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Misconceptions, Misperceptions, Misquotes & Myths

Updated on September 12, 2015


"Luke, I am your father." Actual Darth Vader quote is "No, I am your father."

"May the force be with you." Generally attributed to Obi Wan Kenobi, who proclaimed that, "The force will be with you...always." Actually an Han Solo quote.

"Play it again, Sam." Never spake by Ilsa, Rick, or anyone else in the film Casablanca, in reference to the Frank Sinatra hit, As Time Goes By. Ilsa: "Play it once, Sam.", and "Sing it, Sam." Plus Rick's: "You played it for her, you can play it for me!", and, "If she can stand it, I can! Play it!"

"I want to suck your blood." Never uttered by Bela Lugosi's vampire character, instead found in 1994's Ed Wood impersonation of Lugosi.

"You dirty rat, you killed by brother." Closest Cagney stated (in character) was, "That dirty, double-crossing rat..."

"Elementary, my dear Watson." Never used by Holmes character in books, only later in film.

"Me Tarzan, you Jane." Tarzan simply repeated "Jane." Then replied "Tarzan" when pointed toward. Followed by "Jane! Tarzan! Jane! Tarzan!"

"Mirror, mirror on the wall...", was actually "Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?"

"Houston, we have a problem." Actual historical statement of Jim Lovell was, "Houston, we've had a problem."


Animal Kingdom

Lemmings do not blindly follow each other off of cliffs.19th century myth later popularized by Disney.

Dogs do not see in black-and-white, as some believe. They see in color, just not as well as humans.

Cats, too, along with superior night vision.

Most bats do, however, see in black-and-white. They are not blind, as many believe.

Ostrich do not stick their heads in the sand when frightened.

Sharks can get cancer, though some think it impossible.

Goldfish do not have three-second memories, as some believe. Observed up to a year.

Birds do not shun their offspring when touched by humans. Sense of smell isn't very capable, regardless.

Elephants do not instinctively wander toward any special graveyard upon imminent death.

Eating eight spiders per year while asleep? No evidence to support the claim. Spiders avoid contact with humans.

It has been asserted that daddy long-legs are the most venomous of spiders, though they are incapable of penetrating human skin. Both false. A bite simply causes burning sensation.

The egg came before the chicken. Depending upon how you look at it, either A) a lizard laid an egg that hatched a lizard-like bird, or B) a chicken-like creature laid an egg that hatched a chicken.

Linus Pauling
Linus Pauling | Source


Strawberries are not berries at all, as they come from flowering plants.

Grapes, however, are technically berries, as they grow from vines.

Many know that tomatoes are fruit. However, many also believe the supreme court ruled that tomatoes are now vegetables. While technically true, the SCOTUS has no power over botany.

Bananas grow on tall bushes, not trees.

Some varieties of oranges are green, even when fully ripened.

8 glasses of water per day? Nonsense. Flawed gov't campaign accompanying food pyramid. Based upon a (flawed) uniform 2000 calorie diet, doesn't consider H2O by way of lettuce, tomatoes, celery, grapes, apples, oranges, milk, sauces, meats...

Sugar buzz? No such thing. Treats are exciting!

Sushi does not mean fresh sliced raw fish (instead, sashimi). Sushi refers to the method of preparation of the rice, or rice vinegar. In fact, sushi needn't require fish at all.

Seven-year gum digestion? Gum is broken down like any other food, though certain ingredients can contribute to intestinal blockage.

Alcohol does not raise body temperature. Warm-feeling effect is flushing, which refers to blood being closer to surface. Which means more heat escaping the surface and lower overall bodily temperatures, in contrast to misperception.

Don't swim after eating? Misassumption based upon thought that blood would be drawn away from gut during digestion, causing cramps and thus, drowning. Doesn't happen, and if it ever did, simply exit the water. You likely aren't going to be swimming the English Channel following an all-you-can-eat buffet, after all.

