“Facts” That Everyone Believes But Aren’t Actually True

Every day, we hear so-called “facts” or sayings that we believe without question, even though there has never been any evidence to support them. They’re everywhere and most people are either blind believers or too lazy to research to see if these “facts” are even true. Even worse, people pass on this misinformation to others until they become so widely known that nobody doubts their veracity. Read on to learn about some of these supposed bits of knowledge that are nothing more than urban legends. Do you believe any of these?

Your Hair Grows Thicker If You Cut Or Shave It

Shaving
Felix Hörhager/picture alliance via Getty Images
Felix Hörhager/picture alliance via Getty Images

This one goes out to all the young men who desperately shave their essentially hairless faces in the hopes that their stubble will grow into a full-blown beard. While people may think that their hair grows in more abundantly after they shave, it just seems that way because a strand of hair that has been shaved has a blunter edge and therefore, feels thicker.

On the other hand, strands that have grown out for a long time taper at the end, giving them a naturally softer or finer feel. So your hair isn’t growing thicker, it just feels different after you cut or shave it.

Lightning Doesn’t Strike In The Same Place Twice

This saying most likely came about from somebody trying to convince themselves or others that they were safe during a lightning storm. When lightning didn’t strike the same spot twice, they probably took it as fact and decided to pass their newfound “knowledge” to others.

In reality, lightning can absolutely strike in the same spot twice, and it’s not even all that rare to happen. The Empire State Building in New York gets struck 20 to 25 times a year. On one occasion, it was hit eight times in just 24 minutes!

An Undercover Police Officer Is Obligated To Tell You They’re A Cop If You Ask

Undercover Police
Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

What makes people think that a police officer who’s undercover isn’t allowed to lie, if being undercover is one big lie to begin with? Of course they’re not required to tell you if you ask. If that was the case, why would anybody use undercover police officers at all if all? It’d be pointless if they could be revealed so easily.

In fact, undercover police officers are exempt from some criminal laws, so they are able to partake in committing crimes to not be suspicious. However, one thing they aren’t allowed to do is force someone to commit a crime.

Sugar Causes Hyperactivity In Children

Sugar High
Leon Neal/Getty Images
Leon Neal/Getty Images

While many people believe that giving little kids sugar will give them a “sugar high,” that’s not actually the case. Although sugar does contain a lot of glucose, that’s not what makes children hyperactive.

In fact, consuming a lot of sugar does the opposite and can lead to hypoglycemia, leaving you feeling tired and sad. It’s much more likely that the change in a child’s behavior after eating something with a lot of sugar is because they’re just excited about eating a sweet treat.

Chewing Gum Will Stay In Your Stomach For Seven Years

Chewing Gum
Tim Boyle/Getty Images
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

This myth probably came about because adults didn’t want children to eat gum like regular food or candy. The reason for not wanting kids to eat gum is that it’s possible that it could lead to some medical issues if they ate enough of it.

However, if you do end up swallowing a piece of gum, it’s not a big deal and it’s not going to stay in your system for seven years. In fact, it’s more like seven days. Just like most other things that you ingest, chewing gum will eventually pass through your digestive system.

Your Hair Will Grey Sooner If You Dye It

Once again, this false piece of information most likely came about from parents discouraging their children from frequently dying their hair. Hair gets its color from melanin pigment, so when the pigment begins to deteriorate from old age, an unhealthy lifestyle, or stress, the hair begins to turn grey.

Dying doesn’t do anything to deteriorate the pigment so it can’t be a factor that causes hair to become grey. However, dying your hair frequently can lead to scalp or other skin irritations.

You’ll Get Warts If You Touch A Frog Or Toad

Frogs And Toads
Eye Ubiquitous/UIG via Getty Images
Eye Ubiquitous/UIG via Getty Images

Frogs and toads may look like they have warts on their bodies, but they’re not actually warts at all. They’re called parotoid glands, and they release a chemical that irritates the mouths of certain predators as a defense system.

Therefore, touching one of these amphibians won’t give anybody warts. If that was the case, a lot fewer people would probably own frogs as pets or be willing to pick them up at all. Warts are actually caused by HPV, or Human Papillomavirus — something frogs don’t have.

There Are Left-Brained And Right-Brained People

Human Brain
FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images
FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

People like to claim that they are either left-brained or right-brained, meaning that they either rely on logic (left) or creativity (right). So, someone who is extremely good at math may be labeled as left-brained because they use their logic and analytics to deduce and solve problems.

Conversely, a painter is considered right-brained because of their artistic capabilities. It’s also said that it’s rare for people to use both and that you’re one or the other. This is false, as there’s no division between the talents of each hemisphere of your brain. In fact, they work together.

