100 Common Misconceptions That Are Actually Just Straight-Up False That I Learned About This Year

·31 min read

I'll be real with y'all — 2021 was not an easy year. But hey — I learned a lot!


Or, more specifically, I learned I was wrong about a lot. This year, I have shared with y'all all the "facts" that we grow up learning that are actually false — and now I've rounded up some of the best to close the year off!


Here are 100 fake "facts" that I learned were false this year!

1.It probably seemed like most of the colonists were pretty in favor of a war with England during the Revolutionary War. Actually, the percentage of colonists who supported the war was closer to 45% — and often below that. One-third of the colonists actually fought for the British.

Suggested by u/placeholderNull

Suggested by u/placeholderNull

Douglas Sacha / Getty Images

2.Paul Revere did not shout "The British are coming!" during his midnight ride. Revere actually said, "The Regulars are coming out!" To say the "British" were coming would've been confusing for colonists who considered themselves British.

Paul Revere's ride illustrated

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Plus, while Revere did wake and warn many households, he did not shout through the streets as stories suggest. He was also just a paid messenger and submitted a bill for the ride.

GraphicaArtis / Getty Images

And he was not the only rider. After he reached Lexington, he was joined by William Dawes, who had arrived to deliver the same news. They met a doctor named Samuel Prescott on the way to Concord who decided to help them — he was the only one to actually finish the ride and reach Concord before fighting began.

concord battle

Revere was captured (and later released) while Dawes managed to escape the soldiers chasing him but lost his horse and could not complete the journey.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive via Getty Images

3.Lincoln did not own slaves. However, Lincoln's vice president, Andrew Johnson – who succeeded Lincoln — had owned slaves in Tennessee and asked Lincoln to leave the state out of the Emancipation Proclamation.


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12 US presidents did own slaves in their lifetimes, including Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Zachary Taylor was the last US president to have slaves while he was in the White House, and the last former slave owner to become president was Ulysses S. Grant.

Stock Montage / Getty Images

4.Louis-Michel le Peletier did not cast the deciding vote for Louis XVI's execution. While it's true that the vote to immediately execute the king was 361 — a majority by 1 — the vote actually reported was 387 in favor of execution versus 334 not in favor.

Henry's execution

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This is because 26 people also voted for execution but asked to have another vote on whether or not the execution should be deferred. This had already been voted on and rejected, so these votes were also counted toward the 361 majority. In addition, of those 334 not in favor, many voted for execution but with other conditions.

Fine Art Images/Heritage Images / Getty Images

However, it was rumored that Louis-Michel le Peletier had cast the deciding vote, leading to his assassination the day before King Louis was executed.

Fine Art Images/Heritage Images via Getty Images

5.Marie Antoinette never said, "Let them eat cake." Not only would this have been uncharacteristic for the queen (according to her biographer Lady Antonia Fraser), but that phrase had already been around and attributed to other sources before Marie.


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Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Jacques Rousseau had written a very similar phrase, saying a "great princess" had said the words, years before it was attributed to Marie — when Marie was only 10. Thus, she couldn't possibly have originated the phrase.

Jacques Rousseau
Print Collector / Getty Images

6.Napoleon wasn't short. He was actually a bit above 5'5", which was pretty average for the time.

Napoleon portrait

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VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images

The idea that Napoleon was short came mostly from British cartoonist James Gillray, who started illustrating Napoleon as very short, and other cartoonists followed suit.

Napoleon being depicted in a comic as short

Napoleon would later say Gillray “did more than all the armies of Europe to bring me down.”

Heritage Art/Heritage Images via Getty Images

7.Medieval peasants did not eat potatoes. Potatoes are native to the Americas. They were not brought to Europe until the mid-1500s, meaning no one in Europe ate them before then.

peasants farming

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he Print Collector/Heritage Images via Getty Images

8.Tomatoes were not in Italian food prior to the 1500s — they weren't even brought to Europe until the discovery of the Americas.

drawing of people at a table

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Nastasic / Getty Images

9.Medieval people did not wear all brown. They actually had a number of natural dyes that were often used and could produce many colors, including reds, blues, yellows, and greens.

herder in colorful dress

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Duncan1890 / Getty Images

10.Corsets were not the torture devices they often are remembered as. They were rarely for drastically decreasing waist size. They mostly provided bust support and, yes, a flattering shape and a smooth line for fabric to lay over.

a corset

They were not all that uncomfortable, and women could work in them. They did not constantly cause women to faint, and there were certain types for different types of work.

