10 Things People Swore Were Real, But They Weren’t

Do you remember being convinced that something was real, only to be proven wrong later? Maybe you had an imaginary aunt who would send you letters, or you were convinced flying whales roamed the skies. Looking back, these beliefs might seem bizarre, but they felt absolutely real at the time.

And now, on the internet, people share their stories of things they thought existed but turned out to be nothing more than a figment of their imagination. Get ready for some wild tales!

1. Mistaken Identity: Believing Pepperoni Was an Animal

Young beautiful woman with slice of pepperoni pizza screaming laughing on dark pink background
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A friend of a colleague held a belief that could only be described as unique until they were 20 years old. This person believed that pepperoni was not a meat type but a four-legged creature with its distinct name, “pepperoni.” You can only imagine the look on their face when they learned the truth!

2. Yams Are Yaks? Misconceptions About Crossbreeds

Yam, Freshness, Food, Healthy Eating stock photo
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

When they were younger, a user believed something that seems outrageous now. They thought yams were animals, specifically a Yak and Ram hybrid. This idea seemed logical to them until their 10th-grade honors English class corrected them. It shows that sometimes what we think we know can be wrong.

3. Sweet Dreams: Believing in Marshmallow Trees

A young girl eats a marshmallow.
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A user fondly remembers their grandmother's houseplant with marshmallows on the ends of the branches. Every time they visited, they would pick and eat the marshmallows, and when their grandmother left, she would put mini marshmallows where they had picked the big ones and told them to wait for those to grow back. The user believed that there were marshmallow trees until they were much older. It's amazing how a little bit of imagination can make something as simple as a houseplant seem magical.

4. The Myth of Bank Accounts: A Pigeon Hole for Every Deposit

African American woman with money at cash department window in bank. Currency exchange
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Have you ever wondered how banks store your money? Well, a user used to believe that every bank account came with a personal pigeonhole to store cash. They imagined that the teller would place it in their pigeonhole every time they deposited money. However, this belief was shattered when they learned it wasn't true. It shows that sometimes our imaginations can run wild.

5. Archive Footage City: Misreading Television Labels

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Imagine believing in a city or country capital named “Arkistokuvaa,” only to discover that it was never a real place years later. That's exactly what happened to one user who saw the name on a TV news overlay and became convinced of its existence. It wasn't until six years later that they learned it was just a label for archive footage and not a location at all.

6. Aunt Carol: Imaginary Family Members and Their Secret Meanings

Portrait of a Happy Young Family Couple with a Son and Daughter, and a Noble White Golden Retriever Dog Sitting on a Grass in Their Front Yard at Home. Cheerful People Looking at Camera and Smiling.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

For one user, “Aunt Carol” was more than just a family member. They believed she was a real person with a personality and appearance, complete with phone calls, packages, and letters. But as they got older, they learned that Aunt Carol was just a code word for something else entirely – weed. Suddenly, their childhood perception of their family's conversations turned upside down.

7. The Brontosaurus Controversy: A Dinosaur That Never Was

Long necked dinosaur eating plants Brontosaurus in form classic style on white background.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

For many of us, the Brontosaurus was a beloved childhood dinosaur. But for one user, it was more than just a creature from a movie – they believed it was a real species. Despite scientific evidence to the contrary, this user remains a steadfast believer in the Brontosaurus because, let's face it – who doesn't want to believe in awesome dinosaurs?

8. When Whales Fly: Misunderstanding Fantasia 2000

whale jumping out of the sea
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When you're a kid, anything seems possible – even flying whales. That's what one user believed after watching the movie Fantasia 2000, convinced that people went whale watching to see them take to the skies since they couldn't be seen underwater. Unfortunately, the reality is a bit less magical – whales are aquatic mammals, and they definitely can't fly.

9. The Chemtrail Conundrum: A Misinformed Childhood Idea

Contrails over blue sky.
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Sometimes, we hold onto beliefs without even realizing they're based on misinformation. That's what happened to one individual who thought “chemtrails” were simply traces of plane exhaust until a friend pointed out that it was a conspiracy theory. It was a humbling experience for the individual, who had assumed they knew everything there was to know about the topic.

10. The Gravity of Fiction: Anti-gravity Chambers Misconceptions

Astronaut in outer space over the planet Earth. Our home. ISS. Elements of this image furnished by NASA
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Have you ever seen a movie where astronauts float around in an anti-gravity chamber? Well, one person used to believe that these chambers were real. They had only learned that such a device existed once in their science class one day. While others in the class commented on how ridiculous the idea was, this person stayed silent, having just discovered that their own belief in the existence of such a machine was unfounded. It's amazing how much our beliefs can shape our understanding of the world around us.

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