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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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

It's 11:11 on your phone's clock. This is what's known as an angel number. Is the universe trying to send you a message?

By Alia Hoyt

Would you like to be able to leave your body at will and travel to other countries and planets? Astral projection promises you can do that. But what does science say about this?

By Nathan Chandler

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Hummmmmm. Annoyed yet? Imagine if you heard that sound every night no matter what you did. Likened to a diesel engine idling in the distance, the Hum is a sound some people can never get away from. It's even caused suicide. But is it real?

By Dave Roos

It's a massive book that no one can read, and it has fascinated scientists, historians and cryptographers for decades. Is it a textbook, an encyclopedia ... or an elaborate hoax?

By Nathan Chandler

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

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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

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

Assuming we got to keep the sun, how bad would be for travelers to not have these little guiding lights? And what else might have changed in history without stars?

By Gallagher Flinn

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According to recent studies, it appears gingers need extra anesthesia to put them under during surgery. The same gene that gives redheads their hair color is apparently responsible for the way the body handles pain.

By Josh Clark

A surprising percentage of Americans believe that Big Pharma is hiding the cure for cancer because there's a lot of money to be made treating the disease. Experts explain why this isn't true.

By Dave Roos

Fire will turn a human's teeth to dust. But what about a dragon's?

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

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Whether you chew to freshen your breath or blow a big bubble, you probably shouldn't swallow gum. But does it really stay in your body for seven years if you do?

By Josh Clark

Would we stick flowers in our hair and dance in the street? Or twiddle our thumbs and wonder what to do with all that new free time? Join us as we ponder a world without war.

By Robert Lamb

Would a world with ample water for all mean less disease? Fewer wars? Globally improved health and finances? Sip along with us as we wonder what if.

By Jonathan Atteberry

China's government imposed mandatory IUDs and mass sterilizations, among other measures. That's some serious micromanagement. Was it necessary to avert a population disaster?

By Gallagher Flinn

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If you're considering a hobby or career as a "ufologist" or paranormal investigator, there are a handful of routes that don't involve being personally abducted or applying to a secret government shadow agency.

By Dave Roos

If mental strain caused a bloody nose, academic testing sites would be awash in crimson. So why do we still see psychic nosebleeds from "Stranger Things" to "Scanners"?

By Laurie L. Dove

You're talking with a group of people when, with no apparent warning, everyone stops talking. Is it just an awkward silence or a pregnant pause? Or is this silence something more?

By William Harris

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

By Jonathan Strickland

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Is 'Jim Wilson' really a code name airlines use to refer to a corpse being transported on a plane? Or just an urban myth?

By Kristen Hall-Geisler