25 Common Myths You Won’t Believe Are Actually True

Posted by , Updated on November 23, 2023

We all love debunking myths in popular culture. Television shows, podcasts, and documentaries have been dedicated to doing so. However, we rarely think about the common myths that are true. Here are 25 Common Myths You Won’t Believe Are Actually True.



A large percentage of U.S. Currency contains cocaine.

United_States_one_dollar_bill,_obverseSource: www.cnn.com, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org (public domain)

Though scientists say there’s not enough on money to cause health risks, cocaine binds to the green dye on dollar bills. Once one contaminated bill is put into a bank money machine, it contaminates all the other bills…and that’s how 90% of U.S. currency contains cocaine.


Water heated in a microwave can explode.

Microwave_oven_(interior)Source: http://lifehacker.com

While the chances are low, it’s still possible to super-heat your water in the microwave. Since you can’t control the temperature in the microwave, you’re better off just using a kettle.


A student mistakenly solved an impossible math problem.

MathSource: http://www.snopes.com

In 1939, George Bernard Dantzig arrived late to a statistics class at the University of California and found two math problems on the board. Mistakenly thinking they were his homework, he wrote them down. Of course, he didn’t know at the time that the problems were statistical theorems that hadn’t been proven yet. He took his “homework” home and worked out the proofs for the theorems.


Celery is a negative calorie food.

CelerySource: http://www.dailymail.co.uk, Image: https://pixabay.com (public domain)

Placing a man in a metabolic calorie chamber, researchers tested whether or not celery is indeed a negative-calorie food. He was fed 326 grams of raw celery worth 53 calories. During that time, he burned 72 calories. You burn more calories than you consume with celery, making it a negative calorie food.


Someone safely landed a plane in the middle of Manhattan. Twice.

Above_GothamSource: https://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com

Before Captain Sullenberger landed on the Hudson River, a man named Thomas Fitzpatrick landed in Manhattan twice. After making a bet, he stole a plane and landed it on St. Nicholas Avenue, right in front of the bar where he made the bet. Then, two years later, he did it again, both in narrow areas in the dark.


Avoid teaching hospitals in July.

hospitalSource: http://www.snopes.com, Image: https://pixabay.com (public domain)

While sometimes you have no choice but to go to the hospital for one ailment or the other, if you can avoid teaching hospitals in July, you might be better off. July is when medical students become interns, interns become residents, residents become fellows or practicing doctors. These changes and the inexperience surrounding them has lead to many unfortunate patient errors in the past.


Crickets can tell you the temperature.

CricketSource: https://www.scientificamerican.com, Image: https://pixabay.com (public domain)

While this might sound like some kind of old wives tale, it’s actually scientifically sound. Crickets are cold-blooded and take on the temperature of their surroundings. When the temperature rises, the chemical reactions that allow them to chirp come on more rapidly. By using a formula, you can count the chirping and determine what the temperature is outside.


Pablo Picasso's full name has 23 words.

Portrait_de_Picasso,_1908Source: www.pablopicasso.org, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org (public domain)

Though it would seem silly to think that someone could have such a long name and discount it immediately, Pablo Picasso was indeed named Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso.


A physician weighted the human soul using a scale.

SoulSource: http://www.snopes.com/religion/soulweight.asp , Image: https://pixabay.com (public domain)

A 20th-century physician named Dr. Duncan MacDougall attempted to measure the mass lost after a human died, believing the soul leaving the body had mass. He measured six patients at the moment of death with varying results, though he believes his first was the most accurate. Of course, his research has been heavily discounted.


Dogs are raised for food in China.

Toddy_DogSource: http://www.bbc.com

While most of the western world raises chickens, cows, and sheep for food, China and some other eastern countries do something totally different. They raise dogs for food. And at the Yulin dog festival, approximately 10,000 dogs and cats are killed and eaten at the feast.


If you are surprised by this, wait until you see number 7!


Coca-Cola used to contain cocaine.

1930s_Coca-Cola_Neon_SignSource: http://www.snopes.com

While it’s hard to determine exactly how much cocaine was in early forms of the popular fizzy drink Coca-cola, it did, in fact, have cocaine in it. However, it’s doubtful it had enough in it to make someone an addict.


Your phone is disgustingly dirty.

iphone-410324_640Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com, Image: https://pixabay.com (public domain)

Quick, how often do you give your phone a good scrub down? I’m going to guess the answer was seldom to never. The chances are good everyone’s phone is a germ infested piece of plastic and metal. In fact, just to compare, researchers did a study and swabbed bathroom door handles in comparison to cell phones and found the door handle significantly less dirty.


There's a secret club inside Disneyland.

Sleeping_Beauty_Castle_Disneyland_Anaheim_2013Source: http://www.laweekly.com

There’s a popular myth going around that Disney has a secret club. It turns out that it’s not a myth at all. Opened in 1963, Club 33 was intended as a super secret part of Disneyland to entertain celebrities, politicians, and park investors. However, most park guests wouldn’t notice it as there are no visible signs or doors, and it blends into the park naturally. To get inside, someone would need to show you the entrance and press the secret buzzer to open the door.


