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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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SILVERWARE SUPERSTITIONS

IF YOU DROP SILVERWARE, "COMPANY'S COMING!"
KNIFE--MAN, FORK--WOMAN, SPOON--CHILD.

Where learned: NOT GIVEN

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 11-29-1967

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BABY SUPERSTITION

LEAVING A BABY'S ARTICLE BEHIND IN YOUR HOST'S HOUSE MEANS THAT
THAT HOUSE WILL BE DUE TO HAVE A NEW ADDITION IN THE FAMILY.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BABY ; BELIEF ; CLOTHING ; OMEN ; Predictor ; PREGNANCY ; SIGN ; SUPERSTITION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 11-29-1967

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CUSTOM

ON CHRISTMAS EVE IT IS A CUSTOM IN IRELAND TO LEAVE EITHER THE
FRONT DOOR OR THE BACK DOOR AJAR SO THAT THE BABY JESUS AND THE
BLESSED MOTHER CAN BE ADMITTED INTO THE HOME.

Submitter comment: MRS. SULLIVAN'S FAMILY OBSERVED THIS CUSTOM IN COUNTY CLAIR,
IRELAND AROUND 1925.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve
BELIEF -- Religious hero
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

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FRIENDSHIP

IF YOU PASS SOMEONE A SHARP IMPLEMENT IT WILL CUT YOUR FRIENDSHIP.

Submitter comment: GRANDMA HAS KNOWN THIS ONE ALL HER LIFE AND THINKS SHE GOT IT FROM
HER MOTHER WHO WAS BORN IN IRELAND.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

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BELIEF

IF YOU FORGET TO WASH THE TEAPOT OR COFFEEPOT AFTER YOU HAVE
COMPANY, IT MEANS THOSE GUESTS WILL RETURN AGAIN.

Submitter comment: I LEARNED THIS BELIEF FROM MY MOTHER WHO MENTIONED IT ABOUT
FIVE YEARS AGO WHEN WE FORGOT TO WASH A TEAPOT. SHE LEARNED IT
FROM HER GRANDMOTHER WHO WAS IRISH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Home
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Measure of time Working

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ON THE STAIRS

IF YOU PASS SOMEONE ON THE STAIRS, IN THE HOUSE, IT IS AN OMEN
OF BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: GRANDMA HAS KNOWN THIS ONE AS LONG AS SHE CAN REMEMBER AND THINKS
SHE GOT IT FROM HER MOTHER WHO CAME FROM IRELAND.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; IRELAND

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

Date learned: 09-00-1963

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KNIFE, FORK AND SPOON BELIEF

TO DROP A KNIFE, FORK, OR SPOON MEANS COMPANY COMING.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER MOTHER.

Where learned: INDIANA ; Hudson Lake

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

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NOT GIVEN

MISS BALDWIN SAYS THAT AT THE TREVI FOUNTAIN IN ROME THERE IS A
SPRING FROM WHICH IF TWO PEOPLE DRINK WATER AT THE SAME TIME THEY
WILL HAVE SIMILAR DESTINIES.

Submitter comment: MISS BALDWIN HEARD THIS FROM AN ITALIAN CITIZEN WHILE ON A
EUROPEAN VOYAGE IN 1962.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; LATHRUP VILLAGE

Subject headings: 686 Seconds / Twice / Two
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 12-08-1963

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JAMAICAN SUPERSTITION

IF YOU HAVE COMPANY AND YOU WISH THAT SOMEONE WOULD LEAVE, STAND
IN BACK OF THAT PERSON WITH A BROOM. HOLD IT UPSIDE-DOWN AND
SPRINKLE SALT AND PEPPER INTO IT. THE PERSON WILL LEAVE ALMOST
IMMEDIATELY.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM A LADY FRIEND FROM JAMAICA.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Flavoring Spice
BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 01-01-1964

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DOOR SUPERSTITION

A PERSON WHO VISITS ANOTHER PERSON'S HOME MUST BE SURE THAT HE
LEAVES THROUGH THE SAME DOOR THAT HE ENTERED BY. IN THIS WAY
HE WILL ALWAYS BE WELCOME AGAIN INTO THAT HOME.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER SISTER-IN-LAW.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; PLEASANTVILLE

