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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Singing monuments sounds like the premise of an enchanted Broadway musical -- or a scene straight out of "A Night at the Museum." So did the Colossi of Memnon actually sing at one time? And if so, why don't they sing anymore? Stage fright?

By Kate Kershner

Is the world really connected by an intricate, invisible web of knowledge-expanding energy waves? Sure, it's called the Internet -- and you're channeling it right now! Oh, you were asking about the ley lines? We've got an answer for that too.

By Kate Kershner

Long before crop circles captured the world's imagination, a Peruvian culture called the Nazca went about creating a series of intricate lines -- sometimes in the shapes of animals -- on the desert floor. But how'd they do it -- and why?

By Kate Kershner

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Obviously, if we had more evidence of the existence of ghosts, we wouldn't all spend so much time debating the matter. Believers in the supernatural, however, are convinced a substance called "ectoplasm" proves ghosts are real -- but are they right?

By Kate Kershner

When reeling off dubious facts (like lemmings plunging off cliffs en masse), there's no better retort to a skeptical audience than calmly explaining that it's not just true — it's science...right?

By Kate Kershner & Sascha Bos

CERN is a European research organization dedicated to the study of very tiny particles. Could they discover time travel?

By Jonathan Strickland

Decapitation is a surefire way to deliver a quick and painless death, right? In actuality, an increasingly large body of historical and scientific evidence suggests that beheading doesn't, in fact, deliver instant death.

By Josh Clark

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How great would it be to reconcile general relativity with quantum theory and truly have a theory of everything? That's what a band of theoretical physicists and their trusty hypothetical strings have been working on for decades.

By Robert Lamb

Once upon a time, our universe was born. Was it all just luck that it evolved in a manner compatible with life? Or are such "coincidences" all in a day's work for a universe?

By Robert Lamb

You know the drill: You plunge into darkness and then see a bright light. An angelic figure speaks to you. Why are people's near-death experiences so similar?

By Patrick J. Kiger

Let's assume that it's possible to create a complete loop in time travel -- that time travelers could travel into the past and then return to the future (or vice versa). What could we do with our time machine, and how would time travel affect our lives?

By Chelsea Hedquist

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Matches work by combining flammable chemicals with heat from friction. Learn whether you can light a match with sandpaper in this article.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

Wood, grass and food scraps undergo a process known as biodegradation when they're buried. They're transformed by bacteria in the soil into other useful compounds, but those same bacteria typically turn up their noses at plastic. Luckily, that's not the end of the story.

By William Harris

Plastics that aren't recycled tend to hang around our planet like houseguests who have worn out their welcome. Can biodegradable plastics, which may break down in fewer than 90 days, change that scenario?

By William Harris

The hybrid car may be the savior of the automobile industry, but its production processes have come under fire of late. The car may be green, but what about the way the car actually gets made?

By Dave Roos

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Even though they've come down in price, solar panels are still expensive and somewhat inefficient. And then there are cloudy days. Can solar panels ever replace fossil fuels for our everyday needs?

By Jonathan Strickland

Imagine waking up one morning to find yourself unable to get to work due to a dead car battery. You won't have to do that if you have a solar car battery charger -- but how well do they really work?

By Marie Willsey

Most of us are accustomed to watching 2-D films with flat images. But when we put on 3-D glasses, we see a world that has depth. We can imagine existing in such a world because we live in one. What about another dimension altogether?

By Molly Edmonds & Desiree Bowie

Each year, approximately 4,000 people go to the emergency room for injuries caused by accidents involving electrical outlets. While this number seems high, even more people never make it to the hospital. They die.

By Katherine Neer

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You know you can't believe everything you see or hear. But between the misinformation on the Internet and our natural propensity to believe what we're told, it can be hard to tell fact from fiction. Here are 10 ways to avoid being conned.

By Patrick J. Kiger

The best photograph can't touch one. A death mask, in all its 3-D glory, is the last likeness of a loved one that a family can own. After all, it vividly preserves what some consider to be the very essence of a person -- the face.

By Erin Wright

Dragons have captured imaginations -- and their fair share of maidens -- across the globe. But are they more than mythological?

By Laurie L. Dove

The speed of light is like that annoying friend who beats you at every game. What would happen if humans one day surpassed the cosmic speed limit?

By William Harris & Patrick J. Kiger

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It's one of those fantastic things you may have wished for at one point, like, say peace on Earth, but would a world full of cures be radically different from the one we know, or not so much?

By Susan L. Nasr

While organizations around the world are fighting to end famine, so far, no one has come up with a game-changer. Why does famine happen in the first place, and what would a hunger-free world be like?

By Jessika Toothman