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Left handed myths and misunderstandings

It is NOT a myth that left-handers have trouble with all sorts of everyday articles and tools. Have a look at our range of fully left-handed items to see how we can help solve the problems.

 

Left-handers do tend to do badly whenever there is any talk of superstition or things that cannot be understood.

Folklore and Superstitions
Superstitions that are IN FAVOUR of Lefties
Social behaviour
Religion
Animals
Trivia

Folklore and Superstitions

For thousands of years, the Devil has been associated with the left hand in various ways and is normally portrayed as being left-handed in pictures and other images. In the seventeenth century it was thought that the Devil baptised his followers with his left-hand and there are many references in superstitions to the “left-hand side” being associated with evil. As an example, in France it was held that witches greet Satan “avec le bras gauche” or with the left hand. It is also considered that we can only see ghosts if we look over our left shoulder and that the Devil watches us over the left shoulder.

  • Evil spirits lurk over the left shoulder – throw salt over this shoulder to ward them off. In Roman times, salt was a very valuable commodity, giving rise to the word “salary” and was considered a form of money at the time. If salt was spilled, that was considered very bad luck, that could only be avoided by throwing some of the spilled salt over your left shoulder to placate the devil.
  • Joan of Arc (burned at the stake in 1431 for being a heretic and a witch) was not necessarily left-handed, she may have been depicted in this way to make her seem evil.
  • Getting out of bed with the left foot first means that you will have a bad day and be bad tempered . i.e. getting out of bed the wrong side.
  • A ringing in the right ear means that someone is praising you. In the left ear it means that someone is cursing or maligning you.
  • An itchy right palm means that you will receive money. An itchy left palm means you will have to give money.
  • Wedding rings worn on the third finger of the left hand originated with the Greeks and Romans, who wore them to fend of evil associated with the left-hand
  • The Romans originally considered the left to be the lucky side and used for augury. However, they later changed back to the Greek methods and favoured the right-hand side.
  • The right hand often symbolises ‘male’ while the left hand is ‘female’.
  • If you hear the sound of a cuckoo from the right it will be a lucky year. If the sound comes from the left it will be unlucky.
  • The Meru people of Kenya believed that the left-hand of their holy man has such evil power that he had to keep it hidden for the safety of others.
  • If your right eye twitches you will see a friend, if it’s your left eye that twitches you’ll see an enemy.
  • When dressmaking it’s believed to be bad luck to sew the left-hand sleeve onto a garment before the right sleeve.
  • When leaving to go on a journey, if your right foot itches you’re bound to have a good journey. If your left foot itches it will end in sorrow.
  • It is thought to be bad luck to pass a drink to another person with your left-hand or anti-clockwise around a table.

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Superstitions that are IN FAVOUR of Lefties

  • Anyone who digs coal out of the ground from under his or her left foot in the Spring will have very good luck.
  • If you apply an ointment with the forefinger of the right hand the sore will not heal. This is because this finger is said to be the ‘poison’ finger.
  • The ancient Zuni tribe considered left-handedness a sign of good luck. They believed the left was the older and wiser

Social behaviour

  • Passing or pouring wine with the left hand leads to bad luck.
  • A left-handed toast is tantamount to a curse on the victim.
  • Driving on the left – started so that horse riders could use their whips in the right-hand to fend off other road users – see more about this

Religion

  • Christianity is strongly based towards the right hand. It is the right had that gives the blessing and make the sign of the cross.
  • On one count, the bible contains over 100 favourable reference to the right-hand and 25 unfavourable references to the left-hand. E.g.: The right hand of the lord doeth valiantly, the right hand of the lord is exalted (Psalm 118 vv15,16)
  • The left hand does worst in the parable of the sheep and goats. The sheep are set on Christ’s right hand and the goats on the left. Those on the right inherit the kingdom of god while those on the left depart into everlasting fire (to quote Matthew 25: verse 41: Then he will say unto those on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”)
  • The situation is much the same in Judaism and Islam. In Islam, the left hand and everything associated with it is seen as unclean. This stems from the Middle Eastern custom of using the left-hand and water instead of toilet paper and, more recently, of using the left handed to hold toilet paper for the same function.   This is the origin of the term “cack-handed

Animals

  • We have had a report that the majority of parrots are left-footed – does any one know anything about this or any other animal left-handed facts?
  • There is also a report of polar bears being left-handed, but we need to get more information.

