20 Urban Legends That Should Be Laid to Rest

There are some urban myths that seem to persist no matter what. 

Urban legends are the juiciest tales you can ever imagine. There are those crazy stories that get passed around, usually starting with “I heard it happened to a friend of a friend.” As entertaining as they may be, urban legends have a sneaky way of messing with our minds and spreading unnecessary fear.

One Redditor asked, “What urban legend needs to die?”

The thread got thousands of comments, but we have listed the most famous ones for you.

1. Swallowing Gum

Top view of beautiful young brunette teenage girl blowing pink bubble gum.
Image Credit: David Pereiras/Shutterstock.

One user says, “That if you swallow gum, it takes 7 years to digest.”

Now here’s the deal: when you swallow gum, it doesn’t just sit in your stomach for 7 long years, defying the laws of digestion. Your body is quite efficient at processing what you consume, even when it comes to gum.

While it’s true that your body can’t fully break down the gum as it does with other foods, that doesn’t mean it sticks around in your digestive system for years on end. The truth is gum typically passes through your digestive tract at a similar rate to other foods you consume.

2. Cops

A friendly looking female officer standing behind crime scene tape with her arms crossed.
Image Credit: John Roman Images/Shutterstock.

Someone wrote, “That if you ask if someone’s a cop, they have to tell you if they are a cop.”

Another replied, “Right, we’ve been planning this undercover operation for months. Time to infiltrate this organized crime gang.” “Are you a cop?” “Hm…..””

Movies, TV shows, and the rumor mill have perpetuated this myth. So, remember, undercover officers are trained to maintain their cover and protect their investigations.

3. Detoxing Treatments

Young Afro American boyfriend and girlfriend embrace with love have good relationships apply clay masks on face to rejuvenate skin smile gladfully isolated over white background.
Image Credit: Cast Of Thousands/Shutterstock.

A user commented, “Detoxing treatments…… NO Sharon, “harmful chemicals” are not just going to ooze out of your face and feet if you use that mask… That’s not how the human body works at all!”

Another added, “We have kidneys and a liver specifically for this reason.”

Detox treatments are often marketed to rid your body of toxins and impurities, but here’s the truth: Your body is already equipped with an efficient detoxification system—your liver, kidneys, lungs, and skin work together to eliminate waste and toxins naturally!

4. Waiting 24 Hours to File a Missing Case

Close-up shot. Man looking at red watch and sets timer before running.
Image Credit: dreii/Shutterstock.

A user said, “That you need to wait 24 hours to report someone as missing. You can and SHOULD, report someone as missing as soon as they go missing. It could be the difference between finding someone who had a bad fall at home or getting lost in the forest and finding their body.”

Another wrote, “Probably one of the most dangerous urban myths, report someone missing as soon as you feel is necessary.”

In reality, there is no universal waiting period before reporting someone as missing. So, if you have concerns about someone’s well-being and believe they may be missing, it’s always better to report it as soon as possible.

5. Using 10% Of Your Brain

young woman holding lightbulb looking thoughtful
Image Credit: deagreez1 via DepositPhotos.com.

A user wrote, “That people only use 10 percent of your brain.”

Someone added, “Came here for this! It’s just an oversimplification of the truth. What it means is that you might only be using 10% of your brain at any given moment. Each part of the brain performs a different function, so throughout the course of a day, you’re probably using all of it at one time or another.”

So, don’t worry; you are not holding back some untapped potential by using only 10 percent of your brain.

6. Eating Spiders!

pretty scary frightening spider web.
Image Credit: Willequet Manuel/Shutterstock.

The idea of swallowing spiders while sleeping is nothing more than an urban legend. It’s one of those creepy tales that has spread far and wide, capturing our imaginations with its icky factor. But fear not, for it lacks any credible evidence.

Someone said, “You don’t eat spiders in your sleep.”

Another tried to debunk this myth logically: “The basic math of this makes no sense. There are billions of people on this planet which would make 24 to 64 billion spiders (depending on the number in the myth) suicidally crawling into sleeping people’s mouths every year. How are there any spiders left with that math?”

7. Touching Animals

woman in ornamental dress and beautiful gold jewelry with a color parrots
Image Credit: JozefKlopacka via DepositPhotos.com.

A user explained, “That touching baby birds or rabbits will cause their mothers to reject them because they smell like humans. They absolutely will not. Don’t go messing with babies for kicks, but if you can put a baby (that you are 100% sure belongs there) back in its nest, do so. If you aren’t sure, call a wildlife rehabilitator, so you’re not putting fledglings where they don’t belong.”

The idea that animal moms will reject their babies just because they smell like humans is a bit of an exaggeration. Some animals rely on scent to recognize their offspring, but it’s not as black and white as the myth suggests.

Just remember to respect wildlife and keep your distance when possible!

8. Bermuda Triangle

Beautiful sunset and waters around Bermuda.
Image Credit: JohnHancockPhoto/Shutterstock.

While the Bermuda Triangle may have a reputation for mysterious disappearances, the reality is that there is no scientific evidence to support the existence of any supernatural or inexplicable phenomena in the area.