Dea / De Agostini via Getty Images

Tight-lacing was an optional trend that started around the 1840s. And no one had their ribs surgically removed so they could fit their corsets better.

Paramount Pictures

Surgery was not safe enough back then to consider.

11.There's no evidence that prima nocta — where lords could sleep with any woman under their leadership in Scotland — was ever actually in practice.

lord being carried by serfs labeled "could not actually demand to sleep with whoever he wanted"

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Fine Art Images/Heritage Images / Getty Images

12.The storming of the Bastille didn't free hundreds of political prisoners. They actually only freed seven prisoners.

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Suggested by u/Age-Zealousideal

Nastasic / Getty Images

13.Rosa Parks was not just an older woman who didn't want to leave her seat. First of all, Rosa was not tired nor old — she was 42. She was also a longtime NAACP member and activist, and had worked to raise funds for a previous woman who had been arrested for not giving up her seat on a bus, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin.

Rosa being arrested

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But although Parks knew the NAACP needed a lead plaintiff in their case to end the Jim Crow law, the act of protest was not planned.

Underwood Archives / Getty Images

14.She also was not sitting in a "Whites Only" section of the bus. She was sitting in a middle section that was first come, first serve. She was asked to move for a single white passenger — the three Black passengers in her row obliged, meaning the man had a spot to sit. However, the driver still demanded that she move.

Rosa Parks on a bus

Suggested by u/lostdragoon001

This was a driver she had met before and disliked — Parks said in her autobiography that she wouldn't have even ridden his bus that day if she'd noticed he'd been driving.

Don Cravens / Getty Images

15.Civil rights leaders did not use nonviolence as a tactic because they believed in loving their neighbor and meeting hate with love. While of course individuals may have believed this, the strategy as a whole was tactical.

Martin Luther King waving during his "I have a dream" speech

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Central Press / Getty Images

Nonviolence was effective because it provided a stark contrast to the violence of segregationists, and when these images were spread throughout the country, it was very clear who the "bad guys" were in the situation because the segregationists were the only ones inflicting the violence.

firefighters spraying Black protestors with a hose

Civil rights leaders hoped that media coverage would show Northerners how badly Black people were treated in the South.

Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

16.People in the Middle Ages didn't think the Earth was flat. Actually, most people in the Middle Ages knew the Earth was round. Ancient Greeks (specifically Eratosthenes) had deduced this many years prior.

depiction of a flat earth

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David Roberts / Getty Images

17.Queen Victoria never said, "We are not amused," to a risqué story that was told. She actually had a purported great sense of humor and apparently told her granddaughter she never said this.

Queen Victoria

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National Galleries Of Scotland / Getty Images

18.Neanderthals were not the only other human species to exist alongside Homo sapiens. At least nine species existed 300,000 years ago, one of which may have outlived the Neanderthals — the Denisovans. Some sources say they went extinct 50,000 years ago — while others say it was more like 15,000.

human and neanderthal

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Joe McNally / Getty Images

19.Also, there's no evidence to suggest that Neanderthals were dumber than homo sapiens. They had just as advanced tools and were able to hunt and communicate just as well.

drawing of a neanderthal head

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NSA Digital Archive / Getty Images

20.Shah Jahan did not have the hands of the workers who made the Taj Mahal cut off or their eyes gouged out so they could never recreate something similar. Though you may hear this on a tour of the site, there is no evidence to suggest that either of these legends are true.

Suggested by u/veniato

Suggested by u/veniato

Anders Blomqvist / Getty Images

21.AD doesn't means after death. It actually means Anno Domini, which translates to "in the year of our lord" in Latin.


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22.You were probably taught about gravity through a story about Isaac Newton being hit in the head by an apple...Except that didn't happen! He did say the idea came to him after observing apples falling from a tree, but there is nothing to suggest he was hit in the head.

