What major historical events that some people claim didn’t happen at all? We separate fact from fiction with 10 famous historical events that didn’t really happen. How did the Vietnam War start? Find out the truth here.
Rumors spread by journalists and misunderstood metaphors have led to these incredible falsehoods creeping into our history. There are many historical events that are still talked about today, but not all of them are entirely true.
This list corrects erroneous beliefs that are currently widely held about notable topics. Each misconception and the corresponding facts have been discussed in published literature.
10Martian Hysteria (1938)
Orson Wells radio adaption of War of The Worlds didn´t cause mass hysteria and murders. Threatened by the new medium of radio, newspaper journalists began the rumor.
09Horseback Streaking (c.1050)
The story of Lady Godiva´s nude ride through Coventry emerged in the 13th century. That´s nearly 200 years after she died and no earlier records mention it at all.
08Burning Witches (1692)
No witches were burned during the Salem Witch trials, they were all hanged. The trials weren´t only held in Salem, they were also in Danvers, Ipswich and Andover.
07Burning Brass (1968)
Feminists protested against Miss America by dumping underwear in a bin without burning it. A reporter compared it to Vietnam protestors burning flags and a myth was born.
06Pope Joan´s Baby (c.880)
There was never a female pope who revealed her disguise when she gave birth. It was most likely a tale spread by the Catholic Church to discourage female clergy.
05Warrior Woman (1429 - 1431)
Rather than partake in any fighting Joan of Arc as a mascot for the French Army. She was burnt alive for repeatedly wearing men´s clothes – not for witchcraft.
04Nero and the wire of Rome (64 A.D.)
Nero did not play the fiddle as Rome burnt he was 30 miles away at the time. Instead, he blamed it on the Christians, who were then a small sect.
03The Reichstag Fire (1933)
Communists did not burn down the Reichstag building as part of a planned revolution. Historians argue that either a lone arsonist did it, or the Nazis staged it themselves.
02The Exodus (c.1250BC)
There is no archaeological or historical evidence to show that the Exodus ever took place. Historians think the story is a metaphor for the Israelites long struggle for independence.
01The Gulf of Tonkin Incident (1964)
President Johnson used this ambush on US ship to get power to wage war on Vietnam. But in reality, the ships had misread radar signals and spent a whole night firing at nothing.