Someone commented, “The Bermuda Triangle. I live in Bermuda. The triangle is smack dab in the middle of hurricane territory, so ships and planes back in the day (that didn’t have weather mapping) would get sp*nked by them frequently. It’s so irritating when you’re trying to introduce yourself, saying, “I’m from Bermuda,” and the response is, “LiKe ThE tRiAnGle oMg hOw diD YoU sUrViVe”

So, you can cast aside the notion of the Bermuda Triangle as some kind of enigmatic black hole.

9. Cellar Spiders

Long bodied cellar spider in a web.
Image Credit: Peter Francis/Shutterstock.

A user wrote, “That daddy long legs are the most venomous spiders in the world, but their fangs just aren’t big enough to spread enough venom. Edit: I’m referring to cellar spiders. Daddy long legs is vague term that describes several types of arachnids; none of them are venomous, though.”

Another added, “Nope. They can totally bite humans. Usually not worse than a bee sting.”

So, if you come across a cellar spider or daddy longlegs in your home, there’s no need to panic about their venom. They are generally harmless and even play a beneficial role in controlling other household pests like mosquitoes or flies.

10. MSG Is Toxic

Image of young happy lady standing in kitchen while cooking fish.
Image Credit: Shift Drive/Shutterstock.

So, you’ve probably heard people say that MSG is like some sort of evil villain lurking in your food, ready to make you sick. But here’s the deal: MSG, short for monosodium glutamate, is not the enemy it’s made out to be!

A user on Reddit shared her personal experience: “MSG is a godsend. I am a white 23F and have a minor in Mandarin. My professor has “adopted” a group of us, and we all eat at her house sometimes where it is a staple in her cooking. MSG is basically just a flavor enhancer. I can barely cook without it now. Of course, the conspiracy branch of my family( luckily not my immediate) tells me it will give me cancer.”

Another replied, “People laugh and think I’m joking when I tell them the secret ingredient in my fried rice is a bunch of MSG. I’m not joking.”

11. Black Panthers

Close-up Portrait of a Black Leopard.
Image Credit: Evelyn D. Harrison/Shutterstock.

Someone shared, “Black panthers are not a species. Melanistic (born with more pigment) leopards and jaguars exist, and they have been nicknamed “black panthers.” And then Florida panthers are just a subspecies of puma, and they are tan/beige in color, they look like a mountain lion essentially.”

Another added, “Yeah! I only discovered this 1 or 2 years ago when I followed Instituto Onça Pintada. It’s a sanctuary in Brazil where they have jaguars. It’s really common to have black jaguars being born along with regular ones. And if you look closely, you can see they also have spots on their fur.”

So, when you hear someone talking about black panthers as a distinct species, it’s time to set the record straight. Those black beauties are a special color variation within existing big cat species, adding a touch of allure to the animal kingdom.

12. Donating Organs

Clueless Young doctor surgeon woman over isolated white background shrugs shoulders with hesitation.
Image Credit: Roquillo Tebar/Shutterstock.

Someone commented, “That doctors will let you die if you are an organ donor to steal your organs.”

First, it’s important to understand that organ donation is a selfless act that saves lives. It’s a way for individuals to help others after they’re gone. So, the notion that doctors would purposely let you die to get their hands on your organs is simply absurd.

Another user tried to debunk this with logic: “The craziest thing is that it’s the exact opposite. To donate organs, your body has to be in absolutely perfect health. Every possible intervention to keep your organs healthy will be made, including things that wouldn’t normally be done for the average healthy person (such as micromanaging your blood pH).”

13. Evil Eye

Surprised eyes of a man on a blue background.
Image Credit: Garna Zarina/Shutterstock.

Imagine this scenario: you’re minding your own business, living your life, and suddenly someone gives you a glare, or maybe they look at you with a hint of jealousy. According to the evil eye belief, that person’s negative gaze could bring you bad luck or misfortune. But here’s the thing—it’s all just a myth!

A user explained, “In my country, there’s something called “Deochi or deochiat”, which mainly translates to “evil eye” or “getting evil eyed”. It is believed that this happens when an older person admires a younger person too much. Aaaand no, not in a disturbing way, more like a grandma admiring her grandson for how handsome he is and such. The grandson starts feeling sick, fatigued, nauseous, etc.

The “cure” for this “deochi”, is, most of the time, a prayer, or a charm that, get this, you can’t be taught; you have to “steal” it from a gypsy. It all, of course, is fake, just superstition, the power of belief. After I figured it out and stopped believing it at idk, 14-15, I stopped experiencing it completely.

The people I convinced that this doesn’t exist stopped experiencing it as well, confirming my theory. Just goes to show how influential believing in stupid stuff can be.”

14. Boiling Frogs

Red-eyed tree frog with bright vivid colors at night in tropical rainforest treefrog in jungle Costa Rica.
Image Credit: FotoRequest/Shutterstock.

A user wrote, “Frogs jump out of water when it gets too warm for them.”

Another person commented, “The important detail that is always neglected with this is that prior to slowly boiling the frogs, the scientist had to sever the brain stems in order to keep them from hopping out when it became uncomfortable.”

