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Wikipedia is often mocked for its perceived lack of truth. Because it’s an encyclopedia built entirely on the contributions of random people, it has a reputation for not always being accurate and truthful. In some ways this assertion is fair… little-known entries (such as those for people you’ve likely never heard of) can be manipulated by pranksters or editors with an agenda, but it’s far from the norm, especially on popular, oft-visited entries.
In fact, Wikipedia can be an important and exhaustive repository of knowledge, helping to demystify myths and explain unsolved mysteries. With a good amount of sources cited, and the evidence stacking up until it becomes overwhelming in its conclusions, urban legends can be explained away on Wikipedia with surprising ease.
What follows are six well-known unsolved mysteries or strange phenomena that have been solved to such a degree that a simple visit to Wikipedia is enough to inform you of the truth. Not all are 100 percent foolproof solutions, but all have been de-mythologized by a consensus of overwhelming evidence.
The Mystery: Gravity hills, also known as magnetic hills or mystery hills, are places where the laws of gravity would appear not to exist. If you parked your car on one of these hills and left it out of gear it would appear to travel uphill rather than down.
The Explanation: Gravity hills are the result of nothing more than an optical illusion, though one which suggests nature is trolling us all. When the surrounding landscape is pitched just right and the horizon is obstructed then slight inclines can be mistaken for slight declines.
TL;DR: Gravity hills have more to do with perspective than supernatural forces.
The Mystery: Since World War II people have been hearing strange broadcasts made over shortwave radio. These broadcasts consist of nothing but a series of numbers (and sometimes words or Morse code) being read out in an artificially generated voice.
The Explanation: Numbers stations are used to convey messages to spies, with the seemingly random sequence of numbers actually containing messages for those with the key to decoding them. Some criminal organizations are also believed to use them.
TL;DR: Numbers stations are a simple method for sending messages to spies.
The Mystery: These spherical or disc-shaped objects have been found underground in deposits dating back 3-billion years. And yet they have parallel grooves or ridges scored around their circumferences. How could they have possibly got there?
The Explanation: These seemingly out-of-place artifacts look like they’ve been manufactured by intelligent beings, but the uniform shape and lines can be easily ascribed to natural geological processes.
TL;DR: Klerksdorp spheres are natural, and not manufactured by ancient intelligent beings.
The Mystery: The story of Atlantis is one that has been written about for more than 2,000 years. It claims that a naval power based on the island of Atlantis sank into the sea overnight, with explorers having been searching for it ever since.
The Explanation: There likely never was an Atlantis. Instead it was probably a legend borne out of other, older legends or historical events. The latter including volcanic eruptions that wiped out whole cities. Some scholars blame Greek philosopher Plato.
TL;DR: Atlantis is unlikely to have existed; instead being an amalgamation of historical events.
The Mystery: Each and every year strange concentric circles and patterns appear in fields thanks to the crops being flattened. They have appeared in multiple countries over the past few decades, but the majority occur in England.
The Explanation: While there are some crop circles that remain unexplained, the scientific consensus is that the vast majority are man-made. Natural or meteorological phenomena may account for the others, with extraterrestrial involvement unlikely.
TL;DR: Crop circles are overwhelmingly considered to be entirely man-made in origin.
The Mystery: The Bermuda Triangle is the name given to an area in the Atlantic Ocean running from Florida to Puerto Rico and Bermuda. It has obtained a reputation thanks to the number of aircraft and ships that have disappeared while in the region.
The Explanation: The total area of the Bermuda Triangle is as much as 1.5 million square miles, and it gets a lot of commercial shipping and flights crossing it. The number of disappearances is no more than anywhere else on Earth.
TL;DR: The Bermuda Triangle is a manufactured mystery built on misconceptions.
At the very least you should now be more informed about the unsolved mysteries or myths included in this list. And you have Wikipedia to thank for that enlightenment, with just a smidgen of help from myself. The next time someone brings one of these subjects up in conversation you’ll be able to hold your own. You may want to hold off telling everyone you sourced your information from Wikipedia though, as its (unfortunate and mostly unfair) reputation precedes it.
What are your feelings on Wikipedia as a source of information? Do you trust the knowledge garnered from the online encyclopedia, or do you prefer to use a different domain for sourcing accurate accounts of people, places, and events? Let us know your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.