Depending on when you grew up, where you’re from, and the kind of tales spun by your parents and the other kids on the playground, you probably know a few old wives tales. Those stories that we learn when we’re too young to really question them and just accept as facts come from a wide array of sources. Some stem from little-understood or outdated science, others from folklore that’s passed on like an inter-generational game of telephone. Many old wives tales, like admonishing kids to spit out their gum instead of swallowing it so it didn’t stay in their stomachs, were at least originally intended to keep kids safe from harm. And let’s face it, a lot of us still believe these tall tales well into adulthood, even if we can’t quite explain their scientific basis. Well, we’re here to help you with that.
We’ve dug into a few of the most pervasive old wives tales and figured out which are real, which are bogus, and where the heck they came from in the first place. So go ahead, swallow your gum, pluck out your gray hairs, and hit the pool after lunch with wild abandon. Those – and many others – are perfectly harmless.