30 Fake ‘Facts’ People Still Believe Despite Them Being Disproved

Published 3 years ago

Even though you can find tons of useful information on the internet, you can find just as much nonsense – and the worst part is that sometimes that nonsense is disguised as the truth. And even though there are people out there who devote their time to debunking these fake ‘facts’, for whatever reason some people still choose to believe them.

Today we’d like to introduce you to some commonly believed yet completely untrue facts, and they might leave you surprised. From space pens to Solo cups, check out a collection of false ‘facts’ that many people believe in the gallery below!

h/t: Bored Panda

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Image source: livescience

Sharks can get cancer. The myth that they cannot is perpetuated partly by people trying to sell shark cartilage as a cancer treatment, even though it’s been proven to be ineffective. As one shark researcher put it, “Sharks get cancer. Even if they didn’t get cancer, eating shark products won’t cure cancer any more than me eating Michael Jordan would make me better at basketball.” The marketing of shark cartilage as a cancer treatment both misleads patients and results in more sharks being killed by humans.


The “X” in “Xmas” has nothing to do with “taking the Christ out of Christmas.” In fact, it literally means “Christ.” In Greek, “the word Christos (Christ) begins with the letter ‘X,’ or chi.” The abbreviation isn’t a modern or secular invention; it’s been around since 1021 as “XPmas,” later further shortened to “Xmas.”

Image source: vox


Image source: insider

The fact that bees can fly doesn’t violate the laws of aviation, and it isn’t a scientific mystery. If bees flew like airplanes, then yeah, their flight would be impossible. But they don’t fly like airplanes. They fly like bees. The opening narration of Bee Movie informs us that a bee shouldn’t be able to fly, because “its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground.” But like so much of Bee Movie, this is complete nonsense. The myth may have originated with entomologist August Magnan, who in the 1930s noted that “a bee’s flight should be impossible.” But Magnan didn’t know that bees flap their wings back and forth instead of up and down, a motion that creates “mini-hurricanes” that help lift the bee upward.


Ninjas never wore black. The darkest color they ever wore was blue (during nighttime). Mostly they wore the inconspicuous clothing of peasants, merchants, traveling priests, etc.

Image source: tannya7903


Image source: csicop

The 25th frame affects human subconsciousness. In 1957, James Vicary did an experiment; he secretly flashed, at a third of a millisecond, the words stimulating people to eat popcorn and drink a certain beverage onto a movie screen. According to his words, right after the end of the movie, the sales of both drastically increased. But the American Association of Psychology disproved the effect of the 25th frame. In 1962, Vicary himself admitted the falsification of experimental results.


Charles Darwin said that humans come from monkeys. In reality, Darwin never stated the fact that humans come from monkeys directly. In his work On the Origin of Species, Darwin only said that monkeys, apes, and humans must have a common ancestor because of our great similarities compared to other species.

Image source: theguardian


Image source: KCUR

Walt Disney did not create Mickey Mouse. His close friend and collaborator Ub Iwerks did, though he was “denied credit” for creating this major piece of pop culture history. Iwerks came up with the character in 1928, after Disney lost the rights to his “first hit character,” Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. When Disney “kept on making up bigger and bigger whoppers to stretch the Mickey Mouse creation story,” up to and including claiming he was the one who came up with him, Iwerks quit Walt Disney Studios, embittered by his friend’s behavior. In 1940, a decade after he left, Iwerks returned. He and Disney rekindled their friendship and worked together until Disney’s death in 1966.


Image source: readersdigest

Humans don’t swallow eight spiders a year on average while they sleep. Arachnid experts speaking to Scientific American said that such a claim “flies in the face of both spider and human biology.” Spiders “regard us much like they’d regard a big rock,” since we’re so comparatively huge that we’re “really just part of the landscape” to them. Additionally, the vibrations of a sleeping human (snoring, breathing, and the beating of a heart) are terrifying to spiders. As far as humans go, even if the rare brave spider does wander across your face whilst you snore, you’d most likely feel it there and wake up before it crawled inside your mouth.


There is no record of Queen Marie Antoinette of France ever having said the words “Let them eat cake.” The myth goes that when told French peasants did not have enough bread to feed themselves, she replied callously, “Let them eat cake.” History.com claimed that Lady Antonia Fraser, author of a bestselling biography of the French queen, believed that “the quote would have been highly uncharacteristic of Marie-Antoinette, an intelligent woman who donated generously to charitable causes and, despite her own undeniably lavish lifestyle, displayed sensitivity towards the poor population of France.”

Image source: history


Image source: NASA

NASA confirms that The Great Wall of China “frequently billed as the only man-made object visible from space” can’t actually be seen from the final frontier. Although the fact was debunked by Chinese astronaut, Yang Liwei, the textbooks were never changed, and will often still claim this as true.


