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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Fans of the Super Mario Bros. series know that enemy fish can attack from above. And fans of the film "Magnolia" know that sometimes frogs do rain from the sky. But this is purely the realm of pop culture. Things like this don't really happen, right?

By Kate Kershner

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

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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

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

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Some malarkey is so believable that it's turned many of us into inadvertent purveyors of hogwash. What are 10 bits of malarkey that tend to slip through the "hey, wait a minute" filter?

By Julia Layton

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

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

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

By Laurie L. Dove

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

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

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

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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

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

It's a crazy thought, but what if cancer didn't exist? And malaria, schizophrenia and every other illness that disrupts our normal functioning? Come along as we investigate what such a world might look like.

By Susan L. Nasr

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Unless you've been living under a rock (one not appearing on Google Maps’ Street View), you're probably intimately familiar with the behemoth and its many services. But what would the world look like if this powerhouse company had never existed?

By Nathan Chandler

Before leaving work, you'll need to check the traffic report. Lately, a disruptive T. rex has meant some adjustments to your commute. What other changes would be in store if dinos roamed the Earth?

By Jessika Toothman

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

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

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Leap years only come around once every four years. So, why are they so rare and who decided we need them anyway?

By Marianne Spoon

You may know that the ancient Egyptians used embalming in mummification. But they weren't the first to embalm their dead, nor were they the last. In fact, it's still being done today.

By Elizabeth Sprouse