Myths, Legends & Folklore

Trichotillomania & Luck: Three Myths Behind Why People Wish on Eyelashes

Hi friends! I first started pulling due to making eyelash wishes. If you did, too, then this is for you! Read on to find out the three myths behind making wishes on eyelashes.

The First Lash

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For me, pulling started by wanting to make a wish. I remember it so clearly. I was in the shower and an eyelash had come off onto my fingertip. I placed it on the wall and made a wish. Then, I thought about all the other things I could wish for. It’s safe to say, things concerning my relationship with my hair went all downhill from there.

So, recently, I researched why we think eyelashes create good luck. The results were pretty much the same: an idea someone spun out of thin air quickly became popular lore then myth. Those myths have now transcended centuries.

Source #1: Shropshire & Worcestershire Myth (1883/1909)

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These two English myths from Shropshire and Worcestershire are both pretty similar, so their varying content is most likely due to having different translations of the original content.

“If an eyelash comes out, put it on the back of the hand, wish, and throw it over the shoulder. If it leaves the hand the wish will come true.” – Burne, 1883: 268 (Shropshire) in A Dictionary of English Folklore

“If an eyelash falls out, put it on the back of the hand, and wish, and the wish will come true.”Folk-Lore Journal 20th edition, 1909: 346 (Worcestershire) in The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland

Also, throwing it over the shoulder seems 1.) like entirely too much work and 2.) similar to throwing salt behind you? Anyone think so, too?

Source #2: Cornish Schoolgirl Myth (1887)

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Blowing a lash off the nose sounds like a hilarious thing to watch someone do. Can you imagine? I think it would look like when people blow air upwards to get their bangs off their forehead.

Cornish schoolgirls believed that “the lash must be placed on the top of the nose, and blown off.” – Folk-Lore Journal 5th edition, 1887: 214 (Cornwall) in A Dictionary of English Folklore

“When an eyelash falls out its owner puts it on the tip of her nose, wishes, and blows at it; should she blow it off, she will have her wish.”Folk-Lore Journal 5th edition, 1887: 214 (Cornwall) in The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland

Is everyone just doing this in front of the mirror? There’s no way they can see the eyelash on their nose without some assistance. Also, I’ve been trying to blow air hard up my face by jutting out my lower lip. It looks hilarious and also makes my eyebrows go intro an angry V. Really, really funny. I recommend trying it yourself, sans-lash.

Source #3: Dubious Devil Myth

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One article from The Sun claims that “blowing away an eyelash also protects the wisher from witchcraft and even the devil. It is said that the devil would try to collect as much human hair and eyelashes as possible to gain power over a person.

I’m not sure if this is true or not, as I couldn’t find any original sources of this myth and The Sun didn’t list their sources. If any of you happen to know where it comes from, I’d love to know.

(Also, side note: I love the Halloween season, as you may have noticed from my recent slew of Halloween-themed spooky, scary and helpful trich articles. If you haven’t seen them, check them out!)

Pulling Out Lashes for Luck

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According to a HowStuffWorks article, “one thing is clear: It doesn’t count if you pull out an eyelash and try to make a wish.” I don’t know where they got their information from but firstly, I agree. Secondly, I wish someone had told me this in my childhood. In fact, I wish I’d never heard of the eyelash-lucky-wish myths at all.

Demystifying the Myth

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For most of us, I feel like we don’t need to be told “wishes made on eyelashes won’t really come true.” As adults, we probably do know this. However, the myth is so harmful for kids who don’t have that life experience yet to be able to categorize this idea as myth and others as fact. The problem occurs when, like myself at twelve years old, you truly believe it may help you achieve something or gain luck. It’s how I started my trichotillomania journey and I wouldn’t wish anyone else to do the same.

Know an Eyelash Myth?

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I hope you found this article entertaining and interesting. If you know any sources of the eyelash myths which I may be missing, let me know down below in the comments box! I really love hearing from you guys. For more trich and BFRB-related goodies, check out Facebook and Twitter. Thanks so much for reading, and as always, take care of yourself. xx Rexie

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**Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. If you have an issue with any of my images let me know and I will take them down immediately. Thanks!**

Resources:

A Dictionary of English Folklore

Reprinted inside of ADoEF:

+ Burne, 1883: 268 (Shropshire)

+ Folk-Lore Journal 5th edition, 1887: 214 (Cornwall)

HowStuffWorks, “Why do people wish on eyelashes?”

The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland

Reprinted inside of TPGttSoBaI:

+ Folk-Lore Journal 5th edition, 1887: 214 (Cornwall)

+ Folk-Lore Journal 20th edition, 1909: 346 (Worcestershire)

The Sun, “This is the reason why we wish on eyelashes… it’s actually pretty sinister”

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