Fact vs Fiction: Debunking 18 Stubborn Myths That Just Won’t Die

Myths and misconceptions are as old as humanity itself. But in our age of information, it’s staggering to see how certain falsehoods persist, even in the face of hard evidence to the contrary. These myths range from the quirky to the consequential, and they have implications for how we understand the world and our place in it. Here, we dismantle 18 such myths, showing where they originate and why they’ve been so stubbornly resistant to the truth.

Swallowed Gum Stays in Your Stomach for Seven Years

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This myth has parents cautioning their children for generations. The idea is that gum, being non-digestible, sticks around in our guts. While it’s true that our bodies can’t digest gum fully, it doesn’t linger for seven years. Instead, it travels smoothly through our digestive system and is expelled just like any other indigestible substance.

Cracking Your Knuckles Causes Arthritis

The tell-tale sound of knuckle-cracking has been wrongly accused of leading to arthritis. In reality, the noise originates from the bursting of gas bubbles in the joints. Multiple studies have shown no direct correlation between the habit and arthritis. So, while it might annoy those around you, your joints remain unharmed.

You Only Use 10% of Your Brain

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Popularized by movies and motivational speakers, this myth is compelling but untrue. Modern neuroimaging has shown that virtually all parts of the brain have some kind of function. Over a day, nearly every portion of our brain gets its time in the spotlight.

Sharks Can’t Get Cancer

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This misconception has led many to believe that shark cartilage can treat or prevent cancer. Not only can sharks get cancer, but relying on unproven treatments based on myths can have potentially dangerous consequences for human health.

The Great Wall of China is Visible From Space

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This popular belief paints a picture of an impressive human-made structure seen from space. However, astronauts have confirmed that without aid, the wall isn’t easily discernible from orbit. Many other landmarks, due to their color and breadth, are more noticeable.

Hair and Nails Continue to Grow After Death

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This eerie idea probably takes root from posthumous changes in the human body. In reality, dehydration of the corpse causes the skin to retract, making hair and nails appear longer. They don’t grow; it’s merely an illusion.

Touching Baby Birds Causes Rejection From Parents

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The heartwarming intention behind this myth is to prevent human interference with nature. However, most birds have a limited sense of smell. Thus, parental rejection due to human scent is unlikely. It’s still wise to avoid disturbing wildlife, but for reasons other than this myth.

Humans Have Just Five Senses

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Traditional teachings dictate the quintet of sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. But humans possess more senses, like thermoception (temperature differences), equilibrioception (balance), and nociception (pain), among others.

Bats are Blind

The phrase “blind as a bat” is catchy but misinformed. Most bats have eyesight, and while it might not be their primary sense, many species can see better at night than humans. Their echolocation is an added ability, not a replacement for sight.

Napoleon Bonaparte Was Extremely Short

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Historical tales have painted Napoleon as a tiny figure, possibly fueling his supposed complex. However, he stood around 5 feet 7 inches, average for his time. The misconception likely arises from the differences between French and English measurement units.

Eating Carrots Improves Night Vision

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Carrots are beneficial for eye health due to their vitamin A content, but they aren’t a nocturnal superfood. This myth has origins in World War II propaganda, where the British spread it to hide their pilots’ use of radar technology.

Lightning Never Strikes the Same Place Twice

This adage is far from the truth. Tall structures, like skyscrapers and towers, often get hit multiple times in a single storm. Lightning seeks the easiest route to the ground, and if a location has been struck once, it’s likely a preferred pathway.

People in the Middle Ages Thought the Earth Was Flat

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This is a popular historical myth. By the Middle Ages, educated Europeans knew the Earth was a sphere. Ancient Greeks, like Eratosthenes, had even made fairly accurate measurements of its circumference.

Goldfish Have a Three-Second Memory Span

A disservice to goldfish everywhere, this myth underestimates their cognitive abilities. Studies have shown they can remember information for months. They can even be trained to recognize different sounds and perform tricks!

Bulls Hate the Color Red

In bullfighting, matadors use bright red capes. But it’s not the color that riles up the bull—it’s the movement. Bulls, like other cattle, are color-blind to red.

Vikings Wore Horned Helmets

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Contrary to popular depictions, there’s no historical evidence that Vikings sported helmets with horns. This image was popularized by 19th-century art and performances. Real Viking helmets were practical and horn-free.

Sugar Causes Hyperactivity in Children

Many believe a dose of sugar sends kids bouncing off the walls. However, multiple studies have debunked the direct link between sugar and hyperactivity. It’s possible that the environments where sugary treats are consumed (parties, holidays) play a role in heightened excitement.

Dropping a Penny From a Skyscraper Can Kill

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The idea that a penny dropped from a great height could be lethal is misleading. Due to its shape and mass, a penny would reach a terminal velocity that’s discomforting but not deadly. Still, it’s best not to toss objects from heights for obvious safety reasons.

Lost in Southern Translation: 18 Baffling Phrases from the South That’ll Leave Y’all Reaching for a Dictionary

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  The Southern United States has a rich linguistic tradition that can often be a puzzle to those unfamiliar with the region’s unique vernacular. It’s not just the charming accent, but also the colorful phrases and expressions that add a dash of spice to the language. Let’s decode 18 such Southern phrases.

Lost in Southern Translation: 18 Baffling Phrases from the South That’ll Leave Y’all Reaching for a Dictionary


The Unpopular Yet Lucrative: 13 High-Paying Jobs Few Choose to Pursue

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Despite their attractive salaries, there are specific high-paying jobs that need help to attract candidates due to various reasons. These unique professions offer financial rewards but often require more individuals to undertake the associated challenges. Let’s explore 14 such occupations that require specialized skills or involve demanding conditions but come with significant monetary compensation. The Unpopular Yet Lucrative: 13 High-Paying Jobs Few Choose to Pursue

Unmasking the Unpleasant: 12 Telltale Signs You Might Just Be a ‘Terrible Person’

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You can tell if someone is a good person based on their words and actions. You can also use the same standard to determine if someone isn’t a good person. But what should you be looking for? An online community asked its members to describe the characteristics of someone who isn’t a good person, and the results were eye-opening Unmasking the Unpleasant: 12 Telltale Signs You Might Just Be a ‘Terrible Person’
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