Trivia

  • Officials in Mensa, the high IQ society believe as many as 20% of their members are left-handed.
  • The first recorded Siamese twins born in 1811 were joined at the waist. Their names? Chang and Eng, which simply meant ‘Left and Right’
  • The figurehead on the Cutty Sark is a left-handed witch.
  • Studies have shown that left-handers are more likely to have allergies than right-handers – aahtishoooo!!
  • Most left-handers, when drawing figures face them to the right.

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319 comments on “Left Handed Myths
  1. Mo woods says:

    I find the stories of people having their left hands tied down so they have to use their right hand horrific, it is abuse, this is where all the rubbish about us being clumsy and stammering comes from our brains are wired differantly to righthanders so if you mess with the natural behavior problems occur. Of course the world is organised by righthanders so everything is the wrong way round for us, I do find a better attitude in USA
    I am so glad it never happenned to me, I was at school in the fifties and had no problems like that, my Mother who is now 86 is also a lefty and tells me she too was lucky and did not suffer any abuse.
    I did have problems in my nursing career as in the days I trained all the trolley settings were righthanded and all procedures taught that way even to which side of the bed you should stand
    I would like to believe that attitudes are changing

  2. Paul Seabrook says:

    I had one genious teacher who taught right handers to turn the writing paper slightly to the left for writing and without a moments thought, instructed us lefties to turn the page slightly to the right … duh! She did not appreciate me pointong out to her that we are all writing in the same direction … if I was writing backwards (right to left) her suggestion would work just fine. She would not admit her mistake …

    • Emma says:

      that’s because it wasn’t a mistake. i have always turned my paper slightly to the right, i distinctly remember being told off several time for it. the reason it helps is because, as a left hander you are writing on the page in such a way as to cause your left hand to cross your body. this can be uncomfortable, by turning the paper you automatically re-orientate the motion to a more natural progression towards your body. for roght handers, the revers is true, they form a natural progression away from the body

      • Paul Seabrook says:

        Interesting point Emma, however it was uncomfortable for me when I tried it.
        …. and oh the fun of drafting! Pencil smudges and turning the T-square to the other side was terrible too, they didn’t finish that edge of the board as well as the left side!

        • Victoria says:

          i agree! you would think that with all of the studies showing we’re artisitic… youd think theyd make some more architect tools for us no?

          • Paul Seabrook says:

            I might add, that I”m one of two lefties in a family of 7 kids. My brother is 4th born and I’m first.
            BTW at 60, left-handed scissors are awkward for me … my brother gave up trying to cut with his left and switched to right …

  3. Victor says:

    I have just got done reading all of these and these for the most part are true.

  4. James says:

    I’m retired and in my sixties. When I first went to pubic school and my teacher discovered that I was left-handed. My left hand was tied to my side with ribbon for many weeks (I guess with my parent’s permission), in order to force me to use my right hand. The worse part of being left-handed is all the black pencil marks on my left hand from dragging my left hand across the paper as I wrote in school. Even today, I sometimes have that very problem. When someone tells me that being left-handed isn’t that hard, I give them a pair of left-handed scissors or some other left-handed tool that I have purchased from this site to use. They all ways have a hard time using left-hand products. Happy Holidays

    • Jason says:

      I had a supervisor that gave me hard molded plastichandle right hand scissors. I complained, no good came about. I really wish I had your idea. That would have made my situation sooo much easier.

    • gillian says:

      I doubt if the school would have asked your parents permission, if you are in your sixties.

  5. KEITH says:

    omg, at scholo we (any lefties) were battered for using our left hand.but im still a very proud lefty, as i always say ” all geniuses are left handed” lol

    • JJ says:

      I could’nt agree more, I use to hear my mum said that people born left handed are very smart, creative and intelligent but can’t be shown had to be secret about it and I dnt understand my folks n grands I was beaten when I use my left hand to eat to write. As I grown up I can use boths hands. lol

    • gillian says:

      Even those of us who were not punished for being left-handed, are generally better at using our non-dominant hand than righthanders are. So we are likely to cope better if our dominant hand is injured. Maybe it is the right handers who need encouraging to use their left hand more.

