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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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

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

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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

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

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You don't look fat in those pants. I didn't copy off his paper. I am not a crook. I never met her. Lots of us lie, but some lies are more detrimental than others. What are some of the biggest whoppers ever told?

By Alia Hoyt & 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

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

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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

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

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

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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

Thanks to smoky-eyed Cleopatra, the notion of liberated women in ancient Egypt isn't that hard to accept. Even the delicate features of Nefertiti's bust exude an air of authority and confidence. But was feminism alive and well along the Nile?

By Cristen Conger

When you're memorizing dates in school, it's easy to think of history as a set of immutable truths. But some scholars say it's a living, evolving subject. And when you're discussing controversial topics like Nazi Germany, this raises some eyebrows.

By Cristen Conger

World War II ended in 1945, but some soldiers in the dense jungles of Pacific islands didn't get the memo. What did it take to get them to stop fighting?

By Josh Clark

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The name is synonymous with fine chocolates and a tawdry costume. But just who was Lady Godiva? And what inspired her to disrobe and ride through town?

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

Several ancient texts cite the story of Noah, a man who built a giant vessel, filled it with animals and endured a flood. Did this event play out in history?

By Cristen Conger

He'd been shot in the back, had no pulse, and yet those piercing green eyes opened wide when his murderers shook his limp body. Why wouldn't the bearded mystic die?

By Cristen Conger

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the most fashionable Europeans gazed upon wunderkammern, or cabinets of curiosity. But Peter the Great's collection didn't appeal to those with weak stomachs.

By Josh Clark

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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?

By Josh Clark

The U.S. and Soviet Union fought the Cold War for 45 years via proxy wars and a near-complete polarization of the rest of the world. But did either side really win?

By Josh Clark & Kristen Hall-Geisler