Things That Never Actually Existed

IRON MAIDENS

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pinterest.com

Some people only known Iron Maiden as a heavy metal band out of England, but it was also one of the most gruesome medieval torture devices ever used. Or was it?

The Iron Maiden was essentially an iron cabinet with a hinged door lined with sharp spikes on the inside. As you’d imagine, when the door closes it most likely would not end well for the human shoved inside.

While the artifacts are undoubtedly authentic, they were most likely pieced together in a way that is pure fiction. Some experts believe that museums intentionally combined artifacts in order to make them appear more sensational. Though allegedly from the medieval age, there is no reference to these devices until the 1790s when German philosopher Johann Philipp Siebenkees claimed it was used to execute a criminal more than 200 years earlier. However, his story was later found to be fabricated.

. COW TIPPING

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No matter where you live you’ve likely heard stories about people allegedly trespassing onto farms for this cattle collapsing form of late-night hooliganism. The problem is that these stories are almost definitely not true.

The legends of cow tipping were so engrossing that it was the focus of a scientific study in 2005. The research concluded that over 650 pounds of exertion would be needed to tip over the average bovine. That would allow two people to accomplish the feat if the cow did not react to the invasion on its personal space whatsoever. If and when the cow were to adjust its footing, at least four to six people would be required in the attempt. Even with four to six, it would have to happen extremely fast and using the correct direction of force.

While the study suggested it is physically possible for a group of people to successfully bully a cow to the ground, there is no reason to believe cow tipping is actually something that happens.

First and foremost, cattle do not sleep standing up so you’d be hard pressed to find a cow in tip-ready positioning at night. Cows also have a remarkable sense of smell and hearing, allowing them to react quickly to approaching offenders. They are not the slowest animals, nor the most mild-mannered when being threatened.

There are also no Youtube videos showing a single occurance of successful cow tipping. While not the most scientific grounds for dismissal, it is hard to believe a single video would never have been posted.

PEE-ACTIVATED POOL DYE

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 Despite what your parents or lifeguards told you when you were a kid, there is no dye that changes the color of water when you ‘inconspicuously’ relieve yourself in the pool.

In addition to your backyard or community pool, the concept was even used in films like Grown Upsand the TV show The Adventures of Pete & Pete, but it simply is not real.

According to a Mason-Dixon survey, up to 52% of people believe that a revealing pool dye exists and is prevalent in most pools.

While a urine-detecting dye could possibly be produced, the hard part would be creating a dye that only reacts to the organic compounds in urine. There are generally a wealth of organic compounds present in pool water and a dye would react to all of them, rendering the product pointless.

If the dye did exist then just about every pool in the world would be a different color, and it would probably traumatize easily embarrassed children. The cost of chlorine is way cheaper than putting your kids through years of therapy.

BRONTOSAURUS

Brontosaurus

geekslife.com

Next to, say, the almighty Tyrannasaurus Rex, the Brontosaurus is easily one of the most commonly depicted beasts of the Jurassic age. It was the first and most mind-blowingly enormous dinosaur featured in the movie, Jurassic Park. The adorable protagonist of The Land Before Time, Littlefoot, was a Brontosaurus. The drive-in restaurant in the Flintstones even served Brontosaurus ribs. So it has to be a real thing, right?

BETTY CROCKER

pbs.org

 When you bite into a deliciously moist piece of Betty Crocker fudge brownie, you can almost feel ol’ Betty right beside you whipping up a fresh batch. The only problem is Betty Crocker was never a real person.

When you bite into a deliciously moist piece of Betty Crocker fudge brownie, you can almost feel ol’ Betty right beside you whipping up a fresh batch. The only problem is Betty Crocker was never a real person.

The prominent image of Betty Crocker was created by Marjorie Husted as a campaign for the Washburn Crosby Company. The first name was chosen because it sounds wholesome and American. Crocker derives from the name of one of the company’s directors, William Crocker.

Betty Crocker became an icon across all major mediums from radio to television. Starting in the 1920s, Betty Crocker had radio programs that were voiced by Agnes White through the early 1950s, followed by television appearances played by Adelaide Hawley Cumming for years to come.

Wrong.

The Brontosaurus is actually the result of an error made by a prominent paleontologist, O.C. Marsh, during such a contentious time in the field it was dubbed The Bone wars. During the Bone Wars period, Marsh was so caught up in the race to discover more bones than his rival, Edward Drinker Cope, that he carelessly misidentified an already discovered dinosaur as something new. The skeleton in question belonged to the Apatosaurus, but before it could be corrected the name Brontosaurus had already spread enough to create years of misinformation.

Update: As of April 2015 the Brontosaurus officially might have existed…again! Researchers from the UK and Portugal analyzed a wealth of evidence and determined that there is enough variation between the fossils to warrant a separate classification. Hooray!

JACKALOPES

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Many people believe the jackalope is a real animal, but in reality it is a mythical animal from American folklore.

The jackalope was made popular in the 1930s by two brothers from Douglas, Wyoming, who were hunters with expertise in taxidermy. In order to turn a profit they attached deer antlers to the carcasses of jackrabbits and sold to local stores and hotels.

There are many stories related to people spotting jackalopes in the wild. It is believed by researchers that any sightings were probably the result of rabbits infected with the virus, Shope Papilloma. The virus is known to cause large tumors on the head of rabbits that could resemble horns or antlers.

ANTI-GRAVITY CHAMBERS

Source Unknown

Maybe some of the more science-savvy skeptics already knew this was made up, but most people still seem to believe anti-gravity chambers on Earth can and do exist.

Unfortunately, no such technology exists at this point that can neutralize the force of gravity. For the purposes of research, scientists are indeed working on ways to simulate the conditions of space including weightlessness. This is extremely important for the advancement of technology that would allow astronauts to live in space without severe health issues.

The only current way to simulate weightlessness with Earth’s atmosphere is by hitching a ride on a plane that uses very specific parabolic maneuvers. When the plane is facing downwards, the passengers are able to float for a mere few seconds.

THE TROJAN WAR

clker.com

 We’ve all seen the movies and read the countless books and stories about the Trojan War. Many people assume the legendary tales to be a thing of historical fact, when in reality they are part of Greek mythology.

While it is not really known if the war happened in general, many scholars suggest there is almost no convincing evidence that the details were anything more than storytelling.

In the days of ancient Greece, stories were passed down the generations through poetry and verbal speeches. It is widely believed that the most of Homer’s poems about the Trojan War were constructed in a way that would make for good storytelling, and were exaggerated even more as the stories continued to spread.

While most scholars now seem to agree that there was most likely some foundation of truth regarding a general conflict, a majority of the rich detail is probably fiction — from the 1,186 ships entering Troy to the Trojan Horse.

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