  6. Maria says:

    At the school I remembered that I was the only left handed in my class (1 out of 40). In my first semester at the university one of our teacher realized that we were 5 lefties in the same classroom. To me, being the one and only left handed in a classroom for a long time, it was hard to believe. I am very proud of being lefty. My daugther is left handed, and my first nephew, too. My son (the oldest one) is rigth handed but I was always very carefull telling his prescholar’s teachers to pay attention to him and his hand preferences because I was left handed, just in case.

  7. Laura P says:

    I have loads of allergies, food allergies, hayfever, detergents, the lot! Maybe it’s because I am lefty then?

    It’s weird, I am one of 5 cousins (me and my sister and my 3 cousins from my aunty), none of our parents OR grandparents are left handed but 4 of us cousins are!

    We don’t know where we got it from – am guessing my mum’s side as it is her sister’s children who I am talking about. We sometimes wonder if one of our Great-Grandparents / Grandparents was left handed but it was ‘trained’ out of them at a young age??

    L

  8. Spud loves being Left Handed says:

    lol, the thing that makes me laugh is the allergies part. I am allergic to garlic, so I was thinking if I was right handed I quite possibly wouldn’t have that allergie. But then, I’m not right handed and I would rather be allergic to garlic and be left handed then not be allergic to garlic and be right handed. In my case left handers are better, seeing as there is less of us, and we are more successful. SO WE RULE!

  9. Melissa says:

    I would like to add that me and my brother are also lefties with both parents being righties. I have an uncle that is a lefty as well as one of his daughters being a lefty too. But the sad part is that when I started school in the seventies, my teacher at the time was hell bent in making me a righty. She would take those huge long pencils and wack the daylights out of my left hand and say “pencil in tHe right hand only!” She would also smack the top of my left hand with a ruler if I was caught writing with that hand. But I defied her and stuck with my lefty writing and am soon to be 38 and am still a LEFTY!
    So no matter the supersittions or what cultures difine as “right” or wrong I am PROUD to be a left!

    • sue ogley says:

      i am 49 and am proud to be a lefty too. my mum is a lefty [who had her left han tied behind her back].my two children are lefty yoo.but not the grandkids. i like the fact we are not common too

  10. Richa says:

    My Younger son( 7 yrs) is a left hander and I was thrilled to find this website as it helped me understand his problems in day to day life as he is the only lefthander in the family.

    Just wish the lefthander things like pens and all were available in India too.

    Thank you everyone….Keep writing.

  11. Sharukh says:

    Heres some more on handedness in animals

    Initially thought that only few animals such as chimps and horses have the ‘handedness’ attribute, research shows that cats too have preferences about their paws. A female cat is more likely to be right-handed, and males left-handed. If you have a pet at home, offer him/her some food in a jar and see which paw they use to fish it out.

    • Sarah says:

      My previous cat was definitely left pawed. He would wake me up by padding my shoulder with his left paw. I have a female cat who seems to favour her left paw and a male cat the favours his right.

      As for allergies, I don’t have any at all and I am certainly a leftie.

  12. sandy says:

    Hi all,
    I am a Lefty and in my side of the world (South Asia) giving money frm your left hand especially in the morning is taboo. And people dont accept:-)

  13. Carrie L. says:

    As the only lefty of 7 children in my family, my Dad is one also, I learned to do quite a few every day tasks right handed. I played the viola for many years, and that is one stringed instrument (along with violin, cello and bass) that being left handed can be a positive. The left hand is used for fingering the strings and with good strength it is a bonus. Would also like to let all of you know that I enjoy the newsletter and hearing from other lefties of the world. I look forward to receiving it every month. Keep up the good work and Happy Holidays to all.

  14. Carl says:

    Another note of oddity. I am a lefty and up until I met my fiance of five years I could not keep a girlfriend or lover for very long, like a year tops. I met my fiance and found out we were both lefties. Have had a great relationship ever since. Most of our lefty friends are jealous of us and fight with their other “halfs”. Well good luck!

