Urban myths pervade our daily lives and in this technological age the truth is very easy to find. You can just can just google to find out the facts but (perhaps sadly?) few of us bother.
Is it that we prefer not to know the answers and like a bit of mystery and mysticism in our lives?
We also like to promote certain ideas/beliefs, using them to influence or change certain behaviours. Prime examples being the stories we tell our children – ‘Sit too close to the TV and you’ll get square eyes/cancer’ or ‘Don’t pull that face. If the wind changes it’ll stay that way’. Of course utter tosh but the origin of some urban myths and sayings are absolutely fascinating and in some cases actually true.
Here are a few urban myths and their basis in reality.
1) Sucking a copper coin will ‘beat’ a breathalyser – Not true. A breathalyzer takes its sample from air deep in the lungs and nothing held in your mouth or chewed or eaten can change that.
2) Oysters are an aphrodisiac – Possibly true. American and Italian scientists did a study in 2005 where they injected rats with amino acids found in oysters (and mussels) which raised testosterone and progesterone levels. These are the hormones that increase libido in males and females respectively. Whether it works on humans hasn’t been conclusively proved.
3) Holding a piece of bread in your mouth stops you crying when chopping onions – partially true. Onion tears are caused by a slightly acidic gas released when the large cells in an onion are sliced (google for the exact chemistry details). A piece of bread hanging out of your mouth will partially block the gases from reaching your eyes and tear ducts. There is also some evidence to suggest that bread absorbs the gases. Of course the only foolproof method is to get someone else to chop the onions for you…
4) Sitting on a cold surface causes piles (hemorrhoids) – utter tosh. Hemorrhoids are caused by increased pressure on the veins around the area during pregnancy or straining to go when constipated. They’re not the only causes but sitting on cold concrete is DEFINITELY not one.
5) You can catch crabs (pubic lice) from public toilet seats – again, utter tosh! Pubic lice usually can be transferred via intimate sexual contact of from infested clothing bedding. Nor can HIV be contracted from toilet seats and I really hope none of my readers believed that!
Hope you enjoyed those few examples, I certainly enjoyed choosing and researching them. There’s loads of good, interesting sites out there if I’ve managed to get you wondering?
The truth is out there… Doo-de-doo-de-doo…