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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It turns out you can't just scatter your loved one's ashes anywhere. So what can you do with them?

By Jesslyn Shields

Dragon fire is an awe-inspiring thing, but exactly how would it happen? Real-world clues from nature point the way.

By Laurie L. Dove

Thousands of years ago, the Babylonians created the zodiac and dropped a constellation when it didn't quite fit into their schematic. Its name? Ophiuchus. Should it be part of our horoscope?

By Kate Kershner & Kathryn Whitbourne


Humans have only been bipedal for a sliver of history. What if we returned our spines to their original position and quit walking upright? What would that world be like?

By Julie Douglas

A bunch of Yale physicists decided to give Schrodinger's cat not one but two boxes. And that, strangely enough, could eventually prove handy for quantum computing.

By Julia Layton

Not sure what chemtrails are or where you stand on them? A newly published, peer-reviewed examination of the chemtrail hypothesis could be for you. We have the scoop.

By Jonathan Strickland

Can infrasound explain away ghosts, hauntings and other paranormal activity?

By Diana Brown


When a super-realistic android or video character gives us a creepy feeling, it enters the uncanny valley. Why do we get spooked, and what can we do to avoid it?

By Ed Grabianowski

Straitjacket sales may be low, but people still make them, and they definitely still use them.

By Adrian Rogers

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and rapper B.o.B join centuries of folks who have argued over the shape of the planet. The diss tracks are a new twist though.

By Christian Sager

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


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

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

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

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

Explore Loch Ness Monster tales, sightings and pop culture references. From the Surgeon's Photograph to plesiosaur theories, delve into the enduring mystery.

By Nicole Antonio

Mothman sightings began in West Virginia in the late 60s, but is the elusive creature real or just a cover-up to distract the public from a tragic accident?

By Desiree Bowie

The Wampus Cat has roots in Cherokee folklore and Appalachian legends, but is the six-legged feline just another mythical creature on a long list of cryptids?

By Desiree Bowie


The Honey Island Swamp Monster is a mysterious cryptid of Louisiana, described as a Bigfoot-like creature with yellow eyes and grayish brown hair.

By Desiree Bowie

The Mongolian Death Worm is a legendary cryptid of Gobi Desert folklore with a deadly reputation. Explore the origins of the venomous sand-dwelling creature.

By Desiree Bowie