While it’s true that frogs might adjust their behavior in response to temperature changes, they can’t sense when the water becomes “too warm” and make a dramatic exit!

15. The Inner Dome Car Light

The beautiful girl at a car wheel
Image Credit: belarry via DepositPhotos.com.

Someone said, “It’s super illegal to turn on your car inside dome light while driving at night.”

Another replied, “Probably started by people that were tired of passengers turning them on.”

You see, the inside dome light in your car is there to help you out. It’s meant to illuminate the interior so you can find stuff or see what’s happening inside your vehicle, especially when it’s dark outside.

But somehow, some people got it all twisted and started spreading rumors that it’s a big-time offense to use that light while driving. And guess what? It’s all hogwash! No law says you can’t turn on your dome light at night!

16. Scared Ostriches

A group of common ostrich in the field against the cloudy sky.
Image Credit: Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.

Someone wrote, “Ostriches. Do not bury. Their heads. In the sand. If they’re afraid of something, they will run, kick, or bite. One of my biggest animal myth pet peeves” in response to the myth that ostriches bury their heads in the sand if they are afraid of something!

Another cleared this by commenting, “To make sure that the eggs are evenly heated, they occasionally stick their heads into the nest to rotate the eggs, which makes it look like they’re trying to hide – hence the myth.”

So, the next time you encounter an ostrich or hear someone mention their supposed head-burying habit, you can confidently debunk the myth and share the true story!

17. Black Cats Are Evil

Black cat.
Image Credit: Helenelcg/Shutterstock.

A person shared, “Black cats are evil” No, they’re not. Edit: getting spammed with “all cats are evil”. Guys, I’m referring to different urban myths around the world, which state that a black cat is a demonic possession or just pure evil, related to witches and stuff.”

Another user shared their theory for this myth: “The cats and witches connection dates back to the Black Plague. At the time, they had no idea how or why it spread. People were dying everywhere. Yet the ones that seemed to survive were women caring for cats. Cats hunted mice and rats that carried the plague, so the women never got sick.

The id**t villagers then assumed the woman was a witch because she never got the plague, even though everyone around her died. The part about black cats might be attributed to the fact that they can easily hide in the shadows, and people associate darkness with danger, aka “evil.” I could be wrong about that.”

What do you think is true?

18. Ripping off Tags

Young man choosing new orthopedic mattress in store, closeup.
Image Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock.

A Redditor commented, “That it’s a felony offense to rip the tag off your Mattress.

There was a major scandal in the past where a couple of mattress manufacturers were recycling used mattresses, re-stuffing them, and subsequently reselling them. 🤢 It is ONLY illegal for stores and manufacturers to rip the tags off of new mattresses for sale. However, once you buy it, and your mattress warranty expires (usually after 1 year or less), feel free to rip that annoying tag off.”

Another user clarified, “TBH, back in the 80s, the tag only stated “DO NOT REMOVE THIS TAG UNDER PENALTY OF LAW,” and every single 80s kid was terrified of doing this. I think it was in the late 90s that they finally added some language that clarified that the end client could remove the tag.”

So, once you’ve bought the mattress, you can rest easy knowing that ripping off those tags won’t land you in any legal trouble. You’re not breaking the law by removing them. Many people find the tags irritating and choose to remove them for aesthetic reasons.

19. Vaccines Cause Autism

Cheerful Vaccinated Kids Showing Arms After Covid-19 Vaccination Smiling To Camera Posing Indoors.
Image Credit: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock.

A person commented, “This one is less myth than intentional misinformation. There was indeed a study showing this and it was conducted by a medical doctor, but 3 important factors are always ignored.

First, legitimate studies are repeatable, meaning that if another doctor does the same thing, they should get the same result. While this has been attempted, not once has anyone successfully duplicated the results.

Second, the doctor involved was later found to have received a large payment from a law firm that neither he nor the firm could explain. At that time, the same law firm was trying to bring a class action lawsuit against a vaccine manufacturer.

Finally, the doctor was later stripped of his medical license for falsifying data. Yet people still insist his study was legitimate and the hundreds of studies that refute his claims are part of a conspiracy.”

20. Bigfoot

Bigfoot Sasquatch is chillin in the snow.
Image Credit: Shad Selby/Shutterstock.

So, you’ve probably heard about Bigfoot, right? This elusive creature with big feet (hence the name) supposedly roams around in the wilderness. People claim to have seen it, snapped blurry photos, and bam! The legend of Bigfoot is born.

But here’s the deal: despite all the stories and supposed evidence, we’re still waiting for solid proof that Bigfoot is more than just a tall tale. Scientists and experts have been on the lookout for years, and guess what? No smoking guns. No concrete evidence. None!

This user commented, “Bigfoot. It’s 2023; if you can’t get at least a 720p video of him, Then give it up!

Another added, “Right? Millions of trail cams, tens of thousands of hunters with HD cameras in their pockets, multiple tv shows, podcasts, and websites trying to prove they exist, and nada. Instead of admitting they’re wrong, these fruit loops double down and claim that Bigfoot is some mystical creature with powers to turn invisible and somehow always knows when a camera is focused on them.

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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.