Weirdly true old wives' tales.

Occasionally I forget about Mental_Floss, and when I come back, I always wonder why I stopped checking it.  At the top of the website today, there was a fantastic article, 6 Pieces of Folksy Wisdom That Are Actually True.  For example, did you know that chicken soup really does have an appreciably positive effect on illness recovery?  But the two most interesting ones, I found, were:

1. You Can Predict the Weather From Joint Pain

Everyone’s related to someone who swears they can tell when it’s going to rain (or snow, or hail, or whatever) based on the pain in their joints. [...] Joint pain really can be a good indicator of weather activity. Shifts in barometric pressure can cause painful swelling in joints and ligaments, especially for those who have arthritis or have suffered previous injury.

Depending on a person’s sensitivity, even small shifts in barometric pressure can be noticeable; some sufferers claim that they can detect storms days in advance. Of course, for those without arthritis or old injuries, there’s always a good old standard barometer.

I have arthritis due to a broken ankle in high school, and it does sometimes weirdly hurt.  Maybe I should start paying attention to if it has anything to do with the weather.

5. Don’t Swallow Your Gum

When you were a kid, there’s a 99.99 percent chance that you were told by someone, at some point, not to swallow your chewing gum. The reason why can vary based on geographic area. According to some people, it’s because gum gets stuck in your intestinal tract and takes 7 years to digest. Others say it’s because you’ll never digest swallowed gum. Further tellings get right down to it and say that you’ll just plain die.

[... T]here is an excellent reason not to swallow your gum, and it sort of connects to all of those.

Swallowing enough gum can lead to what’s called a bezoar, which is a really gross lump of indigestible material that gets trapped in the digestive system, causing intestinal blockages. And yes, it can kill you.

They’re most famous for being made out of hair in sufferers of Rapunzel Syndrome—a disorder that causes people to eat their hair—but they can technically be made out of anything if there’s enough of it to get wound around itself.

Cool, right?