Myths & Misconceptions

Redhead Myths & Misconceptions

You’ve certainly heard some of the ridiculous myths about redheads or red hair in the past. Did people actually think redheads turned into vampires when they died? Was red hair really an indication of witchcraft? Are there any advantages or disadvantages of having red hair?

Some of them are funny, some seem silly, and some seem completely insane. Here are the popular ones.

Redheads become vampires when they die

There are rumors and legends in ancient Greek mythology stating the redheads turn into vampires when they die. There is no substantial evidence indicating that.

In the middle ages, people with red hair and green eyes were believed to be a sign of either a witch, werewolf, or a vampire. This was noted in Montague Summers’ translation of the Malleus Maleficarum.

In ancient Egypt, human sacrifices were made at the grave of Osiris. Redheaded men were burned and their ashes were scattered around. Some say this was done to fertilize fields and to make a great harvest because red hair symbolized the “golden wealth” of corn.

Must be Irish

This is a very popular misconception. If you have red hair, you certainly remember the times somebody approached you and asked if you were Irish. For some reason, people can’t grasp the fact that not all redheads are Irish! Redheads can come from anywhere in the world and be of any ethnicity. The idea that redheads are irish does make a little bit of sense though, considering Ireland has the second highest percentage of redheads at roughly 10 percent.

Have a temper

The belief that redheads have fiery temper is very common. Of course, it’s just a stereotype, and it’s very hard to tell where it originated. It most likely has something to do with the belief that all redheads are Irish, and the Irish temper stereotype.

Higher pain tolerance

There have been a few studies done on the pain tolerance of redheads.

In one study, people with red hair were found to be more sensitive to thermal pain because of their naturally low vitamin K levels. Another study showed the redheads are less sensitive to pain.

Other studies show redheads require greater amounts of anesthetic than most people and that redheaded women require smaller doses of pentazocine(painkiller) than other women or men, including men with red hair.

No soles

The “gingers have no soles!” myth began on the television show South Park in an episode titled “Ginger Kids”, in 2005. In the show, one of the main characters, Cartman, gives a presentation to his class about redheads and “Gingervitis”.

In 2010, YouTube member CopperCab uploaded the video “GINGERS DO HAVE SOULS”, which became extremely popular. To date, the video has over 34 millions views.

  • Nikolaos Peterson

    I am a ginger and proud! I used to have a temper issue, but I seemed to be more ‘well tempered’!