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.

Learn More / Page 4

William Tell is associated with the Lone Ranger thanks to the music of Rossini's opera, but he's also a legendary figure in Swiss history.

By Laurie L. Dove

The women's liberation movement conjures up an image that endures today: angry women burning their bras. So how often did undergarments get set aflame?

By Laurie L. Dove

The iconic Greek temple known as the Parthenon was thought to have been built following a mathematical concept called the golden ratio. Did it really?

By Laurie L. Dove

Advertisement

The story of Newton discovering gravity by getting hit in the head with an apple is a classic. Is there any truth to it?

By Laurie L. Dove

If someone of small stature exhibits bullying behavior, that person is sometimes said to have a Napoleon complex. Did Napoleon himself have one, though?

By Laurie L. Dove

Imagine that one vital piece of equipment could've saved the Titanic ... if only one person hadn't forgotten to pass along the key to where it was stored.

By Laurie L. Dove

The infamous Salem witch trials show what mass hysteria can do. But were those falsely accused witches really burned at the stake?

By Laurie L. Dove

Advertisement

The Druids certainly used Stonehenge, but it appears that building the monument was more of a multi-group effort.

By Laurie L. Dove

More people died during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 than during World War I, but is it unfair to associate this strain of flu with Spain?

By Laurie L. Dove

Mussolini's dictatorship was brutal, but supposedly efficient. The saying is that he kept the trains running on time, but did he really?

By Laurie L. Dove & Nathan Chandler

The ancient Romans were so decadent in their feasting that it's said they'd vomit mid-feast in a special room just so they could eat more.

By Laurie L. Dove

Advertisement

Since people generally didn't live past the age of 30, our ancestors didn't have to contend as much with issues of aging, right? Not exactly.

By Laurie L. Dove

George Washington is the subject of numerous myths, including a persistent one about the material used to make his dentures.

By Laurie L. Dove

Einstein's genius supposedly had at least one glaring flaw -- that he failed math at some point in his educational career.

By Laurie L. Dove

Ben Franklin flying a kite during a lightning storm makes for a great image, but skeptics question whether it really went down that way.

By Laurie L. Dove

Advertisement

Since Longfellow's famous poem, Paul Revere has gotten the credit for warning colonists about the British attack in 1775, but is he worthy?

By Laurie L. Dove

Johnny Appleseed is as much a staple of American folklore as Paul Bunyan, but is the image of him selflessly planting orchards of delicious apples across the country true?

By Laurie L. Dove

You've likely heard tales about the automobile all your life, including pearls of wisdom about maintenance and even best color choice. But not everything you think you know about cars is true.

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

If you can see the writing on the wall and know that all roads lead to Rome, you're using some expressions that are more than 2,000 years old. Where did they come from and why have they survived?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Advertisement

With all of myths about the Pilgrims, the notion that a beer shortage led to the Mayflower's landing seems ludicrous at best. Read on for the truth.

By Laurie L. Dove

If you think Newton discovered gravity when an apple fell on his head or Napoleon was extremely short, you may need a history refresher. These 10 “facts” are really fiction.

By Dave Roos

Sixty-one percent of Americans think others beside Lee Harvey Oswald were involved in JFK's murder, according to a 2013 Gallup poll. While this is the lowest percentage in nearly 50 years, it's still very high. What are the leading conspiracy theories?

By Patrick J. Kiger

We use the term "suckers" lightly -- even experts have been fooled by some of the faux antiques on this list. How can a painting, sculpture or sacred document carry a false identity for so long, and what happens when the ruse is revealed?

By Maria Trimarchi

Advertisement

Did you hear the one about Elvis meeting President Nixon to help the youth stay off drugs? Or 50 Cent performing at a bat mitzvah? These may sound like urban legends, but this time the events are all true.

By Julia Layton

Scarlett and Rhett's relationship drama may seem fit only for fiction, but plenty of real-life couples could go toe-to-toe with them as far as torrid affairs go. Here are 10 historical duos that fit the bill.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus