From the Tower of Pisa’s inevitable collapse to the history of the Mount Rushmore monument, we count ten of the dumbest myths about iconic wonders!
10 – The Hoover Dam,
- Legend has it that the foundations of the Hoover Dam, one of America’s greatest feats of engineering, are literally packed with the bodies of workers who died during its construction.
- Supposedly, the bodies fell into wet cement and were encased Han Solo-style within its walls. A sculpture marks these workers’ resting place and it’s presumed the dam is haunted by vengeful union reps.
- Fortunately it’s all untrue. People did die during its construction, because basic worker safety hadn’t been invented yet, but they weren’t encased in the dam walls and were given proper burials.
- It’s believed some may be misremembering facts, as a similar thing happened during the construction of Montana’s Fort Peck Dam. There, six workers were buried within the dam walls during a freak landslide, but that didn’t happen at the Hoover Dam site so remember properly, dam it!
9 – The Eiffel Tower,
- If asked about Paris chances are the iconic Eiffel Tower will be the first thing that comes to mind. Today, this prized world landmark and marvel of engineering symbolises class and dignity. It’s a cultural cornerstone, but it wasn’t always this way.
- In the early 1900s, Parisians were indifferent to the tower. It wasn’t sacred like it is today, so a greedy, former arms-dealing entrepreneur named Andre Citroen was permitted to pay to have his new automobile company emblazoned in gigantic letters on the tower’s side. His efforts landed him an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.
- Rom-com devotees and fans of good taste would probably prefer to forget that their beloved Eiffel Tower was once a world-famous giant billboard.
8 – The Empire State Building,
- New York’s Empire State Building was once the world’s tallest building and King Kong’s personal jungle gym. It’s said to be a monument to how much American workers can achieve.
- One persistent myth is that you can kill someone by dropping a penny from the roof of the Empire State Building. In actuality, wind that hits the building creates a strong updraft that blows most light objects back up to the eighty-first floor. Items not caught in this updraft are usually carried far off into the Hudson River.
- Hypothetically, a penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building could reach nearly two hundred miles per hour when it hit the ground if it wasn’t affected by air resistance, which cuts its speed by more than half.
- So the reality is that a penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building would travel no faster than an average person throwing a penny – which would certainly hurt, but it wouldn’t kill you. Sorry, evil masterminds, but science has foiled you again. Maybe drop an anvil or something if you want to cause some real carnage.
7 – Mount Rushmore,
- Mount Rushmore may seem like one of the most innocuous and least offensive monuments in the world, but it has a dark past. The area was once home to a Native American tribe called the Sioux, who believed the Black Hills were sacred.
- Unfortunately, a war waged against the native tribes left the Sioux almost homeless. This left the region open for a national monument, and there have since been myths and conspiracy theories about the project’s intentions.
- The designer and sculptor behind the Mount Rushmore monument was man named Gutzon Borglum, whom some suspect had strong ties to the KKK. It’s believed he chiselled a gigantic stone likeness of several American presidents into one of the Sioux’s mountains to insult the natives and rub in the fact of their defeat.
- There’s no evidence to confirm this theory, so the true agenda behind Mount Rushmore remains a matter of speculation. Officially, the monument was created to draw tourism – which, given that the area is supposed to sacred, could be viewed as an indirect insult to the Sioux.
6 – The Sphinx’s Nose,
- The Great Sphinx of Giza is a huge limestone statue whose face is said to represent Pharoah Khafra. However, as you can see, it’s short one nose.
- One myth claims that during a 1978 visit to Egypt, French military leader Napoleon had a weird sleepover in a pyramid – specifically in the pharaoh’s tomb.
- He emerged terrified the next morning and refused to talk about his experience. To reclaim his manhood and assert dominance, Napoleon ordered his men to blow the Sphinx’s nose off with a cannon.
- It’s an interesting story, but this version of events has been more or less disproved because authentic illustrations of the noseless Sphinx that predate not just Napoleon’s arrival but his birth!
- No one knows for sure who botched the Sphinx’s rhinoplasty, but some historians believe it was a devout Muslim sufi named Muhammad Sa’im al-Dahr, who defiled the monument because locals were offering pagan sacrifice to it.