As the old song goes, It Ain't Necessarily So! Many things that you have "known" all your life, or that you pick up on the internet, are 100% pure baloney. This page is just one of many attempts out there to separate the wheat of truth from the chaff of old wives' tales.

The position of a horse's feet on a statue indicate how its rider fared in battle.
The pose of the horse has nothing to do with the purported code. Although some statues follow the "code," enough do not to put pay to this claim. Ditto claims that the direction the horse faces indicates the rider's fate.

Right-handers live longer than left-handers.
The reason there are fewer old lefties is because early in this century left-handed children were still being forced to use their right hands.

"The whole nine yards" originated with pilots during World War II.
The phrase was in use before World War II. Its actual origin is unknown; there are several theories for its genesis.

Catherine the Great died while trying to copulate with a horse.
The legendary empress was lusty, but only with her own species. She died of a stroke. No horses were involved.

The plane in which the Big Bopper, et al died was called American Pie.
It was a Beechcraft Bonanza that had no name. The legend may have sprung from the title of Don McLean's classic song from the early 1970s.

Cinderella's slippers were made of squirrel skin, not glass.
The claim is that a person translating from the original French mistook an archaic word for squirrel hide to be the word for glass. In reality, her slippers were glass from the start, though in some legends her footwear are made of gold.

A certain profanity comes from "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge."
The actual source of the most frequently bleeped word in the English language is probably Middle Dutch fokken, to strike or copulate.

"Ye" is an archaic form of "the."
The 'y' in signs beginning with 'Ye Olde...' is properly pronounced with a 'th' sound, not 'y.' The 'th' sound does not exist in Latin, so when the Romans occupied (present day) England they used the rune 'thorn' to represent 'th' sounds. With the advent of the printing press, the lower case 'y' was used for 'thorn' because it is the character in the Latin alphabet that most closely resembles that rune.

Bulls get angry when they see red.
Bulls are color blind. What they go after is the movement of the matador?s cape. There is no particular color that enrages them.

Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders rode horses in their famous charge in the Spanish-American war.
They were on foot!

London's legendary clock is called Big Ben.
Big Ben is the name of the huge bell in the clock tower. At approximately 2.3 meters tall, almost three meters wide, and all of 13 tons in mass, the bell certainly is big! The name of the clock itself is Tower Clock.

Charles Lindbergh was the first person to fly non-stop across the Atlantic.
He was, however the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic. The first non-stop transatlantic flight was made by John W. Alcock and Arthur W. Brown. The two Brits took off from Newfoundland on June 14, 1919, and landed in Ireland the next day.

A duck?s quack doesn't echo.
Ducks have a variety of quacks - and they all echo just like any other sound.

Babe Ruth once pointed to where he wa about to hit a home run.
Film shot when this incident supposedly took place clearly shows that The Babe never pointed anywhere, let alone in the direction of his next base-rounder.

"Ring Around the Rosies" is actually about the bubonic plague.
This innocent rhyme has many variations. It was not noted in writing until the 19th century, long after the Black Death had run its course. This is just another instance of sticking a plausible but phony explanation to an old, innocent song.

Anti-war protesters spat on Vietnam veterans when the latter arrived home.
There are no pictures, articles or police reports of such incidents. In reality, many war opponents regarded combat veterans as victims, not villains. There was one incident of people spitting on veterans, but these were young GOP zealots going after veterans who were calling for an end to the war.

George Washington had wooden teeth.
However, he was the first President of the United States, contrary to claims that he was only the "ninth President" or "just the first President under this nation's Constitution." (The U.S. Constitution created the office of President.) As for his famous false teeth, they were made of ivory, not wood.

In the Garden of Eden, the serpent tempted Adam and Eve with an apple.
The biblical story of Genesis mentions only a "fruit" without specifying what variety. No specific mention of an apple is made. Some speculate the fruit of knowledge may have been a fig because Adam and Eve then covered themselves with fig leaves.

Vikings wore helmets with horns on them.
Though authentic Viking helmets sometimes had some form of decoration, this did not include horms. (Maybe that's why the Minnesota Vikings can't seem to win the Super Bowl - they need to change their helmet logo!)