Mother Birds Will Disown Their Young If Touched By Humans

Baby Birds
Riau Images / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Riau Images / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Chances are, if you’ve ever found a bird that fell out of its nest, someone was there to tell you not to touch it or it would be disowned by its mother. People believe that a mother bird can smell if its baby has been touched and won’t bring it into the nest.

However, birds have tiny olfactory sensors, which means that they have poor smelling abilities. The mother bird would never know if a human had touched one of her babies, let alone smell your scent on them.

You’ll Catch A Cold If You Go To Bed With Wet Hair

GettyImages-169157315
Rhinitis Woman. (Photo by: Media for Medical/UIG via Getty Images)
Rhinitis Woman. (Photo by: Media for Medical/UIG via Getty Images)

Going to sleep with your hair wet or being out in the cold without a jacket are classic misconceptions about how you can contract a cold. Yes, you shouldn’t sleep when your hair is wet because it can cause mold in your pillow, but it won’t lead you to catch a cold.

The truth is that the only thing that can cause you to get sick with a cold is a cold virus. The most common cold virus, responsible for an estimated 50% of colds, is known as the rhinovirus.

Defibrillators Can Start A Stopped Heart

Defibrillator
Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images

We see it all the time in film and television. Someone’s heart has completely stopped, so EMTs or other medical personnel use a defibrillator to shock their heart into pumping again. While defibrillators are used to help hearts beat normally again, they aren’t used to start up a completely stopped heart.

They’re used to fix irregular heartbeats. When using a defibrillator, it is also assumed that the heart it’s being used on has the proper balance of electrolytes in the first place. Otherwise, the machine can cause even more damage.

The Great Wall Of China Is Visible From Space

Great Wall Of China
Utku Ucrak/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Utku Ucrak/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Yes, the Great Wall of China is incredibly large and is arguably one of the ancient world’s most astonishing creations. However, it is not possible to view it from space. Even from the lowest orbit possible, the monstrous wall is still not visible, mostly because of its color and the shape of its designs.

Any pictures in which you can vaguely see the Great Wall of China from “space” were images that were captured using a zoom lens.

Red And Blonde Hair Is Going Extinct

People with the genes that produce either red or blonde hair are not a different species and it’s impossible for genes to suddenly go extinct. These two hair colors come about due to recessive genes which are carried across generations.

Even people who don’t have red or blonde hair can carry the recessive gene and can pass it down to future generations. So, if you have red or blonde hair and someone jokes that your traits are going extinct, you can tell them otherwise.

Your Hair And Nails Continue To Grow When You Die

Nail And Hair
Hendrik Schmidt/picture alliance via Getty Images
Hendrik Schmidt/picture alliance via Getty Images

There’s been a rumor circulating around for ages that after you die, your hair and nails continue to grow. While this does create a rather disturbing image, it’s far from the truth.

When you die, your cells no longer function. There are cells in your hair and nails, so they definitely do not keep growing once you’re six feet under. People may see an old corpse and it looks like their nails grew longer, but that’s just because the skin shrinks after being dead for a while. This gives the impression that nails and hair are longer.

CPR Can Restart A Heart That Has Stopped Beating

CPR
Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Many people believe that by performing CPR, you can help to restart a non-beating heart. But much like defibrillators, CPR isn’t supposed to be used to “restart” a heart.

Instead, CPR is primarily used to prevent brain damage by ensuring that a person’s lungs are getting enough oxygen pumped into them, therefore feeding the brain the oxygen that it needs. That doesn’t stop Hollywood from using the technique to create some highly emotional scenes, with CPR usually saving the day.

Standing By A Microwave Can Give You Cancer

Microwaves
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Yes, radiation is very bad for you and microwaves rely on radiation in order to heat up your chicken nuggets. Although there’s a reason we refer to using a microwave as “nuking something,” it’s a lot safer than a nuclear bomb.

In fact, microwave ovens use non-ionizing radiation, which doesn’t have the power to affect the cells in our bodies. Do people really think that a common household appliance would continually be used by the majority of people if it was pumping us body full of cancer?

Using Soap Kills Germs

Washing Hands
Media for Medical/UIG via Getty Images
Media for Medical/UIG via Getty Images

When the majority of people wash their hands, they think that they are killing germs, with many soap companies going so far as to advertise that’s what their soap does.

But that’s not what soap actually does. Bacteria sticks to, and survives off, the oils that accumulate on your hands. Using soap and water simply cleans the oil off your hands to eliminate the potential for the bacteria. It doesn’t actually kill any germs.

You Can’t Adopt A Child If You’re Not Rich

Adoption
Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images
Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

All you have to do is look around to see that not all adopted children have parents who are extremely rich. Plenty of typical families have adopted children without being classified as “upper class.”

Yes, the adoption process is long and arduous, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to have tons of money to do it. All you have to do is prove that you are financially stable enough to care for a child, and that doesn’t always mean millions of dollars.