Vitamin C for illness? Don't bother. Linus Pauling thought vitamin c could cure cancer,among other things, and he wrote a book about it. Since taking vitamin c is a harmless practice, the medical community doesn't bother to correct us.



Right/left sides of the brain? Nonsense. Creative & logical thinking each require both respective hemispheres concurrently.

10% brain usage? No evidence. No dead parts of the brain going unused. Speaks to potential, not literal.

5 senses? Many more than five - senses of balance, pain, temperature... Plus others like imagination and memory. Common sense?

Hydrogen peroxide actually causes cellular damage, and prolongs the healing process.

Knuckle-cracking: no ill effects. 60 year experiment.

Shaving does not cause hair to grow back either fuller or faster.

Some people think hair and nails keep growing post-mortem. Nonsense.



Lightning striking twice? It can happen, even in the same location.

Unique snow flakes? There are but a few dozen differing categories of snow flakes. Duplication is a mathematical certainty.

Hemisphere does not necessarily determine directional flow of toilets.

Searing of meat does not assist in retention of juices.

Law Enforcement

"Are you a cop?" They aren't compelled to tell the truth while undercover, which defeats the purpose of this entrapment misconception.

"Freeze!" Command used by fictional cops in movies, no basis in reality.

Police officer is not among the ten deadliest professions in America. However, farmers, construction workers, truck drivers, and waste collectors (garbage men/persons) are.

Recording public officials in their official capacity is a constitutionally protected 1st Amendment right according to supreme court precedent, though some jurisdictions attempt to claim otherwise.

24 hours? A person mustn't wait 24 hours before filing a missing persons report.

There is no federal protection against housing or employment discrimination against individuals perceived to be among the LGBTQ community, contrary to popular belief.

Identity Strikes

Minnesota Vikings? Viking warriors did not wear helmets with horns, those were the priests.

Chiseled Roman chest armor: as few as 10% of soldiers were adorned. The relatively wealthy ones. Vast majority had surprisingly effective linen garments for protection, along with shields.

Gladiators did not generally fight to-the-death, but occasionally.

Declaration of Independence was printed on July 4th & 5th, wasn't signed until August 2nd.

"I cannot tell a lie." George Washington's father may not have had any cherry trees at all, let alone the fabricated fable of an admission concerning one's demise.

Wooden dentures? Washington's dentures were made of gold, lead, human (likely those of slaves) and animal teeth.

Napoleon wasn't short. Was 5'7", average height for the time, though imperial guard were specifically chosen with height in mind.

Jackie Robinson was not the first African-American to play in the "bigs." Distinction belongs to Moses Fleetwood "Fleet" Walker, a bare-handed catcher who in 1884 batted .263 in 42 games with the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association, considered a major league as a competitor of the National League.

Buddha wasn't fat. Budai was, who later promoted the teachings of Buddha.

Buddha is not a considered a god, but a savior.

Moses, David, Samuel, et al are fictional characters with no historical reference whatsoever.

Christmas as Jesus's birthday? Likely in September, given biblical astrological descriptions.

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Roughly 80% of Americans believe in talking snakes and virgin-birth.

Nearly 50% believe the devil causes evil in the world.

27% believe god determines the outcomes of sporting events.

29% believe aliens exist.*

20% believe in Bigfoot.

7% believe the moon-landing was faked.*

4% believe in lizard people.*

Nearly 50% believe, or are unsure whether, vaccines cause autism.

40% believe US troops found WMDs in Iraq.

63% of Republicans believe Saddam had WMDs in Iraq.

13% of Republicans believe President Bush lied about WMDs.*

58% of Republicans believe climate change is a hoax.*

54% of Republicans believe President Obama is a Muslim "deep down."

26% of Americans believe, or are unsure whether, Obama may be the anti-Christ.

21% of Democrats believe horoscopes can tell the future.

Roughly one-in-three colonists wanted to stay loyal to Britain rather than fight for American independence.



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