When things are wrong, many people may point it out, and yet many more may ignore it for various reasons.
Case in point. When it comes to old wives’ tales, or superstitions, or urban legends, we tend to follow along with the masses, swallowing the stories, without hesitation.
Even if there is a voice of logic, pulling us to seek the truth, we tend to be blissfully ignorant and take in what we hear as ‘normal.’
The list here proves that there are a lot of things that are not quite right, yet no one really points a finger at them. Because these sayings have been around for such a long time, it’s become part of pop culture.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the 25 things that are wrong (and people know it)!
Adam and Eve Did Not Eat an Apple
There is no mention of Adam and Eve eating an apple as the original sin in the Bible.
The Bible does say that they ate from the tree of knowledge. It never specifies the type of fruit.
So where did the apple story begin? Early translations of the bible were in Latin.
According to Latin, the word for apple is “malus” and the word for evil is “malum”. It was likely a mistranslation.
The earliest recorded depiction of the event occurring with an apple can be found in the San Gennaro catacombs in Naples, Italy and dates back to the second century.
Dogs Don't Sweat by Salivating
For years, people have said that dogs cannot sweat. People see a dog panting and think the dog is really hot and trying to cool itself down.
And as far as panting goes, this is true. But humans do the same thing; it’s just called “heavy breathing. It’s a way most mammals cool themselves.
But all mammals have sweat glands. They just don’t have as many as humans.
Dogs tend to sweat through their paws. This does help them regulate their body temperature, although not enough. So, dogs also pant to help cool down.
Napoleon Wasn’t Short
Napoleon has an entire complex named after him. The Napoleon Complex tag is given to someone who is diminutive (or just short) and who is often a bully or is forever attempting to dominate others to make up for (usually “his”) lack of stature.
Napoleon was actually 5′ 9″ tall, which was a perfectly normal size for a Frenchman of his day. So where did the idea of Napolean being small come from?
James Gilray, a British cartoonist, drew political cartoons of Napoleon as a small man.
It was a metaphor intended to say that only a man of very little character would try to take over the world and cause strife to so many people.
The image stuck in people’s minds, and people have since seen Napoleon as short.
The Great Wall of China is Not Visible from Space
The Great Wall of China was constructed from around the 7th century to roughly the 4th century BCE.
It started as a series of fortifications along the Northern and Southern Chinese borders.
As centuries passed, various Chinese emperors continued to build walls between the structures until they were completed.
The wall is actually a series of walls, many of which run parallel to one another. The longest single stretch goes on for approximately 5500 miles.
The structure is huge. It is the longest man-made structure on the planet. But it is not visible from space… at least not with the naked eye.
The idea that it is visible from space probably comes from the fact that it has been studied through satellite imagery. But if that is the criteria used, then the license plates on our cars would be visible from space.
Humans Did Not Evolve from Chimpanzees
Hold on, Christians! Don’t get excited yet! Humans did evolve from a lower species, just not chimps, gorillas, or monkeys.
Here are the facts: Humans, monkeys, gorillas, chimps, etc. are all primates. They are all descended from a common ancestor that went extinct.
Bulls Are Not Enraged by the Color Red
We’ve all seen movies, cartoons, or paintings of matadors waving their red muleta to entice the bull into fighting. This is completely wrong.
Bulls, as well as all other cattle, are dichromatic, which means they can only see two colors of pigments. And red isn’t one of them. What irritates the bull is the movement of the muleta and the antagonization of the matador.
Walt Disney's Body is Not Cryogenically Frozen.
This is one of my favorites. People have actually believed for decades that just before his death, Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen. He wasn’t. He just was not.
The story was started by a “reporter” for a 1960’s tabloid that would make the National Enquirer look like the Wall Street Journal.
The reporter claimed that he disguised himself as an orderly and went into a storage closet down the hall from Disney’s hospital room.
There, he saw Walt in a cryogenically equipped metal tube. I guess he had x-ray vision to see through the metal?
Rumors persisted thanks to some Disney cast members who would play along to mess with guests.
On one of my earliest visits to EPCOT, a cast member told me his head was kept in the Coca-Cola-sponsored “Club Cool”!
Sometimes it’s just too easy
The United States is Not a True Democracy
The Constitution of the United States established the Federal Democratic Republic. This form of government is one where the citizens elect representatives in free and open elections to speak for them on the local, state, and federal levels.
