11 Fake Facts Everyone Believes are True

Here are some of the fake facts everyone believes.

Walt Disney

There are some facts that everybody just knows; you don’t know where first learned them, but it definitely wasn’t from a textbook. Over time, these ‘facts’ have become a part of pop culture, and because they’re just weird enough to be true, but it turns out they’re totally false. Here are some of the fake facts everyone believes.


A Penny dropped from the Empire State Building will kill you

Empire State Building, New York
Empire State Building – Creative Commons

I’m sure you’ve heard the age old story if you drop a penny of the Empire State Building, it will fall so fast it’ll kill someone walking on the street below. Well, it turns out it’s completely untrue and Mythbusters debunked this fact back in 2003

You can see the Great Wall of China from space

The Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China – Creative Commons

NASA have confirmed you can’t see the massive man-made structure from the International Space Station. “

Of the wall visibility theories, Lulla said: “A lot has been said and written about how visible the wall is. In fact, it is very, very difficult to distinguish the Great Wall of China in astronaut photography, because the materials that were used in the wall are similar in color and texture to the materials of the land surrounding the wall — the dirt.”

On average, you swallow 8 spiders a year in your sleep

Spider in web
Spider – Creative Commons

You’ll be thankful this one isn’t true! Scientific American have stated spiders don’t have any interest in us as there’s no prey for them.

“Spiders regard us much like they’d regard a big rock,” says Bill Shear, a biology professor at Hampden–Sydney College in Virginia and former president of the American Arachnological Society. We’re so large that we’re really just part of the landscape,”

More than anything, spiders probably find sleeping humans terrifying. A slumbering person breathes, has a beating heart and perhaps snores—all of which create vibrations that warn spiders of danger. “Vibrations are a big slice of spiders’ sensory universe,” Crawford explains, “A sleeping person is not something a spider would willingly approach.”

Hair and finger nails continue to grow after you die

Finger nails – Creative Commons

It may sound like something out of a horror movie, but it’s simply not true. When you die, the tissue surrounding fingernails and strands of hair shrinks back due to dehydration, which makes them appear longer.

Napoleon Boneparte was short

Napoleon – Shutterstock

The term ‘Napoleon complex’ usually refers to a short man with a massive ego, but how short was Napoleon really? It’s turns out he was actually 5ft 5inches, which was absolutely average height for a French man of the time.

Albert Einstein failed a maths exam

Albert Einstein – Creative Commons

It really would be a talking point if Einstein failed a maths exam, but it’s not true at all! What is actually true, is that he failed the entrance exam for the Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich, Switzerland. He excelled in maths and physics, but failed in the non-scientific subjects and was subsequently rejected. It’s such a perfects example of one of the crazy fake facts everyone believes.

Vincent Van Gogh cut off his ear in a fit of madness over a woman

Vincent Van Gogh self portrait
Vincent Van Gogh self portrait – Creative Commons

The Van Gogh Museum has shed light on exactly what happened to result in Vincent being separated from one of his ears:

Vincent van Gogh cut off his left ear when tempers flared with Paul Gauguin, the artist with whom he had been working for a while in Arles.

Van Gogh’s illness revealed itself: he began to hallucinate and suffered attacks in which he lost consciousness. During one of these attacks, he used the knife. He could later recall nothing about the event.

It takes 7 years to digest chewing gum

Child with chewing gum – Creative Commons

We’ve all heard at one time or another that if you swallow gum, it’ll sit in your stomach for seven years. This is pure folklore that likely originated from gum being labeled by manufacturers as indigestible. In reality, the base of the gum (a synthetic polymer) will likely pass through your digestive tract within a matter of days – just like other indigestible ingredients such a fibre.

Bulls hate the colour red

Black Bull – Creative Commons

If you go to see a bull fight (and I really hope you never do!) you may notice the matador uses a red cape, so it would make sense to believe it hates that colour. However, the truth is that bulls are actually colour blind and they are simply reacting the motion of the material waving around. The red colour of the cape is far more sinister as it has historically been used to conceal blood stains.

Caffeine causes dehydration

cup of coffee
Coffee – Creative Commons

Kind of true, but not really. The diuretic effect of caffeine is offset by the amount of water in a caffeinated drink.

Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen

Walt Disney – Biography

While Walt Disney passed away on 15th December 1966 as a result of lung cancer, it wasn’t until 1972 when the rumours of him being cryogenically frozen started.

MentalFloss looked into it and cleared up the confusion:

“Walt is not on ice; he’s at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California, buried with his wife, daughter, and son-in-law.”


So there you have it, some of the crazy fake facts everyone believes. Next time you’re told not to throw the penny off the Empire State Building, don’t do it, but know it’s not for the fear of killing someone outright.

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