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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The biblical flood myth has captivated millions, some so much that they go out looking to prove it actually happened, or build their own replica arks.

By Laurie L. Dove

What's the relationship between Guinness beer and the Guinness Book of World Records? How did it start?

By Laurie L. Dove

A crumbling brick fortress in New York state proves that it's not so easy to keep up with the Joneses after all.

By Laurie L. Dove

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Bathrooms have been a social battleground in the U.S., from the civil rights' movement of the 1960s to the contemporary struggles for equality. What's the big deal?

By Laurie L. Dove

Some stories are easy to spot as fakes: "Lindsay Lohan Gives Birth to Two-headed Monster!" Others are harder: "The President Suffered a Heart Attack!" So how can you tell the fake news from the real?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

The ballad and folktale of John Henry, the tireless railroad worker, is the stuff of American legend. An amazing story of the human spirit and work ethic, yes, but was John Henry a real person?

By Debra Ronca

The story of Paul Bunyan, the giant lumberjack, is one of the most enduring tall tales in North America. Most of us assume that the character is a fictional creation, but was he actually based on a real person?

By Debra Ronca & Melanie Radzicki McManus

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You can immediately recognize Viking warriors by their helmets, with impressive horns protruding from either side. Doesn't seem very practical, though.

By Laurie L. Dove

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

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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

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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

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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

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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