This world of ours is full of surprises, yet no one can deny that some of them are just a little more surprising than others! Every once in a while, we are all told something that seems so far-fetched, crazy, and unexpected that we are sure it’s a lie—yet, much of the time, the exact opposite turns out to be the case.
Here are 42 epic stories of people discovering that something they always thought was false was actually true.
1. There Will Be Blood
When I was 10 years old, my mom gave me the puberty talk. I thought for sure that she was just trying to scare me when she said that I would wake up one day with blood in my underwear.
2. The Not-So Magnificent Seven
My mom told me that after high school, I would lose some of my closest friends. “They’re going to move on and start turning into other people over time.” I laughed it off because I thought we weren’t going to be like that. I was so wrong. We were just seven unpopular kids with a hilarious group chat. We did so much together. Now, there’s two of us left. I miss them.
3. Thirty Is the New Hundred
My older uncle told me that when I turned 30, I would need to buy a suit because I would have a lot of funerals to attend. I’m now in my late 30s, and I’ve been to no less than five in the past few years.
4. Did You Know That?
Someone close to me once gave me the best advice I’ve ever received. They told when I was young that saying “I don’t know” makes people think you’re smarter. After 20+ years of formal education, where that was simply an unacceptable answer, it’s a huge adjustment to make now realizing that this is actually true in the “real world.”
5. But Do They Have Red Noses?
I thought that reindeer were fictional (like Santa Claus) until I was about 18 years old.
6. Letting the Bed Bugs Bite
I truly didn’t believe that bed bugs were real. I thought they were just some kind of little urban legend or bedtime rhyme for kids. Until the worst happened. My parents’ house got infested. That was a very rude awakening.
7. Rolling Along
I thought it was a joke when someone told me last week that the gymnastic maneuver known as a “cartwheel” has that name because with your hands and legs spread out, you look like the spokes on the hub of a cart wheel. It blew my mind when I realized that it was actually true. Worst of all, I’m 44 years old, by the way…
8. Well, That Sounds Pretty Stupid!
I read a tweet somewhere a long time ago claiming that PBS Kids banned the words “stupid” and “dumb” from their shows for an ingenious reason. They’re considered “hate words” for the kiddies. It wasn’t until I started watching their shows and saw it in practice that it dawned on me: It might just be true. Wow.
9. Make Her Walk the Plank
My friend didn’t believe that there were real-life pirates in the country where I come from. She always assumed that pirates were just fictional Disney characters, and that I was just joking around when I told her stories about my encounters with real ones.
10. Some Friendly Advice
Someone warned me that a particular friend of mine could not be trusted. I didn’t think anything of it—but I learned the awful truth. If everyone around you doesn’t like somebody that you’re close to, and they all have good reasons for their distrust, take their word for it and really, really rethink whether the way they treat you is better than just being alone.
11. Cat Got Your Tongue
I thought it was a lie when I was first told that adults put their tongues in each other’s mouths on purpose–and that they actually like it. I thought that my kindergarten classmates were making it up. The idea made me nauseated. Later, I realized the appeal—much, much later!
12. Acting His Age
I didn’t believe it at all when I was told that the actor Paul Rudd is 50 years old. Dude looks 25!
13. A Match Made in Heaven
I did not believe that ligers, as in half lion, half tigers, were real animals. Turns out I was wrong.
14. Confusing Birthday to You!
I didn’t believe the “Birthday Paradox” was true when I first heard it. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s actually ridiculous. It basically states that in a random group of 23 people, the chance that two people share the same birthday is 50%. In a group of 70, it goes up to 99.9%. It still sounds like complete bull every time I hear it….
15. Spiked Drinks
I didn’t believe that people ate cactus. Turns out people eat cactus.
16. Leadership Skills
I heard that powerful people and politicians gather together in a place called the “Bohemian Grove” where they burn a human effigy under a giant owl statue. I thought it was just some wacky conspiracy theory but it’s true. There are even photos.
17. The Other Loch Ness Monster
Someone once told me that the unicorn is the national animal of Scotland. I didn’t believe it for a second. Yep, turns out it’s true…
18. The More You Nose
I didn’t believe that kids really pick their noses and eat their boogers. I always thought it was just a mean rumor that got spread by other immature kids. Then, when I was 17 or 18, my best friend casually mentioned that she did it as a kid. Mind. Blown.
19. Those Three Tricky Words
The thing that I thought was a lie was “I love you”—but it gets worse. My parents said this to me and I didn’t believe them while I was deep into my eating disorder. I thought that they always said this to me because they had to, and that they were really liars. I thought that by starving myself, I would make them happy, and that they would actually love me if I was skinnier.
As I later came to realize, the truth was that they did love me from the very first second that they even knew I existed. They always loved me, but I just couldn’t believe them at that time.
20. Time to Go Beddy-Bye
I always assumed that when people complained about how exhausting parenting was, they were just exaggerating. Boy, was I wrong!
21. The Times They Are a-Changin’
As a kid, I never believed it when adults told me that growing up sucks. As an adult, I couldn’t agree more!
22. I Thought It Was a Stork!
When I was six years old, I asked my mom how babies were made. Her response shocked me. She told me very matter-of-factly that a man puts his private part inside a woman’s private part. I thought she was making up a weird, gross lie to avoid telling me the real truth.
23. Beep Beep
Someone once told me that unlike in the cartoons, coyotes can actually run faster than road runners in real life. I laughed it off. Turns out my childhood was all a lie.
24. Under Attack
I didn’t believe it when I first heard the news of 9/11. I was in high school at the time. I got to the bus stop and one of my friends was there talking about how we were just attacked and how someone had just hit the twin towers with a missile. I grew up in the Los Angeles area and we have a “Twin Towers” prison.
