Skip To Content

    Here Are 11 Popular Misconceptions And Myths That I Guarantee You Had Absolutely No Idea Were Made Up, But I'll Be Impressed If You Did

    I'm sure I'll just remember this incorrectly again...

    There's absolutely no shame in admitting that you're wrong, even if you spent your entire life believing that lie was the truth.

    In that spirit, I'm sharing 11 myths, misconceptions, and outright lies that I definitely believed until I looked them up:

    1. The myth that the Titanic was "unsinkable" was actually way more popular after the ship sank than before. While contemporary articles did report on the Titanic's advanced safety features before it set sail, most people were interested in the ship for its grandeur and luxury. It was not until after the ship's demise that people fixated on its claim to be unsinkable.

    Digitally restored photo of the RMS Titanic

    2. The iconic photograph entitled "V-Day In Times Square," which features a sailor kissing what was believed to be a nurse, is one of the most recognized photographs of all time - despite the fact that the two subjects actually didn't know each other.

    sailor kissing a woman on a busy street

    3. In disappointing news, it turns out that pirates were not burying their treasure as frequently as the stories would have you believe.

    An 1872 art of 'Captain Kidd Burying his Treasures',

    4. The quote "Let them eat cake" is often attributed to the queen of France, Marie Antoinette, upon being told that French peasants were too poor to afford bread to eat. However, there's no evidence that she ever actually said that, and the quote itself has actually been around much longer than Antoinette was ruling as queen. In fact, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr recalled reading the line in a book published in 1760, which would have been when Marie Antoinette was only five years old.

    A portrait of Marie Antoinette

    5. It was widely reported after the Columbine shooting in 1999 that assailants Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were members of the "Trench Coat Mafia," a group of outcasts at Columbine high school who wore black trench coats. Immediately after the shooting, students fleeing the building reported that Klebold and Harris were members of this group, to the point where the New York Times reported that the dozens of members were potentially also responsible for the shooting. Today, we know that Klebold and Harris were never actual members of the group.

    While the two sometimes wore black trenchcoats, students saw the two enter school on the day of the shooting wearing trench coats, which most likely led to the association.

    In fact, most of the members of the "Trench Coat Mafia" had previously been seniors and had graduated the year before. As Columbine was a school that held over 2,000 students, many of them didn't actually know Klebold or Harris personally.

    6. The release of Steven Spielberg's Jaws instilled a fear of sharks in viewers, despite the fact that you're not incredibly likely to get attacked by a shark. In fact, you're more likely to get struck by lightning than bitten by a shark. While the novel Jaws was based on a real series of shark attacks that occurred along the coast of New Jersey in 1916. In fact, sharks are more in danger to us than we are to them, as the release of Jaws led to many people hunting sharks for sport.


    7. Because of the way that dinosaurs are represented in films like Jurassic Park and The Land Before Time, many people assume that all dinosaurs coexisted with one another when the Mesozoic Era is actually split into three time periods: Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous. Because each period lasted millions of years and had different dinosaur species, it also means that certain dinosaurs wouldn't have had any contact with each other as they lived in separate time periods.

    In fact, by the time the Tyrannosaurus Rex appeared in the Cretaceous period, the dinosaur Stegosaurus had already been extinct for nearly 90 million years. That means that in the grand scheme of time, the existence of the Tyrannosaurus Rex is actually closer to the existence of humans than of the Stegosaurus.

    8. The iron maiden, previously thought to be a medieval torture device, actually began popping up around the 19th century. An iron maiden was thought to be a coffin with spikes, used to impale the victim trapped inside, but there's actually no indication that this device was used for torture at all.

    a scared woman entering the vertical iron maiden

    9. There's actually no evidence that Vikings ever wore horned helmets like the one pictured — called Veksø helmets. In fact, the horns can actually be traced back to the Bronze age. Moreover, the helmets were also never proven to be used in battle, as previously thought, and were rather thought to be symbols of authority.

    A man wears a Vikin Helmet in a gathering

    10. The Challenger never actually "exploded" and several news outlets actually added the sound of an explosion to footage of the ship's final voyage.

    Space shuttle Challenger explodes

    11. In the film Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, the film's most iconic line is Darth Vader's constantly quoted, "Luke, I am your father." However, LucasFilm actually revealed that the actual line is "No, I am your father."

    darth vader and luke

    Do you have a favorite debunked "myth"? Let me know in the comments!