Category Archives: Myths and Misconceptions

Native Americans Were Not Introduced to Alcohol by Europeans


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 espoused, including lack of prior exposure to alcohol and genetic predisposition, are oft-repeated misconceptions. In fact, well before Europeans began to colonize the Americas, Native Americans […]

Read more

Doctors Aren’t Bound by the Hippocratic Oath


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 code of professional and personal conduct. Contrary to popular belief, though, most doctors never take this oath, and, actually, most of us are probably glad they […]

Read more

The Truth About Julius Caesar and “Caesarean” Sections


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 started, though a 10th century document is the likely culprit. The Suda, a Byzantine-Greek historical encyclopaedia, is one of the earliest records citing Caesar as the […]

Read more

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


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 razor blades?  It turns out, unless she was just using it as an excuse to steal the good candy before you got it, she was wasting […]

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. Seizures seem to be an ailment that befalls numerous actors in everything from movies to television shows. Whether it’s the condition that leads to their immediate death on screen, or just a reaction to some dramatic situation, the quivering usually leads […]

Read more

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


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 the heart monitor affirms they’re still alive, with its consistent, rhythmic beeps. All of the sudden, alarms start going off. On the monitor- the dreaded “flat-line”. […]

Read more

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


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 20, 1519. He had planned for the departure meticulously, hoping to prove that people could sail all the way around the world, and to be the […]

Read more

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


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 or pillow is not for you! It is for pillow and mattress sellers only. How many times does that mean you have unnecessarily awoken with the […]

Read more

The Great Chicago Fire Wasn’t Started by a Cow

The Chicago Water Tower, the only public building in the burn area to survive the fire.

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 hundreds of people, left more than 100,000 homeless (nearly one third of Chicago’s residents at the time), destroyed roughly 17,000 buildings, and caused a couple hundred […]

Read more

People in Columbus’ Time Did Not Think the World Was Flat


In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue… with a whole lot of maps and information about the very round Earth. Contrary to popular belief, not only did Columbus realize the world was round, so did his contemporaries. In fact, it was so well accepted that daring seafarers had been exploring the Atlantic for hundreds of years before Columbus’ time. Without […]

Read more

Et Tu Brute? Not Caesar’s Last Words


In terms of famous last words, Julius Caesar’s supposed “Et tu, Brute?” may be the most well known of any in history. For context, William Shakespeare would have us believe, Julius Caesar, in his final moments called out: “Et tu, Brute? Then fall Caesar!” to his longtime friend Marcus Junius Brutus, prior to succumbing to stab wounds inflicted by Brutus […]

Read more

Myth or Fact: Women’s Menstrual Cycles Synchronize if They are in Close Proximity for Large Amounts of Time


Do women’s menstrual cycles sync up over time if they are in close proximity to each other? Being someone who lives with 4 girls and 1 other boy, this knowledge would be very beneficial. I feel like I should know if the estrogen ocean I’m swimming in will have very stormy seas every 28 days. The belief that this occurs […]

Read more
1 2 3 4 7