Professor Jonathan Rees conducted a study of redheads at Edinburgh University. He identified the “gene for red hair” the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), found on the 16th chromosome. He found that this single gene was responsible for red hair.
Red hair is a genetic mutation.
Red hair is seen on the heads of only four percent of people. Most of these exist in the U.K., the Republic of Ireland, and Australia.
The highest percentage of natural redheads in the world is in Scotland (13%), followed closely by Ireland with 10%. In the US, about 2% of the population are natural redheads.
There is a belief that redheads are prone to industrial deafness. This actually could be true as the melanocytes are found in the middle ear.
The color Green tempers red. Look at a color chart. This is why redheads are taught as children to wear lots of green. As if red hair is a shameful state of being.
In the early 1600’s, at the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the belief of pixies (aka fairies) emerged in southwest England. They were then and have since been strongly associated with red hair for their mischievousness and otherworldly talents.
A 2002 study found that redheads are harder to sedate than any other people requiring 20% more anesthesia. Inadequate doses cause people to wake up during surgery and have increased recall of procedures. (I can vouch that study is accurate)
Adults have about 120,000 hairs on their head; redheads have fewer, blondes have more, brunettes have the most.
Harvard Dermatologist Madhu Pathak calls redheads “three-time losers” because their red pigment is an inadequate filter of sunlight and their skin is more susceptible to sunburn, skin cancer and wrinkling with age.
Red headedness is, genetically speaking, a recessive trait. It may appear after several generations of darker hair.
Redheads don’t turn grey. Red hair turned sandy, then white. They are also found to loose their color later in life than people carrying other hair colors.
The perception of the color red, scientifically speaking, enhances the viewers metabolism and increases heart rate and respiration.
The first human redheads walked this earth about 50,000 years ago in Africa and then spread throughout Northern Europe.
The country name of Russia means “land of reds” in honor of a redheaded Viking by the name of Rurik.
Red-haired Clowns have their origins in Russia.
From the 1930’s to 1950;s in Cassville, Missouri, there existed a women’s basketball team called “The Redheads.” For a while they became the talk of the country and a much sought after exhibition team compared to the Harlem Globe trotters. It is important to note that they were not natural red heads, at least not all of them.
In the late 16th century, the fat of a redheaded man was an essential ingredient for poison.
Adams first wife Lilith, always depicted as a redhead, is known to have refused to lie beneath Adam during sexual intercourse, and stated” why should I lie beneath you when I am your equal since both of us were created from dust” –Patai
At St. Paul’s cathedral in London, figurines tell the story of the fall in the Garden of Eden. Adam points one hand to the forbidden fruit and the other to a golden haired Eve. Then the arch angel drives them from the garden. Adam with his fig leaf loops his arm around Eve who is now cowering and sporting a main of long red hair.
Similarly in the paintings of the Sistine Chapel in 1874, Michelangelo’s Temptation depicts a brown haired Eve being handed a red apple by a red headed bare breasted serpent woman (Satan manifested as woman of course carries red hair). In the adjacent fresco Eve is thrown out of the garden with a shameful face and a twist of red hair.
Eves’ red hair is seen as the stain of sin like the original scarlet letter. Later her son, Cain, will bare the red hair and also a fall from grace.
The first redheaded British monarch was a woman. Boudicca was a Celtic warrior was led her people, the Icenti, against the Romans in the C.E. 60’s.
Belief that redheads are witches is a folk belief in Germanic culture. From 1483-1784 thousands of suspected witches were nearly always stripped and searched for “marks of the devil”. These included any “abnormality” such as freckles, moles, warts, and birthmarks. Red hair was certainly considered an abnormality. Considering the freckle factor for redheads this was a deadly and shocking horror. Somewhere around 45,000 women were tortured and murdered usually by burning at the stake or by drowning.
The Egyptians regarded the color as so unlucky that they had a ceremony in which they burned red-headed maidens alive to wipe out the tint- Claudie De Lys.
British Press recently reported that that the MC1R (redhead gene) will be used in DNA testing to rule out, or in, if suspected killers in crime scenes are redheads. This will narrow a search if the gene is found to a small percentage of perpetrators. The hope is that next skin color and physical features will be detectable.-Marion Roach
In central Africa’s Cameroon redheaded albinos, called Nguenguerous, are believed also to come by this color by menstrual intercourse. The UN and other world organizations have studied and advocated for their rights as there have been allegations of the ritual murders in some regions of Africa.
Archaeological digs in the Chinese desert of Takla Makan found mummified redheads dating back 3,000 years.
An Irish judge in 2001 fined a man for disorderly conduct stating “I am a firm believer that hair coloring has an effect on temper and your coloring suggests you have a temper.”
Redheads have always been thought untrustworthy. Judas is most always depicted as a redhead displaying the prejudice against red hair.
The Romans kept red haired slaves, and at a higher price.
Adolph Hitler reportedly banned the marriages of two redheads as he feared their children would be “deviant offspring”.
“Ill beat you like a redheaded stepchild”. This phrase was born out of the American south and implies the status of illegitimate offspring with a white master.
At some point in history, Brahmins were forbidden to marry redheads.
In France, to be redheaded is thought to be a fate so dire that some women have formed a “Proud to be Red” association.
Red haired children have been historically branded as offspring of “unclean” sex. This has earned them taunts such as “red-knob” or “tampon tops.”
The Bible states in I Corinthians 11:15 that a woman’s long hair is a glory to her because it can be used as a covering. Yet in Song of Solomon 4:1 it states that it is an object that invites desire. I guess there is no loosing.
Bees are thought to sting redheads more than others.
In Denmark it is an honor to have a redheaded child.
In Corsica, if you pass a redhead in the street you are to spit and turn around.
In Poland, if you pass three red-heads you’ll win the state lottery – Sylvia Stevez
In Greek Mythology, redheads turn into vampires when they die.
During the Spanish Inquisition flame colored hair was evidence that its owner had stolen the fire of hell and had to be burned as a witch.
Russian tradition declares that red hair is both a sign that a person holds a fiery temper and craziness.
A Russian Proverb warns “There was never a saint with red hair.”
Folklore in Liverpool states that meeting a redhead at the beginning of a journey is a terrible luck and bad omen. If you came upon one while still on dock or aboard the ship, you are smart to return home.
In English and Scottish tradition when the New Year arrives, your “first caller” will bring you luck. Brunettes bring the best luck. Blondes bring no luck at all. A widower brings bad luck. A redhead brings the worst luck. This “first footing” custom was so strongly practiced at one time that some homes would hire first callers.
Aristotle was known to believe that redheads were emotionally un-housebroken.
A French Proverb states that “redheaded women are either violent or false, and usually are both.”