Facts aren't always so! Sometimes we believe information that later turns out to be false. Read on to learn what "facts" others discovered were actually fiction!

Lettuce is a cure for shock

Photo by pina messina on Unsplash

When I was 7, I touched a bare electric line, received a shock, went crying to my mom. She was preparing dinner at the time, making a salad. She gave me some lettuce, said it would make a shock go away. I didn't eat lettuce, but it was worth making the pain go away. The pain subsided, as it would have regardless. So, I believed her about the lettuce. Years later, mom overheard me telling a friend about lettuce being a cure for electric shocks, and confessed that she'd made it up.


Flags equal tax cuts

Dog with the American flag
Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash

I'm South American and it's "common knowledge" there that American movies need to show the flag at least once to get tax cuts.

I've known this as a "fact" for maybe 15 years and after living in America for five years I brought it up in a conversation, and all the Americans in the room had no idea what I was talking about. Googled and found out it's just a South American myth.


Food and water don't mix

Man swimming
Photo by Richard R Schünemann on Unsplash

If you dont wait for one hour after eating to swim you will get such incredibly debilitating cramps that you will lose all motor function and sink and drown.


Nuns aren't allowed to drive

A nun and a policeman
Photo by Felix Koutchinski on Unsplash

I thought nuns weren’t allowed to drive.


Gas from the ground

A gas station
Photo by Alwin Kroon on Unsplash

This is a conversation between my friend and his girlfriend in college:

GF: How do they know where to put gas stations? Friend: I assume they do market research to see how much need there is for another gas station in the area. GF: No, I mean how do they know there will be gas on the corner where they build the station? Friend: They truck in the gasoline with tankers... GF: Oh.


You can't catch a bird

Pet bird
Photo by Sultan K. on Unsplash

When I was younger I had a pet bird and she flew away one day when I was cleaning her cage (her name was Cathy). I was obviously devastated because she was my first pet and my best friend, so my dad said he was going to go out and find Cathy for me. Two hours later he comes home with a yellow budgie saying he found her in a tree down the block and caught her. I was so thankful and couldn’t believe he got her back for me. I literally only realised a couple years ago that there’s no way he could have caught her, and when I asked he confirmed that he just went to the pet shop and bought me a new yellow budgie. I lived with the belief that she was Cathy for 16 years.


Cats and dogs

A cat and dog
Photo by Krista Mangulsone on Unsplash

When my grandma's cat died, the adults told us that she'd ran away. When the dog died too, they told us he went to find the cat. I didn't realize the truth for a decade at least.


The bitten ear

A woman's ear
Photo by Jessica Flavia on Unsplash

My one earlobe is a little smaller than the other. My dad told me he bit it off accidentally when I was a baby, and I believed it for about 15 years.


Hiccups make you grow

Photo by Chen Hu on Unsplash

My growth slowed pretty early on, and I was obviously upset about that. My mom noticed, and told me that "you grow a little bit with each hiccup," probably to give me hope. From that day, whenever I would start hiccuping I would try to do everything in my power to keep hiccuping, just so I could grow a little taller. I believed that until I was 15.


The Artic is for bears

Polar bear
Photo by Victor Benard on Unsplash

I believed that the Arctic was named because there are Polar Bears there (from the Greek word for bear: arktos).

And that the Antarctic was named because there are No Polar Bears there.


Eyeballs don't grow

An eye
Photo by Amanda Dalbjörn on Unsplash

I just found this out five seconds ago. Your eyeballs grow. I thought your eyeballs stayed the same size your entire life and that's why babies appear to have such large eyes in proportion to the rest of their body.


Ponting is a word

Crossed legs
Photo by 13on on Unsplash

You know when you fidget/bounce your leg when you’re anxious or bored? My mom always told me that was called “ponting”. For years I told people it was called ponting, and was always surprised no one else ever called it that...until I googled it one day and found out the word doesn’t exist. My mom either made it up or was using a fake term herself.

I think it’s a good word, though.


Bobby Flay is dead

Photo by paul morris on Unsplash

In the early 2000s my dad told me Bobby Flay, who I loved, died. I believed it until I saw him on tv maybe 3-4 years ago. I called my dad and told him, I couldn’t believe it. I thought he must have faked his death. Turns out my dad lied to me because apparently he wanted to watch something other than Bobby Flay on tv that day.


Clouds make thunder

Photo by NON on Unsplash

I believed that thunder was the sound of clouds hitting each other. My roommates told me otherwise just a few days before college graduation when there was some thunder on a cloudless day.

Mom swears she doesn't know where I got that idea.


