When I was I kid, I liked Alfred Hitchcock’s short story collections. My favorite horror story was called “The Kill;” I forget who wrote it, but it was about a young man who had inherited a property in central Europe and was en route, on a train, to claim it. The train stops at a station late at night, and is delayed for some hours. There is one other person in the station, so the young man sits by the stove and relates the strange story of his inheritance. It seems that a werewolf has been killing the heirs to the property. Along the way, the traditional belief that you can identify a werewolf because his ring finger is longer than his middle finger is noted. In the end, the young man finishes his story; his companion slowly removes his gloves, and, sure enough…
So imagine my amazement when I saw this headline today: “Fingers Point to Male Aggression”:
A University of Alberta study finds that measuring a man’s index finger length relative to his ring finger length predicts his predisposition to being physically aggressive.
The shorter the index finger relative to the ring finger, the higher the amount of prenatal testosterone and the more likely the man will be physically aggressive, they researchers say.
According to the researchers, experts have known for a hundred years that the index-to-ring finger length ratio of men differs considerably from that seen in women. And more recently, research has suggested that the length of men’s fingers changes depending on their exposure to testosterone in the womb.
Once again, it seems that those old wives knew a thing or two. And if you find yourself all alone in a railway station with a guy who has a really, really long ring finger, run.
UPDATE: My oldest friend, dating back to when I was six years old, was also a big Hitchcock fan. He writes:
I believe the author of “The Kill” was Peter Fleming.