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.

Learn More / Page 6

Why was the eccentric heiress Sarah Winchester consumed with transforming her six-room farmhouse into a creepy labyrinth?

By Molly Edmonds

Surfer and physicist A. Garrett Lisi may have solved one of physics' greatest mysteries -- the theory of everything. It's a mathematical link to how the universe works.

By Josh Clark

I've wondered about this since I was a child and used to spin around and around. I know it has something to do with our ears, but what exactly makes people dizzy when they spin?


The standard definition of floating was first recorded by Archimedes and goes something like this: An object in a fluid experiences an upward force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object. So how does the water get displaced to keep a boat afloat?

By Yara Simón

Legend says that jackalopes roam the plains of Wyoming and even like to sing campfire songs. How much truth is there to this mythical creature?

By Mark Mancini

Founding father Benjamin Franklin is partially to blame for the legend of the Jersey Devil. Here's the strange story of this folklore beast.

By Mark Mancini

A cryptid is an animal whose existence is unproven, meaning no corpse or live specimen has ever been documented by the scientific community. But believers still persist.

By Mark Mancini & Nicole Antonio


According to most pet psychics, you communicate with your pets telepathically all the time, without even knowing it. Learn about the controversies associated with animal communication.

By Tracy V. Wilson

There are more than 40 theories as to what déjà vu is and what causes it, and they range from reincarnation to memory glitches. Do these theories shed any light on this perplexing phenomenon?

By Lee Ann Obringer

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

We've all seen it in the movies: A guy stumles across quicksand, and before we know it, he's waist deep and can't get out. Does Hollywood have it all wrong?

By Kevin Bonsor & Katherine Neer


To some people, a crystal skull is simply a crystal in the shape of a human skull. But to those who believe in the supernatural, it can represent doom or hope.

By Shanna Freeman

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

You may have heard the tale of a person who throws a penny from the Empire State Building and kills a pedestrian below. Does this story have any truth to it?

By Marshall Brain

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


Very tall, hairy, glowing eyes – that seems to be the go-to description for a lot of mythical monsters out there, especially in America. Here are 10 to keep an eye out for.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Whether we live in fear of a kraken or the Leviathan, humans all around the globe have made sea monsters a part of their cultures. Is there a drop of truth to any of these widespread tall tales?

By Nicholas Gerbis

For decades, moms have been threatening that if you don't eat your crust, your hair will fall out, fall limp or somehow fall incorrectly. What's the deal with bread crusts and hairstyles?

By Colleen Cancio

The full moon gives us the ocean tides. And werewolves. Does it also give us sleep issues? Some say yes. Here's the science.

By Colleen Cancio


The core of our planet is about as hot as the sun. Could it ever cool down? That's one thing you don't want to happen.

By Chris Opfer

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.

By Chris Opfer & Sascha Bos