Fact or Fiction? Can You Pick the Right One?

July 5, 2023

fact fiction

Use your superior knowledge and detective skills to figure out if these events are a fact or just a load of fiction. How well will you do? Good Luck!


Walt Disney’s body was cryogenically frozen so that he could be reanimated in later life when technological advances would allow it.

walt disney 2

Fiction

This urban legend has been around for a long time. Disney was never frozen after his death. In fact, he was cremated at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, the cemetery of the stars in Los Angeles. The cause of his death that was written on his state death certificate was cardiac arrest.


A man in California, known as Lawn Chair Larry, took a flight in a homemade contraption that included a lawn chair and 45 weather balloons. He rose to 16,000 feet before descending.

lawnchair

Fact

Lawn Chair Larry was a San Pedro, California, trucker named Larry Walters, and he took the flight on July 2, 1982. He had an aluminum lawn chair, water jugs as ballast, 45 weather balloons he had filled with helium, a parachute, and a BB gun. Lawn Chair Larry floated around the Los Angeles area for 45 minutes.

Walters had dropped his BB gun at some point in the flight, which he had brought to shoot out the balloons so he could descend but ended up ascending to 16,000 feet. Walters was even spotted by two airliners making an approach into LAX. He eventually landed in Long Beach, where he hit some power lines and caused a blackout. He died eleven years later from a gunshot wound after committing suicide. Source-Associated Press


Coca-Cola was originally green.

coca cola

Fiction

This is a long-standing piece of fiction that shows up in many “Did you know?” type of fact lists. Coca-Cola has never been green. It has been brown since it was first made in 1886. It has been bottled in green glass bottles, so maybe this is where this false factoid started. Source


The Herman B. Wells Library at the University of Indiana is sinking because the designers of the library didn’t take into account the weight of the books when they were added.

library herman b wells
Herman B. Wells Library, University of Indiana

Fiction

This is a common piece of fiction around several university campuses. There has been no evidence that a library began sinking because of the weight of books though some sink because they were built on poor soil or the workmanship of the library was poor. Source


Members of Spain’s Paralympic basketball team had to return their gold medals they won at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000 because 10 of their 12 players weren’t disabled in any way.

paralympics

Fact

The Spanish team played in the intellectually disabled category for basketball. Rumors surfaced when a picture was published of their celebration after winning gold, and readers revealed many of the players didn’t have a disability. One of the players later admitted that he had played on the team for two years but did not have a disability. Only two of the players had the requirement to participate with an IQ below 70. The intellectually disabled category was removed from the Paralympics after the 2000 games. Source


Celery has negative calories. It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with.

celery

Fiction

There is no evidence that there is any food that consumes more calories than it creates. A large stick of celery can be about ten calories, and the calorie consumption to chew and digest that food is much smaller than that amount. It does, however, give you the feeling of being full, which may allow you to consume fewer calories over time. Source


The IRS has instructions on how they should collect and assess taxes after a nuclear war.

irs building

Fact

The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department have developed plans to assess and collect taxes and revive the economy after a nuclear war, and the US Postal Service has a plan for delivering the mail. It really is true then that “Nothing can be certain except death and taxes.” Source


The “57” on Heinz ketchup bottles represents the number of varieties of pickles the company once used.

heinz ketchup

Fiction

This is another factoid that is pure fiction but is spread around as fact. The “57,” in fact, has absolutely nothing to do with pickles. In 1896, Henry Heinz was riding on a train in New York City and spotted an ad for 21 styles of shoes. He liked ad’s style, and even though his company had more than 57 products during that time, he thought “57” was a lucky number and began using it in all his advertising. The Heinz Company today has over 5,700 products that they manufacture around the world. Source


There is a parliamentary position in Australia known as the Shadow Minister for Justice, and it is was once held by the representative from Batman.

parliament australia
Parliament in Canberra, Australia

Fact

Hard to believe, but true. In Australia, the Shadow Cabinet is a group from the opposition that “shadows” the governmental positions of the group in power. It is the equivalent of what a minority leader would be in the US Congress. The Shadow Minister for Justice is a “shadow” position from the opposition to the Minister for Justice. And yes, there is a Batman, but it’s a location, not a superhero. It’s Batman, Victoria, Australia, to be precise. And the Shadow Minister for Justice representing Batman from 2013 to 2016 was David Feeney. So I guess he was the real Bruce Wayne. Source


Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors.

dueling

Fiction

This is one of those factoids that is found everywhere and has been cited in the Chicago Tribune, Wikipedia, and even on Snapple caps. There is no law or even old law that says dueling is legal in Paraguay. It is a possibility that this factoid evolved because in Uruguay, not Paraguay, dueling was not a criminal offense between 1920 and 1992. There isn’t a mention of any need for the duelers to be blood donors, however. That may have just been someone’s overactive imagination. Source, Source


About the author 

Daniel Ganninger - The writer, editor, and chief lackey of Knowledge Stew, the author of the Knowledge Stew line of trivia books, and editor of Fact World and the Knowledge Stew sister site on Medium, our ad-free subscription sites. I hope you learn many new things here that add to your knowledge.

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