Image source: slate

Orson Welles’ 1938 radio play War of the Worlds didn’t cause mass hysteria in the United States. You may have heard that millions of Americans were tricked into thinking that aliens had invaded Earth, but in reality, “the supposed panic was so tiny as to be practically immeasurable on the night of the broadcast.” Newspapers covered the story gratuitously, hoping to strike a blow against radio, the popularity of which had carved into their profits. But very few people actually tuned into the broadcast, and even fewer earnestly believed what they were hearing. Multiple anecdotes about the panicked reactions of the public (including suicide attempts and hospitals treating multiple listeners for shock) were later disproven.


Image source: scientificamerican

NASA didn’t spend millions developing a pen that could be used in space while the Soviets simply told their cosmonauts to use pencils. NASA’s mechanical pencils of choice cost $128.89 each, and the public wasn’t pleased when they found out where their tax dollars were going. In addition, the flammability of pencils and the tendency of their tips to break off and float away made the switch to pens imperative. The Fisher Pen Company invested $1 million to design the “AG-7 ‘Anti-Gravity’ Space Pen,” but “none of this investment came from NASA’s coffers.”

The agency was hesitant to purchase the product, but after extensive testing, they decided to buy 400 of them. A year later, the Soviets placed an order for 100 space pens. The two dueling agencies “received the same 40 percent discount for buying their pens in bulk. They both paid $2.39 per pen instead of $3.98.” So while NASA was looking for an alternative writing utensil when the space pen came along, they neither overlooked the possibility of using pencils nor invested an absurd amount in the invention of the product.


Image source: history

Despite the fact that his name has become synonymous with “angry short man,” Napoleon Bonaparte was actually of average height for the time period in which he lived.
His contemporaries described him as being 5’2″, but the French measured height differently back in the day, so he was actually around 5’5″. That made him just “an inch or so below the period’s average adult male height.” The popular perception of the diminutive general probably came in part from the successful work of the British cartoonist James Gillray, whose mocking caricatures of a “tiny Napoleon” were so popular that Napoleon himself said that Gillray “did more than all the armies of Europe to bring me down.”


Image source: history

Albert Einstein never flunked a math class as a child. When the adult Einstein was shown a newspaper article claiming he had, he replied, “Before I was 15, I had mastered differential and integral calculus.” While Einstein achieved high grades throughout his childhood education, he “hated the strict protocols followed by teachers and rote learning demanded of students” at the schools he attended. The math class myth may have originated with the fact that Einstein did fail the entrance exam to Zurich Polytechnic the first time he took it, when he was still a year and a half from graduating high school and hadn’t learned much French (the language in which the exam was administered). And, for the record, he did well on the math section, but struggled in language, botany, and zoology. He later graduated from high school and gained admittance to Zurich Polytechnic in 1896.


Don’t touch baby birds. If there’s one thing everyone knows about baby birds, it’s that you’re not supposed to pick them up. If you do, the mother bird will smell the residue of your stinky human hands on her baby, and leave the piteously crying chick there to die, right?

Wrong, says Miyoko Chu, a biologist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “Birds don’t have a very strong sense of smell,” she said, “so you won’t leave a scent that will alarm the parent.”

In fact, contrary to what our parents may have told us, most bird parents are unlikely to abandon their chicks over a little human fiddling. “Usually, birds are quite devoted to their young and not easily deterred from taking care of them,” Chu said.

Image source: livescience


Image source: USGS

Yellowstone isn’t overdue for an eruption. It’s had three major explosions in its existence (2.08, 1.3, and 0.631 million years ago), and if you average out those numbers, that means an eruption every 725,000 years, meaning we’d still have a good 100,000 to go. But that number is based on such little data that it’s “basically meaningless.” A volcano doesn’t operate like a fault line, and the accumulation of liquid magma and pressure necessary for an eruption “does not generally happen on a schedule.” Because of that, it can’t be overdue.


Image source: medicalnewstoday

According to a survey from 2013, around 65 percent of Americans believe that we only use 10 percent of our brain. But this is just a myth, according to an interview with neurologist Barry Gordon in Scientific American. He explained that the majority of the brain is almost always active.


Image source: noaa

Lightning can and does strike the same place twice. The Empire State Building gets struck 25 times a year on average. And speaking of lightning striking once and coming back for more, one unlucky fellow by the name of Roy Sullivan was struck by lightning seven times. That’s the most lightning strikes any one person’s ever survived.


Image source: cst.ufl

Different tongue parts. There are not different sections of the tongue for each taste: bitter, sour, salt, sweet and umami (savoury/meaty).


