There's nothing quite like Ask Reddit to leave you suddenly itching for answers to questions that had never occurred to you before. Last night, I fell down the Reddit black hole and found this thread on true facts that sound made up. And this morning, I woke up wiser for it. Truth really is stranger than fiction, people.
Yesterday, Redditor Spoon_Elemental posed a question with nearly 10,000 answers: "What's something everybody thinks is a myth or rumor but is actually completely true?" From elephants to poppy seeds, Redditors enlightened us on what supposed tall tales and urban legends are in fact far more than tales or legends.
I've fact-checked some of the best ones so that, if one of your friends ever cites one in a conversation and another says, "Yeah, but is that really true?" you can now assure everyone that, believe it or not, it is.
Head over to Reddit to read a bunch of false-sounding facts that are completely true — though I have to admit a lot of them are only sort of true, and others are already widely accepted — and check out some of the most mind-boggling ones below:
Poppy seed pods contain opium. Take it from this commenter who nearly learned the hard way:
The source of elephant terror may be not the mice themselves but their sudden motions. "In the wild, anything that suddenly runs or slithers by an elephant can spook it," elephant researcher Josh Plotnik told Live Science.
About once a year, someone in the world manages to have twins that were not conceived at the same time. The phenomenon, known as superfetation, occurs when the body continues producing eggs during pregnancy, which the hormone HCG blocks in every case but this rare one.
What they said. According to the Kerry Committee report, the U.S. government paid $806,401 between January and August 1986 to four drug-trafficker-owned companies providing aid to the Contras in Nicaragua.
I've heard this paradox explained a dozen times and still had to look it up all over again because the "a-ha" moment is always fleeting. But basically, you're playingLet's Make a Deal, and there are three doors — two with goats behind them and one with a car — and you pick one. The host, Monty Hall, opens one you didn't pick and reveals a goat. It is in your favor to then switch your choice to the other unopened door. Why? Statistics. You can read the full explanation here — but bmatul's response is actually so simple I may be done needing explanations once and for all.
50 percent seems too high, right?! But 23 people is 253 pairs of people. The chances that two people in a group consisting of just them two have the same birthday are .27 percent, and that number goes all the way up to 50.73 percent once you have all those pairs.
I'd never actually heard this one, even as a supposed myth. I guess I hadn't thought about the source of pineapples, but the reality is surprising: Pineapples grow out of a short, leafy plant. Sadly, though, they don't house sponges under the sea because some things really are just meant for the realm of fiction.
Images: André van Rooyen/Flickr