  15. Dave Miller says:

    On the subject of ringing in the ears (and “burning” earlobes, I was always taught that it was “right for spite, left for love”, so if you right ear rang or roght earlobe felyt hot, somebody was saying bad things about you and vice versa.

  16. Harry says:

    Very interesting!! This thing about ambidextrous people being at a disadvantage, that is! I’ve never had any trouble using either hand for any task – in fact, I’ve found it a distinct advantage.

    Especially when (while I was in the Army) being able to use a weapon on either the right or the left side (it depended on the cover available – what’s the point in shooting around the right-hand side of an obstacle when the bulk of your body is exposed? Use the other (right hand side) and this obscures your body from oncoming fire!).

    Having said that, the majority of weapons, sports equipment and musical instruments favour the right-handed. I decided to learn how to play stringed instruments right-handed as I couldn’t afford one of my own at the time. However, when playing the piano, try playing the melody with the left hand – it’s much easier!! Jerry Lee Lewis learned this from an early age! It also sounds great!

    While I’m neither right nor left-handed, I use whichever gives me the better advantage! Try playing tennis, squash, or snooker against a left-handed opponent (if you’re right-handed, that is) – it’s awkward! Better again, try playing an opponent with two raquets (in tennis or squash) – they haven’t a hope!! Even against an old man like me!!!!

    If you’re a lefty or righty, enjoy!! Like everything else there are good and bad ones among us!!

    Harry

    • Laura P says:

      I play all sports instruments right-handed because there often just isn’t the option to play lefty.
      Altho sometimes if I am getting competitive I will bat left handed in cricket or rounders as the bowlers get really confused!
      Also I like to change hands for tennis/squash etc because my backhand is so rubbish!!!

      I like being a lefty :)
      x

    • Jennifer says:

      Interesting that you brought up weapons. My husband who is a “right hander” is a police officer. He had been training to get his AR and learned that he is left eye dominate. In all of his gun training he had been doing everything like a right hander would do but then he learned that he was left eye dominate and had to relearn to use his left hand.

  17. Mark D says:

    When growing up my mum, younger brother and myself are all left-handed. My dad, sister and other brother all right handed. :)

    Now my wife, step daughter and i all lefties. My step son is the only right-handed one in the house and so gets called “cack handed” but only as a joke :D

  18. Ray says:

    I eat and write left handed. I am right legged, and throw right handed. I use most tools either left or right. I shoot a bow right handed but my master eye is the left. I shoot a pistol either right or left, doesn’t matter. Shoot a rifle with both right or left but, have to use a shotgun on the left. Walking is right dominated but go to the left most of the time at the fork in the road. Still not sure which handed I am and I am 64. One grand daughter a lefty.

  19. André says:

    I am left handed and 43, when I was 12 had lessons to improve my alredy love of playing the guitar ( i had re-strung my guitar so I could play left handed ) but my tutor insisted on me turning my guitar back to being strung for right handed so he could continue teaching as he felt he couldn’t teach me when my guitar was strung left handed. I struggled to play well after that and eventually gave up as my playing and confidence deteriated, as a result I never picked up a guitar again. I look back and wonder about the chances I missed as a result of me not sticking my foot down and insisting on playing left handed but I was just a young lad and didn’t have the confidence to challenge him of even think of changing tutors which is what I should’ve done. Such is life.

    • Duncan Waldram says:

      Hi Andre just read your e mail.Im also left handed and fifty five years old i picked the guitar up a couple of years ago as like you i didn,t have the confidence or the patience when i was younger. Go for it your never to old to learn and it,s fun .

    • Laura says:

      Hey Andre, I’m left handed and also had trouble learning how to do things from a right handed instructor. Try mirroring what they do, I got used to doing that and was told I was picking things up faster than everyone else (who were all right handed).

  20. hannah says:

    as the only left handed person in my family when i was born my grandmother tried to force me to write with my right hand. i was known as cack handed, and have always had allergies from the age of 7

  21. Magz says:

    I am to left handed and left footed. My daughter is left handed but right footed. We are the only left handers in my family.

