Famous Human Myths
Here are some of the famous human myths and facts about body and mind.
People falling from a great height are dead before they even hit the ground
Rather than be burned to death in his blazing shell-torn Lancaster on a bombing raid over Germany in 1944, Royal Airforce Gunnery Sergeant Nicholas Alkemade jumped from 18000 feet without a parachute calculating that this would be a quicker and less agonizing death.
Unbelievably, he suffered only a slight injuries,the last part of his 122 mile per hour fall was broken by the branches of young pine trees,thick springy undergrowth and finally deep snow. "It was rather bouncing on a trampoline" he recalled.
Sergeant Alkemade's experience is a dramatic rebuttal of the idea that people falling from great heights are dead before they even hit the ground.
Asphyxia,brought about by the speed of the fall, and heart failure through shock were thought to occur long before the final impact.
This act that has been one of the famous human myths has been amply demonstrated by free-fall parachutists who regularly drop several miles before opening their parachutes.In 1960 Capt Joseph Kittinger jumped from a Balloon in the United States and fell 16 miles before opening his parachute. He landed conscious and unhurt.
Cold causes Colds:
The common cold is the world's most widespread illness-which is probably why there are more myths about it than any other illness.
The most widespread fallacy of all is that colds are caused by cold. They are not. They are caused by viruses passed from one person to person.
You catch a cold by coming into contact , directly or indirectly with someone who already has one. If cold causes colds, It would be reasonable to expect the eskimos to suffer from them permanently.But they do not. And in isolated arctic regions explorers have reported being free from colds until coming into contact again with infected people from the outside world by way of packages and mail dropped from airplanes.
During the first world war, soldiers who spent long periods in the trenches, cold and wet, showed no increased tendency to catch cold. In the 2nd world war prisoners at the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp, naked and starving, were astonished to find that they seldom had cold.
Hair and Nails Continue to grow after death:
Seven years after her death in 1862,the body of Elizabeth Siddal, wife of the painter poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, was exhumed from its grave in London for the recovery of a manuscript Rossetti had buried with her.
According to legend , a witness described the awesome sight of the corpse with luxuriant red-gold hair practically filling the coffin. If the hair was as remarkable as described , It must have been as it was when she died.
Alternatively the witness may have been grossly exaggerating . For hair does not grow after death. A certain amount of drying and shrinking of the skin takes place after death, and might revel an extra fraction of an inch of hair-hardly enough o fill a coffin.
Hair and Nails grow from the root by cell multiplication and are fed by the bloodstream. When death occurs, the heart stops, and the blood does not circulate. The nutriment supply to the cells ends, and they can no longer grow.
Hair can turn white overnight:
It is sometimes said of a person who has suffered a terrible shock that " his hair turned white overnight" , but no such cases have been verified .
Gray hair can seemingly turn white overnight, however, if the person develops an inflammatory condition of the scalp known as alopecia areata: the dark hair falls out suddenly, leaving the person with the more resistant white hair.
For those in good health the transition to white hair is usually slow. Hair normally grows about half an inch a month; so even if the hair began to lose pigmentation, it would take months for a full head of hair to change color.
A scratch from a rusty nail causes tetanus:
Tetanus is an acute infectious disease caused by the toxin produced by a bacterium called Clostridium tetani. A scratch from a sterile piece of rusty metal cannot caue tetanus , because neither rust nor metal is poisonous.
On the other hand, a scratch from a dirty nail would be dangerous if there was any tetanus producing organism present in the air. This would be especially true of a cut from a gardening implement that could have picked up such infections from the soil.
Some people are double jointed:
Stage contortionists,practitioners of advanced yoga, and others may appear to have unusual joints. The truth is that heredity and constant exercise have given the fibrous tissue binding their bones together more elasticity than most people's. No one has yet been born with truly double joints. So this did not remain one of the famous human myths.
A drowning man suffers three times.
It is said that a drowning man comes up three times before sinking to his death. It is not necessarily true. A person who panics in the water tends to sink and draw water into his lungs each time his head goes under. This may occur any number of times-or not at all - before he then dies from asphyxia. This is well one of the famous human myths.
A dying man sees all his life flash before him:
Poets and novelists are largely to blame for the notion that a person's past life flashes through his mind moments before his death. Of the many cases of people saved from what they believed to be certain death, some claim to have had flashbacks, but others claim they had no such experience.
An Englishman A.R Bayley, who was saved from drowning,wrote in 1916 :"I remember thinking it was all up with me, but the events of my past life did not pass before me". A pilot shot down in 1918 said after the crash: "I was sure I was going to be killed. I was just shaking my head and thinking of my girlfriend in England".
Only a Sudden Shock will cure hiccups.
Thousands of remedies have been proposed for hiccup, each with its enthusiastic backers. Some seem to work,others do not. Research into known cases indicates that if a sufferer firmly believes a particular treatment will succeed, more often than not it does. So doctors have been led to the conclusion that the cure for hiccups is partly psychological. So this idea could not hang on as the most famous human myths and is busted.
People who survived execution were automatically reprieved:
Although there have been reprieves in cases where equipment failed or the victim recovered, there was never any law that made this obligatory, either in the US or Great Britain.
Nevertheless, when the death sentence was lawful in many countries, there was a sense of humanity that sometimes resulted in mercy for criminals who survived execution attempts. The most famous of all cases was that of an Englishman, murderer John Lee, still remembered as "the man they couldn't hang".
Three times, as he stood on the scaffold in 1885, the trapdoor under his feet failed to open, although each time it had functioned perfectly during tests. It was later thought that a warped board was responsible and that the weight of the prison chaplain- who was present only at executions and not at the tests-causes it to bend and jam the trap.
After the third unsuccessful attempt to hang him, Lee's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on humanitarian grounds. He was later released and emigrated to the United States where he later died in 1933. So this leads the list of the famous human myths that remained true and not myth.
The Russian Republic of Georgia has the world's oldest people:
Centenarians, according to a UN estimate in 1972, numbered 25,000 throughout the world.
According to the Soviet Union at that time, no fewer than 21,000 of them lived in Russia. If the Russians had not put their figure so high, it might have been accepted without a close examination. But statisticians who studied the data were suspicious.
The Republic of Georgia, birthplace of Joseph Stalin, was particularly famed for the longevity of its inhabitants: 39 in every 100,000 of the population were said to be aged 100 or more. Then in 1961, the Russians claimed that, in the Republic of Azerbaijan, the figure was 63 per 100,000.
The same survey on which this claim was based discovered 592 people who had passed the age of 120. Occasional reports from the Caucasus regions have spoken of inhabitants aged 150. One man who died in 1973 had given his age as 168.
All these claims have been subjected to close scrutiny and the result is a good deal of skepticism. So for me this remained one of the famous human myths.
Weak Chins-Strong Characters:
Foolish Aristocrats are sometimes mocked as "chinless wonders", the idea being that strength or weakness of the character is shown by the shape of the person's chin.
The notion has no basis infact. Frederick the Great, Queen Victoria, Gen James Wolfe, the Bronte sisters- all had weak chins but they were all strong characters. Criminologists say that there are no such things as criminal features. The study of faces as reflectors of character is not a science at all, simply a superstition. So this, one of the famous human myths holds no value now.
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