Like it or not, the trend of “alternative facts” is not a new one. Call them “urban legends” or “old wives tales,” there are many things that most people believe to be true that are simply works of fiction.
Adding to the confusion, many of these things were taught to us in school. Here’s a list of some of the most common things that people believe in that simply do not exist and never existed.
Prepare to have your mind blown by this unbelievable (or in some cases, way too believable) list. We bet #2 is going to be a hard one for you to let go of.
12. The Iron Maiden
Don’t worry Iron Maiden fans, the heavy metal band is definitely real. However, the torture device, not so much. While the artifacts that make up Iron Maidens are most definitely real, most historians believe that they have been placed together in order to sensationalize Medieval torture. For example, there is no mention of these devices in any written text until 1790. At that time, one book describes the Iron Maiden as a fixture of medieval torture, but this text has since been found to be a fabrication.
11. Sugar Makes You Hyper
Every parent dreads when grandma gives their kids too much sugar. However, there is no scientific link between sugar and hyperactivity. This urban myth is most likely a result of the fact that children have infinitely more energy than their parents, especially when given something that they enjoy like candy. Additionally, it’s a fact of that chocolate contains caffeine, which does cause hyperactivity.
10. Cow Tipping
All over the US, people claim to have snuck onto farms and tipped over poor defenseless cows all in the name of fun. However, studies show that this is scientifically improbable. It would take two full grown men to tip over an average size cow provided the cow did not fight back. If the cow runs away or fights back, it would take up to 4 to 6 people. And because cows are fast and aggressive, it would be hard to attempt such a thing without being harmed. Additionally, there isn’t a single YouTube video that depicts a cow tipping. If it were so popular, there’d be something out there.
So you’re going to have to think of something else fun to do this Saturday.
9. Truth Serum
There are many cinematic depictions of truth serum usually being used to interrogate the main character. These movies make it seem like it’s common practice for truth serum to be used during torture. However, Sodium Pentothal, the most common truth serum which does exist, causes hallucinations and reduces inhibition, and does not guarantee that someone will tell the truth.
8. George Washington’s Wooden Teeth
One conventionally held belief about our first President George Washington is that he had wooden teeth. While it is not known where this myth originated, it has been passed down from Elementary School teachers to children across the country for years.
While George Washington suffered from severe dental issues that started in his early twenties, wood was not amongst the many denture materials that were utilized during his lifetime. Dentures could be made of everything from metal to the teeth of African American slaves. A complete set of Washington’s Dentures still exist, and they are held at Washington’ Mount Vernon. Dentures were created from a mixture of horse, donkey, cow and human teeth, but no wood. Additionally, he never chopped down that cherry tree, either.
7. The Tongue Taste Map
If you went to school during the eighties, you’re familiar with the tongue taste map. This was the belief that certain parts of the tongue were responsible for tasting sweetness while others were responsible for tasting sourness, etc. Now it’s generally accepted that all taste buds are capable of processing multiple taste stimuli. First, Pluto isn’t a planet, and now this!
6. Gravity-Free Chambers
There are a many science fiction TV shows and movies that have depicted anti-gravity chambers where astronauts can train to be in a weightless environment. Unfortunately, no such technology exists at this time. While NASA is actively trying to recreate weightlessness on our planet, they have not had a breakthrough yet. The closest thing to weightlessness in our environment that they can create is hitching a ride on a special plane that uses parabolic maneuvers to simulate a few minutes of weightlessness.
5. Betty Crocker
The next time somebody makes fun of your cooking by telling you you’re not Betty Crocker, let them know that’s because she doesn’t exist. Marjorie Husted created Betty Crocker as a campaign for the Washburn Crosby Company. Betty Crocker gets her last name from William Crocker, who was one of the company’s directors at the time. While various actresses have depicted Betty Crocker first on a radio program and then a TV show, she’s nothing more than an advertisement. As long as the brownies are real, it’s all good.
4. Viking Helmets With Horns
One of the most prevalent depictions of Vikings in pop culture is the helmet with horns on it. However, archaeologists have never found a helmet from the Viking era that has horns or any large protrusions coming off of them. This urban legend probably derives from artistic depictions of Norse myths such as Thor.
3. It Takes 7 Years for Gum To Be Digested
Over 50% of the population still believes that if you swallow gum, it takes up to 7 years for it to digest. In reality, it just takes about a week, if that. This myth most likely derives from parents and teachers warning children not to swallow gum. Incidentally, your face won’t freeze that way if you make a funny face, either.
2. There Are Only Five Senses
It’s commonly believed that human beings only have five senses which are taste, hearing, touch, smell and sight. However, scientists point out that there are many other senses that humans possess that do not get covered under these five categories. Things like pressure, temperature, our ability to process time, etc. are all common senses that people have as well. So if you see dead people, you probably have a 100th sense.
1. The Harmful Effects Of MSG
Chinese food, as well as many snacks, contain MSG, and have been labeled unhealthy. Many people believe that MSG causes a number of health problems from numbness in the neck to cancer. However, in a double-blind study, no serious medical problems have developed from consuming MSG. In fact, the health problems that are associated with these foods are most likely caused by good old-fashioned salt and sugar.
Even though science has disproved all of these accepted beliefs, many people still hold onto them. Now that you know some of the most widespread myths that are accepted as conventional wisdom, hopefully it makes you take a look at some of the other things you simply accept to be true. Because in truth, this list could be twice as large and still would not scratch the surface of all the things that we believe are true that are simply false.
Still, the next time somebody complains about hyperactivity and sugar or the harmful effects of MSG, won’t it be fun to send them this article?