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.

Maybe you've sung along with that well-known tune: "Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier." But have you ever wondered how he earned that royal title?

Al Capone is one of the most notorious gangsters in American history. He ruled the streets of Chicago with an iron fist, so how did a paper trail to tax evasion bring him down?

The annals of history offer many perspectives on the Cold War's victor. Some say the U.S. won; others claim there was no winner. And some assert that the former USSR brought itself down.

So much for artists being sensitive -- one Impressionist painter has been fingered as Jack the Ripper. But do the brutalized nudes on his canvases hint at actual murders?

It's a hotly debated topic: Who found America first? One theory proposes that it was the Clovis. So will we be replacing Columbus Day with "Clovis Day" on our calendars?

As far as famous ears go, Van Gogh, Prince Charles and Ross Perot rank near the top of the list. But Robert Jenkins' ear pitted powerful European monarchies against each other in war.

During World War II, Nazis plundered gold from occupied countries, hiding it in caves and mines. Will modern treasure hunters finally locate the legendary Reichsbank treasure?

For centuries, terrorists plundered European and U.S. ships in the Mediterranean. Who were the perpetrators, and how did America put an end to their kidnapping, enslavement and extortion?

Bram Stoker's Count Dracula was inspired by a 15th-century Romanian prince. If you thought Dracula was scary, you may not want to read any further.

The expression "remember the Alamo" is probably something you heard in school. But do you really know what this rallying war cry means?

Elizabeth Bathory was never convicted of her crimes, but testimonies say she killed and tortured 650 people. Did she really bathe in her victims' blood?

Legend has it that Mrs. O'Leary's cow started the Great Chicago Fire. But is a farm animal really to blame? Find out who else lurks around this crime scene.

Did you know that two other men accompanied Paul Revere on his famous midnight ride? Find out who these men were and which one actually made it to Concord.

Did King Tut put a hex on a group of archaeologists and dignitaries? Or is a mosquito to blame for their mysterious deaths?

In less than 200 years, the Inca built an empire stretching 2,500 miles. But a Spanish conquistador and 167 other men brought them down. How did they do it?

The Mesopotamians are said to have given the world irrigation, writing, organized religion, laws and the concept of time. Why were they so advanced? What makes Mesopotamia the cradle of civilization?

The Roman emperor Nero is said to have played his fiddle while the city burned and his people suffered. Could he really be that cruel, or is it all just a story?

The Puritans who conducted the witchcraft trials in Salem, Mass., suspected the devil was at work in their society. But could the madness have been caused by drugs?

Though the ancient Greeks get a lot of credit for building the foundation of today's civilization, many of their ideas came from the Kemites. Who were they, and what did they teach the Greeks?

A few Nazi leaders escaped justice after World War II. Who are they, and how are people trying to bring them to justice more than 50 years later?

Genghis Khan is said to have killed 1,748,000 people in one hour. Did he really do it? And if not, what really happened?

The first recorded murder in America was committed by someone who came over on the Mayflower. Who was it, and why did he do it?

An Irish monk named St. Brendan may have been the first European to visit the Americas. Although there is no hard evidence to back the claim, written accounts of his voyages, petroglyphs and Viking history suggest St. Brendan may have beaten Columbus

Did the Chinese discover America years before Christopher Columbus? Learn about the evidence that supports the claim that Asian seafarers touched down in the Americas before the famous European explorer.

Some untrue historical events have been passed down for so many years that they have become truths. See our list of 10 historical misconceptions, including Sir Walter Raleigh's Cloak and Lady Godiva's Naked Ride.