Kids are pretty susceptible to believing whatever their parents tell them. Who knew it was so easy to convince kids that chicken was actually octopus or that thunderstorms immediately spoil milk? At that point, the only thing you can hope for is that your beliefs don’t follow you into adulthood. Bless the minds of children.
#1 Gray Area
My brother had me convinced for a while that each person had to have a unique favorite color. Since his was blue, I had to change mine. On my first day of kindergarten, we had to introduce ourselves and say our favorite color. I was super stressed because the kids in front of me picked the "good" colors, and I panicked and told everyone my favorite color was gray.
#2 Crash Test Cars
For some reason, when I was a little kid I thought that every car that was made had to do a crash test. I think it was probably because my dad once told that our car had a very good rating in the crash test. I was honestly amazed by the fact that all of the cars in the world were repaired so well before being sold.
#3 Japanese Style
When I was about four years old, my older sister told me that since the population of Japan was so high, Japanese people slept sideways on their beds so they could fit more people on every bed. I believed it until I went to a sleepover at 13 and suggested that we sleep “Japanese-style” on the bed so everyone could fit.
#4 Baby Alien
As a child, I had some of those gooey jelly alien toys that came in plastic eggs. The big rumour on the playground was that if you put a boy alien and girl alien in the same egg and put it in the fridge, they would make a new baby alien overnight. I told my parents about it and told them I was doing it. While in bed, my parents added the extra “baby” alien overnight. When I woke up and found the third alien, I lost it! I went into school and told everyone. For years, I swore blind it was true and really happened. It was a very heartbreaking day when I realized what had happened.
#5 It Just Knows
I believed that cars knew where we were going because I didn’t know about turn signals. It didn't help that my dad would tell me that "it just knew" whenever I asked how the car knew when to turn and which way to point the arrow. My parents would constantly trick me like this. I hated it as someone who just wanted to learn the truth of how things worked.
#6 Fire Fairies
When I was a little kid, my mother had me and my siblings convinced that we needed to toss our letters to Santa in a wood fire. When sparks came down and rested on the burning paper, those were apparently the Fire Fairies and they carried the ashes to Santa Claus, where he magically reassembled them and read your letter!
#7 Snitch Pigeon
I often got caught doing some pretty stupid stuff when I was a young rascal. When I would get home, my dad would say that a little birdie told him he saw me do such and such with the boys. Up until I was eight or maybe nine years old, I believed my father had some sort of snitch pigeon that was keeping an eye on me.
#8 James is My Dad
For some reason, my brother used to think that a man sat under the escalators and operated them. He also thought that man's name was James and that he was his real dad, not our actual dad. So every time we passed the escalators at the mall, my brother would scream at our dad, "You're not my real dad. James is my real dad!"
#9 Breaking Barriers
You know those animatronic dinosaurs at museums? I knew they were robots, but as a child, I was convinced that the robot was unaware of its animatronic status. I believed that if the robot wanted to, it could and would step over the barrier to eat me and everyone else. This fear was compounded when my dad — more than once — picked me up and pretended he would drop me down the other side of the barrier.
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#10 Back to the Studio
I used to believe that all actors and television characters would have to come back into a studio for each rerun of a show or movie. I would always be so amazed that people would have the time to go into a room with a camera multiple times a day just so I could watch them do the same thing over and over again.
#11 Two Tanks
My stepfather had an old truck with two gas tanks that he would flip a switch to change from one to the other. He had us convinced that he would magically steal gas from other vehicles. He would tell us to pick one and we would watch the gas dial go from E to F while driving on the highway. It legit blew my mind!
#12 Did You Win?
I used to watch my dad go to the ATM, look at the receipt and get grumpy. I knew how bank accounts and ATMs worked, but the kid logic part of my brain figured that they also kind of worked like slot machines. In that, when you conducted some transaction on them, you got that slip with three icons on it. If you got one with three cherries, for example, you would take it inside and they would deposit $50 or whatever into your account. I figured he was frustrated because he kept losing all the time. I even asked him a few times when he was looking at the receipt, "Did you win?" and he was like, "No."
#13 Battery Hens
When I was about six or seven years old, I remember reading something in an article about "battery hens." So, being a little kid, I simply figured they were a special kind of battery-laying chicken. I thought it was like you cracked an egg open and bam, you get a couple of AAs for your remote control or whatever.
#14 Sacrificial Lamb
When I was really young, I didn't understand that actors just pretended to pass away. I thought if you passed away onscreen, it was real. Imagine my surprise when I first watched a movie in which a kid croaked. I assumed the parents of the child actor had to give permission for their kid to lose their life for the scene and I felt grateful that my mom loved me enough to not sacrifice me for a movie.