At that point, all decision-making is out of the citizens’ hands. They are governed by the whims of those chosen by the majority of voters (at least sometimes they have a majority).
Recently, however, laws and directives have been written by lobbyists and high-ranking political donors.
This is why the Economist Intelligence Unit has rated the United States as a “flawed democracy.” As of 2022, the United States ranks #36 in the world democracy matrix, behind countries such as Latvia, the Czech Republic, and Taiwan.
Dinosaurs and Humans Did Not Coexist
Believe it or not, about 41% of American citizens believe that dinosaurs and humans coexisted.
Most of the people who believe this are Christian Fundamentalists who believe the Earth is a little over 6,000 years old.
Science has determined that humans and dinosaurs missed each other by roughly 64 million years. Maybe they are including sharks and alligators? Who knows?
Vikings Did Not Wear Horns on Their Heads
Nowhere in history does it show that Vikings wore horns on their heads as part of their helmets.
The only helmets with horns date back to 3000 BC before the Viking era. These were helmets much like the ones worn by Loki in the MCU.
The horned Viking helmet actually dates back to the 1800s. Gustav Maelstrom, a Swedish artist, began including the horn helmets in his portrayals of the Viking raiding parties.
This look was adopted by Carl Emile Doepler, a costume designer, who incorporated the look into the costumes for the Wagner (*pronounced Vogner) opera “Der Ring des Nibelungen.”
There Weren’t 3 Wise Men at Jesus's Birth
At no point does the Bible ever say that three wise men came to worship the infant Jesus in a manger.
The only mention of any wise men or kings or magi or whatever you want to call them is in Matthew 2:1-2.
All those verses say is that at some time, after Jesus was born, he was visited by some men.
The idea that there were three of them probably comes from the belief that they brought three gifts. And, because no number is specified, Eastern Christianity has the number of 12 “wise men.”
The idea of three wise men coming to visit Jesus was simply an artistic license in the telling of the story.
Rabbits Are Not Obsessed With Carrots
Do rabbits and bunnies eat carrots? I mean, yeah, they will if you give them one. In the wild, rabbits don’t eat root vegetables, so probably not.
These cute, furry creatures prefer leafy greens, hay, plants with leaves, natural fruits, and seeds, among other things.
So where did the whole “rabbits eat carrots” thing come from? Bugs Bunny. Seriously, it was Bugs Bunny cartoons.
You Don't Have to Wait 24 Hours to File a Missing Persons Report
If you suspect someone you care about is missing, you do not have to wait 24 hours to file a report. In fact, you should never wait 24 hours.
Most missing person cases are either solved in the first 48 hours or not at all.
As soon as you believe anyone, child or adult, may be missing and in need of rescue, contact the authorities.
Why do people believe that there is a 24-hour waiting period? Hollywood It’s a Hollywood plot device. Nothing more.
You Can Put Birds Back in Their Nests if You Have To
There are some things you just know, even if you don’t know why you know them. This is one of those things.
Birds do not recognize their young by smell, so there is no reason they would abandon their fledglings.
Even if you can put a baby bird back in its nest, it may not be a good idea to do so. While a parent bird will not reject the little one, it is perfectly natural for them to wander away from the nest.
It is also likely that its parents are watching from a distance.
It's Fine to Wake Up a Sleepwalker
If you find someone sleepwalking, you’ve always been told not to wake them. The thought was that if you woke them, bad things can happen.
They could have a heart attack or they would become violent and kill the person waking them. There are lots of stories that have been thrown around over the years.
The truth? It’s fine to wake up a sleepwalker. It would be preferable to gently lead them back to bed, but if you have to wake them, go ahead.
They will be disoriented, but that is better than them becoming seriously injured as a result of their condition.
Why do people think it’s bad to wake a sleepwalker?
It goes back to the days when it was believed that when you slept, your soul left your body. If you woke a sleepwalker, their soul would be forever lost.
Shaving Does Not Cause Your Hair to Get Thicker
Not sure why people believe that shaving makes your hair thicker, but it doesn’t.
It’s basically an illusion. When hair is shaved, it grows back. When it does, it has a blunt tip that can appear thicker or more course. But it isn’t.
