We all have heard myths and legends of all sorts either as public information or from the elder ones in our family. Technically, all the myths and legends are assumed to be impossible and exist only in stories. Nonetheless, there have been certain exceptions when these myths and legends actually turned out to be true in reality. Sorted from the list of such exceptions, here are the 10 strangest of all myths and legends that turned out to be true.
1. The grandparents of Puebla City in Mexico narrated stories to their children of secret tunnels lying just below the streets of the city that were used during the revolution. The stories were proven right when the “Secrets of Puebla”, the series of 500-year-old secret tunnels, were found in 2015.
On the Mayo Road in the city, there is a doorway that looks like an entrance to a subway but it actually leads to the ten-kilometer-long underground tunnels that connect a fort to the baroque of the Puebla.
When the tunnels were discovered after decades in 2015, they were first believed to be a complex drainage system. Only after more excavations were experts led to the conclusion that they were used for secret travel in the 16th century.
Many archaeological antiques were discovered in the tunnels including toys, marbles, kitchen items, guns, bullets, and gun powder. The findings determined that the tunnels could have been used by soldiers during the Mexican liberation, and could have also been used by clergymen and common folks too.
2. For years, gay men from the “Gay Village” in Toronto were disappearing. The gay community of Toronto was convinced that there was a serial killer behind the abductions, and after police investigations, it actually turned out to be the case. Bruce McArthur was killing gay men and dismembering them. Bruce was gay himself.
Bruce had known he was gay since childhood, but he ignored that and also got married to a woman in the 1980s. In his 40s, he left his family in Oshawa and moved to the “Gay Village” in Toronto.
He used to casually hang out in a bar with fellow patrons and never really revealed his darker side to anyone. He worked in the mall for some time and also worked as a landscaper.
Rumors of a killer started spreading in 2010 when a 40-year-old Sri Lankan gay man disappeared. When more people went missing, police finally started investigating in 2012, but the investigations were down after 18 months.
People went missing again in 2017, and it again fuelled the rumors. In December, the police started investigating again and reported that there are no pieces of evidence suggesting a serial killer behind the scenes. The cases were not related, they said.
However, just a month later, it was found out that it was actually a 67-year-old serial killer who committed the murders of eight individuals. Bruce dismembered the bodies of the victims and buried the parts in the properties of his clients for whom he worked as a landscaper. (1, 2)
3. The soil of a local churchyard in Boho, Ireland was believed to cure infections. In 2018, the folklore was proven true when Dr. Gerry Quinn, a renowned microbiologist, found a strain of a microorganism, Streptomyces, in the soil that is used to create antibiotics.
The tradition of using the soil for curing infections in Boho can be dated back to 1803 and was started by a priest, Reverend McGirr. No writings about the soil and its infection-curing properties had been found until now, but given that the locals still practice the tradition of taking home soil that actually cures them is pretty reliable.
Dr. Quinn, who was first surprised by the superstitions regarding the soil, was equally or perhaps more startled after what he discovered in the research. His curiosity increased by learning the fact that even if the folklore sounds absurd, there must be something to it if it is still practiced in the present times.
It turns out that the microorganism that Dr. Quinn found could kill the top three pathogens identified by WHO as a major threat to humanity. The microorganism was an undiscovered one until it was found by him. (source)
4. The myths say that an island called “Teonimanu” indeed disappeared altogether. It was washed away by the curse given by a man named Roraimenu. The story says that he destroyed the island because his wife, Sauwete’au, went to live with another man on Teonimanu. Science later proved that the island did actually collapse, but that was because of an undersea earthquake that swallowed the entire island into the sea.
When Roraimenu went on to seek revenge on his wife, he planted two taro plants that were believed to bring destructive waves on the island. According to the tale, eight massive waves hit the island and it sank.
However, in reality, the reason for the disappearance of the island was a sea-floor earthquake. The island had been teetering on the edge of a steep slope under the waters. An earthquake shook this fragile base on which the island was sitting, and a large landslide occurred in the water.
The process also generated a tsunami, and for the people who survived and witnessed the disaster, it appeared like the waves of the tsunami were the reason for the destruction.
The waves became the only logical and possible explanation and the myth of Roraimenu. (source)
5. A 37,000-year-old cave known as “Chauvet-Pont D’Arc” in southern France was inhabited by Neanderthals. In 1994, unusual “spray” wall paintings were found that looked like small fountains. After researching, it was found out that the paintings actually depicted volcanic eruptions, and remnants of those eruptions were found 35 kilometers away from the cave.
The cave is also popularly known as the “cave of the forgotten dreams,” and researchers found the earliest paintings of volcanic eruptions in it. The paintings and the cave itself is thought of as a treasure, both, archaeologically and anthropologically.
In 2012, after collecting and studying the rock samples found 35 kilometers away from the cave, it was concluded that the volcanoes erupted somewhere between 19,000 and 43,000 years ago.
The paintings of lava flowing out of the figures in the cave were not obvious to interpret. It was only after a hypothesis given by the researchers that such interpretations were drawn.
The early men living in the cave could have been possibly witnessing the volcanic eruptions far off from the cave, and the powerful explosives might have inspired them to carve something o the walls to remember it.