The Mexica people (known as “Aztecs” post-conquest) didn’t believe that Hernando Cortés and the other conquistadors were gods. Francisco López de Gómara, Cortés’s secretary and a man who had never been to Mexico, came up with that story in 1552. In de Gómara’s version of history, Cortés was seen as “a god named Quetzalcoatl, who long ago had disappeared in the east.” But there is no evidence that the myth of Quetzalcoatl existed before the Europeans’ arrival, and the Mexica responded to the “technology gap” between them and Cortés’s forces with “intelligence and savvy rather than wide-eyed talk of gods.” The story both glorified the Europeans and alleviated their guilt by recasting them as returning gods rather than invading conquerors.

Image source: daily


Image source: snopes

The lines on a red Solo cup aren’t there to measure the correct servings of liquor, wine, and beer. A representative from the manufacturers, the Dart Container Corporation, told that, “The lines on our Party Cups are designed for functional performance and are not measurement lines. If the lines do coincide with certain measurements, it is purely coincidental.”


Image source: journals.plos

The right side of the brain is responsible for creative skills. People think that personalities whose right side of the brain is more developed tend to have good creative skills. And those who have their left side of the brain dominating tend to have better analytical and logical skills. However, recent research has completely destroyed this myth. Scientists analyzed the work of 1,011 brains. The participants were between 7 and 29 years old. They didn’t find any signs of left or right hemisphere domination.


Image source: winchesterhospital

The myth that a sleepwalker should be left alone stems from an ancient belief that the soul leaves the body during sleep, and if a sleepwalker is woken up they will be a body without a soul. Metaphysical reasoning aside, the presumption that sleepwalkers will exhibit wildly disturbing behavior when awakened is largely unfounded. Although some people may become aggressive, researchers have found that most of the time sleepwalkers are simply confused, disoriented, scared, or embarrassed. Waking a sleepwalker should be done as gently as possible to avoid such responses.


Bats are blind. No, bats are not blind. Bats have small eyes with very sensitive vision, which helps them see in conditions we might consider pitch black. They don’t have the sharp and colorful vision humans have, but they don’t need that

Image source: usgs


Image source: history

Isaac Newton didn’t discover gravity because an apple bonked him on the head. Rather, he witnessed an apple falling and wondered why objects always fall down instead of up or sideways, a thought that inspired his Law of Universal Gravitation. When he saw the apple drop, Newton was in the orchard of his childhood home, Woolsthorpe Manor. He had been studying at Cambridge University, but the school was temporarily closed due to an outbreak of the bubonic plague.


Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis. This was probably told to you by people who can’t stand the sound of bones popping, cracking your knuckles or other body parts will not give your arthritis. Dr. Robert Klapper, an orthopedic surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and co-director of their Joint Replacement Program, explained on the hospital’s site that there is no harm to cracking your knuckles. “The noise of cracking or popping in our joints is actually nitrogen bubbles bursting in our synovial fluid,” he wrote. “It does not lead to arthritis.”

Image source: cedars-sinai


Image source: fi.edu

Benjamin Franklin didn’t publicly or seriously advocate for the turkey to be the national bird of the United States. According to the Franklin Institute, Franklin “defended the honor of the turkey against the bald eagle” in a private letter to his daughter, but his pro-turkey leanings didn’t go any further than that. In the letter, Franklin criticized the design of the bald eagle on the Great Seal of the United States, pointing out that it resembled a turkey. He then went straight for the bald eagle’s jugular, writing that it is, “a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly…[he] is too lazy to fish for himself.” The noble turkey, in comparison, is “a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America. … He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage.” Ultimately, Franklin kept his reservations about the honor of the eagle out of the public sphere.


Shaving thickens hair. No – shaving hair doesn’t change its thickness, color, or rate of growth. Shaving facial or body hair gives the hair a blunt tip. The tip might feel coarse or “stubbly” for a time as it grows out. During this phase, the hair might be more noticeable and perhaps appear darker or thicker – but it’s not.

Image source: mayoclinic


The biblical forbidden fruit is an apple. In the Old Testament, it is said that the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was an apple. It is likely that the theory about Adam and Eve eating an apple appeared because of the translation of the Bible into Latin, which was done in the 4th century. The Latin word “malum” can be translated as “apple” or “evil.” So the forbidden fruit could be anything from pomegranates to figs to something abstract.

Image source: npr


It takes seven years for your body to digest a piece of gum. Actually, gum will pass right through you and leave your body within a matter of hours or days. According to Healthline, the ingredients in gum can’t be digested at all, so your body will move it along and pass it as a bowel movement.

Image source: healthline

Aušrys Uptas

One day, this guy just kind of figured - "I spend most of my time on the internet anyway, why not turn it into a profession?" - and he did! Now he not only gets to browse the latest cat videos and fresh memes every day but also shares them with people all over the world, making sure they stay up to date with everything that's trending on the web. Some things that always pique his interest are old technologies, literature and all sorts of odd vintage goodness. So if you find something that's too bizarre not to share, make sure to hit him up!

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