Top Ten Goofy Things People Used to Believe

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A Brief History

Before modern science, people came up with the best explanations that they could for just about everything.  It seems people are never content to say “I don’t know!”  This list will avoid controversial religious topics except for the really old and out of date ones!

Digging Deeper

10. Plague and Malaria Are Caused by “Bad Air.”

This belief is not necessarily stupid, just wrong.  Fleas and mosquitoes cause the two diseases respectively.

9. You Cannot Get Pregnant Standing Up.

Well, yes you can!  Many people have found this one to be false!

8. People Would Die if They Traveled At Supersonic Speed.

If this claim were true dead bodies would litter the highway after work every day!  Why did they think this misconception?

Cracked trivia: Whips were the first man made object to exceed the speed of sound.

7. If You Jump From a High Altitude You Will Die Before Hitting The Ground.

Unless the altitude is so high that you suffocate or freeze, no you will not!  Proof?  People scream all the way down! (Wishful thinking!)

6. Racial Superiority.

Just about every society throughout history thought all other people were subhuman or substandard.  DNA mapping of the human genome pretty much proves we all come from a common ancestor.

5. The Sun Revolves Around the Earth (Geocentrism)

With modern astronomy and the Hubble telescope, scientists are now pretty sure that Copernicus and Galileo were right, and the Earth goes around the Sun!

4. Pipes And Cigars Are Safe Alternatives to Cigarettes.

No they are NOT!  Millions of people with lung cancer, lip, mouth and throat cancer know otherwise.  Besides, they still cause bad breath just like cigarettes!

3. Starve A Cold, Feed A Fever (Or the opposite!).

As many people believe it one way as the other, and in either case it is a myth.

2. Spontaneous Generation is the belief that plants and animals can spring up from inanimate stuff if the conditions are right.

For more information on this entry, please see this April 20, 1862 article.

1. The Earth is Flat and if you travel far enough you will fall off the edge.

Unless you have personally traveled around the world, you really do not know!

Question for students (and subscribers): Home remedies and old adages are just too numerous for one list, maybe you can post some in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Frater, Jamie.  I Call Bullshit: Debunking the Most Commonly Repeated Myths.  Ulysses Press, 2011.


About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.