Top 10 Myths That Stumped the Mythbusters

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Top 10 Myths That Stumped the Mythbusters

VOICE OVER: Peter DeGiglio WRITTEN BY: Willow McLaughlin
They're called the MythBusters, but there were some myths even these guys couldn't figure out. For this list, we'll be looking at moments when the MythBusters' designs didn't go as planned, or their tests fell short. Our countdown includes Crocodiles who refused to play, TNT that wouldn't stay put, Jamie's day inside a coffin, and more!
Transcript
They're called the MythBusters, but there were some myths even these guys couldn't figure out. For this list, we’ll be looking at moments when the MythBusters’ designs didn’t go as planned, or their tests fell short. Our countdown includes Crocodiles who refused to play, TNT that wouldn't stay put, Jamie's day inside a coffin, and more! What are your favorite MythBusters moments gone wrong? Let us know in the comments.

#10: Even the President Isn’t Satisfied

“Archimedes Solar Ray 3.0”

Busting a myth is a satisfying feeling, but the MythBusters were denied that when testing Archimedes’ legendary death ray. Their first less-than-deadly attempt sparked so much controversy among fans that they dedicated an entire second episode to retesting it, even challenging viewers to film their own attempts. However, even after this thorough set of tests, the flames of controversy refused to burn out. President Obama invited Jamie and Adam to the White House to point out a flaw in their method and challenged them to try again. Like a phoenix, this myth initially refused to die in the flames, although they did declare it busted the third time around.

#9: The Mysterious Bang

“Thermite vs. Ice”

Investigating an internet video where thermite and ice caused a fiery explosion seemed like a cinch for the MythBusters crew. It would be easy to recreate and would satisfy their urge for towering flames. Adam and Jamie were sure it was an internet hoax, so they were surprised when their test successfully created an inferno of flying ice chunks. They should have been happy, but they couldn’t figure out why it worked. There were a number of possible theories, but for a show that puts pride in its science, the lack of conclusion was a frustrating mystery indeed.

#8: Insurance Problems

“Jet Taxi”

When the excited MythBusters crew arrived at the Mojave Spaceport, they were ready to see a taxi fly through the air like Dorothy’s house in “The Wizard of Oz”. The jet plane whose engines would send their car soaring was going to be waiting for them on the tarmac, but when Adam and Jamie pulled in, it was suspiciously absent. Worried about possible damage, the insurance company changed their mind at the last minute and denied the destructive duo their jet. Adam declared it a MythBusters failure.

#7: Crocodiles Who Won’t Play

“Crocodile Zig Zags”

It’s hard to test whether or not running in zig-zags instead of a straight line will keep you safe from attacking crocodiles, if you can’t even get one to chase you! In this Florida-based myth, Tory, Kari and Grant thought they had everything they needed. Aggressive crocodiles? Check. Remote controlled Buster with meat legs to lure the bitey beasts? Check. Movement from the reptiles? Nope. The team tried a variety of lures and robots with no luck. Finally, they resorted to using Tory as live bait, but the crocodiles were not impressed. This myth was as stagnant as an Everglades swamp.

#6: Rocket Car Wreckage

“Supersize Rocket Car”

When attaching JATO rockets to a Chevy Impala, it’s important to prepare for every possible situation. Keeping this in mind, Adam and Jamie made meticulous preparations. They pre-tested the rocket placement with models, kitted out the car with a remote control, and carefully crafted a full-sized ramp in the desert. What they didn’t anticipate was the car exploding in a fiery ball of debris just as it drove onto the ramp. With both the car and the rockets completely destroyed, they were left with no way to finish testing.

#5: Stomping Feet Can’t Find Their Rhythm

“Break Step Bridge”

Determining if marching soldiers can create harmonics that will demolish a bridge was no walk in the park. Adam successfully built a 60 foot suspension bridge for testing, but due to difficulties with their actuators, Jamie’s robotic “soldiers” struggled to find their rhythm. When the mechanical troopers finally got their steps together, their aggressive tread wrecked the bridge deck before the destructive sound waves could even be created. The realization that their hours of preparation weren’t going to result in a testable scenario triggered Adam’s inner Godzilla, and he stomped that bridge to pieces on his own. It was eventually retested however and deemed plausible.

#4: Coffins Are Not Enough Protection

“Buried Alive”

The MythBusters frequently put themselves in dangerous situations to test their myths, and Jamie’s journey six feet under was no exception. After being secured in a steel casket, he was lowered into an above-ground grave. Would he have enough oxygen to survive for more than a day? Despite the myth’s focus on the amount of air in Jamie’s lungs, the team quickly became concerned about the amount of weight on his coffin. The loads of dirt began to buckle the lid, and the imminent danger of a flattened Jamie resulted in an early end to the test. The myth was declared busted, but it remained unclear how long exactly you’d last if buried alive.

#3: Off-Kilter Raft

“Helium Raft”

Can a raft filled with helium lift a person off the ground? In order to give it a try, this team of ingenious engineers built a double layer of helium filled tubes. Upon completion, Adam was lowered onto the raft for what he hoped would be a relaxing nap. Sadly, he didn’t even have a chance to close his eyes before it tilted to one side and he slipped right between the tubes. The stress of the dangling MythBuster resulted in the entire contraption falling apart and the end to this floating fiasco.

#2: TNT That Won’t Stay Put

“MacGyver Cement Truck”

The TV show “MacGyver” was famous for the title character’s practice of using out-of-the-box ideas to escape a jam. When Adam and Jamie recreated one of these classic saves by filling a mail truck with cement before blowing it up, they had to do some serious MacGyvering themselves. When the pouring cement detached a wire, Adam had to crawl through a hole in the truck to reattach it. This seemed to solve the problem, and the explosion happened just like in the original TV show. However, when they cracked open the battered truck, they discovered that not all the TNT had exploded. To bust the myth, they had to start over again with a new set of ideas … and a new truck.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Destructive Painting, “Painting with Explosives”


Not So Much Decorating as Destruction!

Disintegrating Wheels, “Square Wheels”


These Wheels Can’t Hold It Together!

Toilet That Won’t Explode, “Exploding Toilet”


Houston, Buster Has Failed to Launch

#1: Runaway Semis

“Compact Compact”

Strong cables and remote control technology seemed like a good way to get two semi-trucks to collide head on and catch a compact car in between. Unfortunately, the vehicles seemed to have a mind of their own, and they wanted nothing to do with it. First, one of the tow lines broke, allowing a big rig to escape on a runaway course across a field. After capturing the truant truck, they tried again, but this time the other one chickened out and veered off course, resulting in an unplanned smash. On the final try, they managed to get the two 18-wheelers to collide head on, but instead of fusing together, the car was forced out and the trucks were destroyed - parking this myth for good.
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