25 Shocking Rumors That Are Actually True

Posted by , Updated on January 19, 2024

Whether it was a celebrity, a government, or a company, we can all remember at least one shocking rumor that just so happened to be true. Of course, sometimes we expect it, but when we don’t, it can be quite a surprise. These were 25 Shocking Rumors That Are Actually True.


The government was spying on John Lennon.

John LennonSource: nytimes.com

Although Lennon sounded really paranoid and stuck up at first, it eventually came to surface that the government was in fact spying on him.


Kim Kardashian & Kanye West to name their daughter North

kanye west girll glassesSource: radaronline.com

Once denied during a talk show interview, most people had little trouble believing it when the couple named their daughter North West.


South Korea was ruled by a cult leader.

Park Geun-hyeSource: bbc

South Koreans are no longer surprised by political drama. Between corruption, dictators, strange rituals, you name it…South Korea’s leaders have been a constant procession of failures and disappointments. But president Park Geun-hye’s downfall has been especially intense. As it turns out, the rumors that she was the puppet of a shady Rasputin-type cult leader’s daughter actually turned out to be true. Nothing is surprising anymore.


Atari buried unsold video games in the desert.

New MexicoSource: cnn.com

Over the years, the Atari video game burial had becoming something of an urban legend – Atari went out into the New Mexico desert and buried all its unsold E.T. video games (one of the biggest flops in the history of gaming). Well, in 2014, the government of New Mexico went out into the desert to figure out the truth…and they found the video games.


Caitlyn Jenner being transgender

caitlyn jennerSource: hypefeeds.com; Associated Press

Rumors of wearing women’s clothing and secretly wanting to become a woman became not-so-secret and turned out to be true. In September 2015, Bruce officially became Caitlyn after boldly stepping out with a public statement earlier that year.


Strom Thurmond had a biracial daughter outside of his marriage.

Strom ThurmondSource: washingtonpost.com

If you don’t know why this was so newsworthy, it’s because you don’t know who Strom Thurmond was. He was a US politician and a hardcore believer in segregating – or separating – black and white communities.


Dr Seuss, John Edwards, and Newt Gingrich all had affairs while their wives had cancer.

John Edwards, Newt Gingrich, Dr SeussSource: dw.de

What made these allegations unbelievable was that all three of these guys spoke strongly about “family values.” Sadly, as some commentators have said, “Cheating on your wife before she dies is the only bipartisan thing the government has ever done.” (Gingrich is a Republican and Edwards is a Democrat.)


The Manhattan Project

nuclear bombSource: history.com

Nobody believed the people wearing the tinfoil hats when they warned us about the secret government project that could destroy the world. Well, turns out they were right. Also, the government had recruited and pardoned Nazi scientists.


The government was spying on us.

codeSource: nytimes.com

Here’s another rumor that the conspiracy theorists were very adamant about. “Get real,” we told them, “The government can’t do that!” We have Wikileaks to thank for clearing things up. So to clarify…yes, the government can and does spy on you. All the time.


Abuse by the Roman Catholic Church

gavelSource: latimes.com

Before Spotlight blew the story wide open, it was something that everybody kind of suspected to some extent. The real story, however, was that the abuse had been actively covered up by the church.


This is bad, but wait until you see number 1 for something equally unbelievable!


Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC was a Ponzi scheme.

banksSource: forbes.com

Harry Markopolos worked for an investing firm in Boston when his boss told him to figure out how Madoff’s hedge fund was getting so rich. (His boss wanted to copy Madoff’s strategies.) In no time, Harry had mathematical proof that Madoff was running a financial scheme. He reported it to the SEC but was ignored. It would take another 10 years before Madoff’s scheme was figured out and shut down by the government.

Note: in spite of intentionally ruining thousands of lives, Bernie and other “white collar criminals” received little more than a slap on the wrist. In contrast, the average person on death row is poor and uneducated. As they say, when you rob a bank, you get the death penalty. When the bank robs you…they get a bonus.


The colonies would rebel

George WashingtonSource: history.com

The British crown was actually quite good towards the colonies as far as those things go, and it was surprising that the relatively mild relationship would turn so sour. But hey, if the US had remained a part of Great Britain, it might have universal healthcare today. Gosh darn you Canada.