Daddy Longlegs Are Extremely Venomous

Daddy Longlegs
Arterra/UIG via Getty Images
Arterra/UIG via Getty Images

There’s a myth that daddy longlegs are extremely venomous, if not the most venomous spiders on earth. However, the reason we don’t fear them is because their pincers are too small, short, and sharp to have the ability to pierce human flesh. In truth, there are two types of daddy longlegs.

One isn’t venomous at all and the other has never bitten a human before. So, these spiders really are as harmless, except for the legend that they are poisonous.

There Is A Dark Side Of The Moon

Dark Side Of The Moon
Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Pink Floyd claimed that there is a dark side of the moon, and it appears that a lot of people believed them. There is talk about sending people to the dark side of the moon to see what’s over there, but guess what? There is no dark side.

There is, however, what is known as the far side of the moon. The far side waxes and wanes light just like the nearer, bright side. So don’t be surprised if we never find anything unusual on the dark side of the moon.

Wait An Hour To Swim After You Eat

Wait An Hour To Swim After You Eat
Andrey Nekrasov / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Andrey Nekrasov / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

If you were an avid swimmer in the summertime, then your parents probably told you a time or two to wait at least an hour before jumping back into the water. And, as a kid, you sat on your towel with a sour expression because you wanted to go play.

Unfortunately, all of those long hours you could have been swimming are for naught. Eating actually doesn’t increase your chance of cramps. That being said, a full tummy will make it so you are a bit short on breath.

Adding Salt Makes Water Boil Faster

Adding Salt Makes Water Boil Faster
Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

It may seem as though pasta water boils quicker after you add that dash of salt to the pot. Not to mention it makes it so the pasta doesn’t stick together, right? Nope. The only thing the salt is doing to your boiling water is making it salty boiling water.

Adding a sprinkle to salt doesn’t make the water boil faster, actually, the opposite effect can occur. Depending on the situation, adding salt can make it so the water takes longer to boil. That’s definitely something to keep in mind the next time you want to make spaghetti!

Dopping A Penny Off A Building Could End A Person’s Life

Dopping A Penny Off A Building Will Kill A Person
Gary Hershorn/Getty Images
Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

Most people have heard the myth that if you drop a penny off of the Empire State Building, the speed at which the penny falls is enough to end someone’s life. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about loose change falling over the ledge of any buildings.

Mythbusters tested the theory, shooting a penny at the same speed at which it would fall off of the New York City skyscraper, 64.4 miles per hour. It was proven that, although getting hit with the penny stings, it is not nearly going fast enough to terminally injure a person.

Dogs Sweat By Panting

Dogs Sweat By Panting
Kerem Kocalar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Kerem Kocalar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

If you have a dog, then you know that after they run around and play they wind up panting. You’ve also probably been told hat this panting is the doggy version of sweating, as they don’t sweat through their skin under their fur.

This is actually not true! Panting is a pooch’s way of regulating their body temperature. The actually sweating takes place through their footpads. Dogs have sweat glands located on their paw pads called merocrine glands. If you don’t believe us, the next time you notice little paw prints around the house, touch your pooches paws, they’re sure to be a bit clammy.

Wait 24 Hours To File A Missing Person Report

Wait 24 Hours To File A Missing Person Report
MOHD RASFAN/AFP via Getty Images
MOHD RASFAN/AFP via Getty Images

We see it in movies and television shows, we even read about it in novels: wait 24 hours after filing a missing person report. The thing is, why would you wait? If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong and a person you know is in trouble, go to the professionals!

Contrary to popular belief, there is no rule stating that you have to wait 24 hours after someone has gone missing to file a report with the police. If someone is missing, go straight to the nearest police station and file!

Milk Develops Mucus

Milk Develops Mucus
Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

We’re not sure about you, but growing up we were always under the assumption that eating or drinking anything dairy-based while sick was going to make our throats more phlegmy and mucus based. That meant no milk, ice cream, or cheese.

Studies have found that ingesting milk does not increase the amount of mucus in your throat. While doctors do say that dairy will thicken your saliva, it does not actually cause the body to produce more mucus or phlegm. So, when you’re sick and have an ice cream craving, give into it!

Bats Are Blind

Bats Are Blind
DEA/V.GIANNELLA/Getty Images
DEA/V.GIANNELLA/Getty Images

In school, we’re typically taught that bats hunt in the dark using echolocation, meaning they use self-produced sounds that bounce off of objects to help them navigate and find food. But that doesn’t mean they can’t see! Bats are one of the unique land creatures that can use both echolocation as well as sight.

So, contrary to the widespread myth, bats can actually see! Research actually shows that depending on the situation, bats might prefer to use their eyesight over echolocation. These animals have fantastic eyesight, and some species can even see ultraviolet light. Not too bad for an animal thought to be blind!