Once the hair comes back in, it will be the same as it always was. Besides, if shaving you head made your hair grow back thicker, guys would be shaving their heads every six months!
Ninjas Did Not Wear (only) Black
The idea that ninjas only wore black is kind of silly if you think about it. A ninja’s goal was to be invisible and blend into his surroundings.
If wearing a completely black hooded outfit would do that, great. They would wear it. But any other time, a ninja would simply wear what everyone else around them wore.
There is evidence that ninjas would sometimes wear a single solid dark color. But this was so that their opponent would not be able to see that Nina had been injured and was bleeding.
But the fully covered, all-black hooded ninja? That’s, once again, all from the movies.
It Does Not Take Seven Years for Gum to Pass Out of Our System
We have heard this one since we were kids. Our parents tell us not to swallow our gum because it will take 7 years for it to be absorbed by our bodies.
This is just not true. And where did it start? Who knows?
The truth is that we are unable to digest or pull any nutrients from gum. This is not the only thing we eat that we can’t digest. I mean, corn. Y’know?
Like any other food that cannot be digested, it will move through our digestive system and be passed in between 24 and 48 hours.
It is Not Deadly to Drop a Penny from The Empire State Building
Has anyone ever dropped this nugget on you?
“If you drop a penny off the Empire State Building and it hits someone on the head, it is just like a bullet and will shoot into their brain!”
No Not true at all. Not even close.
A penny’s terminal velocity (basically the speed at which it will travel at its max) is around 30–50 miles per hour. You could drop a penny from an airplane and it wouldn’t change the outcome.
The worst that could happen, assuming the penny doesn’t get caught in the updraft and travel blocks away, is that it might sting a little, maybe. But probably not.
Einstein Didn't Fail Math
There is a story that says Einstein, one of the greatest mathematicians ever, failed a math class in grade school. Wrong. Einstein was a math prodigy.
But, he was also a bad student, which is likely where this story originated.
What he did fail was a college entrance exam where he aced the math sections but failed sections such as language, botany, etc.
The Iron Maiden Was An Awful, Barbaric, Fake Torture Device
The iron maiden is said to be a torture device used in the middle ages. But unless the Middle Ages happened in the 1800s, there was no way this was true.
The closest thing to an iron maiden that was actually used was putting a person in a barrel, pounding nails into it, and rolling it down a hill.
But the Iron Maiden was pieced together from different devices in an effort to make the Middle Ages seem even more terrible.
The fake device was put into a museum and lots and lots of tickets were sold to view it.
Related: 25 Most Brutal Prisons In The World
Men Don't Think About Sex Every 7 Seconds
This is one of those “facts” that sound outrageous and demeaning to men but have no basis in fact.
If a man thought about sex every 7 seconds, he would be thinking about it 514 times an hour and 7200 times per day.
A study at Ohio State University determined that men thought about sex about 19 times a day (which is about once every 1 hour and 15 minutes), compared to 10 times a day for women.
Also, men thought about food and sleep almost as much. Same for women who actually thought about food more than sex!
Twinkies Do Not Last Forever
Contrary to the urban legend, Hostess Twinkies do not last forever.
They are made primarily of flour and sugar, and they spoil just like any other processed food does. A Twinkiel’s shelf life is roughly 45 days.
NPR did a test to see how long a Twinkie would last. They kept one on the broadcast desk for 18 months.
They reported that it showed no signs of disintegration and was rock hard, and it certainly wasn’t edible.
Eating Uncooked Rice Will Not Make Birds Explode
It sounds like it would make sense, but it is false. First, a bird’s stomach is not big enough.
It can neither carry enough fluid nor is warm enough to cause uncooked rice to expand to that extent.
Second, birdseed expands far more than rice ever would, so it isn’t even an issue.
Human Beings Have More Than Five Senses
We were always taught that we have five senses. And we do.
The senses of sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell These are considered the main senses as set forth by Aristotle. However, neurologists have added several items to this list as well.
Some examples include
Thermoception – the sense of heat
Equilibrioception – the sense of balance
The Chemical Senses – hormonal senses, sense of hunger and thirst
The Mental Senses – a sense of pain, sense of mental distress, the sense of self
The list goes on, but it is clear that our senses go well beyond the established five. So there you go! Do you feel any smarter or better informed? We certainly hope you do.