Cabbage isn't cabbage

Photo by Gabriel Gurrola on Unsplash

When my sister and I were kids, she refused to eat cabbage. So one mealtime, our Nana told her the cabbage wasn't cabbage, it was a special vegetable called spondooli that had been imported from South Africa. She ate this magical veg and loved it, and the name stuck as a result.

Fast forward 10 years, 14 year-old-sister is told at the dinner table that spondooli is really just cabbage and she bursts into tears, saying "I've told all my friends about it for years! "


French potatoes

Photo by Nic D on Unsplash

When my brother was a kid he decided one day that he hated potatoes. My mum served him mashed potatoes and told him it was a French vegetable called pomme de terre. He loved pomme de terre and would ask for it constantly.


Bingy Bangies are a vegetable

Photo by Andrés Medina on Unsplash

My mum is a bit of an oddbod, and believed and did all sorts of weird things.

Once, my younger brother was sick whilst eating dinner. Mum decided it was clearly the meat, and from that point forward forced vegetarianism upon him.

Fast forward a good few months, Mum goes out and Dad orders in Chinese because he can’t be bothered to cook. One of the dishes was everybody’s favourite, spare ribs.

My brother asks what they are, without skipping a beat Dad tells him they are “bingy-bangies,” the cooked stem of a plant native to East Asia.

My brother eats them with no issue.

This became a frequent thing. Mum would go out, we’d get Chinese, and brother would devour his favourite vegetarian dish... bingy-bangies. In our family they were known as bingy-bangies even if the brother wasn’t around. We thought nothing of it, even years later.

This was all great until I get a phone call from him when he was 18, having had a meal with his first serious girlfriend and her parents... they ordered Chinese and he’d requested his favourite.


Blood is really blue

Hands with blood
Photo by Andrés Medina on Unsplash

I believed that blood is blue inside your body and turns red when exposed to oxygen.


Pennies can kill

Penny jar
Photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash

I believed that a penny could kill someone if dropped off the Empire State Building.


Fuel has tiny arrows

An arrow
Photo by Stephan Henning on Unsplash

I was in the UK army (16 yrs old ) and was told during a driving theory lesson that we should never try to steal army diesel because they could test your fuel at any time and if they found you stealing they could send you to prison, they could tell because under a microscope the diesel would have tiny arrows in it.

Years later I'd left the army and I was telling someone at work when it suddenly dawned on me how ridiculous that was.

I'd just accepted it was a fact for well over 20 years.


Puppy paws don't grow

Paw prints
Photo by David Klein on Unsplash

My mom told me that the paws of dogs never grow and they are born with the size they'll have.

A few years later after I embarrassed myself with that fact in front of my friends a few times I asked her again and apparently I got it wrong.

The paws are an indicator for the size the dog will reach later but obviously they do grow. Imagine how ridiculous it would look, a pup with huge paws.


The Greatest wall

Great wall of China
Photo by Diego Jimenez on Unsplash

I believed that he great wall of China is the only man made object visible from space.


Illegal driving

Steering wheel
Photo by Nathan Lindahl on Unsplash

I believed that driving with the overhead light on in your car on is illegal.


Glory holes

Parking space
Photo by Ambitious Creative Co. - Rick Barrett on Unsplash

My parents always referred to a really good parking spot as a "glory hole." It was not until I started college and exclaimed to my friends that I had found the perfect glory hole in the Chipotle parking lot that I realized that my parents' usage of the term was very, very wrong.


Cows sleep standing up

A sleeping cow
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Until a year ago I thought cow tipping was a real activity. Turns out cows sleep laying down and it would take at least 4 people to actually tip assuming you could sneak up on them.


Chewing gum doesn't digest

Chewing gum on wall
Photo by Matthew Brodeur on Unsplash

I beleived that chewing gum took 7 years to digest.


People with no vision can drive

Man with eyes covered
Photo by Analise Benevides on Unsplash

My dad told me that the stripes on the sides of the road, the ones that make a sound when you ride on them, exist so that people who are blind can drive without going off the road. We were kids and believed it for some time.


Smart smoke alarms

Photo by Stephen Hocking on Unsplash

I believed that all smoke detectors contact the fire department if they detect smoke.


Sweeney Todd was a real person

Cutthroat razor
Photo by Christoffer Engström on Unsplash

I always thought Sweeney Todd was real. Turns out it was just 19th century pulp fiction.


Truffles are truffles

Chocolate truffles
Photo by Mira Metzler on Unsplash

I thought truffles (chocolate) were made from truffles (mushrooms). It wasn’t until college when I mentioned it and got a lot of comments like, you know what chocolate turtles are made of, right?