#15 Flat Earth
I looked at a flat map of the world and assumed there was more behind it that was undiscovered. So, I began my dream of wanting to discover the backside of the earth until I explained it to my father and he swiftly crushed my dreams. In return, though, I swiftly crushed my dad's dreams of having a competent son.
#16 Keeping Colors
My sister didn’t want me to have the same favorite color as her, which was blue, so she changed her favorite to red in an attempt to show me that I was copying her. I caught on to what she was doing and blue genuinely was my favorite color then. But I told myself that blue always had to be my favorite color just to prove her wrong.
#17 Mileage Meter
I remember this one time when my sister and I were in the car with my mother. I noticed the meter and asked my mother, “What happens when all the numbers get to nine on the mileage meter?” She replied, “It will turn over.” My little sister, who was in the backseat, piped up and exclaimed, “Whoa! With us in it?!”
#18 In On the Joke
I used to think that laugh tracks were somehow real life, like I was hearing everyone else laughing who was watching the same show I was. In hindsight, this is really stupid. Obviously the sound is coming from the speakers. But growing up, we only had TV at my grandma's place and I remember laughing really loud when the laugh track came on so all her neighbors would think I got the joke too.
#19 Bald Men
For some reason, I used to believe that all bald men were kidnappers. Looking back on it, I legitimately have no idea where that idea came from. To this day, I can’t think of a reason. I really don’t think that I was kidnapped as a child or anything. But if I ever was, it was definitely a bald man who did it.
#20 Grandma’s Eyes
I believed that my grandma had a glass eye and that she lost her eye in a fight back in the day. You think I’d figure it out, but nope. It took me until I was 20 years old to discover that my grandmother just had a lazy eye. My dad and his brothers always told kids that story every time we met up for the holidays.
#21 BOSE Speakers
When I was younger, my dad upgraded the speaker setup for the TV to include surround sound. The rear speakers were mounted to the ceiling and were large white boxes. On the front of the speakers it had the numbers 3508. I always thought that was kind of strange until many years later I realized they were BOSE speakers mounted upside-down.
#22 Morning Sickness
As a little kid, I genuinely had no idea that morning sickness was associated with pregnancy. I thought it was just a normal illness that happened sometimes. My coach was definitely a little concerned when I shrugged my shoulders and stated that morning sickness was probably causing my sluggishness at football camp practice.
#23 Burnt Tires
When I was younger, our garage always had a very distinct smell. My parents told my siblings and I that the smell in our garage was the smell of "burnt tires" because my dad would work on cars and dirt bikes as a hobby. Being the middle child, we always tend to find out the family secrets whether we want to or not.
Fast forward to when I was 15 years old. I was standing in a parking lot with my mother and two girls I was in a quince with. As we were all waiting in this parking lot for our friend, I started to smell "burnt tires." I said to my mom that it smelt like burnt tires. My mom and the two girls all started chuckling. I was confused as to what was funny and the two girls said to me that I wasn’t smelling "burnt tires."
My mom eventually told me what that smell was and she just tried to convince me my "smelling was off." I still put two and two together that night. In short, I was 15 years old when I found out that my dad was a huge lover of the devil’s lettuce. Apparently, he would just go out all the time to our garage to indulge in his habit.
#24 A Done Deal
I was playing with some toys and my mom was talking on the phone with her friend. I guess they were talking about kids growing up and having families someday because my mom put her hand over the phone and asked me if I wanted kids someday. She then asked if I wanted boys or girls. I gave it some thought and said that I wanted one boy and one girl. For the longest time after this, I thought that it had been completely decided, like my mom was just on the phone with whoever you call to place an order for kids, and my order had been finalized.
#25 Nursing Beliefs
When I was about 18, I was watching TV with my parents and a medication ad came up. It got to the part where it tells you who shouldn't take the meds when you were pregnant or nursing. After the ad, I looked at both my parents and said, “Well that sucks. You guys can't take those meds.” My parents both looked very confused. I then told them, “It says you can't take it if you’re nursing.” Both my parents are nurses and I mistook nursing from the ad that it applies to nurses. My parents had a good laugh over that one.
#26 Tomato Plants
People don't like people who grow vegetables in their house. I secretly celebrated my mom's poor in-house gardening skills because her tomato plants never had any tomatoes. I tried to support her black thumb and felt kind of bad. But, I was about 11 years old when I figured out what those tomato plants really were.