SOS stands for Save Our Ship.
The dit-dit-dit dah-dah-dah dit-dit-dit signal was chosen because it is easy to remember and recognize.
Also, contrary to what you've probably heard, the Titanic was not the first ship to send an SOS. The Arapahoe did that on August 11, 1909.

Camels can go longer without water than any mammal.
Giraffes and rats can go without water longer than camels can.

The Great Wall of China can be seen from the Moon.
Not with the naked eye, anyway. An astronaut on the Moon would need a telescope to spot this massive structure.

Cats and dogs are colorblind.
Cats and dogs can see color, but not as intensely as humans can. Cats can distinguish green and blue but cannot see the color red.
Speaking of feline vision, cats cannot see in total darkness. They can, however, see in much lower light levels than humans can. In complete darkness they use their vibrassae (whiskers) to navigate.

Darth Vader ordered the destruction of Alderaan.
Ok, it was only a movie, but I've seen Star Wars enough times to know who the guilty party is - Grand Moff Tarkin. He is the one who suggests that Princess Leia might be swayed by an "alternate form of persuasion: Set our course for Alderaan!" When the rebel princess finally discloses the location of the rebel base, he then says "You may fire when ready." Good-bye Alderaan.
However, Vader doesn't get entirely off the hook - he could have offered an alternative target, or persuaded Tarkin to destroy an asteroid or the like as a "shot across the bow." Bad dark lord. And in front of his daughter, no less.

Donald Duck was banned in Finland because he doesn't wear any pants.
Donald was never exiled from Finland, or anywhere else, because of his lack of britches. This story started when a Helsinki library ceased purchasing Donald Duck comics for youth centers as a cost-saving measure. (Note that nothing is ever said about Daffy Duck - he goes about completely NAKED!)

An underpass is a safe place to be if a tornado threatens.
In fact, an underpass is a VERY DANGEROUS place to be when a tornado strikes. Many people, upon seeing the footage of a 1991 Kansas twister threatening a camera crew and their terrifying close encounter of the windy kind, have gotten the idea that hiding beneath a highway underpass will protect them from a tornado's fury. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Dark beer gets you drunk faster than light-colored beer.
The color of beer is not related to its alcohol content. Amber beer with a higher proof (percentage of alcohol) will get you drunk, smashed, bombed, etc. faster than a dark-colored beer with a lower proof.

The 21st century began on January 1, 2000.
There is no year 0 in how we reckon common-era years, or in any other system for numbering years. Numbering began with year 1, so the first decade ended with year 10. Thus, all decades, centuries, and millennia end with a year that ends with 0. The 21st century did not begin until midnight on January 1, 2001. Arthur C. Clarke was right!
Aren't you embarassed that you drank the Dom Perignon a year too early?

The British flag is called the Union Jack.
The proper name for the British flag is the Union Flag. It is properly called a Union Jack only when it is flying from the jack mast of a British vessel.

A goldfish has a memory of only three seconds.
Tests have shown that a goldfish can retain memories for weeks, even months. The popular Discovery Channel series Mythbusters exploded this fallacy, as well as many others.

Kirk never said "Beam me up Scotty." He did, however, say "Beam me up, Mr. Scott."

Sherlock holmes never said "Elementary, my dear Watson."

Al Gore never claimed to be the "father of the internet."

In Casablanca, Rick never says "Play it again, Sam." He says: "You played it for her, you can play it for me. Play it!"

James Cagney never called anybody a "dirty rat" in even one of his many films. The phrase is associated with him because people emulating his tough-guy act frequently used the line "You dirty rat!" in their performances.

Mark Twain never said a lot of the quotes that are commonly attributed to him:

If it's pithy, funny, and about human nature, an observation frequently gets attributed to either Mark Twain or Oscar Wilde - sometimes both.

For more enlightenment, please visit The Urban Legends Reference Page. Especially "Tales of the Wooden Spoon."

Know of some other pseudo-fact that needs debunking? Upload it my way! Thanks!

Shuffle back to the real heart of my Crazy Cosmos.