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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Numerology says everything in the world is dependent upon the mystical properties of numbers. But critics aren't so sure.

By Tracy V. Wilson

When you're alone in a strange room at night, it's easy to believe that noises, shadows and chills are proof that spirits of the dead are there with you. Learn some possible explanations for the phenomena most often attributed to ghosts.

By Tracy V. Wilson

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


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?

Saturation diving hinges on the idea that the dissolved gases in our blood and body tissues match those in our lungs. This deep-sea exploration method allows divers to work at extreme depths without constantly surfacing. Learn how it works.

By Austin Henderson

Bigfoot, aka Sasquatch, allegedly roams the forests of the Pacific Northwest, yet it has eluded the cryptozoology community for decades.

By Nicole Antonio

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.

By Yara Simón


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?

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.

By Sascha Bos

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.

By John Zavisa


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?

By Kevin Bonsor & Robert Lamb

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?

By Kevin Bonsor & Robert Lamb

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.

By Marshall Brain

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?


We'd by lying if we said that the sight of the Grim Reaper standing by our bedside, scythe in hand, wouldn't scare the daylights out of us. How did this well-known personification of death become so frightening?

By William Harris

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

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

Blood-sucking vampires and brain-munching zombies tend to hog all the undead credit, but we think ghouls deserve a macabre article all their own. Read it -- if you dare.

By Robert Lamb


Made of plain pine or shaped like a shoe, mourners may inter them, suspend them or set them ablaze. How much do caskets and coffins differ?

By Allison Wachtel & Desiree Bowie

Move over, mediums. Lots of people say they talk to the dead, including the bereaved. Ready to meet a few others?

By John Perritano

It's a 15-foot man-beast with glowing eyes, doglike teeth, a long tongue and no lips. Gray skin sags off its skeletal frame. We're talking about the wendigo. And it's coming to get you.

By Laurie L. Dove

A key ingredient of horror films, junior-high slumber parties and occult practices, the Ouija board has been fascinating and scaring people for more than a century. But does it really contact the spirit world, or is there a more logical explanation?

By Julia Layton


We all eat things we probably shouldn't, and that's OK from time to time. But there are some foods that are such nutrition bombs that even occasional indulgence isn't exactly wise.

By Maria Trimarchi

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