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Old Wives Tales (4th installment): The Hair

by Marquette Turner

in Features, Old Wives Club, Old Wives Tales

Old Wives’ tales are urban legends, throughout the world. And, regardless of how much truth they hold or how much superstition they suggest, the advice on nutrition, puberty, manners, and pregnancy, to name but a few topics, are fun to read nonetheless.

In this article I’m looking at the “tales” on the hair.

– a sudden loss of hair is unlucky, forecasting a decline in health, loss of property, of failure in business;

– red hair is associated with fiery-tempered people;

– black and dark brown hair indicate strength;

– fair hair implies timidity;

– if the hair grows low on a man’s forehead and back above the temples, he will have a long life;


– if a woman’s hair grows in a low point on her forehead (“widow’s peak”) she will outlive her husband;

– if a woman suddenly develops curls on her forehead her man has not long to live;

– lank hair symbolises a cunning nature;

– curly hair indicates good natured and full or fun;

– long hair means strength and luck

– it is unlucky to have your hair cut when the moos is in the wane;

– cutting your own hair will tempt fate;

– never pull out grey hairs, for one will be replaced by 10;

– a sudden fright can turn hair white;

– to determine your future: set fire to some strands of your hair (obviously cut them off first).  If they burn brightly, you are in for a long life.  If they splutter and smoulder, it is said to be a death omen.

Christine Watson

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