As we get older, there are many things that we believe as children that we find out aren’t true. It might be a shocker when you find out that chewing gum doesn’t stay in your stomach forever or the tooth fairy isn’t real (we were so sad about this one)! Shanzeh Chaudhry asked around and found out the most popular myths we believed as children – and how real they really are.

1. The Tooth Fairy

We’ve all heard of the mysterious creature that comes to us at night and takes our teeth in exchange for money. The legend of the tooth fairy actually traces back to the 10th century, beginning in Northern Europe. Parents would actually pay their children for their baby teeth. Why? Back then a lot of superstition surrounded the topic. Sometimes warriors would wear the baby teeth as jewelry for good luck. It was actually a warrior who originally came up with the idea of a fairy coming at night and taking the teeth. Over time, the story developed and now is used by parents to keep their children’s teeth clean (as we all know the tooth fairy doesn’t accept decayed teeth). Sadly the tooth fairy is not real.


2. Sitting too close to the television will blind you

This is a popular myth, that most of us have been told whenever we get a bit too close to the television. Many people actually believe this while entering adulthood too, but in actuality, this is false. The most damage that can be done to your eyes by sitting too close to the television, is a temporary eye strain, which happens because our blinking rate reduces. In fact, adults are more likely to get eye strains than children when sitting too close to the television. So it isn’t entirely wrong, just exaggerated.

3. Swimming after eating will give you a stomachache

Swimming shortly after a meal isn’t risky at all. Digestion diverts some of your blood flow from your muscles to your stomach, Parents feared that the water would block that vital blood flow, resulting in severe cramps and the risk of drowning. The truth is that has no way of affecting your digestion, if you’re not in the water for exercise then you should be completely fine.

4. If a black cat passes you, it’s bad luck

Black cats haven’t had it easy because of this one. They’ve been plagued by superstition for a long time, from medieval beliefs that they were all witches’ pets to current fears that it’s a bad omen to pass one by. This once again is not true and is simply like any ordinary cat you’d find. In fact in other cultures they are seen as good luck. In Japan, they supposedly bring luck to your love life. European sailers would take them on a journey for good luck. A long-held superstition in Scotland is that a black cat coming unexpectedly on your porch is a sign of future success. In France, if you looked after them, they would bring you good luck. There’s a legend that the Norse goddess Freya loves cats and would reward farmers with a successful crop if they feed them and looked after them.

5. If you eat a seed a plant will grow in your stomach

There is no possibility of this happening. We all occasionally swallow a seed when eating fruit in particular. Parents probably came up with this to scare us and avoid smaller children from choking on seeds. You can now comfortably eat your favorite fruit without fearing that a tree is going to pop out of you.

6. If you swallow chewing gum it will stay in your stomach for seven years

It is true that chewing gum takes longer to digest than most food, but it’s generally not harmful to swallow. It definitely doesn’t take seven years to digest, but most likely takes a maximum of five days to get out of your system. Large amounts of gum ingested with constipation have reportedly blocked intestines in children on rare instances. It is for this reason that chewing gum should not be swallowed often. It’s specifically more dangerous for children.