahan Haunting Twitter? 

By Kate Knibbs on at

Looking at Twitter or Facebook yesterday, it would not be crazy to assume that Rue McClanahan, erstwhile star of The Golden Girls, had just died. People were losing their marbles over the death of Blanche Devereaux. But McClanahan didn’t die yesterday. She left this earthly existence five years ago.

So why the very belated outpouring of inaccurately timed mourning? Is dead Golden Girls star Rue McClanahan haunting Twitter?

First, the facts: McClanahan actually died June 3rd, 2010, following a brain haemorrhage. Her death did not cause an uproar on social media. Then, last year, shortly after the anniversary of McClanahan’s actual death, people started freaking out about it on Twitter. She became a “Trending Topic” and the media puzzled over the resurgence of mistaken attention paid to her demise.

This year, RIP Rue McClanahan! fever has once again gripped a Twitter beside itself with the (five-year-old) loss of television’s most sexually profligate elder.

Ok, so what’s going on here? There are several theories behind Rue’s resurgence:

  • “Maybe everyone’s Googling ‘Golden State Warriors’ and going to Golden Girls instead?” - a CBS newscaster suggested this yesterday. No.
  • Snopes called the McClanahan Twitter re-death “a prime exemplar of the ‘Mandela Effect,’” which is when people have memories that differ from our society’s accepted historical timeline, like thinking that Nelson Mandela died in a different year. People who believe in the Mandela Effect think that these strongly-felt memories are proof of parallel universes. (They are also wrong and cannot accept that they just have a bad memory.)

Unfortunately, both of those theories are terrible! Better theory:

  • This is just good old-fashioned Twitter rumour spreading. As the Washington Post noted last year, McClanahan’s inaccurate death rumour was probably started by a few influential Twitter users posting bad information, or people not fully reading their tweets and interpreting a memorial tweet as evidence that McClanahan had just died. This makes the most sense.

Best theory:

  • Rue McClanahan planted the rumour herself. The outspoken actress and activist is haunting Twitter, using her otherworldly powers to posthumously insert herself back in the national conversation.

McClanahan appeared on A&E’s television program Celebrity Ghost Stories in 2009, just a year before she died. Almost as if she was keenly aware of the ways the dead could impact the lives of the living....

In 2014, Vice asked a physic medium to contact the dead Golden Girls. According to the medium, McClanahan showed her a past life she lived in Egypt. “She very much had a lifetime there. She’s telling me this now. That Rue McClanahan can show me her past life in Egypt is really funny to me. It is pretty crazy.”

Pretty crazy indeed!

If McClanahan could convey an entire past life on command to one friggin’ medium, sure seems like she’d be able to manipulate some jamokes on Twitter into thinking she just died.

It’s a beautiful mystery.