  22. KayLi says:

    I agree with the Most left-handers, when drawing figures face them to the right.” part. Come to think of it, i do that all the time, and they usually look better than the ones i draw faced to the left. XD

  23. Bernard Bogere says:

    Dear Friends
    l am left handed who was forced to change to right hand writting. lam now old but feel
    disapointed that teachers did this to me when l was learning to write. l live in Uganda
    and l have a school with 1500 pupils 60 of those are all left handed and lam encouraging
    them to keep using their left hand. l have formed a left-handed writers club in my school
    and l want to do the same in every school in Uganda. Thank you for this material.

    Bernard Bogere
    Uganda

    • LINDA THREATT says:

      I TO WAS FORCED TO WRITE WITH MY RIGHT HAND. IN ALL ELSE I AM LEFT HANDED. I GOLF, PICKGUITAR,BOWL,COLOR ….ALL ELSE LEFT HANDED. I HAVE TWO DAUGHTERS, ONE IS RIGHT HANDED THE OTHER IS EQUAL IN BOTH. I THINK ALL LEFT HANDERS SHOULD BE ENCOURGED NOT MADE TO CHANGE. GOOD LUCK WITH THE SCHOOL. LINDA

    • hannah says:

      good for you, after all, we are in the 21st century now

  24. Rob Russell says:

    Looking at the animal information regarding left handiness I have just come across the following two articles that all left handers might find interesting

    http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/09/03/brain-handedness.html
    http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/07/23/cats-handedness.html
    Cheers
    Rob

  25. jill says:

    approximately 30% of vets are left handed in the UK; handy for handling those parrots!

  26. Philip cunningham says:

    It’s interesting that you mentioned that parrots seem to be left-footed. I have an african grey parrot who always uses his left foot to hold food while eating. I’ve also had many dogs over the years who always shook “hands” with their right paws no matter how many times I’ve tried to retrain them. I now have a male boxer who always shakes with his left paw no matter who offers to shake with him. The only dog I’ve seen do this. Another bit of info, my wife and myself are both left-handed but both of our sons are right-handed. Go figure. I was the only leftie in my family, my wife has one sister who is left-handed. When it came time to teach my sons how to tie their shoes I had a lot of fun. Thanks for all the information. Philip

  27. Spud the 100% lefty says:

    WOW! I’m related to parrots and polar bears! cool!

  28. Walker says:

    “Most left-handers, when drawing figures face them to the right.”, the last part of the trivia, i’m a left-handed artist and when i draw human/animal figures there always appearing on the right even though i don’t even stop and think about it :P

  29. mahum says:

    i find the second last of the trvia funny, becuase even if i dont have any allergies i am really weak: pysically. in fact i am so weak that our whole family has this running joke that something is bound to go wrong if i dont go sick in the winter time. hehe

  30. namitha says:

    funny… i’ve always been prone to allergies and infections. in fact, i’ve had pharyngitis thrice in the past 2 years!!

  31. Barry says:

    I’ve been to the site you mention above and it’s brilliant.

  32. cindy says:

    I took a painting class years ago and the teacher said she had never successfully taught a leftie to paint. I showed her. I think most lefties are very creative.

19 Pings/Trackbacks for "Left Handed Myths"
  1. […] Oral traditions worldwide  associate left-handedness with evil. The Inuit/Eskimos allegedly view every lefty as a potential sorcerer.” Moroccans consider left-handers to be cursed from birth. The Meru people of Kenya deem their witch doctor’s left hand as containing tremendous power to harm. Occultic traditions throughout Europe dictate that curses and spells be cast with the left hand. […]

  2. […] been also have been accused of being in league with the Devil. So there's also that correlation. Myths about being left-handed | Anything Left-Handed __________________ "I just came here from Deep River, Ontario, and now I'm in this dream […]

  3. […] Oral traditions worldwide  associate left-handedness with evil. The Inuit/Eskimos allegedly view every lefty as a potential sorcerer.” Moroccans consider left-handers to be cursed from birth. The Meru people of Kenya deem their witch doctor’s left hand as containing tremendous power to harm. Occultic traditions throughout Europe dictate that curses and spells be cast with the left hand. […]