Caffeine Dehydrates You

Caffeine Dehydrates You
Yelena AfoninaTASS via Getty Images
Yelena AfoninaTASS via Getty Images

If you’re in the workforce, a tired new mommy or a stressed-out college student, then you know that coffee can make the difference between awake and comatose. Unfortunately, the caffeine in “bean juice” supposedly has a dire dehydration effect. Or, at least that’s a common thought.

Katherin Zeratsky of the Mayo Clinic says that “Drinking caffeine-containing beverages as part of a normal lifestyle doesn’t cause fluid loss in excess of the volume ingested. While caffeinated drinks may have a mild diuretic effect, they don’t appear to increase the risk of dehydration.”

Goldfish Have A Three Second Memory

Goldfish Have A Three Second Memory
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Remember those goldfish that were prizes at the county fairs growing up? The ones that tended to live way longer than you ever expected them to? Well, there is one myth surrounding the little fish, and it’s not their life expectancy.

Most goldfishes owners have heard the “fact” that the fish only has a memory span of three seconds. We’re here to tell you that it is not true! Scientists have found that goldfish can actually remember things going back at least a few months. So be sure not to make fun of your goldfish in front of them, they’ll remember!

Bulls Hate Red

Bulls Hate Red
STEPHANE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
STEPHANE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

As depicted in movies and during Spanish bullfighting, bulls tend to get a bit aggressive when they see a matador wave their red cape in front of them. Then, most people know the next event, the bull charges. The myth is that bulls do not like the color red, and for some reason, they get mad over it.

Well, like most other cattle, bulls are actually color-blind to red and green! The animal isn’t mad over the color, but rather the movement of the cape. The bull breed used in these fights is known for their aggression, so any sudden movement is reason for them to attack.

Bagpipes Are Scottish

Bagpipes Are Scottish
JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP via Getty Images
JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP via Getty Images

Bagpipes are a woodwind instrument using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag. This instrument is probably best known for being played in the Scottish highlands. But contrary to popular belief, that is not where bagpipes originated.

The bagpipe is actually an instrument of the Middle East, thought to be first introduced by Ancient Egyptians. It wasn’t until years later that it was brought over to Western Europe. Ironically, no one knows the origin of the pipes in Scotland! Some say they were imported by Romans, while others believe they came from Ireland.

SOS Means Save Our Ship

SOS Mean Save Our Ship
Brian B. Bettencourt/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Brian B. Bettencourt/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Morse code is a character “language” that involves decoding dots and dashes. The International Morse Code encodes the 26 English letters, some non-English letters, Arabic numerals, and a small set of punctuation and prosigns. These messages were very important during times of war, especially the code for SOS.

While many believe SOS to stand for “save our ship,” there is actually another reason why SOS is used to indicate “help.” SOS became the distress signal solely because it’s so easy to transmit: three dots, three dashes, three dots… making it so the transmitter would be able to get the code out ASAP!

Everest Is The Tallest Mountain

Everest Is The Tallest Mountain
PHUNJO LAMA/AFP via Getty Images
PHUNJO LAMA/AFP via Getty Images

Mount Everest is a 29, 029-foot mountain that stands on the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas. The mountain attracts many seasoned climbers. While Everest doesn’t have any technical climbing challenges, it is said that there are dangers such as altitude sickness, weather, wind, and the chance of an avalanche.

With a height like that, it is nearly impossible to think the Mount Everest is not the tallest mountain in the world. It’s not! Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano stands at 33,000 feet, almost 4,000 feet taller than Everest. Although, Mauna Kea is partially underwater, which makes Everest the tallest mountain above sea level.

All Of Your Fingernails Grow At The Same Rate

All Of Your finger Nails Grow At The Same Rate
Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images
Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images

For humans, nails typically grow, on average, 0.14 inch per month. That being said, there are numerous other factors that come into play, such as age, gender, the season, exercise level, diet, and hereditary factors. Most people believe that no matter what, all of their nails grow at the same rate. But that’s not necessarily true.

Scientists have proven that the nails on someone’s dominant hand tend to grow a bit quicker than those on their non-dominate hand. They believe it is because of dominate hand is used more, and therefore more blood is able to reach the cells at the root of the nail, helping with growth.

Ninjas Wore Black In Order To Not Be Seen

Ninjas Wore Black To Not Be Seen
Candis Levko/Pinterest
Candis Levko/Pinterest

The main job of a ninja is to be stealthy and a master in unorthodox warfare. Thanks to pop culture and old Japanese paintings, most people believe that these ninjas were shady men, dressed in an all-black costume, sneaking up on an unsuspecting person. In reality, that’s not necessarily true.

While we don’t know for sure what they wear, there is evidence that it wasn’t an all-black getup. Ninjas don’t want to stand out in a crowd, so what better to wear in a crowd then street clothing! They would wear the clothes of the region, such as rural clothing versus city clothing.