#27 Middle Finger
When I was about five years old, I met the black Power Ranger and got a picture of him signed. In the picture, you could see that he was missing his middle finger. My mom told me it was because he had flipped his mom off, so she cut it off. I believed it until I was about 20 years old when my mom told me she had lied about it and didn’t actually know what happened. Growing up, I told so many people this guy’s mom cut his finger off.
#28 Free Money
I actually thought that ATMs would give out free money. My parents would make a comment sometimes saying that they were broke, and I would overhear and tell them to go to an ATM. Of course, they would then look at me like I was an unbelievable idiot. I think they also realized they were in fact raising an idiot.
#29 Low-Rent Superman
My great-uncle did a low-rent Superman cosplay for me when I was visiting at around six years old. By low-rent, I mean blue jeans with red underwear overtop and a blue bath towel as a cape. I realized all of this several years later. At the time, I was convinced it was really Superman visiting us in rural Arkansas. I carried that surety into the second grade, where I got into a fight with a classmate who claimed Superman was a fictional character.
#30 Pile on the Food
I thought that my "stomach" was actually the entire volume of my body. Eating food would pile it all up as if putting it into a bag. When I was asked why I would drink or eat smaller foods when I was full, my reasoning was "there are still cracks between all the other food I ate, so it can fall through those gaps."
#31 Worshipping the Plant
I grew up near a nuclear power plant, which four-year-old me thought was a cloud factory. My parents didn't take me to church, but I knew that people went to church to worship God, who created the world. I was also a huge fan of the Care Bears at that time, who lived in the clouds. Four-year-old me came to the conclusion that the Care Bears go to church and worship the nuclear power plant as the creator of their world. That was perfect logic.
#32 What Kind of Alien?
My dad told me that he was an alien. I was super into outer space, so that may be why he did it. I told all my friends my dad was an alien! Well, it wasn’t until I was an older teen that I realized he meant an alien from France living in the US. I felt dumb as rocks. “But I am an alien. You just didn’t ask what kind.”
#33 Shouting Kid Store
Before I was old enough to read, my dad and I were waiting for my mom who was donating clothes to the local Goodwill. Apparently, I wouldn’t stop yelling. My dad told me she was in the Shouting Kid Store looking to trade me in for a kid who didn’t yell so much. I never shouted in the car again. Also, I didn’t trust that Goodwill face logo for many years.
#34 Poisonous Pomegranate
I grew up in a very small town, but one of my friends was from a city. I was over at his place and his mom gave us a pomegranate. I had never seen or even heard of it before. Well, he told me not to eat the seeds because they were poison. Last year, my wife bought a pomegranate for my son who was interested in trying new types of food. I said to my wife, "Just be sure he doesn't eat the seeds." She looked at me funny and I said, "They really should put a warning label on them because the seeds are poisonous." She broke down laughing. So, I googled it. Hats off to you, Sandy, you got me good.
#35 Feed the Button
When I was a kid, my mom explained to me that we all had belly buttons because that’s how our moms fed us before we were born. So I thought when you got pregnant, your belly button opened up and you just put whatever you wanted to down there. Like I thought women were just shoving chicken legs in their belly buttons.
#36 The Bowl
I had scoliosis surgery when I was 14 and was extremely nauseous for two months because of the medication. I got into a routine where I would always throw up in the morning, so I kept a bowl beside my bed. My grandad came to visit me, and naturally asked about the bowl. In front of my grandad, mom, and dad, I, without missing a beat, exclaimed that it was to help with my morning sickness. My mom burst out laughing, but my grandad and dad didn't think it was so funny until they realized what I had meant.
#37 How’s the Octopus?
My dad used to make stir fry with chicken. One night as I was eating it, I asked what the meat was. "Octopus," he replied. It seemed logical enough at the time, so I just accepted it and moved on with my life. From then on, whenever we had stir fry, someone would inevitably ask, "How's your octopus?" and I would answer, "Fine." Fast forward to being 18 and home from college on break. We were having stir fry and someone asked, "How's your octopus?" "Fine… you guys are all jerks."
#38 Four Eyes
When I was a little kid, my mother once told me that she had eyes at the back of her head. One day, she was washing dishes and I poked the back of her head. She screamed, "Ow, my eyes!" That obviously stuck with me. For the longest time, I honestly believed that she really did have eyes at the back of her head.
