There was a time when misconceptions were mainly spread by word of mouth and maybe books (which many people didn’t read anyway). Today, it has become almost impossible to sift the lies from the truth; the evolution of artificial intelligence hasn’t made things easier. On the brighter side, the internet has also made research possible for those willing and eager to know the truth. In the same breath, this article debunks 16 common misconceptions.

1. Christopher Columbus Discovered the Americas

In history classes, students are taught that Christopher Columbus was the first to discover the Americas. However, the truth is that the Americas were first discovered by a Viking explorer called Leif Erikson in the 10th century. Eric’s first stop was in North America at Vinland, modern-day Newfoundland in Canada.

2. Shaving Triggers the Growth of Thicker Hair

Shaving does not affect hair growth rate, color, or thickness. It’s just that it leaves behind coarse tips, which create the illusion of thick hair.

3. Everyone with OCD is Neat and Tidy

Movies and TV shows have spread the misconception that people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are always neat, organized, and clean. However, that’s not always true. A good number of people with OCD display the exact opposite behavior. For instance, some people with OCD may practice hoarding, which often leads to a cluttered environment.

4. Henry Ford Made the First Car

Because Henry Ford pioneered the first production of affordable cars for Americans, some believe he invented the first car. That is untrue. Karl Benz made the first car in Germany, and it was patented in 1886.

5. Salem Witches Were Burned to the Stake

During the Salem witch trials from 1692 to 1693, none of the witches were burned at the stake. Nineteen of them were executed by hanging, and only one was pressed to death stones. The only witches who were burned at the stake were those in Europe.

6. Waiting 30 Minutes to Swim After Eating

Growing up, most people were asked to stay at least 30 minutes after eating before entering the pool. However, this misconception is entirely false. There is no risk associated with entering the pool immediately after eating. While it’s true swimming can divert blood flow from the stomach, causing minor cramps, that can happen whether one has eaten or not.

7. Microwaves Cause Cancer

Because microwaves use radiation to heat food, some people believe that it causes cancer. However, the type of radiation used in microwaves is non-ionizing, which means it is safe. Human beings are at more risk of getting cancer from exposure to high levels of UV rays and nuclear bombs.

8. Sugar Rush

Sugar does not make kids hyper. Over the years, numerous studies have proven that children’s behavior is not dictated by the presence of sugar in their diet. Kids often become hyperactive when playing their favorite games or hanging out with other children. Hyperactivity in children has more to do with the environment than sugar.

9. Alcohol Makes You Warmer

During a night out, people notice that their bodies start to feel warmer as they drink alcohol, but the exact opposite is what happens. Alcohol causes blood vessels to dilate, thereby lowering the body temperature. It’s also important to note that alcohol increases the risk of hypothermia.

10. Overcharging Your Phone Damages the Battery

This misconception applies to older phones. However, modern smartphones have been equipped with smart charging technology, which stops charging when it reaches 100%. Of course, it will draw a tiny charge but won’t harm the device.

11. Lice Prefer Dirty Hair

Parents are always telling their kids to keep their hair tidy if they want to avoid lice. But the truth is that lice do not prefer dirty hair; all they are after is blood. It doesn’t matter whether you have clean or messy hair; contacting someone with lice guarantees you’ll get it, too.

12. Bats are Blind

Just because bats use echolocation to fly around doesn’t mean they are blind. They may not have colorful vision like humans, but their eyes allow them to see very well, even in pitch-dark conditions. The simile “as blind as a bat” is therefore misplaced.

13. Male Wolves Fight to Be Alphas

There is a common misconception that male wolves fight to attain alpha status. On the contrary, fighting for dominance is rare in many wolf packs. Most wolf packs are like families that are led by the breeding pair. Also, younger wolves rarely fight the older ones for dominance.

14. The Apple was the Forbidden Fruit in the Garden of Eden

For Christians, there is a general assumption that the apple is the forbidden fruit consumed by Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden. However, the Bible doesn’t mention what fruit it was. The theory behind the Apple being the forbidden fruit has to do with the Latin translation of the Bible.

In Latin, apple is known as “malum”, which is the homonym of evil. Therefore, when the Latin Bible talked about a malum (evil) fruit, people assumed it was an apple.

15. Public Toilet Seats Carry Germs and Infections

Many people fear contacting public toilet seats because they fear they are packed with germs and diseases. While this may be partially true, public toilet seats are less likely to spread diseases because germs can’t survive on a cold surface for long. Also, toilet seats are too cold to create the perfect survival grounds for bacteria like the common cold. A sock carries more dirt and germs than a toilet seat.

16. Fruits Shouldn’t Be Eaten with Peels On

On the contrary, fruit peels contain essential nutrients such as vitamins C, A, K, and calcium. They are also rich in fiber, which improves digestion. They are just not as tasty.

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Last Update: June 17, 2024