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 12-27-1963

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TEACHER SUPERSTITION

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS MAKE THE WORST PARENTS.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM FELLOW TEACHERS AND SOME OF HER OWN STUDENTS IN
YONKERS, NEW YORK.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; YONKERS

James Callow Keyword(s): IRONY

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Work Commerce Business

Date learned: 12-29-1963

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IRISH CUSTOM

IT IS BAD LUCK TO GIVE A PURSE AS A GIFT WITHOUT PUTTING A PENNY
OR MORE IN IT. THE PENNY SYMBOLIZES THAT THE PURSE SHOULD
ALWAYS BE FILLED WITH MONEY. THE SAME IS TRUE OF A WALLET.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT IS AMERICAN BORN OF AN IRISH FAMILY IN WHICH THE
CUSTOM HAS BEEN BELIEVED FOR AS LONG AS THE FAMILY CAN
REMEMBER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Measure of quality Monetary systemMoneyWealth

Date learned: 11-23-1963

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OLD POLISH STORY: TIRED TRAVELER

A CERTAIN TRAVELER HAD STOPPED AT MANY INNS TO FIND SHELTER FOR
THE NIGHT BUT HAD NO SUCCESS IN FINDING A ROOM. FINALLY, HE
AGREED TO AN INNKEEPER'S BARN. WHEN HE ENTERED, HE SAW THERE
WAS NO PLACE FOR HIM TO RECLINE. HE SAW ONLY SOME HOOKS WHERE
THE TOOLS WERE HUNG. HE PROMPTLY DISASSEMBLED HIMSELF AND PUT
AN ARM ON ONE HOOK, A LEG ON ANOTHER, AND SO ON.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Man
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Lie Tall tale
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Animal housingBarnPen
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 01-20-1968

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HAUNTED HOUSE

ABOUT SIX BLOCKS AWAY FROM ME, ON RUTLAND TWO BLOCKS SOUTH OF
GRAND RIVER, IS A LARGE BROWN BRICK HOUSE THAT HAS BEEN UNOCCUPIED
FOR OVER THIRTY YEARS. OLD-TIME NEIGHBORS SAY THAT AROUND 1935,
A MAN KILLED HIS WIFE THERE BY HITTING HER OVER THE HEAD WITH A
POKER. SHE LAY THERE DEAD FOR DAYS UNTIL SOMEONE FOUND HER. NOW,
AS EVERYONE ON THE BLOCK WILL TESTIFY, ONE CAN SEE HER GHOST LATE
AT NIGHT, WALKING FROM ROOM TO ROOM IN THE HOUSE. SOMETIMES, EVEN
DURING THE DAY TIME, YOU WILL HEAR LOUD, PLAINTIVE SCREAMS AND
CRYING, AND MORE FREQUENTLY, SOUNDS OF A MAN AND WOMAN ARGUING.
I MYSELF, AFTER OBSERVATION, HAVE HEARD STRANGE NOISES AT AND
AROUND THAT HOUSE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Outlaw Criminal Bandit Pirate
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Man
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 00-00-1967

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MONOLOGUE

THERE ONCE LIVED A YOUNG INDIAN GIRL CALLED NO ONE'S MAIDEN, FOR
SHE HAD NO PARENTS AND LIVED WITH THE WITCHDOCTOR AND HIS MEAN
WIFE. NO ONE'S MAIDEN WORKED TOO HARD TO PLAY OR DANCE AND NO
MAN WISHED HER FOR SHE HAD NO DOWRY. ONE NIGHT THE WITCH DOCTOR
TOLD HER TO GO FOR A WALK, SO SHE SAT BY THE LAKE AND GAZED AT
THE MOON. SHE SANG A SONG ABOUT HOW LONELY SHE WAS AND TOLD THE
MOON SHE WAS SORRY FOR HIM BECAUSE HE WAS LONELY TOO. THE INDIANS
CALLED THE MOON NANNY. SHE TOLD NANNY SHE WOULD LIKE TO VISIT
HIM AND CHEER HIM UP. THE MOON BEGAN TO SHINE AND A SILVER PATH
CAME DOWN FOR NO ONE'S MAIDEN TO VISIT ON. THE MOON CALLED HER
NANNY MAYEY, WHICH MEANS MOON PATH. FOR TWO NIGHTS SHE VISITED
THE MOON BUT ON THE SECOND NIGHT WAS SEEN BY HER PEOPLE. SHE
RETURNED TO THEM AS NANNY MAYEY AND WAS ADORED BY ALL. EVEN NOW,
HOWEVER, NANNY THROWS DOWN THE SILVER PATH TO REMIND PEOPLE OF
NANNY MAYEY.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; CHICAGO

