We all have our gullible moments. Most of us have believed some phoney baloney falsehood at one time or another, especially as children. Sometimes parents will reinforce a bizarre notion because they really wanted you to behave that one time, or they just weren’t listening. But the hammer drops eventually, and it’s always embarrassing when it does.
It has to be said, some people are more gullible than others, and the false facts they believed for the longest time are by times hilariously relatable and just plain hilarious. These once-gullible redditors shared their best ones.
When I was seven, I touched a bare electric line, received a shock, and went crying to my mom. She was preparing dinner at the time, making a salad. She gave me some lettuce and said it would make a shock go away. I didn't eat lettuce, but it was worth making the pain go away. The pain subsided, as it would have regardless. So, I believed her about the lettuce. Years later, mom overheard me telling a friend about lettuce being a cure for electric shocks, and confessed that she'd made it up.
I'm South American and it's "common knowledge" there that American movies need to show the flag at least once to get tax cuts. I've known this as a "fact" for maybe 15 years and after living in America for five years I brought it up in a conversation, and all the Americans in the room had no idea what I was talking about. Googled and found out it's just a South American myth.
I’m old, and in 1969 (in high school biology) my teacher Mr Walters told our class that ”When girls have intimate times, they have a distinctive odor for days, which means the whole school will know what you’ve done.” Pre-internet, you couldn’t just look it up and I was too embarrassed to verify with my parents. But that's not the worst part: Mr Walters was the cool teacher who a lot of kids trusted.
Kept me and a lot of my classmates "pure" for YEARS.
If you don’t wait for one hour after eating to swim you will get such incredibly debilitating cramps that you will lose all motor function and sink and drown.
I believed that there were two bears that hibernated in the deep end of one of the pools we used to go to. There were two large volcanic rocks at the bottom this pool, that did resemble bears sleeping. My dad told me that in hibernation some bears didn't have to breathe air. But if they woke up they would surface quickly and would be very hungry. He would pull on my ankles if we got too close to the deep end. Even after I was able to dive down and touch them or wear goggles, I was still a little frightened until I was already in my teens.
I thought nuns weren’t allowed to drive.
This is a conversation between my friend and his girlfriend in college:
GF: How do they know where to put gas stations?
Friend: I assume they do market research to see how much need there is for another gas station in the area.
GF: No, I mean how do they know there will be gas on the corner where they build the station?
Friend: They truck in the gasoline with tankers...
When I was younger I had a pet bird and she flew away one day when I was cleaning her cage (her name was Cathy, lol). I was obviously devastated because she was my first pet and my best friend, so my dad said he was going to go out and find Cathy for me. Two hours later he comes home with a yellow budgie saying he found her in a tree down the block and caught her. I was so thankful and couldn’t believe he got her back for me. I literally only realized a couple years ago that there’s no way he could have caught her, and when I asked he confirmed that he just went to the pet shop and bought me a new yellow budgie. I lived with the belief that she was Cathy for 16 years.
I was chilling one night with the my now ex-girlfriend. We were watching a nature show. Something about bears. I notice her start to laugh and she looked a little shocked and confused. I asked her what was up and she said "What are they?"
“What are what?” I asked.
‘Those. Those...teddy bear things!?’
That's when I understood the truth. To my absolute astonishment and sheer disbelief, it transpired that she genuinely had no idea that real life, actual bears existed. She thought that teddy bears were some sort of mythical creature create purely for the purpose of being a stuffed, cuddly toy. “Like unicorns.” She was 17.
My one earlobe is a little smaller than the other. My dad told me he bit it off accidentally when I was a baby, and I believed it for about 15 years.
My growth slowed pretty early on, and I was obviously upset about that. My mom noticed, and told me that "you grow a little bit with each hiccup," probably to give me hope. From that day, whenever I would start hiccuping I would try to do everything in my power to KEEP hiccuping, just so I could grow a little taller. I believed that until I was 15.
That the Arctic was so-named because there are Polar Bears there (from the Greek word for bear: "arktos"). And that the Antarctic was named because there are No Polar Bears there. That one still hurts.
