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15 Favourite Facts that are False

Relax: it turns out we don't swallow eight spiders a year in our sleep after all.

Anders Wenngren

1. Bagpipes Are Scottish
Sorry, Braveheart fans, they were prevalent in the Middle East centuries before Western Europe.

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2. Your Hair and Nails Keep Growing After Death
2. Your Hair and Nails Keep Growing After Death
Anders Wenngren

Skin dries and recedes after death, making hair and nails appear longer.

3. Toads Cause Warts
3. Toads Cause Warts
Anders Wenngren

Humans can catch warts only from other humans. Those bumps on toads are just their skin glands.

4. SOS = ‘Save Our Souls’
4. SOS = ‘Save Our Souls’
Anders Wenngren
5. Adam and Eve Ate an Apple
5. Adam and Eve Ate an Apple
Anders Wenngren

They ate the forbidden ‘fruit’ of the tree of knowledge, and nowhere in the Book of Genesis does it say this fruit was an apple.

6. Celebrities Die in Threes
6. Celebrities Die in Threes
Anders Wenngren

Of 449 celebs who died since 1990, only in seven cases did three die in the same five-day period, according to data from the New York Times.

7. Sleepers Swallow Eight Spiders Per Year
7. Sleepers Swallow Eight Spiders Per Year
Anders Wenngren

Spiders usually don’t crawl into beds during night-time wanderings because they offer no prey. You probably swallow zero spiders per year.

8. Everest Is the World’s Tallest Mountain
8. Everest Is the World’s Tallest Mountain
Anders Wenngren

Only above sea level. From its underwater base, Hawaii’s Mauna Kea stands 10,210 metres tall – 1360 metres above Mount Everest.

9. Van Gogh Cut Off His Ear for a Lover
9. Van Gogh Cut Off His Ear for a Lover
Anders Wenngren

It was just a small piece of lobe, and he did it during a violent spat with Paul Gauguin. Whether Van Gogh then gave it to a local harlot remains contentious.

10. America’s Pilgrims First Landed at Plymouth Rock
10. America’s Pilgrims First Landed at Plymouth Rock
Anders Wenngren

In fact they landed where Provincetown, Massachusetts, is today, and signed the Mayflower Compact there. Plymouth came five weeks later.

11. A Story Can ‘Break’ the Internet
11. A Story Can ‘Break’ the Internet
Anders Wenngren

“The Internet is a very resilient system,” says web pioneer Vint Cerf. “Shutting the whole thing down has not happened [since] it has been in operation.”

12. Slaves Built Egypt’s Pyramids
12. Slaves Built Egypt’s Pyramids
Anders Wenngren

Egyptologists reckon this ancient construction job was a great honour granted only to respected labourers, who were entombed near the site.

13. Ben Franklin Wanted the Turkey as the US Symbol
13. Ben Franklin Wanted the Turkey as the US Symbol
Anders Wenngren

While designing a national seal, Franklin proposed an image of Moses, not a wild turkey, to represent the USA.

14. All Your Fingernails Grow at the Same Rate
14. All Your Fingernails Grow at the Same Rate
Anders Wenngren

Because blood flow stimulates nail growth, your dominant hand’s nails grow faster than those on the other hand.



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