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.

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In 1977, SETI volunteer Jerry Ehman saw a transmission so exciting he circled it on paper and wrote the word "Wow!" It seemed to indicate a message from outer space. But what was it really?

By Dave Roos & Austin Henderson

The mysteries of Stonehenge have captivated us for centuries: Who built it and why? How did they move those giant stones? Though archaeologists and other researchers have replaced old theories with new ideas, many questions remain.

By Jane McGrath

Was Anna Anderson really Anastasia Romanov? Does the Bermuda Triangle really exist? Wonder no more: We have the answers to these and other formerly unsolved mysteries.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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A "law of miracles," you say? What, are people going to get fined for practicing miracles without a license? Is there even a certification program for becoming a miracle worker? No, it's a mathematical law?

By Kate Kershner

We humans have no problem dreaming up superpowers we wish we had. There's flight, invincibility and super strength. But what about pyrokinesis or starting fires with our minds? Is that a real-life thing or comic-book fantasy?

By Kate Kershner

Of course you wash your hands after you use the restroom or work the room at a networking event. But what about after you play beer pong? Or cuddle a duckling?

By William Harris

Some say the real reason "no tear" shampoo works is that it has Novocain in it, desensitizing babies to its sting. Fact or urban legend?

By Laurie L. Dove

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It may shock you, but there's never been a widespread study conducted on the sanitation or the necessity of the courtesy flush. Can this practice inflict grievous bodily harm on your hindquarters — and the environment? HowStuffWorks weighs in.

By Kate Kershner

Very tall, hairy, glowing eyes – that seems to be the go-to description for a lot of mythical monsters out there, especially in America. Here are 10 to keep an eye out for.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Whether we live in fear of a kraken or the Leviathan, humans all around the globe have made sea monsters a part of their cultures. Is there a drop of truth to any of these widespread tall tales?

By Nicholas Gerbis

For decades, moms have been threatening that if you don't eat your crust, your hair will fall out, fall limp or somehow fall incorrectly. What's the deal with bread crusts and hairstyles?

By Colleen Cancio

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The core of our planet is about as hot as the sun. Could it ever cool down? That's one thing you don't want to happen.

By Chris Opfer

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.

By Chris Opfer & Sascha Bos

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

By Chris Opfer

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

By Chris Opfer

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

By Chris Opfer

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.

By Chris Opfer

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

By Chris Opfer

Climate change and industrial activity are wiping out large sections of the world's largest rainforest.

By Chris Opfer

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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?

By Debra Ronca

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?

By Debra Ronca

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

By Laurie L. Dove

Chicago has long been known as "The Windy City." It's a pretty cool nickname, but does it live up to it?

By Kate Kershner

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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.

By Kate Kershner

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.

By Kate Kershner