Just found this out five seconds ago. Your eyeballs grow. I thought your eyeballs stayed the same size your entire life and that's why babies appear to have such large eyes in proportion to the rest of their body.
You know when you fidget/bounce your leg when you’re anxious or bored? My mom always told me that was called “ponting.” For years I told people it was called ponting, and was always surprised no one else ever called it that...until one fateful day. I googled it one day and found out the word doesn’t exist. My mom either made it up or was using a fake term herself.
I think it’s a good word, though.
I believed that thunder was the sound of clouds hitting each other. My roommates told me otherwise just a few days before college graduation when there was some thunder on a cloudless day. Mom swears she doesn't know where I got that idea.
When me and my sister were kids, she refused to eat cabbage. So one mealtime, our Nana told her the cabbage wasn't cabbage, it was a special vegetable called spondooli that had been imported from South Africa. She ate this magical veg and loved it, and the name stuck as a result. Fast forward 10 years, 14-year-old-sister is told at the dinner table that spondooli is really just cabbage and she bursts into tears, saying "I'VE TOLD ALL MY FRIENDS ABOUT IT FOR YEARS."
My mum is a bit of an oddbod, and believed and did all sorts of weird things. Once, my younger brother was sick whilst eating dinner. Mum decided it was clearly the meat, and from that point forward forced vegetarianism upon him. Fast forward a good few months, Mum goes out and Dad orders in Chinese because he can’t be bothered to cook. One of the dishes was everybody’s favourite, spare ribs. Brother asks what they are, without skipping a beat Dad tells him they are “bingy-bangies”, the cooked stem of a plant native to East Asia. Brother eats them up with no issue.
This became a frequent thing. Mum would go out, we’d get Chinese, and brother would devour his favourite vegetarian dish... bingy-bangies. In our family they were known as bingy-bangies even if the brother wasn’t around. We thought nothing of it, even years later. This was all great until I get a phone call from him when he was 18, having had a meal with his first serious girlfriend and her parents... they ordered Chinese and he’d requested his favourite.
My mother told me Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone so that his wife could call him in from the shed when dinner was ready. I related this information back to my class teacher. Needless to say this was not the case...
In the early 2000s my dad told me Bobby Flay, who I loved, died. I believed it until I saw him on TV maybe three years ago. I called my dad and told him, I couldn’t believe it. I thought he must have faked his death. Turns out my dad lied for a truly hilarious reason. Apparently he wanted to watch something other than Bobby Flay on TV that day. Thanks, dad. You know, you could have just said something else was on.
My grandmother told me when I was little that if I didn’t have enough money at the checkout they would throw me in jail immediately. I was scared of that until I became a teen.
My mom used to sing the lyrics, "Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now," all the time, and I mean all the time. My older sister and I were so infatuated with the song because it was so catchy, and after asking 'who sings the song,' my mom told us both that she was the creator of the song. We LOVED that, I mean who wouldn't love a catchy song sang by their parents as a child?
Years go by, I'm maybe 14 at this point and in the car on the radio, we hear the song “Everybody Get Together” by the Dave Clark Five and my sister and I start to freak out, saying these artists STOLE HER SONG! My mom starts breaking out in laughter and claims she enjoyed the little lie and simply kept it going over the years. We all had a good laugh about that and still talk about it.
I was in the UK army (16 years old, when they still did junior leaders ) and was told during a driving theory lesson that we should never steal army diesel for an utterly terrifying reason. They could test your fuel at any time and if they found you stealing they could send you to prison. They could tell because under a microscope the diesel would have tiny arrows in it.
Years later I'd left the army and (having never really doubted it, but to be honest never really thinking about it) I was telling someone at work when it suddenly dawned on me how ridiculous that was. I'd just accepted it was a fact for well over 20 years.
I thought toilets really did spin the other way when you crossed the equator.
That flies buzzing around your house land on you and poop on you, causing moles. My parents told me that as a kid. Do you understand how it felt telling that to your close circle of high school friends?
That “prosecuted” did not mean the same thing as “electrocuted”. When I was little I would see signs that said “No Dumping. Violators will be prosecuted.” and think that punishment was very harsh for littering.
