We're used to accepting every historical claim as fact. But it turns out that some of the well-known "facts" we're familiar with are pure lies. Here they are, as well as their rebuttal:
Van Gogh did not cut off his ear
The great painter, who only sold a single one of his masterpieces while he was still alive, did not cause harm to himself. On the night of December 23rd, going into the 24th, 1888, he and his contemporary Paul Gauguin had an argument. The latter took out his rapier and cut off a small part of Van Gogh's ear. Immediately after the incident, Gauguin went to the police with his weapon and said that Van Gogh had hurt himself.
Eve did not eat an apple
From the Biblical texts we know that Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden after giving in to the temptation to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. But nowhere in the text does it say that the forbidden fruit was an apple. It could just as well have been a plum, apricot, peach or pear.
Shakespeare did not write Hamlet
The genius playwright wrote his play based on ancient Scandinavian legend. In many of his works he used old and forgotten plots.
Edison didn't invent the electric light bulb
In 1893, Thomas Edison was renowned for his record number of patents. But many of his inventions weren't actually his own. Little-known technicians were their real creators, including those who made the electric light bulb itself. 40 years before Edison was born, Humphry Davy created the arc lamp. However, the invention was imperfect and could stay lit for a maximum of 12 hours. Edison found a way to make the lamp glow for days and years at a time.
Captain Cook didn't discover Australia
Years prior to Captain Cook setting foot on Australian shores in 1770, Dutch explorers Abel Tasman and Dirk Hartog, as well as English pirate William Dampier had already been there. Cook did however discover new territories, where no white man had ever tread. At the time of Cook's arrival in Australia, he was not yet a captain but a lieutenant.
An apple did not fall on Newton's head
While he was walking around in an apple garden, Newton watched as apples fell to the ground but neither one of them actually hit him. Gravity was always there, while the legend arose many years after the scientist's death.
Napoleon did not suffer from an inferiority complex
Contrary to popular belief, Napoleon's height exceeded the average for French men at the time. Napoleon was only "short" in rank. His low officer's rank became the reason for ridicule, while the insulting names that his soldiers came up with made their way to the present.
The burned witches at Salem
According to the legend, 150 men and women were burned at the stake in present-day Massachusetts back in 1692. The truth is that only 20 of them were sentenced to death. But they were not burned at the stake. 19 of them were hung and 1 was stoned to death. The remaining 130 were sent to prison.
Magellan did not complete a voyage around the world
Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was the first to work up the courage to begin a circumnavigation of the world. But he was unable to complete it, as he was killed by aborigines peoples halfway through it. It was his friend Juan Sebastián Elcano who brought the voyage to its end.