Death sentences

An animal  skeleton
Photo by 五玄土 ORIENTO 王杉 on Unsplash

I beleived that if a person was sentenced to prison for 150 years their body stayed in the cell even after death until the time was served.


Wasps make jam

Jam on toast
Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

I once heard a lady on the radio phone in to describe how when she was young, her mum told her that similarly to bees making honey, wasps make jam. Different flavours of jam was made when wasps when to the different plants, e.g. raspberry jam if they’d been to raspberry flowers. She said she only learned this was false when she was 27 years old!


Men have fewer ribs

Man's chest
Photo by Cristian Baron on Unsplash

I believed that men have one fewer rib then women.


Wet hair causes colds

Wet hair
Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

I was told that if you go to bed with wet hair you will catch a cold.


Fly poop creates moles

A fly
Photo by Егор Камелев on Unsplash

I believed for years that flies buzzing around your house land on you and poop on you, causing moles.

My parents told me that as a kid. Do you understand how it felt telling that to your close circle of high school friends?


Silos are Isors

A silo
Photo by Mitch Fox on Unsplash

I thought abandoned silos were called “isors”.

When I was a little kid I asked my mom what it was and she replied with “an eye sore”. I took her at her word and thought any sort of old silo or water tower was called an Isor.

It took me until I was 16 to realize it was, in fact, not called an Isor.


Adam's Apple is a ball

A man's throat
Photo by Andrew Itaga on Unsplash

When I was a kid I was waiting in a line at an amusement park with my parents. There was a guy in front of us with a huge Adam's Apple and I had no idea what it was. So I asked him about it (mortifying my parents) and he laughed it off and told me he accidentally swallowed a bouncy ball that got stuck in there. I believed it for years.


Crusts make your hair curly

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

I was always told that eating your crusts made your hair curly.


Daddy longlegs are venemous!

Spider web
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I believed that Daddy long leg spiders are the most venomous spiders in the world, except they cant bite you.

They aren't even spiders and they certainly aren't venomous.


The telephone was for dinner

Old telephone
Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

My mother told me Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone so that his wife could call him in from the shed when dinner was ready. I related this information back to my class teacher. Needless to say this was not the case.


Noses are glued on

A mannequin
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

My mom told me when I was young my nose was cut off and the doctors had to glue it back on. I have a birth mark that’s just a line across the bridge of my nose. The line doesn’t tan, so when I was younger I thought it was the glue and I’d pull at my nose sometimes.


Straight hairs means you can swim

Photo by rosalye simard on Unsplash

One day when I was little, I was playing with my Dad’s hair and I noticed a few stood up dead straight on his head while the majority were wavy and laid down on his scalp. When I mentioned it to him he said that the reason why his hairs stood up was because he knew how to swim.

Now, I’m a child, so I took what my father said for gospel.

Fast forward to me in high school. My classmate was going on about a few annoying hairs that were standing straight on her head.

Of course I said, “Oh, you must know how to swim!”

My friend looked at me and after a pause asked, “What?”

I just looked at her, recognizing the absurdity of what I had just said and responded, “Never mind.”

Needless to say I yelled at my Dad when I got home and he just laughed at me.


Alaska is an island

An island
Photo by Martin Widenka on Unsplash

I thought Alaska floated in the sea because of the way it is represented on maps. Growing up, it was pictured in a tiny box next to Hawaii’s tiny box. At 22, I learned Alaska is in fact attached to land and is huge. Only reason I found out was because I started hiking a lot and needed to look at maps more.


Cucumber skin is poisonous

Photo by Harshal S. Hirve on Unsplash

Growing up I always thought the skin of cucumber was poisonous. Only found out at 23 it was actually edible.


Christmas is for one

Christmas lights
Photo by Jasmin Schreiber on Unsplash

My birthday is on Christmas and up until I was 7 or 8 my parents had me convinced that people only put up Christmas lights for my birthday.


Euthanasia makes you younger

Young face
Photo by Eduardo Dutra on Unsplash

I thought euthanasia was spelled like "youth" and it was a process that makes you younger.

It wasn't until my grandma got really old did I find out what it really meant because at dinner I suggested that we euthanize her.


Cod liver oil helps you swim

Woman floating
Photo by Shazmyn Ali on Unsplash

For years, Mom told my brother and me:

"Take Cod Liver Oil - it'll improve your swimming" … and we believed her.


Limes are lemons

Photo by Maria Fernanda Gonzalez on Unsplash

I believed for a long time that limes were only unripened lemons.


Narwhals are ficticious

A narwal
Photo by Sticker Mule on Unsplash

I recently won my first argument with my (attorney) wife. Narwhals totally exist. She wins arguments for a living. I fix air conditioners. Best day ever.