Historical Events  General
Historical Events  General
Cowboys poker

Smokey Saloon

MMDE: Cowboys in the Old West mainly played poker

Current: Cowboys in the Old West seldom played poker

The image most people conjure up of the Old West when thinking of how the cowboys spent their leisure time is a smokey saloon with a table of grim faces, all intent on betting the farm on that one last hand.

This picture is so common it's been depicted since the silent black and white dawn of the Western movies.

However, it turns out not to be accurate. Sure, there were saloons, piano players and colorful dancing girls, as well as the card tables surrounded by gamblers. But were these cowboys playing poker? It turns out probably not, because whilst poker did exist as a card game at the time, the most common one by far was called "Faro"

Historical Events  General
Wall St crash

How many deaths?

MMDE: Hundreds

Current: None

It happened just before the Great Depression. Starting in the summer of 1929, and slowly gathering momentum to reach a peak in October, it became known as the Wall Street crash. Peaking on Black Thursday - October 24th, 1929, stories of ruined traders jumping out of the windows to their death have widely circulated since, but how accurate is this?

It tuns out not only were they wrong, they were completely wrong and no-one died that way on the day, although there were stories of suicides by other means following Black Thursday.

Only decades later, once all the chaos had settled down, could the truth be uncovered.

In the United States the suicide wave that followed the stock market crash is also part of the legend of 1929. In fact, there was none.

--  John Kenneth Galbraith, "The Great Crash of 1929"

Historical Events  General
Vikings Horns

Vikings Horns

MMDE: Vikings had horns in their helmets

Current: Vikings did not have horns in their helmets

Where did the image of the Vikings rampaging across the land with horns in their helmets come from?

If you thought it was back in the Viking age, when they actually carried out their various raids, invasions and pillages, and not the 1800s, you are mistaken.

The image of horns on their helmets was never really seen before Sweden’s Gustav Malmström popularised them when painting them on their raids back in the 19th century, and they really only became cemented in our consciousness in the 1870's for Wagners “Der Ring des Nibelungen”.

In fact, no helmet from the period with horns has ever been found, whereas many without them have.

Historical Events  General
Fortune Cookies

Fortune Cookies

MMDE: Fortune Cookies originated in China

Current: Fortune Cookies did not originate in China

Come on, this is a no-brainer. Everyone knows fortune cookies came from China - don't they?

Not any more.

Today, the Chinese style phrases, proverbs or vague prophecies we see in them certainly allude to their origins as being oriental, and the Chinese restaurants they are served in, together with the way they are made, seem to fit in with what Westerners expect of Chinese food. But nope, they're rarely seen in China at all. This was even confirmed in a 1983 court case confirming they were first served in San Francisco.

It turns out they are largely an American invention. Today they are certainly served in the Chinese restaurants of the US,  but they were not brought over from the orient as a native dish.

Their popularity is due to the way they spread with the growth of what would have been seen as the new, exotic trend in foreign restaurants serving oriental food - or what appealed to the Americans of the day as such, even if not authentic.

Historical Events  General
Bull

Do bulls attack red rags?

MMDE: Bulls attack red rags

Current: Bulls do not attack red rags

The saying "Red rag to a bull" has become so commonplace that everyone is sure it must be rooted in fact. It's used to describe an action which is likely to aggravate, or make an inflamed situation worse.

The assumption is that the origin lies with the angry reaction a bull inherently exhibits when it sees the color red, and this is further reinforced with the use of red flags by matadors in bullfights.

Is there any basis in this? It turns out not to be the case. In fact bulls show no special behaviour to any particular color, and the gruesome reason those flags are red is in fact to try to mask the blood which results from the bull's torment.

Historical Events  General
St. Bernard dog

What was round the St Bernard rescue dogs neck?

MMDE: The St Bernard rescue dog carried a brandy barrel round its neck

Current: The St Bernard rescue dog never carried a brandy barrel round its neck

Sometimes, the truth behind popular misconceptions can shatter life-long held warm, comforting beliefs.

If you were in need of assistance, alone on a snowy alpine mountain, and saw a St Bernard dog bounding towards you, what would you expect to see round its neck? Most people's answer is a small barrel of brandy, and the image of a large, friendly and very furry dog is hard to shake off. Unfortunately that's not the case and never has been, no matter how comforting or cute we find the story.

It turns out the origin of this picture is quite literally a picture - it's from an artist's studio in England in 1820. Once the painting gained popularity, so did the idea of the barrel of brandy. However, it's never been used once as depicted this way.

Historical Events  General
9/11 Twin Towers

9/11: How many buildings were lost?

MMDE: 3

Current: 7

As if the 9/11 attack isn't controversial enough, it seems to now be the subject of a Mandela Effect.

Everyone knows the Twin Towers were destroyed on September 11, 2001, and many know that WTC 7 was lost too. Most people know 3 buildings collapsed on that day, and remember that's the way it was reported at the time. So they are surprised to hear that today the total figure is 7, because other buildings were demolished in the weeks following due to damage received on the day, such as the Deutsche Bank Building, We're not talking about the number which were destroyed on the day here - it's the total lost in the time following the event which couldn't be repaired.

Wilipedia:

The collapse of the Twin Towers destroyed the rest of the complex, and debris from the collapsing towers severely damaged or destroyed more than a dozen other adjacent and nearby structures. Other buildings destroyed include St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Marriott World Trade Center (Marriott Hotel 3 WTC), South Plaza (4 WTC), and U.S. Customs (6 WTC).

The Verizon Building was also extensively damaged but was successfully restored later.