Isaac Newton
Stock Montage / Getty Images

23.Speaking of Newton — he came up with the color spectrum/the seven colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and purple. But it's likely he used seven colors because of a superstition or occult belief around the number seven.

Newton observing a prism's refraction
Apic / Getty Images

Modern physics generally uses a six-color spectrum/rainbow, since it is difficult to differentiate the wavelengths enough between indigo and blue/purple.

rainbow painted on brick

This all works better with color theory, as the other colors in the rainbow (besides indigo) are primary and secondary, while indigo is a tertiary color.

Tuomas A. Lehtinen / Getty Images

24.Christopher Columbus did not "discover" the Americas. Leif Erikson had been to Canada hundreds of years prior. Columbus also never even set foot on North America.

Columbus "discovering" America

It's also worth mentioning that he was an absolutely abhorrent person who committed atrocities.

Universal History Archive / Getty Images

25.And Columbus' ships the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria, were probably not named that at all.

Columbus' 3 ships

These all seem to be nicknames.


26.Whether or not you went to a religious school, you probably learned about Christianity and the story of Adam and Eve, and how they were expelled from paradise after eating an apple. But in the story, it's not an apple. It's just an unspecified fruit.

painting of adam and eve with the apple
VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images

27.George Washington didn't have wooden teeth. While Washington did wear dentures, none of his fake teeth were wooden, and in fact wooden teeth were not used during that time.

Washington portrait
Smith Collection/Gado / Getty Images

28.And the cherry tree story — in which Washington admits to his father he cut down a cherry tree and his father lauds him for his honesty — is also a myth. It was invented by Mason Locke Weems for his biography of Washington.

drawing of young Washington with an axe with the story of the cherry tree
© CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

29.Everyone knows FDR had polio, right? Well, he actually didn't. While he was diagnosed with polio at the time, it's more likely that he had Guillain-Barré syndrome.

FDR signing something
Keystone Features / Getty Images

30.Congress didn't sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4. The vote for independence occurred on July 2, and the document's final language was approved on July 4, but the signing occurred on Aug. 2.

  Hulton Archive / Getty Images
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

31.No suspected witches were burned at the stake in Salem. Many died in prison and the rest were killed by other means, such as hanging.


People were burned to death in European witch trials, but not in Salem.

32.A lot of the imagery around the Middle Ages deals with weapons and torture devices such as the Iron Maiden. But the Iron Maiden didn't exist — at least, not in the Middle Ages. Art collector Matthew Peacock created the first Iron Maiden in the 1800s using artifacts from the Middle Ages.

an iron maiden
Roger Viollet / Roger Viollet via Getty Images

33.Another fake invention that was not actually used in the Middle Ages? Chastity belts.

a chastity belt
clubfoto / Getty Images

34.You likely have also heard the Middle Ages referred to as the Dark Ages in school. But there were plenty of advancements, trade, travel, and spread of ideas during this time. In fact, modern historians reject the term "Dark Ages."

a scholar writing
mikroman6 / Getty Images

35.Knights were not chivalrous. Chivalry was introduced in the Middle Ages to curb the mass civilian casualties that brutish and violent knights had been causing — but even after its adoption, it was more about fitting in among the noble class than being honorable to civilians.

a knight

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Burning and looting towns as well as raping townspeople were still common.

Dinko Cepak / EyeEm via Getty Images

In fact, much of the literature about chivalrous knights was either not written by knights themselves (but instead clergy or poets) or was written after the fact, adapting the word "to define ideal male behavior."

king knighting a man
Cezaro De Luca/Europa Press via Getty Images

36.In psychology, I remember learning about bystander syndrome/the Genovese effect in regard to Kitty Genovese, who was murdered outside her New York apartment in 1964. The New York Times reported that 38 neighbors/bystanders heard and did nothing.

