Myths and Misconceptions »

The Surprising Truth About Cousins and Marriage

The Surprising Truth About Cousins and Marriage

Melissa February 14, 2014 11

Jamie M. asks: When did people stop thinking it was OK to marry your cousin? In modern western society, marrying your cousin is not well accepted, particularly in the United States. Through a combination

Read More »
There Is Technically No Such Thing as an Electric Eel

There Is Technically No Such Thing as an Electric Eel

Melissa February 3, 2014 3

Myth: Electric “eels” exist. There are, however, electric fish: eight-foot long, 600 volt, mouth breathing, alligator-killing fish. Electrophorus electricus Although there are a number of fish that produce an electric charge, the species that

Read More »
The Truth About the Bermuda Triangle

The Truth About the Bermuda Triangle

Emily Upton January 23, 2014 7

The Bermuda Triangle is a large area of ocean between Florida, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda. Over the last few centuries, it’s thought that dozens of ships and planes have disappeared under mysterious circumstances in

Read More »
Seagulls Will Not Blow Up if They Eat Alka-Seltzer

Seagulls Will Not Blow Up if They Eat Alka-Seltzer

Karl Smallwood January 17, 2014 2

Seagulls, or gulls depending on how much you dislike syllables, are considered a pest to many, a minor, avoidable annoyance to many more and the harbingers of death OH GOD LOOK AT THEIR COLD

Read More »
The Candirú Fish Can’t Swim Up a Stream of Your Urine

The Candirú Fish Can’t Swim Up a Stream of Your Urine

Karl Smallwood November 19, 2013 0

Myth: The Candirú fish can swim up your urine stream if you pee into the Amazon. If you’ve never heard of the Candirú, also known as the pencil fish, the toothpick fish, the vampire

Read More »
Native Americans Were Not Introduced to Alcohol by Europeans

Native Americans Were Not Introduced to Alcohol by Europeans

Melissa November 18, 2013 8

It is a sad truth that Native Americans suffer from alcoholism at rates far higher than those of other ethnic groups. While many causes likely contribute to this problem, some of those most commonly

Read More »
Doctors Aren’t Bound by the Hippocratic Oath

Doctors Aren’t Bound by the Hippocratic Oath

Melissa November 15, 2013 10

Myth: Doctors are bound by the Hippocratic Oath. A binding agreement, as much a social contract as Social Security or Medicare, the traditional Hippocratic Oath holds those who swear to it to a strict

Read More »
The Truth About Julius Caesar and “Caesarean” Sections

The Truth About Julius Caesar and “Caesarean” Sections

Emily Upton October 25, 2013 6

Myth: The Caesarean section procedure ultimately derives its name from Julius Caesar, who is often (falsely) claimed to have been the first baby born via Caesarean. It’s hard to pinpoint where exactly this story

Read More »
Has Anyone Ever Actually Poisoned Or Put Razor Blades or Needles in Halloween Candy?

Has Anyone Ever Actually Poisoned Or Put Razor Blades or Needles in Halloween Candy?

Staci Lehman October 24, 2013 9

Lee asks: How many children have died from people poisoning Halloween candy? Remember your mom sorting through your Halloween candy as a kid, looking for signs of ‘tainted’ candy laced with poison, needles or

Read More »
Hollywood Medical Myths Part 3: You Should Put a Bite Block in the Mouth of Someone Having a Seizure

Hollywood Medical Myths Part 3: You Should Put a Bite Block in the Mouth of Someone Having a Seizure

Scott October 8, 2013 11

Hollywood Medical Myths Part 3: You should put a bite block in the mouth of someone having a seizure. Seizures seem to be an ailment that befalls numerous actors in everything from movies to

Read More »
No Witches Were Burned During the Salem Witch Trials

No Witches Were Burned During the Salem Witch Trials

Emily Upton September 25, 2013 12

Myth: People convicted of witchcraft were burned at the stake during the Salem Witch Trials When you think about people disposing of witches a few hundred years ago, you probably imagine a woman tied

Read More »
Hollywood Medical Myths Part 1: Shocking Someone Who Has “Flat-Lined” Can Get Their Heart Going Again

Hollywood Medical Myths Part 1: Shocking Someone Who Has “Flat-Lined” Can Get Their Heart Going Again

Scott September 24, 2013 13

Myth: Shocking someone who has flat-lined can get their heart started again. It never fails. You’re watching television and someone is circling the drain, in the toilet that is their life. The noise from

Read More »
Magellan Was Not the First Person to Circumnavigate the Globe, The Man Who First Did It May Have Been Magellan’s Slave

Magellan Was Not the First Person to Circumnavigate the Globe, The Man Who First Did It May Have Been Magellan’s Slave

Emily Upton September 19, 2013 8

Myth: Ferdinand Magellan (Fernão de Magalhães) was the first person to circumnavigate the globe. There’s no doubt that Magellan intended to have a successful journey when his expedition set off from Spain on September

Read More »
George Washington Never Chopped Down A Cherry Tree

George Washington Never Chopped Down A Cherry Tree

Emily Upton September 4, 2013 9

Myth: George Washington once chopped down his father’s favorite cherry tree. The story goes that a young George was about six years old and had been given a hatchet, which he enthusiastically used to

Read More »
Why Is It Illegal to Remove Your Mattress and Pillow Tags?

Why Is It Illegal to Remove Your Mattress and Pillow Tags?

Terynn Boulton August 8, 2013 9

Mark asks: Why is it illegal to remove mattress and pillow tags? Well Mark, unbeknownst to many innocent consumers out there, the warning that it is unlawful to remove the tags from a mattress

Read More »
Egg Whites Do Not Make a Good Burn Treatment

Egg Whites Do Not Make a Good Burn Treatment

Scott August 2, 2013 6

Craig asks: Do chicken egg whites really help heal burns? Craig, I’ve actually had a couple of people try and convince me of this in the past. A quick Google search will yield several,

Read More »
Wearing Hats Does Not Cause You to Go Bald

Wearing Hats Does Not Cause You to Go Bald

Scott June 20, 2013 2

Myth: Frequently wearing a hat will cause permanent hair loss. I was once told by my mother that wearing a hat would cause me to go bald. I’m not sure if she actually knew

Read More »
The Great Chicago Fire Wasn’t Started by a Cow

The Great Chicago Fire Wasn’t Started by a Cow

Emily Upton May 28, 2013 7

Myth: The Great Chicago Fire was started by a cow. The Great Chicago Fire destroyed 3.3 square miles of Chicago, Illinois, burning for two days in 1871—between October 8th and October 10th. It killed

Read More »