I brushed it off because this dude wasn’t exactly a credible source of information, and because the prison seemed like such a weird target. He was the only person to mention it all day. None of my teachers brought it up and none of my other friends brought it up. As far as I knew, nothing had happened. Nothing else seemed out of place except for that one bus stop mention in the morning.
It only came crashing down later. I didn’t find out what had actually happened until I woke up early enough the next day to eat some cereal and watch the news. I quickly realized that he wasn’t talking about the prison.
25. Making Your Time Count
Enjoy your childhood, because time will go by really fast when you grow up. “Nah!” thought five-year-old me. I should have listened…
26. Channeling Some Shock
I didn’t believe that there could possibly be an underwater tunnel connecting England to France. Then I looked it up and, yep—it’s real!
27. Alive and Unwell
Not trying to be incendiary with this, but I never really believed that there were still racist people in the world today. I grew up and lived in a very diverse area until I was 24, so race was never an issue. Then I moved to a new region where the total opposite is the case. All I can say is “Holy freak, you guys!”
28. Falling for It
I thought there was no way it could be true that two objects will always hit the ground at the same time when dropped without any wind resistance, regardless of their size. When it came up and was confirmed in a science class, I was in shock!
29. It’s All an Act
A friend once claimed that most actors who play teenagers and children in movies and shows are actually much older than the people they portray. I didn’t fully believe it for years after I was told.
30. The Sands of Time
I didn’t think it could really be true when I heard that the world is running out of beach sand. It is, and it’s happening in the most terrifying way. Apparently, erosion is stripping all the sand from the shores into the ocean, and desert sand is too fine to replace it with. It’s so dire that many countries even have a sand black market.
31. Shedding Some Light
I didn’t think that those weird fish with the lights on their heads were real. I thought they were just invented for the movies. Nope, they’re real after all!
32. Believe Me
I always thought this guy I went to school with was just pretending to be crazy for attention. He always acted weird but it was so over the top and it was at an artsy school, so I assumed it was all an act. I didn’t find out the dark truth until it was too late. Later in the school year, he launched himself from a third-story balcony into our dining hall while we were all eating dinner.
33. Better Late Than Never
I was in my mid-20s when I realized that narwhals were actually real animals and not made up like unicorns.
34. Sadly, It Was No Joke
When I first heard about the Mandalay Bay shooting, I didn’t believe it. My father and I were driving back home to Utah from Los Angeles after a business trip, and I fell asleep in the vehicle on the way. This route involved driving through Vegas—and right past the Mandalay Bay. We were at the site of the hotel as the shooting was happening and my dad saw all of the paramedics and officers rushing to get to the scene.
When I woke up a little bit later, my father told me I had slept through a shooting at a country music concert. I thought it was just a poor dad-joke, so I sleepily replied something not so pleasant about people who enjoy country music. It was fairly awkward later on in the evening when I slowly realized that it wasn’t just a poor dad-joke.
35. Taking the High Road
At first, I didn’t believe that driving on an interstate would be easier than driving on regular city streets. Turns out, it usually is, at least compared to the streets in my city!
36. There’s No Place Like Home
While moving to a new country, I was told that I would feel a sense of homelessness. I didn’t really believe it. It’s worse than . could have imagined. I’ve been away at college and only back home during the summer for almost three years now. I have acquired a constant feeling of being displaced—both in the country I’ve moved to and in my home country. It’s terrible.
37. Language Barrier
As a non-native English speaker, I didn’t believe my teacher when she first explained that English was the world’s primary language. I always just assumed that everyone in the world knew my language—and I was pretty disappointed when I had to learn English.
38. You Can Count on Me
As a kid, I never believed that “sextillion” was a real number. I always thought that my friends were just joking. As most of us know, I was wrong.
39. Carpe Diem
I didn’t realize how true it was when I first heard people say that time flies like the blink of an eye. 20 years ago, I had just graduated high school, 10 years ago college. I’m now married with two kiddos and another one on the way. I can’t believe it’s been so long, yet it feels like it has all happened so fast. Live your best life, people. We only get so much time!
40. You’re Never Too Young
I would much rather not know this, but I do. It’s the grossest thing I’ve ever heard. You can legally marry someone underage if the child gives consent and if the fiancé becomes the child’s guardian. Yep.
41. Pigging out
I thought it was a joke when I first heard that Peppa Pig, the children’s cartoon character, is banned in China for displaying “gangster attitudes.” It is not a joke.
42. A Matter of Life and Death
I thought that one of my good friends killed two people in a hit and run. We knew he was a crazy aggressive driver. He lived a block away from where the accident occurred. We knew he would’ve been coming home on that street at around that time. The witness description matched his vehicle. He suddenly disappeared to Mexico two days after it happened.
When he came back, he didn’t have his vehicle anymore. We knew that somebody in our social group must have tipped off the police because when he came back a couple weeks later, he told us all about how he was questioned upon his return from Mexico. He said he had gone down to see his ailing grandpa, and then decided to stay a couple extra weeks so that his mom could make plans for a lengthy summer visit.
He also said he left his vehicle there so that his mom could drive around in a safer, less Lexus-shaped car. We thought for sure that all of this was false. Turns out we were wrong, but the real story came much later. About 10 years later, some random old guy who lived 20 miles away was arrested for a separate DUI hit and run.
They did some digging, and ended up uncovering a bunch of evidence that put him at the scene of the crime that we thought our friend was responsible for. The guy ended up pleading guilty and, last I checked, faced 20+ years for it. I feel bad for having doubted my friend when he was telling the truth all along.