Image by Daniel Perrig from Pixabay

When I was younger, it seemed every adult believed that you couldn't swim for several hours after eating. Why did they all believe this? I fought them on this all the time, by the way. I shouldn't have had to, just because I'd eaten some barbecue during a pool party. Guess what, though? That belief is unfounded.

After Redditor MelonInACat asked the online community, "What is a common myth that has been debunked that too many people believe?" people told us about the myths that are still around despite credible evidence.

"Do you know how many wellness checks..."

You must wait 24 hours before reporting a missing person.

Some questions:

  1. 24 hours from when? The time you realized they were missing? The time you estimate they went missing? The time of the initial report to police?
  2. Who is the legal timekeeper? If this is a law, it must have a designated timekeeper for official records. City police? County sheriff? Do I hire a private attorney to file a time-keeping motion in court?
  3. If the most likely time to find a missing person is the first 24 hours, why would you wait 24 hours?
  4. If the person dies or is severely injured because the county/state refused to initiate a search, doesn't that put some liability on their office? It seems like that would've been tested in court by now.

There's no law governing how long you have to wait before notifying the police of a missing person. It's nonsense. File a report as soon as you suspect the person is missing or in danger.

Do you know how many wellness checks officers go on in a day? Call it in, man...



Why would you wait so long? It's absurd and wastes valuable time. And in the event something has happened, you could very well be saving someone's life.

"Popping your knuckles..."

Popping your knuckles is actually harmless and the "study" that claimed it caused arthritis was heavily flawed. Studies now show that it has nothing to do with causing arthritis.


I heard this one all the time.

I didn't crack my knuckles anyway because I didn't understand the appeal. Why were all the first-graders so fascinated by this?

"That if you get too close..."

That if you get too close to a baby bird, the mother will smell human on the baby and abandon the nest.

You probably should still avoid touching baby birds for other reasons like disease or risking injury to the animal though.


"That waking a sleepwalker..."

That waking a sleepwalker is dangerous for them. They might wake up confused, but they'll be fine unless you scream at them or something.


"That your hair and fingernails..."

That your hair and fingernails still grow after you die. It's mainly an optical illusion. Your skin decays and shrinks, causing hair and fingernails to look like they've grown.


I grew up hearing this.

There are entire generations of people who believe this.

"We all know the story."

The War of The Worlds broadcast in 1938. We all know the story: Orson Welle's broadcast War of The Worlds over the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). But people only tuned in partway through and heard the radio announcing that machines were landing in the country and were advancing and attacking. People panicked in the streets and thought aliens really were invading. There was hysteria on the streets, people were looting and traffic jams backed up as people tried to escape.

But it turns out, that isn't really true. It turns out barely anyone actually listened to the broadcast, and the few that were listening knew it was Orson Welles and knew it was just a broadcast of War of the Worlds. If there was anyone that did tune in and mishear it and panicked, it was nowhere near the hundreds and thousands that have been reported in this myth.


This one is definitely a popular urban myth by this point.

Cool story, but nowhere near as exciting as you might have heard. If anything, that mythos probably helped Welles get full artistic control of the projects, like Ciitizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, that made him a star.

"You don't have to wait..."

You don't have to wait 3 hours after eating to swim. Every summer I have to fight my in-laws about it.


"Do you really think..."

That not turning your airplane mode on (smartphone) can interfere/jam communications.

Do you really think if a smartphone might endanger a whole plane with passengers they would let it fly?


"No amount of reasoning..."

That cats kill babies.

I've run into this so many times since having kids. And it's not the older grandmas making these statements. I've had 20-year-olds tell me that you can't have cats if you plan to have babies because "they'll steal their breath" or some other variation. No amount of reasoning or rationale will dissuade them of this belief.


"Maybe it's just one of those things..."

YOUR. BLOOD. IS. NOT. BLUE! Seriously tho, I was told that everyone's blood was blue on the inside when I was younger, and I honestly don't know why my Mom thought that. Maybe it's just one of those things that you only believe because your family has been saying it since your Grandma's Grandpa's Grandma's Grandma's Grandpa or something like that.


Here's some valuable advice, guys:

Google is your friend. It's very easy to debunk this stuff. I remember being taught that the tongue had taste zones––we even had to fill out a worksheet labeling the tongue's different zones. That's totally wrong, in case you haven't figured it out.

Have some myths you've heard you'd like more people to know have already been debunked? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments section below!

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