Kitty Genovese
New York Daily News Archive / NY Daily News via Getty Images

While still a good example of bystanders doing nothing, it's not fair to say that 38 people did nothing. Most witnesses just heard random screams and didn't know what was happening or how serious it was. The attack happened in two different locations. And some bystanders actually did call the police.

newspaper article about kitty genovese's killer
NY Daily News via Getty Images

37.If you're an American whose ancestors immigrated through Ellis Island, you may have heard that Ellis Island often changed immigrants' last names. However, this did not happen. The only thing officials did with names was check people's names against the ship's passenger list.

immigrants coming off a boat at ellis island

If a name was wrong or changed, that meant it was changed prior to arrival in America. Some immigrants changed their names after arriving in America, as it was pretty easy to do so.

Dea Picture Library / De Agostini via Getty Images

38.If you took a media class, you may have heard about how Orson Welles' radio program War of the Worlds caused tons of people to genuinely think there was an alien invasion happening.

newspaper discussing the broadcast causing terror
New York Daily News Archive / Getty Images

In reality, not that many people actually listened to it, and rumors of mass evacuations and emergency calls were played up by newspapers, who wanted to suggest to advertisers and regulators that radio was an untrustworthy news source.

Orson Welles speaking into a microphone
Harry Warnecke/NY Daily News via Getty Images

39.You probably learned about Buddha as a happy, chubby figure. However, the figure you think of as Buddha is actually 10th-century Chinese monk Budai, who was thought to be an incarnation of a deity. He often gets mistaken for Buddha — Siddhartha Gautama — in the West.

depiction of chubby smiling buddha
Elizabeth Beard / Getty Images

40.Pythagoras did not discover the Pythagorean' theorem — it had been discovered centuries prior. In addition, many of Pythagoras's "discoveries" may have come from his students.

right triangle showing the theorem (c^2=a^2 + b^2)
Benjaminec / iStockphoto via Getty Images/

41.Thomas Edison wasn't the first person to invent the light bulb — versions had already been invented. Edison was just the first to create a cheap and effective light bulb that could be used by the average family in their home.

drawing of Thomas Edison with a light bulb

Electric street lights already existed.

ivan-96 / Getty Images

42.Humans have way more than five senses.

woman's face with shadows everywhere except her eye

Other senses include kinesthesia (sense of movement) and nociception (the ability to feel pain).

Milan Sladic / EyeEm / Getty Images

43.I'm sure you've heard the warning that if you dropped a penny from the top of the Empire State Building, it could kill someone on the street below. However, this is simply false. It would not be able to gain enough velocity.

empire state building
Jamesharrison / Getty Images/RooM RF

44.Tomato juice does nothing to counteract the smell of a skunk spraying your pet. It is as ineffective as using any other strongly scented item.

puppy staring at skunk
Globalp/iStockphoto via Getty Images

45.The number of ships and planes that have disappeared or gone down in the Bermuda Triangle is not significantly higher than any other well-traveled waterways and oceans.

ship in Bermuda triangle storm

The disappearances can be linked to storms, issues with the ships/planes, and likely human error.

S_bachstroem / Getty Images/iStockphoto

46.Has your mom ever told you to stock up on vitamin C during cold or flu season? Well, tell your mom she was wrong, because vitamin C supplements have little to no effect on preventing or shortening a cold.

They do slightly better at shortening colds than preventing them (though this is still a very small effect) — and any vitamin C you take after the cold begins will not help shorten it.

They do slightly better at shortening colds than preventing them (though this is still a very small effect) — and any vitamin C you take after the cold begins will not help shorten it.

Brian Hagiwara / Getty Images

47.December 25 wasn't Jesus' birthday. The Bible references shepherds watching over their flocks during Jesus' birth, suggesting it was summertime (or at the very least not winter). There is no reference to any date — and certainly not December 25.

In fact, no historical sources confirm that Christmas was celebrated then until 336 AD. It seems the date was chosen to appropriate the winter solstice — a pagan holiday — for Christian purposes, as it was around that time.

In fact, no historical sources confirm that Christmas was celebrated then until 336 AD. It seems the date was chosen to appropriate the winter solstice — a pagan holiday — for Christian purposes, as it was around that time.

Fred de Noyelle / Getty Images

48.Also, Jesus would not have been white, nor is there any evidence that he had long hair.

