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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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SAINT PATRICK'S DAY

THE BELIEF IN LEPRECHAUNS IS MOST PREVALENT ON ST. PAT'S DAY. PEOPLE
BELIEVE IN ANY CHARM OR SPELL WHICH WILL HELP THEM FIND A LEPRECHAUN.

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- March 17 Feast of St. Patrick
BELIEF -- Fairy Elf Goblin Gnome
BELIEF -- Word Letter

Date learned: CA1960-1975

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FARMER BILL'S WILL

THE C.Y.O. CAMP IS LOCATED AT PT. SANILAC MICHIGAN. MURPHY'S
CREEK RUNS THROUGH IT, AND AT ONE POINT, THERE IS A LARGE
SARCOPHAGUS SHAPED STONE IN THE MIDDLE.
ON IT ARE A NUMBER OF SCRAMBLED LETTERS AND NUMBERS. IT IS
SAID THAT THIS IS BILL MURPHY'S GRAVE.
HE HAD OWNED AND FARMED THE LAND AT ONE TIME
THE CAMPERS STAYED OUT LATE AT NIGHT, ON A MOONLESS EVENING, THEY
COULD SEE THE COFFIN LID OPENED. IN THE DISTANCE A SINGLE
FIGURE COULD BE OUTLINED. IT WAS OLD BILL PLOWING HIS FIELDS.
I LEARNED THIS AT CAMP, BUT NEVER SAW BILL.

James Callow comment: THE WORD "CERTAIN" MAKES THIS QUESTIONABLE--BUT IT'S
AS CLOSE AS I CAN COME--FRANK M. PAULSEN

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Port Sanilac

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Running water Small current.
BELIEF -- Word Letter

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SPIRIT TABLE

AN INDIAN BELIEF- WE HAVE A TABLE THAT ATTRACTS DEAD SOULS, THERE ARE
MARKINGS ON IT WHICH SPIRITS USE TO COMMUNICATE WITH A MEDIUM.
HANDS ARE PLACED ON THE TABLE. A MEDIUM ISN'T NECESSARY, BUT
INFORMANT WAS AFRAID HIMSELF. SPIRITS ARE LIKE THE 5 ELEMENTS, FIRE
EARTH WATER WIND AND LIGHT-- LIKE VARIOUS GASES ALL WANDERING
AROUND ETERNALLY, LIKE THE ELEMENTS, IT IS POSSIBLE TO BRING
SOULS TO CAPTURE SOULS.

Submitter comment: SKETCH ON CARD IN ARCHIVE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ANN ARBOR

James Callow Keyword(s): NUMBEES

Subject headings: 686 Fifths
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Custom
BELIEF -- Word Letter
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure
BELIEF -- Use of Object
SPEECH -- Extra Corporal Means of Communication

Date learned: 02-04-1968

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MAGIC

IN MEXICO IT IS POSSIBLE TO TALK WITH THE DEAD IF YOU USE A
OUIJA TABLE. IT IS EASIER FOR SOME PEOPLE TO DO THIS THAN OTHERS.
YOU PLACE YOUR HANDS ON THE TABLE AND THE SPIRITS OF THE DEAD WILL
COMMUNICATE WITH YOU, AND VERY OFTEN ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS.
THEY ALSO MAY TELL OF FUTURE EVENTS. THEY DO THIS BY MOVING
YOUR HANDS ON THE TABLE IN SUCH A WAY THAT THE ANSWER OR INFORMATION
IS SPELLED OUT FOR YOU. PEOPLE WHO ARE LONELY USE THESE TABLES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ANN ARBOR

James Callow Keyword(s): NUMBER

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Custom
BELIEF -- Word Letter
SPEECH -- Extra Corporal Means of Communication

Date learned: 02-04-1968

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RELIGIOUS CUSTOM

ON JANUARY 6, THE FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY, YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO WRITE
THE INITIALS OF THE THREE KINGS ABOVE YOUR DOORWAY. IT IS A WAY TO
CELEBRATE' A BLESSING AND A CATHOLIC CUSTOM. WE DIDN,T FOLLOW IT.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT WAS VERY INSISTENT IN THE FACT THAT HIS FAMILY DID NOT
FOLLOW THIS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

James Callow Keyword(s): NUMBERS

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Word Letter

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TEST CHARM

IF YOU WRITE "JMJ," FOR JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH, IN THE UPPER RIGHT
HAND CORNER OF A SCHOOL ASSIGNMENT, YOU WILL DO WELL ON IT.