My dad used to say Jenna Fischer (Pam from the office) was Carrie Fisher’s daughter (Princess Leia from Star Wars) so I thought it was true and shared that info with a few friends. Stupid me didn’t think to look it up, and when I finally did, I told my dad the truth. Of course he doesn’t remember ever telling me this…
That Einstein failed math. I'm sure there are a ton of people out there that still believe that. What's funny is that when he was shown a clipping from Ripley's Believe It or Not, which is likely the origin of this myth, he responded, "I never failed in mathematics. Before I was 15, I had mastered differential and integral calculus".
My mom told me that the paws of dogs never grow and they are born with the size they'll have. A few years later after I embarrassed myself with that fact in front of my friends a few times. I asked her again and apparently I got it wrong. The paws are an indicator for the size the dog will reach later but obviously they do grow. Imagine how ridiculous it would look, a pup with huge paws.
Not me, but I met multiple people from France who shared one strange trait: none of them believed in a very common thing. Apparently, everybody in France believe that yellow school buses only exist in American movies, not in real life.
Until a year ago I thought cow tipping was a real activity. Turns out cows sleep laying down and it would take at least four people to actually tip assuming you could sneak up on them.
Edit: A reader reached out to say that cow-tipping is possible. Make of that what you will!
My friends and I convinced my now-wife that Bob Ross filmed his painting shows from prison, where he had a life sentence for killing his D.I. in the Army bare-handed. To the point where she was spreading it to others as fact. She was sooo mad when we finally told her.
That if you put a fallen baby bird back in its nest the mother will abandon it because you touched it. Not true. If you ever find one and have the ability to, by all means put it back! Of course, you should still use good judgment when deciding to put it back in the nest. My main point is that the mother won't abandon it because you touched it.
Read a post like this on another site and my husband and I still laugh at this answer. For all of this woman's life, she thought we were called human beans. She was 25 before she learned it was beings. To this day we will randomly tell each other, "You are a wonderful human BEAN."
When I was younger, my brother (four years older) and I played Mario Party 7 ALL the time. It was a big deal. There was one week a year though, where we celebrated Bowser and the Koopa Kids, and we had to play the Bowser game board every day that week and do Bowser/evil themed things and put up decorations all over the house to celebrate him. This was called Bowser Week.
Sometimes I'd ask him when Bowser Week is this year, because I thought the dates changed every year like how the date for Easter varies each year, so only my brother knew when it was. One day I asked him when it was so I could prepare and he said "What?" And I said "What day does Bowser Week start this year?" and he started laughing and told me it wasn't real and I was ABSOLUTELY crushed and confused.
I still don't quite understand. I'm 18.
I once heard a lady on the radio phone in to describe how when she was young, her mum told her that similarly to bees making honey, wasps make jam. Different flavours of jam were made when wasps went to the different plants, e.g. raspberry jam if they’d been to raspberry flowers.
She said she only found out that the only purpose of a wasp is to annoy humans when she was 27!
Aged maybe six, some kid told me that the woman in the video for REM's "Shiny Happy People" was Michael Stipe's ex-wife and that he'd accidentally killed her after the song came out which is why she didn't appear on any more singles after that. He didn't go to jail because it was an accident and I was 6 and didn't question this.
Then I saw the B52s and thought "huh, that singer looks familiar, just like Michael Stipe's ex-wife" but never made the connection. After probably a good decade or so it popped back into my head, leading to me finally googling it and feeling both betrayed and completely stupid for years after.
My ex-wife, who was born in Alaska, thought it was an island out in the Pacific past Hawaii. I told her I wanted to drive to Alaska to see all the terrain on my way out there. She looked at me like I sprouted wings and confidently informed me that cars don’t drive on water. I informed her that I was well aware of this fact and I wasn’t sure what she was implying.
This is when she said something that made me question our entire marriage. She genuinely thought that Alaska was Island west of Hawaii, “just like on the maps.” I lost my mind and began laughing like a jerk when I realized she had no idea Alaska was attached to Canada. She didn’t believe me until I pulled up google earth. She was 22 when she learned where Alaska actually was.