Sony made up fake reviews

sonySource: theguardian.com

David Manning was the made-up name for a marketing executive at Sony who always posted positive reviews on all their product releases. Apparently lying was a lot easier before the internet.


Boris Johnson only supported Brexit because it would boost his political career.

Boris JohnsonSource: bbc

It turns out he even wrote an article against Brexit. If there’s one thing you should learn from this list, politicians with integrity are the exception, not the rule.


The US and UK overthrew the democratically elected leader of Iran and installed a dictator.

IranSource: bbc

If you’ve ever wondered why some people hate the West, it’s because of stuff like this (officially called the “1953 Iranian coup d’état”). Imagine if Russia came in, ousted the US President, and then installed a dictator favorable to Russia. And why would they do that? Because they want access to the oil. This is exactly what the West did in Iran.


Donald Trump was a candidate for the presidency.

Donald Trump

Almost everybody joked about this at first. He who laughs last…


Cops were framing people.

crime sceneSource: nytimes.com

As we’ve already said, the internet has made it really hard to lie. It turns out that police officers really have been framing and targeting people. Moreover, social media has shown how police use excessive force against black males more than those from other communities. As we’ve already mentioned, it was easier to push this behavior under the rug before the internet.


There weren’t weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

iraqSource: washingtonpost.com

Once again, the conspiracy theorists were right.


Azaria Chamberlain was actually eaten by a dingo.

dingoSource: news.com.au

According to her parents, 2 year old Azaria Chamberlain was taken from their tent in the Australian Outback by a dingo. Her mother, Lindy Chamberlain, was convicted of murder and spent 3 years in jail until bits of Azaria’s clothes were found near a dingo lair. In 2012, 32 years after Azaria’s death, her parents’ version of the story was officially confirmed. For years, however, the Australian public treated them as the murderers.


The military industrial complex

jetSource: cnn.com

It was actually general-turned-president Dwight Eisenhower who first warned us of the supposed “military industrial complex.” After numerous leaks and Freedom of Information requests from government agencies, it turns out that he was right all along.

Note: it shouldn’t be much of a surprise, considering that the US spends more on guns than the next 8 largest spenders put together.


The housing market would implode

houseSource: economist.com

Nobody listened to the naysayers and just kept betting that house prices would never stop skyrocketing. In fact, many of those predicting the Great Recession were ridiculed.


Lance Armstrong was doping.

Lance ArmstrongSource: bbc

So many people wanted to believe the rumors weren’t true.


Most baseball players took steroids.

baseballSource: latimes.com

Nobody took Jose Canseco seriously regardless of what he said. So when he started talking about how up 80% of players are taking performance enhancers, not many people believed him. Since then though, even Congress has taken notice.


Cigarettes caused cancer

cigarettesSource: theguardian.com

Thanks to a lot of lobbying from the cigarette industry, it took quite a while for people to realize the truth in spite of doctors and scientists trying to warn people since the early 20th century.


The US government deliberately infected black men with syphilis.

Tuskegee experimentSource: nytimes.com

The subjects of this study were poor African Americans who were told they would received free healthcare from the government. After 1940, when it was discovered that penicillin could cure syphilis, the men weren’t given the drug. In fact, they weren’t even told that they had syphilis. The study was ended in 1972 due to a whistle-blower named Peter Buxton.

Photos: Featured Image: Shutterstock, 25. commons.wikimedia.org (public domain), 24. SOCIALisBETTER via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 23. Korea.net / Korean Culture and Information Service (Photographer name), South Korean President Park Geun-hye holds an interview with Doordarshan, CC BY-SA 2.0, 22. pixabay.com (public domain), 21. Alberto Frank via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 20. commons.wikimedia.org (public domain), 19. All three images commons.wikimedia.org (public domain), 18. pixabay.com (public domain), 17. pixabay.com (public domain), 16. pixabay.com (public domain), 15. pixabay.com (text added) (public domain), 14. commons.wikimedia.org (public domain), 13. pixabay.com (public domain), 12. Chatham House via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 11. commons.wikimedia.org (public domain), 10. commons.wikimedia.org (public domain), 9. Yumi Kimura from Yokohama, JAPAN, Do Not Cross, Crime Scene, CC BY-SA 2.0, 8. – 5. pixabay.com (public domain), 4. Josh Hallett via flickrCC BY-SA 2.0, 3. & 2. pixabay.com (public domain), 1. commons.wikimedia.org (public domain)