False Myths We Only Believe Thanks To The Movies

False Myths We Only Believe Thanks To The Movies

Understandably, with Hollywood producing some of the biggest films worldwide, it has influence. This influence is not always a good thing, as it can lead to us believing things that aren’t true in the slightest. You would likely be surprised to learn how many Hollywood myths exist that many people take as facts at face value.  There are so many astounding revelations, in fact, that we decided to share the dumb things we realized in 2022 we only believe because of Hollywood. When reading our list, you’ll be shocked to learn just how many falsehoods you have accepted over the years, likely prompting a re-evaluation of everything you know.

Myth: Wolf Packs Have Alpha Males

Photo: Eric Kilby / Flickr / CC-BY-SA 2.0

The belief that wolf packs operate with an alpha male, or an alpha male and female pair, is not true. The research that started this myth focused on wolves held in captivity, which are very different from wolves in the wild.  In captivity, the wolves are often not related and forced together by circumstances outside their control, so there tends to be competition for dominance. In the wild, wolf packs generally consist of family members: mom, dad, and offspring. The concept of an alpha male or an alpha female simply doesn’t exist in the wild. It’s just the parents – natural authority figures – and their young or adolescent wolves.

Myth: Napoleon Bonaparte Was Short

Photo: Jacques-Louis David / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

French leader Napoleon Bonaparte is famous for many things, and his short stature is always one of them. However, understanding French measurements and average male height of the time reveals he wasn’t so outrageously short after all.  The English measurement system pegged Napoleon’s height at 5 feet, 2 inches. However, the French inch at the time was slightly longer than the Imperial inch. So, a height of 5 feet, 2 Imperial inches would have been the equivalent of about 5 feet, 5 French inches. While that might still sound short compared with today’s average American male height of 5 feet, 9.3 inches, it was only an inch shorter than average during the 18th century.  It appears that his legacy of being short (and thus trying to make up for it in other ways, hence the “Napoleon Complex”) stemmed from a British cartoonist named James Gillray who became famous for his satire of the embattled Frenchman. Some of his cartoons portrayed Napoleon as excessively short and child-like. The cartoons became so popular in England, and irritated Napoleon so much, that he sent many messages to Britain demanding they be stopped. The requests were promptly ignored.

Myth: Pyramids Were Built By Slaves

It’s a common misconception that Egypt’s Great Pyramids were all built by slaves, particularly Jews. To the contrary – plenty of evidence points to the pyramids being built by paid laborers 4,500 years ago. For one, archaeologist found the remains of a village built just for workers, something that would not have been done if they were slaves.  Additionally, evidence in the village shows proof that the laborers were fed the best cuts of meat and given plenty to eat. Graffiti (most likely written by the workers) near one of the pharaoh’s tombs read “The Friends of Khufu Gang.” It’s doubtful slaves would have left such a heartfelt message.

Myth: You Have To Wait 24 Hours Before Reporting Someone Missing

There is a common misconception that a person isn’t considered missing until they’ve been gone for at least 24 hours. This belief is not only wrong but also dangerous and harmful if someone is actually missing. For the best odds of finding someone, authorities should be notified as soon as you realize they are missing. There is no 24-hour waiting period or any mandatory waiting period at all. Whether it’s a child or an adult, you can notify the police that someone is missing at any time.

Myth: Roman Gladiators Were All Male, Slaves, And Battled To The Death

Photo: Gladiator / Dreamworks Distribution LLC

In the movies, every gladiator who enters an arena is an enslaved man who battles to the death.  However, Roman law initially allowed women to fight other women in spectator battles (until this was banned in 200 CE). And while the events began with criminal executions, professional gladiators rarely lost their lives.  Ancient Romans treated their fighters much like modern-day boxers and mixed martial arts fighters and had referees that ensured a fair fight. Fatalities certainly occurred, but many gladiators who lost their lives did so because they either gave up or weren’t pardoned by the Emperor after losing the battle.  Because Romans treated these fighters like professional athletes, many free men and women chose to attend Gladiator schools to train and fight in arenas and amphitheaters.

Myth: All Ninjas Wore Black

Photo: Sidharta-999 / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

In any book, movie, or comic, ninjas are always portrayed as wearing black (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles aside). And usually, they’d bring out nunchucks sooner or later. In reality, however, ninjas were basically undercover agents. Acting as spies, they would not have dressed to stand out, but to fit in. They may have dressed as priests, farmers, beggars, or whatever else the job might have called for.  Typically, ninjas wore clothes that were dark blue or almost an orange color – similar to a farmer’s uniform. When expecting a battle or hand-to-hand combat, a ninja would wear a chain-hemp top for protection. They only wore hoods when they needed to hide their identity; otherwise, ninjas tried to look as inconspicuous as possible.


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