Myths Facts & MythConceptions

Did you know a penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building would not kill someone?

Some common myths:

Women accused of witchcraft were burned at the stake during the Salem Witch Trials

❌ Most accused witches during the Salem Witch Trials of the late 17th century were hanged, while others died in jail waiting for their trials. The myth that they were burned at the stake is most likely due to the fact that during the Medieval witch trials in Europe, it was common practice to execute the accused by savagely setting them on fire.

Chewing gum stays in your stomach for years

❌ Most chewing gum is not digestible, meaning that it will travel through your system in a matter of two to four days.

Fortune cookies are Chinese

❌ The National Museum of American History points out that the creator of the fortune cookie was Suyeichi Okamura, a Japanese immigrant who ran a confectionary store in Northern California during the early 1900s. When Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during World War II, Chinese Americans took over the fortune cookie industry, and that’s why you see so many of these treats in US Chinese restaurants today.

You should urinate on someone if they get stung by a jellyfish

❌ According to the Cleveland Clinic, the proper way to treat a jellyfish sting is with hot water. Not only is urine not an effective treatment method, but it can even worsen the sting!

President Richard Nixon was successfully impeached

❌ Official impeachment hearings against Richard Nixon began in May 1974, but the 37th president announced his resignation on Aug. 8 before anyone could successfully force him out of office.

Wait an hour after eating before you go swimming to prevent cramping

❌ A normal-sized meal consumed before swimming will not cause cramping. Yes, the body requires extra blood in order to digest, but not nearly enough to prevent the muscles in your arms and legs from working as they should.

Bulls get angry when they see the color red

❌ According to the American Science Guide, bulls (like other cattle) are red-green colorblind. What actually triggers the bull’s anger is the movement of the cape.

You need to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day

❌ According to the Mayo Clinic, the amount of water you need daily depends on several different factors, like your overall health, your activity levels, and where you live. No single number applies to humans across the board—some people may be perfectly hydrated with fewer than 8 glasses and others might need more.

Bats are blind

❌ “as blind as a bat“—these nocturnal creatures can absolutely see. In fact, as Rob Mies, former executive director for the Organization for Bat Conservation, told National Geographic, bats “can see three times better than humans.”

The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th

While Congress indeed approved the final declaration on July 4, 1776, the document wasn’t signed until Aug. 2 of that year.

Lightning never strikes twice

❌ NASA debunked this myth in 2003, reporting that “lightning definitely strikes more than one place.” In fact, it does so about a third of the time!

Humans only have five senses

Many of us were taught that humans have five senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. But those are only the five basic senses. While this concept of the “five” senses originated with Aristotle, many scientists argue that humans actually have between 14 and 20 senses.

Shaving your hair makes it grow back thicker

❌ Shaving your hair doesn’t make it change in color, rate of growth, or thickness, says the Mayo Clinic. All it does is give the hair a blunt tip, which might feel more coarse as it grows out. But while it may appear more noticeable or thicker during this time, it isn’t in reality.

Sitting too close to the TV will make you go blind

❌ Televisions and other devices emit such low radiation levels that they have little effect on the body. However, staring at the same thing for a long period of time can cause the eye muscles to fatigue, thereby affecting vision. But there has been no proof this causes long-term damage.

Napoleon Bonaparte was extremely short

❌ Bonaparte was most likely average height at just over 5’5″ tall. Historians suppose the myth that he was uncommonly small is derived from a series of caricatures of the general by British cartoonist James Gillray in the early 1800s.

George Washington had wooden teeth

❌ Historians at the Washington Library say that while George Washington did suffer from dental problems, his dentures were composed of ivory, gold, lead, and even other human teeth—but never any wood.

The odds are always 50-50 in a coin toss

❌ A group of Stanford University researchers proved this wrong in 2007 when they flipped a lot of coins and found that a coin was more likely to land on the face that it started on. The researchers put your actual odds at closer to 51-49, so pay attention to which side of the coin faces the sky when you make your call.

If you go outside with wet hair on a cold day, you’ll catch a cold

❌ Colds are caused by viruses, which you can’t get just from being outside in the cold. You may feel sick if you’re outside all day in the cold or rain — runny nose, chills, fatigue — but it’s not because of a virus. It’s because you can experience the same symptoms when you are chilled as when you are sick.You lose most of your heat through your head

In the days of Christopher Columbus, everyone thought the world was flat

❌ Allegedly, around 500 B.C., the Ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras was the first person to propose the theory that the Earth was flat. But not long thereafter, in the middle of the third century B.C., Aristotle declared with certainty that the Earth was, in fact, spherical. And though it might’ve taken a bit for everyone to come around to the reality that our planet is, well, round, Christopher Columbus wasn’t one of the naysayers. When he sailed in 1492, he knew Earth was a sphere. Indeed no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the Earth was flat.

A penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building could kill someone

❌ According to Scientific American, a penny is too small and flat for it to gain enough natural momentum to make any kind of fatal impact. At most, if you were hit, it might feel like being flicked in the forehead “but not even very hard

The Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure visible from space

❌ From low space at 180 miles high, the Great Wall is not the only visible object, nor is it the most distinguishable. NASA images prove you can see “highways, airports, bridges, dams, and components of the Kennedy Space Center.” And if you go further into space, the wall can only be recognized in radar images, not with the human eye or even with a photograph.

These are some of the “Common Mythconceptions

Common MythConceptions Myth Conceptions

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