There are very few references to Jesus' appearance in the Bible, but one suggests he had darker skin — he was middle eastern, after all. Early art depicted him with short hair — the image of a long-haired Jesus started popping up in the fourth century and was influenced by art done of Greek and Roman gods.

There are very few references to Jesus' appearance in the Bible, but one suggests he had darker skin — he was middle eastern, after all. Early art depicted him with short hair — the image of a long-haired Jesus started popping up in the fourth century and was influenced by art done of Greek and Roman gods.

Pascal Deloche / Getty Images

49.Dogs and cats — but especially dogs — don't age the equivalent of seven human years per year.

a kitten on a dog's heda

For dogs, it's super dependent on size and breed, as different breeds have very different life expectancies. Also, for both dogs and cats, a lot of aging happens in the first two years — more than the "14 human years" the seven-year rule would suggest.

Getty Images

50.The volcano in Yellowstone is not overdue for an eruption. If you're counting the average years between explosions, we still have 100,000 years to go — however, these numbers are largely meaningless, as volcanic eruptions are unpredictable.

woman at yellowstone national park

Scientists are not even sure if there's enough magma for an eruption.

AerialPerspective Works / Getty Images

51.Earthworms don't become two worms when they're cut in half. The half with the head may be able to grow back its tail and survive, but the half with the tail can't grow into a new worm and will die.

worm in dirt

However, flatworms can regenerate into two worms when cut in half.

Cody White / Getty Images/EyeEm

52.You've probably heard Phil Collins was inspired to write the song "In the Air Tonight" after witnessing someone drown and wanting to confront an onlooker who could've stopped it. However, this is nothing more than an urban legend. Collins himself has stated that he wrote the song about his divorce.

  Timothy Hiatt / Getty Images
Timothy Hiatt / Getty Images

53.The sun isn't yellow. It's white. It only appears yellow because we're looking at it through the atmosphere.

sunrise over clouds
Vlad Georgescu / Getty Images

54.Snakes' jaws don't unhinge. The lower bones of their jaws do not connect and are attached with a stretchy ligament that allows them to open their mouths super wide — but they aren't unhinging their jaws.

snake with mouth open
Timo Paschke / EyeEm / Getty Images

55.People's hair and fingernails don't continue to grow after they die. What actually happens is that skin around fingernails and hair follicles dry up and retract, which can make stubble and nails appear to have grown, even though they have not.

corpse's hand
ioseph / Getty Images

56.Carrots don't improve eyesight. In fact, the idea was actively invented by the British government to spread misinformation that would hide the existence of their radar systems during World War II.

Joyful girl laying on her back in a field of carrots
Fluxfactory / Getty Images

57.Cremating alone doesn't turn a body into ashes. It leaves behind bone fragments, which are basically put into a blender until they fit in with the other ashes.

Small funeral ceremony and cremation service
Arrow / Getty Images

58.Abilities aren't actually separated into "left brain" or "right brain" abilities. There are not "left brain dominant" or "right brain dominant" people, and most cognitive skills — like math, and even language (though dominant on the left) — rely on both sides of the brain.

human brain cut in 2
RapidEye / Getty Images

59.Female praying mantises don't always eat their male partner after mating. At least, not every time, and not in every species. In the species where this does happen, up to 28% of males are eaten by their partner.

praying mantis mating with another
George D. Lepp / Getty Images

60.Beer doesn't make you any warmer. You might feel like you're warmer — or you're at least distracted from the cold — but if anything, it's actually making you colder.

Drinking could mess with your body's reflexes to keep it warm.

Drinking could mess with your body's reflexes to keep it warm.

Witthaya Prasongsin / Getty Images

61.It's also false that alcohol kills brain cells.

System of neurons with glowing connections

However, it can damage the ends of neurons.

Andriy Onufriyenko / Getty Images

62.And drinking liquor before beer doesn't prevent nausea/a hangover. That's right, folks: "Beer before liquor, never sicker; liquor before beer, in the clear" has no basis in reality.


Your hangover will be just as bad either way!

