History vs. Myth

You don’t need fiction when history provides you with tales as crazy as the ones we’ve collected for you. Read up while your jaw drops.


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Norse Mythology Is Way More Than Thor

Many of us may have a passing familiarity with Norse mythology because of the 2011 film Thor, but there's a lot more to it than Chris Hemsworth's abs.

Meet Hestia: The Martha Stewart of Greek Goddesses

The goddess of the hearth, Hestia set the Greek bar for perfection in domesticity, hospitality, the family, the home and the state.

Did Nikita Khrushchev Really Bang His Shoe in Defiance at the U.N.?

Ask many what they remember about the man who succeeded Stalin and ruled the Soviet Union for a decade, and they'll tell you it's the shoe.

Did the Bible 'Borrow' the Noah's Ark Story From the Epic of Gilgamesh?

A story remarkably similar to the Noah's Ark flood account in Genesis was discovered in the Epic of Gilgamesh, a text 1,000 years older. Does that confirm the account or make it more of myth?

Dionysus Was the Greek God With a Dual Personality

With two sides to his personality, Dionysus represents joy, ecstasy and merriment, but also brutal and blinding rage, representing the dual effects of overindulgence.

5 Fascinating Egyptian Gods and Goddesses You Should Know

Prime god Ra died every night and was reborn every morning. The goddess Neith defied gender norms and stereotypes as a great warrior. These are just two of the fascinating stories from the pantheon of Egyptian gods and goddesses.

7 Puritan Myths We Should Stop Believing

We often think of Puritans as those pilgrims to America whose twin passions were long church services and burning witches. But the truth is far more interesting.

Did King Nebuchadnezzar Really Go Mad and Eat Grass for 7 Years?

The Bible says that God caused Nebuchadnezzar to become insane and live like an animal for seven years as punishment for his arrogance. But is there any historical evidence for this?

What Was So Terrible About Ivan the Terrible?

Ivan the Terrible's sobriquet may have been due to a mistranslation but he sure lived up to it, torturing and killing his many enemies. Still, he didn't start out so evil.

Was the Terrifying 18th-century Beast of Gévaudan a Wolf or Something More Sinister?

In the 1760s in the fields and forests around the town of Gévaudan in southern France, a monster lurked, killing as many as 100 people. But, to this day, the identity, or even the species, of the Beast of Gévaudan remains unknown.

5 Facts About Persephone, Queen of the Underworld

Persephone, the wife of Hades, lived one-third of the year in the Underworld with him and the other two-thirds of the year on Earth with her mother, Demeter. Pomegranate seed, anyone?

The Gullah Geechee Tradition of 'Haint Blue' Paint Keeps the Spirits Away

The Gullah Geechee people of the southern coastal U.S. painted their porch ceilings blue to trick the haints — witchy, shape-shifting spirits — into thinking their houses were surrounded by water, which everyone knows a haint can't cross.

The Myth of the Minotaur, the Legendary Beast We Can't Forget

Half man, half bull, this raging hybrid could be a perfect symbol of the oft-pondered dual nature of man.

Do the Kings, Queens and Jacks on Playing Cards Represent Real People?

Is that Henry VIII on the king of spades? If not, then who is it?

Zeus Swallowed His Wife Whole, Plus 6 Other Tasty Zeus Tidbits

Yep, total power move, swallowing the wife. As king of the gods, Zeus could also, from his commanding position in the sky, blast any human or monster with his lightning bolt.

The New England Vampire Panic Was Very Real and Very Deadly

In the 1890s, consumption (now called tuberculosis) was ravaging New Englanders. But what caused it? Could it be ... vampires? They exhumed the dead bodies to find out.

Who Was the Real Mary Magdalene?

She's been portrayed as repentant prostitute, the secret wife of Jesus, a demon-haunted woman and also the apostle to the apostles. So, who was Mary Magdalene really?

7 Finger-lickin' Legends About Colonel Sanders and KFC

Was Sanders a real colonel? Does KFC use real chicken or something else? Find out as we bust some myths about KFC and its founder.

Searching for the Lost Horizon of Shangri-La

A fictional paradise created by British author James Hilton in the 1933 novel "Lost Horizon," the mystical Tibetan paradise of Shangri-La remains largely mythical, despite the Chinese effort to make it a "real" place.

What's the Secret Behind the Number 666?

These three numbers are a favorite of horror movies dealing with the occult. But where did they come from, and what or whom do they really refer to?

No Need to Beware the Ides of March, Actually

March 15, the Ides of March, has become synonymous with betrayal, lost loyalty and unwelcome surprises. But should this day still make us wary?

Hades, Greek God of the Underworld, Had a Pretty Good Gig

In comparison to his brothers, Zeus and Poseidon, Hades ended up with a mixed bag, ruling over both the dead and everything under the earth, including seeds, grains, gold and silver. But it's not as though the Greek god got the short straw.

What Happened to the Lost Colony at Roanoke?

When Gov. John White left Roanoke to gather supplies from England, he was astonished at what he found when he returned. The colonists were gone, their houses were gone and the only clue to their whereabouts was a tree carved with the word "CROATOAN."

How 'Scarface' Al Capone Became the Original Gangster

Al Capone was one of the most notorious gangsters in American history, ruling the streets of Chicago with an iron fist. So why did it take tax evasion to bring him down?

Cash for Teeth: The Legend of the Tooth Fairy

If you have kids, you may have noticed that the price for a lost tooth has skyrocketed. But do all you tooth fairies out there know where the idea of exchanging money for teeth came from?