Ben, a thermite sword would be a terrifying sight!
I agree, terrifyingly awesome!
I agree, in regards to some a couple of the stories mentioned, but in the case of the Columbus one, it's hard not to propagate such stories, when those exact stories, are what we are taught from a young age. And said story is just the beginning. There is a lot, that we were taught in school, that has since been proven incorrect. And the sad fact is, we really don't have the time to check all of it, to see if the theory has changed.
I think Jed's provided us with an excellent object lesson as to how word of mouth stories, without critical input, can be a dangerous thing--the very point of my original post. You see, all three of these anecdotes about the success of the untrained are, in fact, false in their most common form
I realize this is a bit different, than some of the stories, you initially mentioned, regarding the application of of dangerous tools and processes. In such cases, I fully agree.