World History

11 Totally Unfounded Things People Believed About Redheads 

Erin McCann
Updated January 28, 2020 254.9k views 11 items

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 historically weren't so 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 outlandish myths about redheads from history. 

Redheads Are Human-Alien Hybrids
Redheads Are Human-Alien... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 11 Totally Unfounded Things People Believed About Redheads
Photo: John Lavery/via Wikimedia Commons

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. 

Redheads Become Vampires When They Die
Redheads Become Vampires... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 11 Totally Unfounded Things People Believed About Redheads
Photo: Frederick Sandys/via Wikimedia Commons

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. While none have surfaced as vampires, 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

Red-Haired People Originated In Atlantis
Red-Haired People Origin... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 11 Totally Unfounded Things People Believed About Redheads
Photo: Federico Zandomeneghi/via Wikimedia Commons

Red-haired mummies have been found in many different parts of the world, including Egypt and Peru. Some theorize redheads expanded across the globe after residents 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 that his red hair was the result of seeing a sunset in Atlantis. 

Redheads Were Conceived During Menstruation
Redheads Were Conceived ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 11 Totally Unfounded Things People Believed About Redheads
Photo: Thomas Benjamin Kennington/via Wikimedia Commons

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."