That blue stop lights were a thing, and they were used by police to clear intersections so they could get through them quickly and safely. I thought I saw a blue stoplight as a kid. We passed through the intersection a lot, and I never saw the light come on, so I finally asked my mom about it. She was only half listening, and told me the blue stoplight meant there was a cop behind us trying to get through. When I asked if they had a remote to activate it, she confirmed that was the case.
But I never saw another blue stoplight. It wasn't until middle school, years later, that I realized blue stop lights aren't a thing. My mom just hadn't been listening and fed me a phoney answer - which, it turned out, was kind of her M.O.
When I was a kid I was waiting in a line at an amusement park with my parents. There was a guy in front of us with a huge Adam's Apple and I had no idea what it was. So I asked him about it (mortifying my parents) and he laughed it off and told me he accidentally swallowed a bouncy ball that got stuck in there. I believed it for years before realizing I was an idiot and he was just joking around.
That Wendy's frosties were dairy free. My wife and I have no idea where we first got this idea, but we repeated it to each other enough (alongside similar but actually true facts like "Oreos are vegan" [they are!]) that we just kind of accepted it as true. She's lactose intolerant, so would generally avoid ice cream-y treats, but we thought frosties were still fair game. Sadly, that's not the dumbest part. My wife never felt great after eating them, but we just blamed the intestinal distress on whatever weird stuff we imagined made it taste so much like ice cream. Turns out, that "weird stuff" is just dairy products. We're idiots.
A few years ago, my girlfriend and I were watching 30 Rock. We got to a Christmas episode in which there's a reindeer in the back of one shot. I said, "Wow, they actually got a live reindeer!" My girlfriend said, "Ha ha, yeah, a 'real' reindeer." I said, "Wait, you know reindeer are real, right?" She was like, "Psh, you're just messing with me." And that day she learned about Caribou.
To start I was like four or five at the oldest when this happened, and admittedly spent about 80% of time inside my own head.
Anyway, I don't remember where we were heading but the whole family, my dad, mom, older brother, and myself were in the car heading somewhere. Little me slips back into reality just long enough to hear a word I'd never recalled hearing before; "Pedestrians," and that Dad, who was driving, needed to watch out for them. Cue me immediately getting sucked back into the endless maze that is my imagination where I somehow come to the conclusion that these Pedestrians must be a species of aliens that for some reason liked to run out in front of moving vehicles. Probably as part of some diabolical plan to take over earth. In the next two or three years that I watched carefully for these invaders, it never once occurred to me to ask anyone about them, or why no one else seemed all that concerned about it.
One day when I was little, I was playing with my Dad’s hair and I noticed a few stood up dead straight on his head while the majority were wavy and laid down on his scalp. When I mentioned it to him he said that the reason why his hairs stood up was because he knew how to swim.
Now, I’m a child, so I took what my father said for gospel.
Fast forward to me in high school. My classmate was going on about a few annoying hairs that were standing straight on her head. Of course I said, “Oh, you must know how to swim!” My friend looked at me and after a pause asked, “What?” I just looked at her, recognizing the absurdity of what I had just said and responded, “Never mind.”
Needless to say I yelled at my Dad when I got home and he just laughed at me.
When I was a kid, my dad was something of a superhero. While my mom worked from home, he worked long hours and always tried to make it up by taking us on little trips or bringing home tiny gifts whenever he could afford it. He was also really big into story telling, and being a kid I always believed him no matter what.
One day we were driving around town, and he told me that he could control the stop light changes. I was like “what? Really? Show me!” like any kid would be. From then on out, any time we were at a stoplight he would say “green!” and it would turn green within seconds. I was stunned, couldn’t believe my dad had the power to change stop lights.
I somehow just believed that up until I was a teenager, where I stopped and went “wait a second...”. We’ve continued to laugh about it all my life, how one instance of him trying to blow my five-year-old mind led to a 10 year belief that my dad could control stop lights. (I now realize, of course, that he just looked at adjacent stoplights, and when those went red, ours would be turning green soon).
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