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.


Are crop circles the work of alien visitors? Are they a natural phenomenon? Are they elaborate hoaxes perpetrated by some very dedicated humans? Learn how researchers try to separate the supernatural from the scientific.

Have you ever had a dream that came true? Or called a friend at the exact moment he was calling you? Most of us have had some sort of paranormal experience. Is this evidence of the existence of ESP?

The word "nirvana" gets thrown around in conversation all the time, often to describe a state of joy or supreme happiness. Actually, it's more than that -- a whole lot more. Find out what nirvana is.

Out of the many legendary bloodsucking creatures out there, the Chupacabra has gained a considerable amount of notoriety. Learn the story of this vampire-like beast.

The vampire legend has been evolving for centuries. The most common image of the vampire was born in Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula" in 1897, but the stories go back further than that. Learn all about the undead.

His words have been deemed prophetic for ages, and e-mail hoaxes claimed that he foresaw the events of September 11. Learn who Nostradamus was and what he really wrote.

The practice of hypnotism dates back centuries, and there are those who swear by its validity. Whether you're a skeptic or a believer, hypnosis is an interesting phenomenon. Check it out -- and let us know if you start to bark like a dog.

Déjà vu is used to describe the feeling that you experienced a situation before. What causes this phenomenon? It’s not a glitch in the matrix, but most of our knowledge on the subject is still theoretical.

Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti -- whatever you want to call it, is it real? Take a look at the compelling evidence for and against the existence of Bigfoot.

In the news coverage of the Russian submarine accident, I read that the Norwegian salvage divers used a technique called saturation diving, whereby they could stay underwater for days to weeks at a time. How does saturation diving work?

A CART race at Texas Motor Speedway was cancelled because the G-forces on the drivers were too high. How can you calculate the G-forces, and how do the cars generate forces that high?

If you were to fly west around the world, fast enough so that you crossed one time zone every hour, would you stand still in time?

You've heard the saying for ages, but exactly why is it so dangerous to go swimming right after you eat?

Looking forward to instantaneous travel? The Star Trek teleporter is one step closer to reality. Scientists have now teleported a laser beam. Could humans be next?

You may have noticed that we're all constantly traveling into the future. But what if you were interested in dancing through the fourth dimension more deftly than the next guy? How might you do that?

I've wondered about this since I was a child and used to spin around and around. I know it has something to do with our ears, but what exactly makes people dizzy when they spin?

How many regular-sized helium-filled balloons would it take to lift someone? What is the equation to figure it out?

A helium balloon rises because the helium is lighter than air. So how would a balloon -- made from a very sturdy but very lightweight material -- that had been removed of all air respond?

If you could spin a carousel fast enough to get its rim moving at nearly the speed of light, would time stand still for people on the carousel?

The standard definition of floating was first recorded by Archimedes and goes something like this: An object in a fluid experiences an upward force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object. So how does the water get displaced to keep a boat afloat?

February is an unusual month, especially when it comes to leap years. In this article, you can read about why we use leap years and how the year 2000 was a leap year and 1900 was not.

The time and date is something that we typically take for granted each day. Find out how they both work here.

Special relativity deals in phenomena that don’t agree with our historical or commonsense views of how the universe works. In fact, many of the theory’s assertions almost appear ludicrous.

Ever wonder why we start our year on the first of January? Or why we have January and the other 11 months in the first place? Find out all about time.

Do you relish the thought of finding yourself face-to-face with a ghost? Do your favorite historical sites all have human suffering in common? If ghosts are your pleasure, then you may want to visit the cities on our list.