63.Babies used to not be given any sort of pain-relieving drugs during surgery because people were taught that babies couldn't feel pain, and you may have been led to believe this, too.

baby in ICU
Er Productions Limited / Getty Images

But, uh...they definitely do. Now, there are ways to provide pain relief for infants, although some surgeries do proceed without it.

baby in ICU
Bernd Vogel / Getty Images

64.If you're babysitting or around any kids, their parents might've told you not to give them sugar because they get hyper. However, sugar doesn't actually increase hyperactivity in kids!

kid eating a donut
Blend Images - JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty Images

65.You also might've heard parents talking about keeping their kids away from violent video games. However, numerous studies have shown that violent video games don't make kids violent.

kid playing video games
Eduardo Toro / Getty Images

66.Twinkies could definitely not survive an apocalypse. In actuality, their shelf life is 45 days.

Boxes of Twinkies

A Maine classroom doing an experiment has kept a Twinkie for decades, and while it hasn't fallen apart, it has turned gray and inedible.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

67.People use wayyy more than 10% of their brains — every part of the brain has a function, and even simple tasks use far more than 10% of the brain — scientists have confirmed this with PET and fMRI machines mapping brain activity.

Professor Samuel Norman saying "It is estimated most human beings only use 10% of their brain's capacity" in Lucy
EuropaCorp Distribution / Universal

68.You can't actually be swallowed up by quicksand. Because people are mostly water, they float even in quicksand — and while you can definitely get stuck, you won't sink to the point where it's pulling your head under.


It's still dangerous, though!!

69.Mice and rats like cheese no more than they do any other available food. The myth may come from rats often chewing cheese wheels in people's cupboards and pantries — but this is likely just because it was a large amount of food in one spot that's easy to get to and sneak around in.


70.It is not true that if you don't read someone their Miranda rights, they can be released.

Schmidt and Jenko's boss says the department had to drop the charges because Jenko didn't read the guy his Miranda rights in 21 Jump Street

While it's still a major oversight not to be read your rights — and will definitely help your case if you go to trial — it only means that anything you say prior to being read your Miranda rights will not be admissible in court. Police are under no obligation to release you if they have other evidence, which is likely if you were arrested.

Columbia Pictures / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

71.Urine isn't sterile at all — it has bacteria in it. And you should not drink it unless you absolutely have to in order to survive — in which case you should drink it immediately after it leaves your body so it doesn't attract further bacteria.

Urine sample
Douglas Sacha / Getty Images

72.Similarly, peeing on a jellyfish sting does not stop the stinging. While it's possible that some parts of urine (like ammonia) may help, others (like sodium) may make it worse. Sea water would be better, though it also has salt.


73.Lightning certainly will strike the same place twice. It actually strikes the same place often, especially tall things like the Empire State Building.

Lightning striking the Empire State Building
Photography by Steve Kelley Aka / Getty Images

74.Wolf packs do not have an alpha. They do have parents — which are in charge the same way human parents are — but there is no "alpha" or "beta" or "omega" in wild wolf packs.

Wolf Pack
Vera Ivanchenko / Getty Images / EyeEm

75.Absinthe does not make you hallucinate. It is just like any other high-proof drink. It'll get you drunk, but it has no hallucinogenic properties — not even back in the day.

Absinthe with an aflame sugar cube on top

The compound thujone was thought to cause the hallucinations — leading to bans on absinthe and regulations about how much thujone bottles can contain — but researchers eventually discovered that no bottle of absinthe had enough thujone to cause those types of effects.

Di4kadi4kova / Getty Images

76.Piranhas don't eat people — it would take about 300 to 500 piranhas to eat a human, and while there is some evidence of piranhas eating human flesh, it's in cases where the person was already dead. Also, many piranhas are omnivores, and some are even vegetarians.

Piranha close up
Carl & Ann Purcell / Getty Images

77.Sharks rarely attack humans, and if they do, it may only be because they were curious or confused — studies show that they may mistake humans on surfboards as seals or sea lions. Humans are not a part of sharks' natural diet, and they'd prefer to eat something else.

