11 Wild Pop Culture Conspiracy Theories Vs. What Actually Happened

    JonBenét Ramsey did not grow up to be Katy Perry, and that's that.

    We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which pop culture myths, "facts," and conspiracy theories they always believed were true, but are actually false. Here are the wild results.

    Warning: Some submissions include topics involving suicide.

    1. Pop culture rumor: When Walt Disney died in 1966, he had his body cryogenically frozen so that one day he could be brought back to life.

    Walt Disney posing for a portrait with Mickey Mouse; Jack from "30 Rock" telling Liz Lemon: "'Go to Disneyland?' Lemon, I've held Walt Disney's frozen head in my hands"

    What actually happened: Disney was cremated and put into an urn in a cemetery in California (along with his family). His body is not frozen underneath the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland.

    Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland

    2. Pop culture rumor: In The Wizard of Oz, one of the munchkins hanged himself in the background of a scene featuring Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man.

    Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man skipping arm in arm while a mysterious black object hangs from a tree in the background

    What actually happened: According to Time, the mysterious dark object hanging in the background is an exotic bird that producers from The Wizard of Oz "borrowed from the Los Angeles Zoo in order to create a wilderness setting."

    Dorothy and the Scarecrow making a shocked expression while meeting the Tin Man

    3. Pop culture rumor: Paul McCartney died in a 1966 car crash and was replaced by a lookalike named Billy Shears. Beatles fans "confirmed" this rumor when they played the band's "White Album" backward and heard John Lennon sing, "Paul is dead" in between songs.

    John Lennon and Paul McCartney posing together in the late '60s; The Beatles' album cover for "The White Album"

    What actually happened: The rumor was spread in 1969 by radio DJ Russ Gibb. McCartney was never replaced by a lookalike — he's still alive and entertaining us all with his charming personality and music at age 78.

    Paul McCartney on "The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon" in late 2020

    4. Pop culture rumor: Wendy Williams claimed back in 2011 that Beyoncé's baby bump was fake after she saw Queen Bey do an Australian interview.

    Wendy Williams criticizing Beyoncé’s baby bump in 2011, saying: “We’re gonna rerun it until you see it. You’ll notice she’s giving birth to a Frisbee or Stewie from ‘Family Guy’”

    What actually happened: Beyoncé's baby bump was real, and she even released personal footage showing her pregnancy with Blue Ivy Carter during her On the Run Tour in 2014.

    Beyoncé and Jay-Z posing while Beyoncé's pregnant with Blue Ivy Carter

    5. Pop culture rumor: One Direction fans created a conspiracy theory in 2016 that Louis Tomlinson's son, Freddie Reign, didn't actually exist and Tomlinson had photoshopped a random baby into pictures to fool everyone.

    Tumblr: whasting / Via whasting.tumblr.com


    What actually happened: Tomlinson's son is indeed real, and at the height of "Babygate" in 2016, BuzzFeed News acquired Freddie Reign's birth certificate.

    6. Pop culture rumor: Child pageant queen JonBenét Ramsey was never murdered in her Colorado home in 1996 — she grew up to be pop singer Katy Perry.

    Newspaper headline of JonBenét Ramsey's murder; Katy Perry in her "Roar" music video

    What actually happened: This pop culture rumor was started by conspiracy theorists on YouTube. Although we still don't know who really killed Ramsey in the '90s, she unfortunately was killed — and didn't grow up to be Perry.

    7. Pop culture rumor: In the mid-'80s, Richard Gere was taken to the hospital after he inserted a gerbil up his butt for sexual pleasure.

    Richard Gere posing at a press event in the late '80s; a gerbil eating nuts in a naturesque portrait

    What actually happened: Gere believes that Sylvester Stallone started this rumor because he kicked him off a film they were starring in together called The Lords of Flatbush in the mid-'70s.

    Side-by-side images of Richard Gere and Sylvester Stallone, with a Richard Gere quote: "I stopped reading the press a long time ago. Lots of crazy things came up about me at first -- there's an infamous 'Gere stuck a hamster up his bum' urban myth"

    8. Pop culture rumor: Cass Elliot (aka Mama Cass) from the Mamas & the Papas died in 1974 by choking on a ham sandwich.

    Austin Powers from "Austin Powers" saying, "Mama Cass, deceased -- ham sandwich"; the album cover for "The Mamas & the Papas -- 16 of Their Greatest Hits"

    What actually happened: Elliot died from a heart attack. According to People magazine, Elliot's manager (Allan Carr) requested that her friend (journalist Sue Cameron) write that Elliot died from a ham sandwich to "save [Elliot's] reputation."

    Portrait of Cass Elliot in the early '70s with a text box from a People article, which reads: "The ham sandwich went worldwide. Many people don't realize that it's not even true. Even though I have said -- and written -- it's not true, it still goes on"

    9. Pop culture rumor: Lindsay Lohan had a twin sister named Kelsey who starred in The Parent Trap with her, and before the movie was released in 1998, Lohan killed her.

    Lindsay Lohan as Hallie and Annie in "The Parent Trap"

    What actually happened: Lohan never had a twin sister. In her first movie role, she flawlessly played identical twin characters and nailed it. Technology, baby — and a body double.

    Behind-the-scenes look at Lindsay Lohan and her body double filming "The Parent Trap"

    10. Pop culture rumor: Yoko Ono was the one who killed her husband, John Lennon, in December 1980. Beatles fans "claimed" that if you played the Ono song "Kiss Kiss Kiss" backward, you could hear multiple "confessions" from Ono, one of them being, "I shot John Lennon."

    Conspiracy theory lyrics that read, "I shot John Lennon," "Seek 666," and "I have put your soul on a date"; John Lennon and Yoko Ono's album cover for "Double Fantasy"

    What actually happened: Lennon was shot by Mark David Chapman outside his apartment building in New York City after a recording session. The pop culture rumor that Ono killed her husband has been spurred on for decades by die-hard Lennon/Beatles fans.

    Various newspaper covers of John Lennon's death; courtroom sketch of Lennon's murderer Mark David Chapman

    11. And the final pop culture rumor: Mister Rogers was a sniper in the Vietnam War and developed extreme anger issues. His therapist suggested that the best way to diminish his aggression was to get involved in children's entertainment.

    Mister Rogers posing with a puppet and castle for his show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood"; still of soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War

    What actually happened: Mister (Fred) Rogers was never a member of the military; nor did he fight in the Vietnam War. He attended Rollins College in 1951 to study music composition, landed a job at a TV station in 1953, and eventually started Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in the late '60s.

    Mister Rogers talking to the camera from his show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," saying: "The alphabet is fine, but it's what we do with it that matters most. Making words like 'friend,' and love' -- that's what really matters"