The 8th president was the first American.

Martin_Van_Buren_editSource: http://www.history.com, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org (public domain)

While George Washington was the first President of the United States, he was also a former subject of the British Crown. Martin Van Buren was born in the United States, becoming the first President to be a citizen under the consitution.


Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones were roommates.

Al Gore Tommy Lee JonesSource: http://www.usmagazine.com

It might seem unlikely that a politician and an actor could be roommates, but it’s true. Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones roomed together at Harvard. Jones even gave the nominating speech to Gore at the 2000 Democratic Presidential Convention.


Earth is the only planet in our solar system not named after a god.

The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17Source: https://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org (public domain)

Some of the planets in our solar system were given names long ago based on Roman and Greek mythology, naming them after gods. However, Earth was the only planet not named after a god. In modern times, the tradition of naming planets after mythological gods continued with Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto.


One twin can be two months older than the other.

Moreno-TwinsSource: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Here is a common scientific myth that isn’t actually a myth. A Romanian woman gave birth to a set of twins seven weeks apart. After her first child was born, she immediately stopped having contractions. The doctors advised that she keep the other baby inside to develop a little longer. She carried her second child for seven more weeks before delivering by a C-section.


Snakes can swim up your toilet.

grass-snakeSource: http://animals.howstuffworks.com, Image: pixabay (public domain)

While it may sound like something your older brother would tell you to freak you out, it’s actually true that snakes have been found in toilets. Snakes are good swimmers and can hold their breath for a long time. Many stories have circulated over the decades about people finding snakes in their toilet. However, it’s extremely rare.


People illegally harvest human organs.

Internal_organs.svgSource: http://www.newsweek.com, Image: wikimedia commons (public domain)

Rich people with failing organs will pay a high price to get a replacement, and that’s exactly where black market human organ traffickers come in, preying on third world countries’ most impoverished people. They essentially steal people’s organs and sell them to the highest bidder. Those organs end up in the United States, where surgeons, probably not knowing their origin, have been transplanting them.


The Pentagon is prepared for zombies.

The_Pentagon_DCA_08_2010_9854Source: http://foreignpolicy.com

Always be prepared. In the unlikely case that the undead roam the Earth, the Pentagon has a plan to defend and combat against it.


Raid the water heater for clean water.

Handyman_project_to_disassemble_hot_water_heater_1Source: http://www.wibw.com, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org (public domain)

Whether you’re in a hurricane or it’s the end of the world, if you desperately need water, then the best place to look might be your water heater. If the gas and electric is turned off, the water heater has water that is still drinkable and can easily be drained at the tap.


The State of Michigan threatened beavers with $10,000 fine.

American_BeaverSource: http://www.snopes.com

In 1997, Stephen Tvedten’s neighbors noticed flooding on his property, traced it back to Tvedten, and complained to the state. The state determined the flooding was because of a couple of dams built by beavers and proceeded to fine the beavers $10,000 unless they take the dams down. Who would have thought a couple of beavers could cause so much trouble?


Otters sleep holding hands.

Sea_otter_pair2Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org (public domain)

Speaking of woodland creatures, otters have been known to hold hands while they sleep in the water so they don’t separate from each other.


A building in Canada is also in the United States.

HaskellFreeLibraryandOperaHouseSource: http://www.atlasobscura.com, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org (public domain)

The Haskell Free Library and Opera House sits right on the border between Derby Line, Vermont and Stanstead, Quebec.


Albert Einstein wanted to be a musician.

EinsteinSource: http://www.openculture.com

One of the most renowned physicists in history, Albert Einstein once said if he were not a physicist, he would have been a musician. He played the violin.


If you enjoyed this list, be sure to check out 25 Disproven Myths That People Still Believe.

Photos: Feature Image: shutterstock, 24. Mk2010, Microwave oven (interior), CC BY-SA 3.0, 23. Max Pixel (public domain), 21. Anthony Quintano, Above Gotham, CC BY 2.0, 16. João Paulo Corrêa de Carvalho from [Manduri/SP] – [Bandeirantes/PR], Brasil, Toddy Dog, CC BY 2.0, 15. Ben Franske, 1930s Coca-Cola Neon Sign, CC BY-SA 4.0, 13. Tuxyso / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0, Sleeping Beauty Castle Disneyland Anaheim 2013, CC BY-SA 3.0, 11. Tommy Lee Jones: Georges Biard, Tommy Lee Jones Cannes, CC BY-SA 3.0; Al Gore: https://commons.wikimedia.org (public domain), 9. Daniell Bohnhof / HOCH ZWEI, Moreno-Twins, CC BY-SA 3.0, 6. Mariordo Camila Ferreira & Mario Duran, The Pentagon DCA 08 2010 9854, CC BY-SA 3.0, 4. Steve from washington, dc, usa, American Beaver, CC BY-SA 2.0, 1. Photographer unknown, unmarked – older than 70 years, Einstein played the violin-The synagogue was a charity concert in Berlin – The Hungarian Pest Diary – Pictures Sunday – February 9th 1930, CC BY-SA 4.0