#39 A Spider’s Life
At age five or six, I saw a spider zooming across the floor of the house I lived in with my mom. I started freaking out and refused to move from my position until it was gone. That house had most rooms carpeted with thick, fuzzy carpet that a spider could easily slip away unnoticed in. My mom told me not to worry, that by the time the spider crossed the carpeted living room floor to the linoleum kitchen, it'd be dead. She said that spiders could only walk a few feet before they passed away since their lifespan was so short. I believed this until about age 19 when I started really thinking about it.
#40 Genius Mix of Desserts
When I was about eight, we traveled to Germany for vacation. On our second day, I had a delicious “Apfel Strudel.” I learned that Apfel is Apple and Strudel is a pastry from Austria, but it’s common in Germany as well. A few days later, my dad told me we‘ll travel to Regensburg to the “Donau Strudel.” I was convinced Donau is the German word for Donut and I’d have the most genius mix of desserts ever. I was looking forward to it for days. Oh boy, I was so disappointed when I ended up on a bridge in Regensburg staring at a vortex. Turns out, Donau is a river and Strudel has several meanings in German.
#41 I Need Witnesses
As a young child, I thought if I had more stuffed animals than they would be used as more witnesses if I was ever attacked in my sleep. It took me over 200+ stuffed animals to realize that they are stuffed animals and not living animals. I genuinely thought that stuffed animals were real animals. Side note: having over 200 stuffed animals in your bedroom at 13 doesn't make you popular in school.
#42 Tossing Fireflies
When I was a kid, I thought that you could take the butt off a firefly and they would live. My dad used to smush it on my bike tire and it would glow. Then the firefly would fly away. I found out when I was about 15 years old that my dad was just tossing a firefly in the air. It wasn't flying… it wasn’t flying.
#43 Hatching Tumbleweeds
When I was around five, my family lived in Texas. Back then, I used to believe that tumbleweeds hatched from eggs. I saw tumbleweeds all the time back then, but never understood where they actually came from. Then I saw this children's nature documentary about the ocean, where it described coral as "an animal that looks like a plant."
From there, I figured that tumbleweeds must have been a kind of "land coral," a kind of weird animal that just looked like a dried-up shrub. Then, for whatever reason, I decided they must lay eggs of some kind instead of seeds. I imagined they were about the size of beach balls and had soft shells, like a snake's eggs.
#44 Tropical Storm
I grew up in Florida. When the news would announce a tropical storm, I imagined tropical fruits flying around and asked my mom where the bananas and oranges were. I always pictured them hitting the windshield or landing in the yard. I was disappointed but relieved to learn that is not what tropical storm meant.
#45 Baby Serum
I thought women got pregnant through their wedding rings. I thought that the diamond in every ring contained some magic baby serum that would be injected into the brides finger once the ring was put on her finger, thus resulting in pregnancy. I thought you could bypass having kids by just not getting married.
#46 If You Could Read My Mind
I thought my dad could read my mind. I used to stare at him and think, "if you can read my mind, and it's a secret, then blink." He would blink, I'd sit there and try and test it again. My idiot self was just watching him blink while watching TV or whatever, thinking he was reading my mind. He probably thought I was being weird, just staring at him.
#47 Preventing Mistakes
This is coming from the time when VHS tapes were still a thing and you had to rewind them to the beginning each time you wanted to watch your favourite film again. When I was younger, I used to think that people in the television were alive and needed my help to get them out of their predicament. I truly believed that I had to rewind the video all the way back to the beginning so that the heroes would be able to know what was going to happen so that they would be able to prevent it. Needless to say, I was always upset why they never learned from the mistakes… it still didn't stop me.
#48 Songs on the Radio
I thought that in order for a song to be on the radio, the artist had to be at that radio station singing it live. I thought that when the radio personality said they'd have J-Lo and NSYNC on in five minutes, they were lining up outside the door waiting for their turn. I also spent a lot of time annoying my mom to swap between the three cool radio stations. How I never questioned that these musicians could be in DC and Baltimore at the same time, I do not know.
#49 Sour Milk
When I was younger, my mom (who honestly believed this) always told me that whenever there was a thunderstorm, milk that was outside the fridge would turn sour almost right away. I was at a friend's house one time and a huge thunderstorm started going. He had two packs of milk on his table. Being a good friend, I threw them away immediately. He gave me the weirdest look.
#50 Where Babies Come From
I saw an educational program on childbirth as a young kid. I watched, mystified, as a child was born from, what only made sense to my young mind, an ear surrounded by hair. So, for a few years, I believed we were all delivered out the side of our mother's heads. I was shocked when I found out the truth but my dad had a good laugh.