Stephen Frink / Getty Images

78.King Tut's tomb has no inscription threatening those who would disturb it, and it's unlikely that it ever did. Instead, it seems to have been a claim invented by journalists or by excavator Howard Carter to keep people away from the tomb. Similar phrases have been used in past literature about other tombs and graves, which is probably where they got it from.

King Tut's tomb
Skaman306 / Getty Images

79.Dying elephants do not go off to an "elephant graveyard" to die.


While skeletons are sometimes found in the same spot, this is likely because there was softer vegetation there for older elephants whose teeth had worn down, so they moved to that area when they were close to death, or because elephants were gathering around one of the last food sources during a drought or famine when they died.

80.You may have heard that it's scientifically unrealistic for bees (and bumblebees specifically) to be able to fly. If you compare them with an airplane, sure, it doesn't make sense. But bees are not at all like airplanes — they flap their wings back and forth, not up and down, creating small vortices that lift the bees up.

  Daniel Acker/Bloomberg / Getty Images
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg / Getty Images

81.Humans, sabertooth tigers, and woolly mammoths were not alive at the same time as dinosaurs. While humans did live at the same time as sabertooth tigers and woolly mammoths, dinosaurs were long extinct by that time (unless you're counting their evolutionary descendants, birds).

Woolly mammoths in a bog with sabertooth tigers and birds
Coreyford / Getty Images / iStockphoto

82.It wasn't cyanide-laced Kool-Aid that Jim Jones fed his cult members in Jonestown. It was Flavor-Aid.

Jim Jomes

Suggested by u/councilface

The phrase "drink the Kool-Aid" came out of the massacre, but Jones didn't even use Kool-Aid.

Janet Fries / Getty Images

83.And not everyone willingly drank it. Jones reportedly said that if they didn't comply with his orders and drink the poison, the Guyanese Army would torture them, castrate the men, and eventually kill them.

coffins being taken from Jamestown

Suggested by u/meggerz1813

Security guards also pulled people from their seats toward the poison, and around 70 people were estimated to have been injected with the poison. Others were shot by armed guards as they ran. It's also possible, according to the New York Times, that many of the elderly and children thought the poison was "routine medication."

New York Times Co./Keith Meyers / Getty Images

84.Ninjas didn't wear black. In reality, ninjas more likely wore navy blue, which blended in better. The misconception seems to have come from Japanese Kabuki theater.

ninja in navy blue

Suggested by u/pjabrony

In Kabuki theater (a form of classic Japanese theater), stagehands would dress in black to move the sets (much as they do now). In one play, the playwright had a stagehand "stab" an actor as a twist, showing that the stagehand was actually a ninja character and not just a stagehand. This was repeated in other plays, and it started this idea that ninjas wore this outfit.

Nikada / Getty Images

85.It's actually "Pandora's Jar," not "Pandora's Box." A translation error caused the meaning to be muddled a few hundred years ago.

Suggested by u/bandanasarebest

Suggested by u/bandanasarebest

Photos.com / Getty Images

86.The United States did not mainly fight the Nazis to free the Jews. According to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum's website, the US prioritized military victory over saving Jews being persecuted and killed by Nazis. They didn't even enter World War II until 1941 (it had begun in 1939), when they were attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor.

newspaper saying US declared war on Japan

Suggested by u/Jak_n_Dax

Much of their fighting was against the Japanese in the Pacific. It wasn't until 1944 (a year before the war's end, and two years after credible reports that millions of Jews were being killed began to widely circulate) that the US actively began trying to rescue Jews through the War Refugee Board.

New York Daily News / Contributor / Getty Images

In fact, the US actively turned away thousands of Jewish refugees during the war, despite not having filled their quota for German immigrants.

refugees being turned away
Keystone/Hulton Archive / Getty Images

87.Italy did not switch sides in World War II. Dictator Mussolini had sided with Hitler, but Mussolini had been deposed, and his successor, Pietro Badoglio, reached an armistice with the Allies. However, Nazis seized strongholds in Germany and broke Mussolini out of jail to make him leader of the parts of Italy they controlled, creating the Italian Social Republic.

Italian rebels who were fighting german occupiers

Suggested by u/ErZicky

So basically, Italy was going through a civil war near the end of World War II, with different parts siding with the Allies vs. the Axis powers.

Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

88.Germany didn't invade Russia in the winter during WWII. In fact, they invaded in June. The invasion lasted longer than hoped for, and they were stuck there in the winter, leading to many of the difficulties you have likely heard of them experiencing.

the germans in russia in winter in world war ii

Suggested by Thirty_Helens_Agree

Berliner Verlag/Archiv/picture alliance via Getty Images

89.Benjamin Franklin never said that beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Suggested by u/Jimmy_GraphiteHe did say something similar about wine: “Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.”

Suggested by u/Jimmy_Graphite

He did say something similar about wine: “Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.”

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

90.He also never said, "A penny saved is a penny earned.” What he actually wrote was, “A penny saved is two pence clear.”

person holding a penny
Tetra Images / Getty Images/Tetra images RF

91.The Library of Alexandria was not destroyed in one big fire.

library of alexandria burning

Suggested by snickerdoodle--

There were many reasons for the library's decline, including yes, multiple fires — but also because the institution of the library was devalued in society and attendance waned as the library itself fell into disorganization and neglect. Even the fires happened far apart from each other — there was no one event that destroyed the library.

Fine Art Images/Heritage Images / Getty Images

92.The claim that the Caliph Omar was the perpetrator of one of the fires is also disputed. First of all, Jewish and Christian texts in the library would've also been sacred Muslim texts. And it's unclear if the library even existed at the time of its "burning."

There is no mention of the event from writers of the time, and the account of the burning was written three centuries after it supposedly took place.

There is no mention of the event from writers of the time, and the account of the burning was written three centuries after it supposedly took place.

Bildagentur/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

93.Also, losing the library did not set humanity back centuries.

Suggested by u/MJSchooleyIt was not the only library to exist at the time, and many of the texts were copies of texts that were returned to their owners, and the discoveries and inventions that scientists and mathematicians made spread through society and existed outside the library.

Suggested by u/MJSchooley

It was not the only library to exist at the time, and many of the texts were copies of texts that were returned to their owners, and the discoveries and inventions that scientists and mathematicians made spread through society and existed outside the library.

Culture Club / Getty Images

94.Anastasia did in fact die with the rest of her family, and her body has been found.


Suggested by u/Aware_Masterpiece_23

Yes, two of the family's children's bodies were missing when the grave of the family was discovered in 1991. However, in 2007, more remains were found a bit away from the rest, and the remaining two children (Alexei and one of his sisters) were found. It's still disputed which body is Anastasia and which is her sister Maria, but both are accounted for.

Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

95.Roman gladiators were not all convicts and slaves. While it may have started that way, many people signed up for fights willingly to prove their prowess, and some gladiators became celebrities.

Spartacus with other gladiators

Suggested by u/_spookyvision_

Dea Picture Library / De Agostini via Getty Images

96.And gladiator fights were not always to the death. Somewhere between 1 in 5 and 1 in 10 matches ended in death, but many times they did not. Promoters put money into training and housing their gladiators, and didn't want them killed so easily.

gladiator looking up at crowd after defeating opponents

Suggested by u/BlazingSun96th

Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector / Getty Images

97.Marilyn Monroe was not a size 16. While Monroe is now often called "curvy" and lauded for a non-traditional figure compared to other actors during the Golden Age of Hollywood, she actually would've been around a size 4 by today's standards.

  Frank Povolny/Twentieth Century Fox/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images
Frank Povolny/Twentieth Century Fox/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

98.Einstein did not fail math. While Einstein was expelled for being rebellious — though he later re-enrolled at another school — his science and math grades were actually great, according to a biographer.

Einstein writing on a chalkboard

Suggested by Zero_Talents

Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

99.The ancient Egyptians did not worship cats. They had some feline-appearing gods, but this did not mean they worshipped cats. They simply admired them, as we do today.

cat in front of wall of hieroglyphics
Sandra Vieira / Getty Images/EyeEm

100.And finally, we've all heard about the G-spot...but there is no solid proof that the G-spot even exists.


H/T: This reddit thread, the BuzzFeed Community, and this wikipedia page — and obviously, all the sources I linked.