The world is full of surprises and one of the most surprising aspects of life is how often a myth turns out to be true.
Something is deemed "myth" or "legend" when it is a story handed down for generations or often even longer. Some myths and legends have endured for more than 1,000 years!
Yet, every now and again some clever person goes and finds a piece of evidence that shows that the story isn't fiction but an absolute fact. The readers of Reddit recently came together to share their myths turned reality. We know you'll enjoy them, they're absolutely fascinating. So, please come with us.
1. The Lake Of Death
"One of my favorites is Lake Nyos in the Republic of Cameroon.
The local legend was that an evil spirit or a monster lived in the lake and would come out at night to kill anyone who lived too close to the lake. One of the local groups, the Bafmen, settled in the high ground near the lake due to the legends. Different groups moved into the area in the mid-1900's and lived closer to the water's edge, disregarding the customs of the Bafmen.
In 1986, nearly 1,500 people living near the lake were found dead. Those who lived in the higher ground were fine.
It turns out the lake was very deep, and would essentially become carbonated. A landslide could trigger a release of CO2 from the lake waters. On that night in 1986, an enormous release occurred and since CO2 is heavier than air, anyone in the lower areas simply suffocated and didn't wake up.
So while the myth about the evil spirits wasn't entirely true, there really was something in the lake to fear!"
2. The Fastest Water Going People Of Them All
"For a few hundred years the Micronesians, a stone-age culture, had the fastest sailboats in the world. The first few reports of how fast the boats went were derided as fantasy. It wasn't until George Anson made actual measurements and drawings in the 1740s it was taken seriously."
3. The Worst Hailstorm Ever
"Mountaineers found a small lake in the Himalayas, absolutely covered in bones. As they searched, they found the bodies of at least two hundred, as well as potentially up to three times that many in the lake itself. All of them died of blunt force trauma from what appeared to be a rockslide, but there was no sign of any such rocks.
According to legend, Raja Jasdhaval, the king of Kanauj, was traveling with his pregnant wife, Rani Balampa. They were accompanied by servants, a dance troupe, and others as they traveled on a pilgrimage to Nanda Devi shrine, for the Nanda Devi Raj Jat, which takes place every twelve years. As they traveled, they were overcome by a sudden, severe hailstorm with extremely large hailstones. The storm was too strong, and with nowhere to take shelter, the entire group perished."
4. The Government Is Not Your Friend
New York Daily News
"In the 1960s there were rumors that the US government had been carrying out secret germ-warfare tests on its own citizens. These rumors were strongly denied.
Then in the 1970s, when pressed by Senate hearings, the military admitted that, between 1949 and 1969, such tests HAD taken place, most notably on the New York subway system."
5. No Surprises, North Korea Does Bad Things
Tech Sci Art
"North Korean kidnappings of some Japanese people.
They were just rumors and a 'myth' for a while, but then NK came out and admitted that they totally did it."
6. Those Clever Mongolians
The Squeaky Robot
"The Mongolians would always boil their water before drinking to "get rid of the tiny evil spirits'.
That's a pretty good description of germs and bacteria for the time period."
7. The Vikings Discovered America
"The discovery of Viking/Norse colony at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, Canada that was settled between 990-1050. Rumors of Norse landings in North America were dubious, often alluded to in the Icelandic or Greenlander Sagas as the colony of Vinland. In 1961, a colony was located, excavated and dated to over 400 years prior to Columbus."
8. An Entire Chinese Imperial Dynasty
"The Shang Dynasty, China's second dynasty according to traditional historiography.
Until the 20th Century, there was no direct evidence that it had existed besides records describing it left behind by dynasties that came centuries after them, and it was ascribed semi-mythical status.
Then one day somebody realized that "dragon bones" being ground up by a bunch of villagers to make medicines were actually oracle bones, the first direct written evidence of the Shang Dynasty's existence left by the dynasty itself.
The dynasty preceding the Shang, the Xia Dynasty, is still considered mythical, and since it precedes writing its existence is harder to verify."
9. The Monster Vietnamese Turtle
"The Hoan Kiem Turtle was a legendary creature living in Hoan Kiem lake in Vietnam.
In the 15th century the golden turtle god Kim Qui appeared to the emperor of vietnam and gave him a sword. After a war with the Chinese, the turtle reappeared and took back the sword. Sightings of the mythical turtle persisted on and off for hundreds of years until in 1967 a fisherman actually found or caught the turtle and beat it to death with a crowbar. Multiple sightings since then confirmed the turtle or turtles in the lake are very similar to or possible the same creature as the Yangtze giant softshell turtle."
10. The Terracotta Warriors
"It was widely regarded to be a myth that the first emperor of a united China, Qin Shi Huang, built a massive replica of his empire as his mausoleum. The stories said he had thousands of statues of soldiers constructed to guard his empire in the afterlife and had an underground palace with rivers of mercury. In 1974, more than 8,000 terracotta warriors were uncovered in Xi'an China."
11. Hobbits Were Real In Flores
About 50,000 to 200,000 years ago, the island of Flores, Indonesia was home to a group of people who were three to four feet tall.
12. "The Living Islands" Under The Waves
For many years, sailors talked of islands which just appeared out of nowhere. Once someone took shelter on them, they disappeared beneath the waves.
This phenomenon was recorded off the coast of Pakistan. It's likely a sunken island temporarily propelled to the surface by a methane bubble. When the gas runs out, it sinks.
13. Ball Lightning Is Observable
Ball lightning has been regularly reported, but it is so rare that many scientists were sure it was a myth until 2014. That's when Chinese meteorologists managed to measure it in a storm they were observing.
14. Gorillas Were Mythical Once
The people of Carthage had a folklore of a hairy people who did not speak our language and whose names were "gorillae." Yes, for centuries, gorillas were a myth until Thomas Savage formally discovered them for America in 1847.
15. Troy Is In Turkey
Troy was destroyed in the Trojan War, according to the stories told three millennia before Christ. Everyone thought it was made up—until a German archaeologist found it in modern Turkey in 1868.
16. The "Green Man" Of Pennsylvania Was An Unfortunate Man
Myths of a hideously maimed "green man" who had no face and glowed green due to an electric accident came about because of a poor man called Raymond Robinson who had been severely electrocuted.
He was so badly disfigured that he only walked at night and scared people made up a story about him.
17. Kangaroos Were Thought To Be Monsters
Nobody other than Australians spent much time on the continent in the 19th century, and nobody had seen a kangaroo, either—that is, except for the biologists who were shipped a dead one and declared it to have two heads.
One head was in its stomach and the other was on its shoulders. The myth of a monster from Australia was born.
18. Hindu Myth Became Grisly Reality
Skeleton Lake was a place told of in Hindu mythology, where a king and his entourage were destroyed by a storm and their bones consumed by the earth.
It was later uncovered in the Himalayas: A lake full of bones where everyone had died of blunt force trauma, even though there was nothing else for miles around.
19. Giant Redwood Trees Were Once Believed To Be Fairytales
It might seem ridiculous now, but the giant redwood tree was believed to be a universal hoax for a long time. Eventually, people came around to understand the towering tree giants.
20. The Pied Piper Of Hamelin
While it's not 100% certain that the Pied Piper took them away, there are historical records in 1384 in the town of Hamelin written "100 years since our children left."
Nobody knows what that means exactly, but maybe the legend is true?
So there you have it, some folktales are based in reality and it's hard to tell which is which.
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