Historical Events  Religion
Salem Witches

How were the Salem Witches executed?

MMDE: The Salem Witches were drowned or burnt at the stake

Current: The Salem Witches were hanged

The year is 1692.

Superstition in Europe regarding devilry sweeps across America, and reaches a fever pitch in Salem, Massachusetts. A group of local young women claimed others were practicing witchcraft, and so began the infamous Salem Witch trials.

By the time they were over, more than 150 men women and children were accused and 19 were executed. Eventually, they were all pardoned, but that brought little solace to the families and community as a whole.

How were they executed? The popular notion is they were all burnt at the stake, but it turns out that wasn't the case, and in fact never happened in the USA, only Europe, and even then rarely. The Salem Witches were all hanged apart from one male, who died whilst being pressed under stones refusing to confess.

Historical Events  Science
Apple mouse

Steve Jobs and the Mouse

MMDE: Steve Jobs stole the idea for the mouse from Xerox

Current: Steve Jobs did not steal the idea for the mouse from Xerox

There's a story going round in tech circles that Steve Jobs got the idea for the mouse when he saw a clunky prototype on a visit to Xerox labs in 1979. 

In fact, when the first Apple mouse became available commercially in 1984, a Xerox computer featuring one had been on sale for years. Since you can't steal an idea for which products are aleady available, because they are in the public domain, the notion he did so is incorrect.

He definitely did improve on the physical implementation, making them much easier to use, more reliable, more stylish and much more affordable, but that's a different argument.

Historical Events  People
Al Capone

Who was the first to put expiration dates on milk bottles?

MMDE: The FDA was the first to put expiration dates on milk bottles

Current: Al Capone was the first to put expiration dates on milk bottles

It sounds like a joke, but it's true - Al Capone was the first to put expiration dates on milk bottles, and not the FDA which most people would assume to be the case.

When the prohibition ended, he had the trucks and infrastructure already in place to distribute drinks other than the banned ones which had been so lucrative, so for business reasons he switched to milk.

Al Capone was sent to Alcatraz for tax evasion, because he aparrantly never personally murdered anyone and the blame for those which he was suspected of being behind, including the notorious St Valentines Day Massacre, could not be pinned on him.

Historical Events  Geography
Mount Kosciuszko

Where is Australia's highest mountain?

MMDE: Australia's highest mountain is Kosciuszko

Current: Australia's highest mountain is not Kosciuszko

It sounds like a crazy trick question - which country is Kosciuszko, Australia's highest mountain in? The answer is a little contrived but none the less very surprising. To cut to the chase, it might be helpful to ask if Britain's highest mountain is still Ben Nevis if you include Britain's external territories. The technical answer, which itself comes as news to many, is no, it becomes Mount Paget in the South Atlantic.

The situation in Australia is similar. The highest point on mainland Australia is Mount Kosciuszko. But that's not the highest mountain in Australia. In 1947, Great Britain handed over to the Commonwealth of Australia one of its most remote areas, the Heard and McDonald Islands in the Indian Ocean. Heard Island is home to Mawson Peak, which is 1,700 feet higher than Kosciuszko, and that's why you'd naturally think the highest point on the mainland is Australia's highest mountain, but technically it's not.

Historical Events  Geography
The Great Tartaria

Can an entire country "larger than Russia" disappear?

MMDE: Tartary never existed

Current: Tartary existed from the middle ages to the mid 1800's

Why have so few people heard of the country called Tartary, said to be 'larger than Russia',  which existed from the middle ages until the mid-1800's? Is it possible it has been deliberately erased from history, or is there more to this than meets the eye?

There is a growing body of evidence which shows Tartary simply disappeared from existence. This was not due to a war, since any it was involved in would certainly be well-known in world history.

Tartary had it's own flag, government and was considered a major political power as recently as the 18th century.

Historical Events  Religion
David Soul

The Gospel of Judas Iscariot

MMDE: There is no Gospel according to Judas

Current: There is a Gospel according to Judas

A carbon dated leather-bound papyrus manuscript from 280AD was published by The National Geographic Society as The Gospel of Judas.

It was called the Codex Tchacos when first discovered in Egypt in the 1970's, after the antiquities dealer, Frieda Nussberger-Tchacos. It's in over a thousand fragments, and is thought to be a translation of an older Greek manuscript from AD 130-170. 

The contents are controversial. It is said Judas was the only disciple who was told the true message from Jesus, and far from being his betrayer was in fact acting according to the instructions of Jesus.

Historical Events  People
David Soul

When did David Soul die?

MMDE: David Soul died in 2016

Current: David Soul did not die in 2016

Famous for his role in the action TV series Starsky and Hutch, plus his music, theatre and movie career, David Soul has made many a female fans heart flutter over the years. It was with great happiness, therefore, when many people heard he was alive and well as of Feb 2019, because they were sure he died in 2016.

Celebrity death hoaxes are rampant on the internet, probably because they are so easy to start - all it needs is s tweet, or a post in the right message forum. Don't forget the famous saying about bad news having gone round the world twice before good news catches up with it. 2016 was a particularly bad year for real celebrity deaths, so adding David Soul to them might seem plausible to some.

There are many reports of people specifically remembering how he died - by committing suicide.