Science Versus Myth

Are vampires real? What is an out-of-body experience? Are crop circles proof that aliens exist? HowStuffWorks explores what is real and what is urban legend with this collection of Science Versus Myth articles.


Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and rapper B.o.B join centuries of folks who have argued over the shape of the planet. The diss tracks are a new twist though.

You've heard the term 'bloodcurdling scream,' and blood can thicken in response to actual physical threats. Is the same possible when the fear is entirely fictional?

One pursuer of the towering, hairy cryptid actually has figured out how to make a decent full-time job out of it. Here's how.

Dr. Jessup has one final "Monster Science" lecture for us this Halloween season. And he has a surprise guest you won't want to miss.

They weren't always the sparkling, smiling G-rated creatures that they are today.

Two recent studies have blown big holes into the idea of birth order as a predictor of personality.

Join Dr. Anton Jessup as he muses about your favorite limb-hacking mutant from "Mortal Kombat."

This is for those of you who want to think "outside the box," even when you're dead.

Straitjacket sales may be low, but people still make them, and they definitely still use them.

A new vitamin that'll prevent cancer? Chocolate as a weight-loss tool? Hang on a second. Before you buy into some extraordinary claims, use some common sense to figure out whether that "study" is the real deal.

Of all the cosmetic problems to worry about waking up to — dark under-eye circles, a blemish on your nose, new stubble on your chin — a headful of white hair ranks pretty low on your list. Should you be more concerned?

Chicago, widely known as "The Windy City," certainly seems to have earned its rep. Plus, it's a pretty cool nickname. But is it actually the windiest city? Hey, Chicagoans, let's prove it once and for all.

Rainy, dreary, Seattle, right? Everyone says it's the rainiest city in the United States. However, Seattleites are keeping a secret from you. Find out if their rainy reputation is real — or if the rumor's all wet.

Summertime fashion — light in weight and light in color. Are these pastel colors a designer's choice? Or do light colors actually keep you cooler, as some say? Read to find out if you should ditch the goth wardrobe this summer.

Walking down a city sidewalk, you protect your valuables and weave through crowds. Should you also beware of falling pennies?

If you've ever been to a slumber party, you know the drill. Place your fingers under someone's body, chant "Light as a feather ... stiff as a board ..."and they'll magically rise up into the air. Is this old trick a true ghostly phenomenon?

In the classic film "Cool Hand Luke," the title character gulps down 50 hard-boiled eggs in less than an hour. Is this a trick you can (or should) try at home?

Urban legends about Disney World are a dime a dozen. Some are totally outlandish but others are true — like the one about the secret city under the Magic Kingdom.

The core of our planet is about as hot as the sun. Here's why we should all hope that it stays that way.

A helium shortage threatens more than just the balloon industry. Way more. Here's what at stake should we run out of this gas — which is a real possibility.

What could happen if we poked one of these sleeping giants? There are two scenarios. One is good. One is very, very bad.

Welcome to Yellowstone, a natural wonderland that's home to stunning vistas, vibrant plant and animal life ... and a massive and potentially devastating supervolcano.

Your vacation would be ruined, and that's not all.

Sans gravity, would we all just bounce up and down like astronauts on the moon? No. It would look a little more like a Michael Bay movie.

Our planet's path around the sun defines life on Earth. What would happen if it changed?