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Moon
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Woman
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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NOT GIVEN

STORY ABOUT GUY WHO WAS STUCK IN THE THUNDER BAY AREA OF CANADA
FOR 41 DAYS BECAUSE HE COULDN'T GET A RIDE.

Submitter comment: STORY TOLD AT YOUTH HOSTEL IN AREA AND BELIEVED. IT SEEMS
USUALLY TAKES ABOUT 2 DAYS TO GET A RIDE ANYWAY.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): ISOLATED, VAST AREA

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Earth
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

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LUMPY LUMPKIN STREET

A MAN WAS DRIVING DOWN THE STREET ONE NIGHT AND UNKNOWINGLY STRUCK
DOWN A YOUNG GIRL. THE GIRL, CAUGHT IN THE REAR FENDER, WAS
DRAGGED ALONG FOR SOME DISTANCE; AND ALL THE WHILE SHE BEAT ON
THE FENDER, BUT THE DRIVER HEARD IT AND STOPPED TOO LATE--THE
GIRL WAS DEAD.
NOW WHENEVER SOMEONE DRIVES ALONG THAT PARTICULAR STRETCH OF
LUMPKIN STREET, HE HEARS A THUMPING NOISE AT THE REAR OF HIS
CAR. THE STREET HAS BEEN PATCHED AND EVEN REPAVED, BUT TO
NO AVAIL. THE THUMPING CONTINUES. THE STREET IS HAUNTED.

Submitter comment: DETROIT'S LUMPKIN STREET IS SUPPOSEDLY HAUNTED NOW AS A RESULT OF
THE FOLLOWING INCIDENT:
INFORMANT DOESN'T RECALL WHERE HE HEARD THE LEGEND.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): KNOCK-KNOCK STREET

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Explanation of a name
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

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LEGEND OF A NAME

IT IS TOLD THAT ABOUT FIFTY YEARS AGO THERE WAS A DETROIT STREETS
AND RAILWAYS BUS STOP ON GRAND RIVER PAST FARMINGTONN THAT WAS
KNOWN AS NO. VI. IT OFTEN WAS REFERRED TO AS NOVI, SO WHEN A
CITY WAS ESTABLISHED THERE IT TOOK ON THE NAME OF THIS DEPOT,
THAT IS, NOVI, MICHIGAN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Explanation of a name
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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RATTLESNAKE ON A TEXAS PLATEAU

A FEW YEARS AGO, I WAS DRIVING A GROUP OF BOYS ON A TRIP DOWN TO
MEXICO[ CITY, AND ONE DAY I HAD DRIVEN ABOUT TWO HUNDRED MILES

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT HIGH SCHOOL ; HISTORY CLASS

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Animal
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 09-00-1968

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CENTIPEDES ARE POISONOUS

I WAS GOING THROUGH TEXAS AND I SAW A MASS OF LITTLE BROWN THINGS
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT THEY WERE, BUT THEY
LOOKED A LITTLE LIKE CHOCOLATE BARS WITH LEGS. I DIDN'T KNOW
THEY WERE POISONOUS THEN, SO I PICKED UP ONE AND HELD IT IN MY
HAND FOR A FEW SECONDS, BUT IT DIDN'T DO ANYTHING TO ME.
THEN WHEN I GOT A LITTLE FARTHER ON DOWN THE ROAD AT THE NEXT
GAS STATION, I ASKED THE ATTENDANT WHAT THE LITTLE CREATURES WERE,
BECAUSE I KNEW THEY WEREN'T CHOCOLATE BARS. THE ATTENDANT TOLD ME
THEY WERE POISONOUS, SO AFTER THAT I DIDN'T PICK UP ANY MORE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT HIGH SCHOOL ; HISTORY CLASS

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Animal
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 09-00-1968

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