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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Scientists Discover Whether Fear Alone Is Enough to Literally Curdle Blood

You've heard the term 'bloodcurdling scream,' and blood can thicken in response to actual physical threats. Is the same possible when the fear is entirely fictional?

People Are on the Hunt for Bigfoot. Here's How They're Funding It

One pursuer of the towering, hairy cryptid actually has figured out how to make a decent full-time job out of it. Here's how.

'Monster Science' Links Werewolves to Cannibal Salamanders

Dr. Jessup has one final "Monster Science" lecture for us this Halloween season. And he has a surprise guest you won't want to miss.

The Unicorn Ain’t What It Used to Be

They weren't always the sparkling, smiling G-rated creatures that they are today.

Birth Order Is Kind of Baloney

Two recent studies have blown big holes into the idea of birth order as a predictor of personality.

'Monster Science' Gets Familiar With Baraka From 'Mortal Kombat'

Join Dr. Anton Jessup as he muses about your favorite limb-hacking mutant from "Mortal Kombat."

Turn Your Dead Body Into a Tree!

This is for those of you who want to think "outside the box," even when you're dead.

Straitjackets Are Still in Use, Just Not Where You Think

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

10 Signs That Study Is Bogus

A new vitamin that'll prevent cancer? Chocolate as a weight-loss tool? Hang on a second. Before you buy into some extraordinary claims, use some common sense to figure out whether that "study" is the real deal.

Can your hair turn white overnight?

Of all the cosmetic problems to worry about waking up to — dark under-eye circles, a blemish on your nose, new stubble on your chin — a headful of white hair ranks pretty low on your list. Should you be more concerned?

Is Chicago the windiest city in the U.S.?

Chicago, widely known as "The Windy City," certainly seems to have earned its rep. Plus, it's a pretty cool nickname. But is it actually the windiest city? Hey, Chicagoans, let's prove it once and for all.

Is Seattle the rainiest city in the U.S.?

Rainy, dreary, Seattle, right? Everyone says it's the rainiest city in the United States. However, Seattleites are keeping a secret from you. Find out if their rainy reputation is real — or if the rumor's all wet.

Should you wear light-colored clothes in hot weather to stay cool?

Summertime fashion — light in weight and light in color. Are these pastel colors a designer's choice? Or do light colors actually keep you cooler, as some say? Read to find out if you should ditch the goth wardrobe this summer.

Can a penny dropped off a building kill you?

Walking down a city sidewalk, you protect your valuables and weave through crowds. Should you also beware of falling pennies?

Has 'light as a feather, stiff as a board' ever worked?

If you've ever been to a slumber party, you know the drill. Place your fingers under someone's body, chant "Light as a feather ... stiff as a board ..."and they'll magically rise up into the air. Is this old trick a true ghostly phenomenon?

What if you really ate 50 eggs like in 'Cool Hand Luke'?

In the classic film "Cool Hand Luke," the title character gulps down 50 hard-boiled eggs in less than an hour. Is this a trick you can (or should) try at home?

Is there a secret city under Walt Disney World?

Urban legends about Disney World are a dime a dozen. Some are totally outlandish but others are true — like the one about the secret city under the Magic Kingdom.

What if Earth's core cooled down?

The core of our planet is about as hot as the sun. Here's why we should all hope that it stays that way.

What if we ran out of helium?

A helium shortage threatens more than just the balloon industry. Way more. Here's what at stake should we run out of this gas — which is a real possibility.

What if we drilled into a supervolcano?

What could happen if we poked one of these sleeping giants? There are two scenarios. One is good. One is very, very bad.

What if the Yellowstone supervolcano erupted?

Welcome to Yellowstone, a natural wonderland that's home to stunning vistas, vibrant plant and animal life ... and a massive and potentially devastating supervolcano.

What if the sun disappeared for a week?

Your vacation would be ruined, and that's not all.

What if Earth lost gravity for five seconds?

Sans gravity, would we all just bounce up and down like astronauts on the moon? No. It would look a little more like a Michael Bay movie.

What if Earth changed its orbit?

Our planet's path around the sun defines life on Earth. What would happen if it changed?

What if the Amazon rainforest was completely destroyed?

Climate change and industrial activity are wiping out large sections of the Amazon. You might not realize how much this deforestation could affect you.


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