Myths That We All Believed Were True, Including Me

We live in the age of information. Today, more than at any other time in human history, we have a seemingly limitless supply of knowledge readily available at our fingertips.

Yet for some reason, our society is still plagued by insurmountable suburban myths that continue to influence how people live their lives. Have a look below in order to dispel the myths we all believed were true.

Women accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials were burned at the stake.

Unsplash | Mallory Johndrow

Most of the men and women accused of witchcraft in Salem were either hanged or died in their cells awaiting trial.

Burning at the stake was a common practice during the Medieval witch trials of Europe, which is likely where the rumors were born from.

Wait 30 minutes after eating before you go swimming.

Unsplash | Todd Quackenbush

According to Dignity Health, swimming after you've just eaten isn't dangerous in the slightest.

In fact, there has never even been one documented death that was attributed to swimming/drowning on a full stomach.

George Washington had wooden teeth.

It's true that the first President of the United States of America did have terrible dental hygiene, and wore dentures made of ivory, bone, and even some human teeth.

When ivory becomes stained, however, it gives off the appearance of decaying wood. Perhaps that's where the myth came from.

Christopher Columbus thought that the earth was flat (or square?).

Unsplash | Artur D.

"It must first be reiterated that with extraordinary few exceptions no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the earth was flat," explained Jeffrey Burton Russell in his paper for the American Scientific Affiliation Conference.

Sharks are bloodthirsty animals.

Don't hear what I'm not saying — sharks aren't anything to mess around with.

But the rumors of their monstrous nature have been greatly exaggerated.

On average, sharks kill six people a year. By comparison, cow-related fatalities account for nearly 20 deaths a year.

Goldfish have a three-second memory.

Unsplash | pouria oskuie

The commonly held belief surrounding Goldfish is that by the time they swim to the opposite side of the fishbowl — they've already forgotten why they swam there in the first place.

This is 100% false as it's been proven that Goldfish can retain memories for months/years at a time.

Drinking alcohol will warm your body temperature.

Unsplash | Thomas Park

It's a commonly held misconception that drinking hard alcohol like whiskey or moonshine in cold weather will allow you to keep warm.

Sadly, the total opposite is true. Alcohol thins your blood and while it may provide a fleeting sense of warmth, it can also cause you to catch hypothermia.

Bulls become enraged when they see red.

Most cartoons and old movies always show the Matador waving a red cape.

In reality, bulls are actually red-green colorblind; they can't distinguish between grey, green, and red.

What sets them off isn't the color of the cape, but rather it's the waving motion that incites them to charge.

You have to drink at least eight glasses of water a day.

Unsplash | Jana Sabeth

While this is a great benchmark, it should be taken as a suggestion rather than a golden rule.

The amount of fluid that a person needs to consume in order to stay hydrated will vary from case to case.

Adding salt to water makes it boil faster.

Unsplash | Thomas Kinto

I've been doing this for years and who knew it was all for nothing! While it's true that adding salt to water will make the temperature rise faster, saltwater has a higher boiling point. Hence, it cancels out.

Humans only use 10% of their brains.


According to neurologist Barry Gordon at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, MA — human beings use virtually every part of their brain.

Certain tasks require less brain strain than others, but over the course of a day, the average human still uses 100% of their brain.

Dogs see the world in black and white.

Unsplash | James Barker

Dogs don't distinguish colors in the same way that humans do, but by no means are they color-blind.

Dogs see the color blue in almost the same way that humans do and can perceive different colors as well.

If you get stung by a jellyfish, you should urinate on the wound.

I feel like Friends has poisoned the minds of an entire generation. If you get stung by a jellyfish, soak the wound with vinegar and then pour hot water over it.

Urine can actually make the tentacle release more venom, causing the sting to hurt even more.

Peanuts are a type of nut.

The name is entirely misleading because peanuts aren't actually nuts at all.

They're what's known as a legume and are more closely related to clovers and chickpeas, as opposed to party favorites like cashews and walnuts.

The average person swallows eight spiders a their sleep!

It turns out that spiders don't really regard or even acknowledge humans at all unless provoked.

We're simply too big and they perceive us the way they would a giant boulder.