11 Well-Known “Truths” That Have Actually Been Debunked

Very often, widely held misconceptions and beliefs get stuck in people’s minds, and we rarely question how true they are.

Bright Side found11 false facts for you that many people still consider to be true.

1. Quicksand can suck a person down and kill them.

Many movies taught us this fact: if you fall into quicksand, you’ll die if there isn’t a friend nearby to save you.

In fact, quicksand is a mix of water and sand. Since the density of this mix is more than the density of water, a person who gets stuck in quicksand up to their chest will float in this position. If you’re trapped in quicksand, the best decision would be to try to lean back to spread your weight evenly. Then wait until the water pushes you out.

2. Using a cell phone at a gas station can start a fire.

Despite the widespread myth, using a phone at a gas station can’t start a fire or any kind of explosion. Not even if the concentration of petrol vapors was very high.

All warnings about the use of phones mainly refer to the radioactive waves produced by a phone, which might interfere with the work of the electronic systems of the fuel pumps.

3. If you plug the tailpipe of a car with objects or close it off, the engine will be destroyed.

In the movies, we often see scenes when an object put into a car’s tailpipe shuts it down or even destroys the engine. The popular TV show Mythbusters performed an experiment, and here’s what they found out: "Placing an object in the tailpipe is dangerous, and it will shoot out like a missile if the car is started."

4. Coffee is made of seeds, not beans.

Contrary to the popular phrase, coffee is made from the seeds (not beans) of coffee plants. A type of evergreen forest species with red seeds is used in the production of coffee. Only after processing do we get the coffee beans to which everybody is used to. In fact, there is no connection between bean plants and coffee beans.

5. Vitamin C can prevent or treat colds.

Medical research has shown that people who consume vitamin C on a regular basis are less likely to get colds than those who don’t. However, there is no evidence of the fact that vitamin C can actually fight infections and viruses.

A cold is a virus-based disease, and vaccination is the best way to prevent it. You can only try to relieve the symptoms when you consume vitamin C. The only recommendation for treatment is rest and a lot of liquids.

6. Hair grows back thicker and darker after shaving.

Contrary to popular belief, shaving your legs doesn’t influence the growth and thickness of the hair. The renewed growth is determined by the unique biological factors of our bodies (genes and hormones). So where did this myth come from? When a hair starts to grow after shaving, its end is blunted. That’s why it seems thicker than it actually is — it’s a mere illusion.

7. You shouldn’t wake a sleepwalker.

In real life, we rarely meet people with somnambulism, but almost all of us have heard that we shouldn’t wake a sleepwalker. In fact, if you wake a sleepwalker, you’ll confuse them, but nothing horrible or dangerous will happen. The chances of them hurting themselves while walking in their sleep are much greater.

8. Mars is a red planet.

Mars is very often referred to as the Red Planet. Its atmosphere contains a high concentration of an iron oxide dust, and that’s why the color of the planet’s surface can vary from pink to brown. In fact, Mars has more of a butterscotch color.

9. You lose the most heat from your head.

We’ve all been told, “Don’t go outside without a hat! You’ll lose all your body heat!” Some people even believe that up to 50% of the body’s heat is lost from a bare head. Actually, we don’t lose most of our heat from our heads. The amount of heat in one body part equals the amount of heat in the other. This means that when it’s cold outside, you’ll be equally cold in a hat and a light jacket or without a hat but in a warm coat.

10. Bagpipes came from Scotland.

Many people are sure that a bagpipe is a Scottish instrument. In truth, bagpipes, as well as many other musical instruments, came to Europe from the East. According to one existing belief, bagpipes were brought to Scotland by the Vikings.

11. The SOS signal means “save our souls.”

A widespread belief claims that the international distress signal SOS is the abbreviation for "save our souls." However, our souls have nothing to do with the signal. It was created this way because you can easily translate it into Morse code: 3 dots, 3 dashes, 3 dots.

How often do you take popular beliefs for granted? Did any of the facts above surprise you? Share your opinion in the comments.

Please note: This article was updated in July 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
Preview photo credit Depositphotos.com, Depositphotos.com


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