  4. […] Oral traditions worldwide associate left-handedness with evil. The Inuit/Eskimos allegedly view every lefty a “potential sorcerer.” Moroccans consider left-handers to be cursed from birth. The Meru people of Kenya deem their witch doctor’s left hand as containing tremendous power to harm. Occultic traditions throughout Europe dictate that curses and spells be cast with the left hand. […]

  5. […] that this isn’t just a Nigerian thing”. In Japan, the Hindu religion, Arab culture and so on, left hand bias exists in different forms and to different degrees. As a matter of fact I read an […]

  6. […] stigmas attached to left-handedness meant they were singled out as everything from unclean to witches. In Medieval times, writing with your left-hand was a surefire way to be accused of being possessed […]

  7. […] stigmas attached to left-handedness meant they were singled out as everything from unclean to witches. In Medieval times, writing with your left-hand was a surefire way to be accused of being possessed […]

  8. […] at birth you see, and growing up in a Catholic country back in the day, left-handers would be associated with the devil. It’s quite funny but there are small things that I still naturally do with my left hand rather […]

  9. […] ME: I agree with the idea that “humans are hard wired to be spiritual in some manner.” Possibly non-related chemical reactions might be the reason, but it might simply be the NEED and/or URGE to have a god taking care of us. Now excuse my ignorance and/or confusion, but what does IE stand for?You’ve got good and valid points on Jesus. I’ve got to admit that some of your ideas have also crossed my mind at some point or another. Then again, the mystery of the [Trinity] says that God is present in THREE PERSONS, which sounds confusing, If you replace the word “PERSONS” for “MANIFESTATIONS,” it sort of makes more sense. It’s much easier to understand that God is present in THREE MANIFESTATIONS — God present in all places, all knowing, all mighty, creator of Heaven and Earth (the whole cosmos, of course); incarnate in the body of Jesus ; and His spirit referred to as the Holy Spirit. Well at least, this is how the [Trinity ] makes sense to me. I don’t see anything wrong with tattoos or body modification except for circumcision. The latter’s not natural. It’s like cutting one’s left hand because it’s dirty (Muslim concept) or evil. “For thousands of years, the Devil has been associated with the left hand in various ways and is normally portrayed as being left-handed in pictures and other images. In the seventeenth century it was thought that the Devil baptised his followers with his left-hand and there are many references in superstitions to the ‘left-hand side’ being associated with evil. As an example, in France it was held that witches greet Satan ‘avec le bras gauche’ or with the left hand. It is also considered that we can only see ghosts if we look over our left shoulder and that the Devil watches us over the left shoulder.”http://www.anythinglefthanded.co.uk/lh-info/myths.html#sthash.U4WjPepv.dpuf […]

  10. […] (source:  http://www.anythinglefthanded.co.uk/lh-info/myths.html) Share this:EmailPrintDiggLinkedInRedditStumbleUponTumblrPinterestTwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

  11. […] be wrong. It could be a remnant of the persecution left-handers have endured from the ignorant, superstitious people who seem to have dominated accepted thought for most of history. Nah! It’s probably […]

  12. […] Left handed myths and misunderstandings […]

  13. […] Facts About Left Handed PeopleLeft handed people sometimes have a lot of prejudice towards them due to cultural beliefs or superstition about using the left hand. For a long time, left handed writing was frowned upon. If children were writing left handed, they […]

  14. […] lefty also – so I guess I'm a devils child too. Maybe that explains why I like red bikes. Myths about being left-handed | Anything Left-Handed Reply With Quote   + Reply to […]

  15. […] left handed people over at  http://www.anythinglefthanded.co.uk  have a very nice article about the myths surronding that horrible  scourge  on society, the […]

  16. […] hand of their holy man is so evil he must keep it hidden.  There’s a lot more in that vein here, from the UK site of Anything Left Handed, who used to have a magical shop in Soho, in London that […]

  17. Myths about being left-handed | Anything Left-Handed | Vi Wickam - Left-Handed Fiddling Online Marketing Strategist says:

    […] http://www.anythinglefthanded.co.uk/lh-info/myths.html […]

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