50+ Famous Facts You’ve Always Believed That Are Actually False
Napoleon wasn’t short? Bananas don’t grow on trees? Here, the world’s most contagious myths and misconceptions—debunked.
Napoleon Was Short
A tall tale. At five six, he was slightly above average height for a Frenchman of the time.
Indulge your inner Francophile by learning these French phrases.
Salty Water Boils Quicker
Adding a sprinkle of salt to water makes no difference. It can actually make boiling take longer.
You’ll wish you knew these brilliant cooking shortcuts sooner!
Oil Stops Stuck Pasta
Nope. It’ll only make it greasy. Stirring prevents sticking.
Here are more pasta cooking mistakes you should avoid.
Left and Right Brain
There’s no solid division between the talents of each hemisphere; the left brain can learn “right-brain skills” and vice versa.
Check out these simple ways to boost your brain power.
Dropped Pennies Kill
Terminal velocity of a penny is 18 to 30 kilometres per hour. Not fast enough to kill—but it sure would sting.
Don’t miss these outrageous news stories from around the globe.
Three Wise Men
Nowhere in the Bible does it specify that there were three.
Find out why bunnies are so popular for Easter.
MSG = Headaches
There’s no scientific proof—just anecdotal evidence implicating monosodium glutamate.
These are the surprising things that could be triggering your headaches.
Dogs Sweat by Salivating
No—they regulate temperature through panting. They actually sweat through their footpads.
We’ve rounded up the smartest dog breeds.
Great Wall of China
It’s not visible from space. No single human structure is visible from orbit, but you can see cities at night.
Einstein Failed Math
Nope. He failed an entrance exam for a school but still excelled in math.
Humans and Dinosaurs
Despite 41 per cent of U.S. adults thinking we coexisted, humans and dinosaurs actually missed each other by 64 million years. Yikes.
Check out the weirdest discoveries archaeologists have made.
Not really “holes,” but rather hugely dense objects with massive gravitational pull.
Don’t miss these baffling mysteries about the universe.
We Have Only Five Senses
Some scientists insist on 21, including balance, pain and temperature.
Vaccines Cause Autism
Groundless fears based on fraudulent research that’s been shown to have been manipulated.
Learn the difference between autism and Asperger’s.
Don’t Touch Baby Birds
Most birds have a limited sense of smell, so they won’t abandon babies who “smell” of humans.
Think twice before believing these other myths about animals!
Alcohol Kills Brain Cells
Even in heavy users and alcoholics, brain cells aren’t killed, only damaged.
Police don’t require a 24-hour waiting period before accepting a missing-persons report.
Different Tongue Parts
There are not different sections of the tongue for each taste: bitter, sour, salt, sweet and umami (savoury/meaty).
Here are the body parts you never knew you had.
Only 10 Per Cent of the Brain is Used
The proportion of the brain “firing” at any one time is task dependent, but ultimately, every region is used almost every day.
Can you pass this brainteasing colour quiz?
These were never medieval torture devices, but 18th-century fakes were created for sensational circuses.
Body Heat and the Head
Only in infants is most heat lost through the head (unless the head is the only uncovered part of the body).
Read on to find out North America’s most popular baby names.
They’ll be really confused, but it’s OK. They’re more likely to hurt themselves if they’re not awoken.
These are the best songs to help you sleep, according to science.
Bananas Grow on Trees
Actually, they grow on massive herbs that just resemble trees.
Bats Are Blind
Not only can bats see, but they also use echolocation. That’s why they’re so awesome!
Check out the animals that are deadlier than sharks!
Caffeine Dehydrates You
Not really. The diuretic effect of caffeine is offset by the amount of water in a caffeinated drink.
Check out our ultimate guide to different types of coffee!
Shaving Thickens Hair
Regrown hair isn’t thicker, coarser, or darker; it just appears so because it grows back with a blunt tip.
Avoid falling for these old wives’ tales you were told as a kid!
Seven Years to Digest Gum
The chewy base of gum is indigestible and passes straight through. The remainder is absorbed.
Alcohol Keeps You Warm
It merely dilates warm blood vessels near the skin, creating the impression of warmth. It can actually drop core body temperature.
Not a room Romans used for Bacchanalian binges, but the name for the entrance to a stadium.
Bulls Hate Red
Bulls are colour-blind. They actually perceive the motions of the bullfighter’s cloth as a threat.
Bagpipes Are Scottish
Sorry, Braveheart fans: They were prevalent in the Middle East centuries before Western Europe.
Toads Cause Warts
Humans can catch warts only from other humans. Those bumps on toads are just their skin glands.
SOS = “Save Our Ship”
It doesn’t stand for anything. SOS became a Morse code distress signal because it’s so easy to transmit: three dots, three dashes, three dots.
Take a look at what life was like aboard the Titanic.
Celebrities Die in Threes
Of 449 celebs who have died since 1990, only in seven cases did three die in the same five-day period, according to data from the New York Times.
These mysterious celebrity deaths are still unexplained.
Sleepers Swallow Eight Spiders Per Year
Spiders usually don’t crawl into beds during nighttime wanderings because they offer no prey. You probably swallow zero spiders per year.
Everest is the Tallest Mountain
Only above sea level. If you measure Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano from its underwater base, it stands more than 33,000 feet tall—4,000 above Everest.
Find out how climbers are ruining Mount Everest.
Van Gogh Cut Off His Ear for a Lover
It was just a small piece of lobe, and he did it during a violent spat with Pat Gauguin. Whether Van Gogh then gave it to a local girl remains unknown.
Read up on these strange unsolved mysteries of the art world.
The Pilgrims First Landed at Plymouth Rock
They landed in what is now Provincetown, Massachusetts, and signed the Mayflower Compact there. Plymouth came five weeks later.
Slaves Built the Pyramids
Egyptologists say this ancient construction job was a great honour granted only to respected labourers, who remains entombed near the site today.
Here are more monuments that have baffled researchers.
Ben Franklin Wanted the Turkey to Represent America
While designing a national seal, Franklin proposed an image of Moses, not a wild turkey, to represent America.
Dive into these other quirky facts about America.
Ninjas Wore Black
This “uniform” comes from years of fiction and folklore. Real ninjas wore anything that would help them blend into daily life.
Next, check out these mind-blowing facts you’ll think are made up!