Most of us are pretty confident in our ability to differentiate fact from fiction. But what if you found out that most of the common myths, urban legends, and popular plot points are actually based on reality?
1. Mandrake roots are real. And yeah, they look like creepy babies.
Mandrake roots are common in many fantasy stories like Harry Potter and Pan’s Labyrinth, but they actually exist in the real world! They can be poisonous, and some species cause hallucinations. This explains why some folks back in the Middle Ages insisted that when they picked up a mandrake, it would scream.
2. There was a historical "Red Wedding."
Violence and murder in a respectable household? Absurd! Well, not really. “The Black Dinner” took place in 1440 in Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle. The young Earl of Douglas and his younger brother were invited to dine with James II of Scotland (then only 10 years old). But the Lord Chancellor, seeing that the Douglas brothers were too powerful, decided to serve them a black bull’s head as a symbol of death. The teenage Douglases were then dragged out to Castle Hill where they were beheaded.
3. The Sword in the Stone actually exists.
King Arthur’s famous sword was said to be inspired by the sword that San Galgano of Italy inserted into the stone. The stone supposedly “yielded like butter.”
4. The pit from Leonidas' infamous "THIS IS SPARTAAA!" scene in 300 actually existed.
5. In the Middle Ages cats were considered bad luck because of their association with witches.
A whole lot of cats were killed during this time, because people believed witches can transform in to cats. The downside to this genius plan was letting infected rats run free, thus spreading the Bubonic Plague, which killed 100 million people.
6. That scene from Mel Gibson's Apocalypto is based on the Mayan practice of human sacrifice.
Yes, it was every bit as bloody (or maybe more so) as the movie, complete with hearts being cut out and heads rolling down the pyramid stairs.
7. Tombs of Egyptian royalty are depicted as cursed because of their gruesome contents.
Egyptian Pharaohs were sealed in with everything they could possibly want or need in the afterlife. This includes pets, living servants, and even concubines!
8. The common movie premise of being buried alive is based on a strangely frequent event.
People got buried alive so often back in the 19th century that inventors created a contraption that would give the person being buried alive a way to alert those above ground.
What’s your favorite history factoid that got depicted in popular culture? Let us know in the comments below!
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