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 search for the lost city of Atlantis has obsessed scientists and historians for centuries, thanks to Plato's written account of its destruction. But is it real? If so, where is it?

By Josh Clark

Democracy, a system of government that puts power in the hands of the people, is progressive enough to sound decidedly modern. But it's older than you'd expect. How did democracy come to be in the first place?

By Jessika Toothman

The 20th century was rife with genocide, from the atrocities waged by Nazi Germany to the massacre of Bosnian Muslims in the 1990s. But what was the century's first genocide, and who waged it?

By Jessika Toothman

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Torture -- in all its variations -- has been around for centuries, but has the practice always been as controversial as it is today?

By Jessika Toothman

The legendary outlaw Robin Hood has scraped his way through history, stealing from the rich, giving to the poor and never missing his mark. But was there ever a real Robin Hood, and was he at all like the man in the myth?

By Jessika Toothman

Amelia Earhart vanished more than 75 years ago, and her fate still perplexes the world. What happened to this internationally acclaimed pilot? What's keeping us from finding out?

By Josh Clark & Chris Opfer

The 1970s was a tumultuous era that began with tragedy on Kent State's campus. Four students were killed in the midst of protests against the Vietnam War. But who's to blame is still up for debate.

By Jane McGrath

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The United States is the land of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So why were some West Coasters forcibly relocated after the attack on Pearl Harbor?

By Jane McGrath

Its broad stripes and bright stars are up for debate. Classic American lore would have us believe that Betsy Ross made the first U.S. flag, but some historians dismiss this as just a tale.

By Jane McGrath & Kathryn Whitbourne

When the U.S. president issues an executive order, he means business. These orders call for complete cooperation from federal agencies and officials. What was so remarkable about No. 9981?

By Jane McGrath

The Warren Commission published its findings on President John F. Kennedy's assassination in a report in 1964. So why do people still ask who killed JFK?

By Jonathan Strickland

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In ancient Egypt, the ultimate political power couple was Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Their hopes of building a massive of empire hinged on the fateful Battle of Actium.

By Cristen Conger

We can't quite figure out why rock stars such as Pete Wentz wear eye liner. But ancient Egyptian men had good reason to apply eye makeup, pluck their brows and don hair extensions.

By Cristen Conger

Before Martin Luther King Jr., another man advocated civil disobedience: Gandhi. When India was under Britain's thumb, Gandhi's salt march became his most successful campaign in history.

By Jane McGrath

It's the garnish of choice for eggnog, and some say it's an aphrodisiac. Nutmeg used to be a really hot commodity -- so hot, the Dutch thought it was more valuable than Manhattan.

By Jane McGrath

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You may have heard your parents say, "I know what's best for you." In the 14th century, some Christian parents thought sacrificing their children to slavery was a benevolent measure.

By Jane McGrath

You don't look fat in those pants. I didn't copy off his paper. She's a natural blonde. I am not a crook. Lots of us lie, but what are the biggest fibs ever told?

By Jane McGrath

Shipwrecks have been known to increase bank accounts. But only one has been known to double the size of an entire country. What happened to El Cazador?

By Cristen Conger

A band of men assaulted the pope to force him out. When that failed, the pope sought asylum from the king. How did that form the Holy Roman Empire?

By Cristen Conger

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These films look like blooper reels when you compare them to history books. From anachronisms to flat-out lies, creative license reigns in this list.

By Jane McGrath

At a Harvard commencement, Sec. of State George Marshall gave a short speech about economic recovery, which morphed into a big program called the Marshall Plan. What was it about?

By Cristen Conger & Kathryn Whitbourne

Many of the world's people regard the Bible as a sacred text that's integral to their daily lives. So what inspired a U.S. president to cut up a Bible and take out sections he disapproved of?

By Jane McGrath

You've heard the fairy tale about the pied piper and how he lures away Hamelin's rats -- and the town's children when the mayor won't pay up. It it true? One thing's for sure: You won't be reading this article to your children as a bedtime story.

By Jane McGrath

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If there's one time of day that holds special significance for older Argentineans, it's probably 8:25 p.m. At that minute, on July 26, 1952, Eva Peron died of cancer at age 33. But the popular first lady wouldn't be buried for more than 20 years.

By Cristen Conger

Most people can recount a rough outline of Joan of Arc's story: A young French girl hears voices, leads troops into battle and is burned at the stake as a heretic. But she was put to death for committing a rather unusual crime.

By Cristen Conger