If there's a redhead in your life, you're probably not wondering if they're a witch, a vampire, or an alien. But beliefs about redheads from history weren't quite as accommodating. Legends and myths about people with red hair can be found in the ancient -and sometimes present - cultures of countries like Egypt, Germany, and Greece, among others.
The real science behind red hair is a mutation of the gene known as Melancortin 1 Receptor, or MC1R. Red hair is a recessive trait and the rarest of all hair colors, seen on fewer than 1% of people in the world. The uniqueness of redheads can build their mystery and allure. Famous redheads include beauties like Julianne Moore and Lucille Ball, as well as influential men like Ron Howard and Prince Harry.
Clearly, any myth about redheads probably deserves a little scrutiny. Before you accuse your red-haired acquaintances of hellfire-stealing or having no soul, take into consideration these asinine myths about redheads from history.
Some conspiracy theorists believe redheads are actually the result of aliens breeding with humans. Their evidence includes the existence of many red-haired kings and queens and a supposed alien race known as Lyrans which are said to have red hair, fair skin, and light-colored eyes. The "kings and queens" theory has been discredited, however, by people who figured the reason behind the large number of red haired royals was actually inbreeding. Apparently, aliens get blamed for everything.
Despite the fact that Achilles, Helen of Troy, and Aphrodite were all said to have red hair, Greek mythology supports the belief that red-haired people turn into vampires after they die. However, it is true that redheads need to take more care around the sun, since the pigment pheomelanin found in red hair makes them more susceptible to melanoma. Maybe the Greeks were onto True Blood's Jessica Hamby before the rest of us.
Red-haired mummies have been mysteriously found in many different parts of the world, including Egypt and Peru. Some theorize redheads expanded across the globe after citizens left Atlantis and carried on their traditions in Egypt, Turtle Island, and Easter Island. There is also a legend about Prince Idon of Mu, supposedly the first redhead. It is said his red hair was the result of seeing a sunset in Atlantis. Perhaps red-haired Ariel in The Little Mermaid actually came from Atlantis.
Redheads were thought by some to have been conceived during "unclean" sex - basically, having intercourse during that time of the month. This belief was primarily held by people back in the Middle Ages, but some unfortunate redheads still suffer taunts like "tampon top."