12 Myths That Are So Dumb, It’s Hard to Believe People Still Believe Them

Misinformation has a peculiar way of sticking around, even when proven wrong. Some ideas are like stubborn weeds, taking root in our minds and refusing to budge despite being debunked. These myths, though often harmless, can shape our beliefs and behaviors in surprising ways.

1. The Great Wall of China Is Visible From Space

China famous landmark great wall and mountains.
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Contrary to popular belief, the Great Wall of China is not visible from space with the naked eye. This myth likely originated from the idea that the Wall’s immense size would make it easily discernible. However, astronauts and cosmonauts have consistently reported that the Wall is barely distinguishable from the surrounding landscape. The truth is that many man-made structures, including highways and airports, are more visible from space than the Great Wall.

2. Hair and Nails Continue To Grow After Death

woman with hair sticking straight up
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Contrary to the persistent belief that hair and nails continue to grow after death, this phenomenon doesn’t actually occur. As the body’s tissues start to dehydrate and shrink, it creates the illusion that hair and nails are growing. In reality, no biological mechanism allows for postmortem hair and nail growth.

3. People Only Use 10% Of Their Brains

young pretty blonde woman scheming and conspiring, thinking devious tricks and cheats, cunning and betraying.
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Neuroscientists have thoroughly debunked this myth about human brain usage. In reality, nearly every part of the brain serves a purpose, and brain imaging technology has shown that various regions are active even during seemingly mundane tasks. The 10% myth might have emerged from misunderstandings about brain complexity or misinterpretations of early psychological research. Nevertheless, the brain operates as a highly interconnected and intricate network.

4. Reading in Dim Light Ruins Eyesight

Woman reading a book on her couch
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The idea that reading in dim light damages eyesight is not entirely accurate. While reading in low light can strain the eyes and cause discomfort, it doesn’t cause permanent damage or deteriorate vision. However, good lighting is essential for comfortable reading, as it reduces eye strain and prevents temporary discomfort. This myth might have emerged from the observation that people squint in dim light, leading to temporary visual fatigue.

5. Goldfish Have a Three-second Memory

koi goldfish, commercial aqua trade breed of wild Carassius auratus carp, curious and cute comet-like long tail ornamental fish communicate in low light nature anubias design tank
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Goldfish are often unfairly characterized as having a mere three-second memory span. In reality, goldfish have demonstrated memory capabilities that extend beyond this short timeframe. Studies have shown that goldfish can remember simple tasks, recognize their owners, and even associate certain cues with food. This myth likely arose from misconceptions about goldfish behavior and the assumption that their lack of facial expressions implied a limited cognitive ability.

6. Cracking Knuckles Leads to Arthritis

Anxious girl fidgeting with hands cracking knuckles.
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The idea that cracking one’s knuckles leads to arthritis has persisted for generations, causing many to refrain from the habit. However, research has repeatedly shown that there is no causal relationship between knuckle cracking and arthritis. The “cracking” sound is actually the result of gas bubbles forming and collapsing within the synovial fluid that lubricates the joints. While habitual knuckle cracking might lead to decreased grip strength, it doesn’t increase the risk of arthritis.

7. Bats Are Blind

Flying bat hunting in forest. The grey long-eared bat (Plecotus austriacus) is a fairly large European bat. It has distinctive ears, long and with a distinctive fold. It hunts above woodland.
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The myth that bats are blind is a widespread misconception. In truth, the vast majority of bat species have functional eyes and are capable of seeing. However, some species rely more on echolocation—emitting high-frequency sounds and interpreting the echoes that bounce back—to navigate and locate prey. This extraordinary sense helps bats thrive in the dark but doesn’t render them blind.

8. The Five-second Rule for Food

Portrait of offended dissatisfied woman with stylish hairstyle wear purple shirt staring open mouth isolated on blue color background.
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The “five-second rule,” which suggests that food dropped on the floor is safe to eat if picked up within five seconds, lacks scientific basis. The safety of consuming dropped food depends on various factors, such as the surface’s cleanliness and the food’s nature. Bacteria can transfer to food instantaneously upon contact with a contaminated surface. The five-second rule is more of a guideline than a steadfast rule for food safety.

9. Humans Swallow an Average of Eight Spiders a Year While Sleeping

Long bodied cellar spider in a web.
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The notion that humans unwittingly swallow eight spiders annually during sleep is a persistent urban legend. Spiders are not inclined to crawl into people’s mouths, and the conditions of a human sleeping environment are not conducive to attracting spiders. This myth likely emerged as an example of how misinformation can easily spread and take on a life of its own.

10. Lightning Never Strikes Twice

Lightning Strike
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Similar to the “lightning never strikes the same place twice” myth, the belief that lightning never strikes twice in the same spot is also inaccurate. Tall structures or areas with high conductivity can be struck multiple times during the same storm. Lightning seeks the easiest path to the ground, and if a particular location has proven to be a suitable conduit, it can be struck repeatedly.

11. The Full Moon Influences Human Behavior

Full moon in sky
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Contrary to popular belief, no scientific evidence supports the notion that a full moon affects human behavior. The idea that lunar phases can cause heightened emotions or erratic actions has been widely debunked by research. While cultural anecdotes may suggest otherwise, studies consistently fail to establish a causal link between the full moon and changes in human behavior.

12. Shaving Makes Hair Grow Thicker

Serious guy shaving his beard
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The myth that shaving causes hair to grow back thicker and darker is not true. Shaving only affects the hair shaft, not the hair follicle, which determines hair thickness and color. The stubble that emerges after shaving might appear coarser because it hasn’t been naturally tapered by time and exposure. This misconception likely arose from the visual contrast between freshly shaved hair and longer, tapered hair.

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New York, NY, USA - December 13, 2019: Taylor Swift performs at the 2019 Z100 Jingle Ball at Madison Square Garden.
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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.