20 Old Wives’ Tales You Should Stop Believing By Now

By | July 9, 2019

Old wives’ tale: If you cross your eyes for too long, they will get stuck that way

Young brunette woman looking cross-eyed. Closeup shot with wide angle and focus on the eyes. Harsh processing to emphasize the face structure. Human face expression body language reactionWAYHOME studio/Shutterstock

It happens the same way for everyone. One minute you’re sitting in your high-chair, minding your own business, experimenting with this new eye-trick that you’ve discovered—when suddenly your mother drops the bomb: “If you cross your eyes for too long, they will get stuck that way!” Obviously, internal panic ensues, as you scramble to correct your eyes and ensure that it’s not too late for them to be saved. The jury is finally back on this claim, however, and the verdict is that it’s bogus.

According to Stephen Kronwith, MD, PhD, Chief of Pediatric Ophthalmology at NYU Winthrop Hospital on Long Island, “Children cross their eyes for fun, but they can’t hold the position for long, and it’s not dangerous. They’ll see double, but it won’t leave any permanent issues.” His advice? “Just ignore it, and they’ll stop doing it,” Dr. Kronwith says.

Old wives’ tale: Bees are only attracted to the color yellow

bee on white flowerLeo Shoot/Shutterstock

Have you ever noticed a bee hovering dangerously close to your yellow shirt and instantly longed to be wearing the blue one you tossed aside that morning? You’re probably familiar with the old wives’ tale that bees are only attracted to the color yellow. Surprisingly, however, this is just a myth. According to the New York Botanical Garden, bees perceive color differently than humans, making them able to recognize colors on the lighter end of the spectrum—like yellow or green. On the other hand, bees see all darker colors as black. Due to their limited eyesight, bees are more likely to pollinate lightly colored flowers and gravitate toward light clothing (which in their minds are potential flowers). Bottom line? The next time you wish for a blue shirt to relieve you of a bee’s attention, think again!

Old wives’ tale: Bulls hate the color red

Big bull running in the fieldalberto clemares exposito/Shutterstock

Bullfighting fans are familiar with the traditional blood-red flag, known as a “muleta,” that the matador dangles in front of his bull opponent, challenging it to charge. While many people believe that the bull chases the flag because of its inherent hatred for the color red, this is not actually true. In reality, bulls are completely color blind and are equally as bothered by green and blue flags as they are by red ones. So, what makes the bull surge towards a flapping red flag? The bull is actually instigated by the muleta’s motion, as the matador waves it around the ring. Surprised to learn bulls don’t hate red? You won’t believe these 51 other “facts” that are actually false.

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