Submitter comment: I LEARNED THIS IN THIRD GRADE AT MY CATHOLIC GRADE SCHOOL. MOST OF
OUR CLASS FOLLOWED THIS CUSTOM, WE CONSIDERED IT EXTRA INSURANCE
THAT WE WOULD DO WELL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): BELIEV

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- School
BELIEF -- Religious hero
BELIEF -- Word Letter

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ON EASTER MONDAY, TO PROTECT THE CHILDREN OF THE HOUSE FROM EVIL, IT
IS ADVISABLE TO WRITE THE INITIALS OF THE THREE WISE MEN
OVER THE HOUSE DOOR.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant and collector share the same surname.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE WOODS

Keyword(s): SYMBOLS: INITIALS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus
BELIEF -- Word Letter

Date learned: 10-25-1969

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TAPE OF MISCELLANOUS INFORMATION

GHOATS, MONETARY SYSTEM,(NIARA & KOBO) DISEASES, WALKING BAREFOOTED,
CARRYING THINGS ON YOUR HEAD, GHOSTS OF CHILDREN, SUPERSTITIONS:
NIGERIAN SUPERSTITION, THEIR ORIGIN, JUJU, MAKING MONEY
USING HEAD OF CHILD, BANSHEE IN IRELAND, NIGERIAN LIGHTENING,
OMENS, CHARMS, GAMES, (MOTHER MAY I?)
WATER DANGEROUS FOR SWIMMING, AMDG FOR LUCK, FESTIVALS

Where learned: NIGERIA ; SOME FROM IRELAND

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration
Observation
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Bodily Activity
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F040!
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of quality Monetary system Money Wealth
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Festival
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Means of transportation Human
BELIEF -- P000
BELIEF -- Supernatural Being
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Witch Shaman
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Lightning Thunder
BELIEF -- Magic of Speech, Sign, Color
BELIEF -- Word Letter
BELIEF -- Medicine
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: OOOOI96OS

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SPIRIT TABLE

THIS IS A BELIEF IN INDIA. WE HAVE ALSO A TABLE THAT ATTRACTS DEAD
SOULS. THERE ARE MARKINGS ON IT WHICH SPIRITS USE TO COMMUNICATE
WITH A MEDIUM. HANDS ARE USED, PLACED ON IT. IT IS NOT NECESSARY
TO HAVE A MEDIUM, I AM AFRAID MYSELF. SPIRITS ARE LIKE THE FIVE
ELEMENTS, FIRE, EARTH, AIR, WATER, LIGHT--LIKE
VARIOUS GASES ALL WANDERING
AROUND ETERNALLY, LIKE THE ELEMENTS, IT IS POSSIBLE TO BRING
SOULS TO CAPTURE SOULS.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN

Keyword(s): BELIEF ; India ; souls ; SUPERSTITION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Word Letter
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 02-04-1968

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MAGIC

IN MEXICO IT IS POSSIBLE TO TALK WITH THE DEAD IF YOU USE A
OUIJA TABLE. IT IS EASIER FOR SOME PEOPLE TO DO THIS THAN OTHERS.
YOU PLACE YOUR HANDS ON THE TABLE AND THE SPIRITS OF THE DEAD WILL
COMMUNICATE WITH YOU, AND ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS, AND VERY OFTEN
TELL YOU OF FUTURE EVENTS. THEY DO THIS BY MOVING
YOUR HANDS ON THE TABLE IN SUCH A WAY THAT THE ANSWER OR INFORMATION
IS SPELLED OUT FOR YOU. PEOPLE WHO ARE LONELY USE THESE TABLES.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ANN ARBOR

Keyword(s): BELIEF ; Haunt ; Ouija ; SPIRIT ; SUPERSTITION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Word Letter

Date learned: 02-04-1968

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BEFORE YOU EAT AN APPLE, TWIST THE STEM, AND SAY A LETTER OF THE
ALPHABET, BEGINNING WITH A, FOR EACH TURN. WHEN THE STEM BREAKS THE
LETTER SAID WILL BE THE FIRST LETTER IN
YOUR FUTURE MATE'S LAST NAME.

Submitter comment: I LEARNED THIS FROM MY CLASSMATES IN GRADE SCHOOL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Word Letter

Date learned: 02-00-1979

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"FATTURA"

WISHING ILLNESS BY PLACING A LETTER STATING THIS IN A FEATHER
PILLOW. SICKNESS CAUSED A PERSON TO BE TOTALLY IMMOBLIZED AND
WOULD HAVE TO REMAIN IN BED. IF A PERSON WAS KNOWN TO HAVE CURSED
SOMEONE WITH SICKNESS, THEN SALT WAS THROWN AFTER THAT PERSON BY
THE PERSON WHO WAS CURSED (WITHOUT THEM SEEING IT DONE) WHEN
THE PERSON RECOVERED FROM THE ILLNESS.

Submitter comment: "FATTURA" MEANS CHARM OR SPELL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; CAMPUS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Curse
BELIEF -- Word Letter
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness
BELIEF -- Remedy
BELIEF -- Conversions

Date learned: 02-26-1979

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RELIGIOUS

ON JANUARY 6TH (THREE KINGS DAY) PRIESTS GO FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE AND
WRITE THE INITIALS OF THE 3 KINGS WITH BLESSED WHITE CHALK ABOVE
THE DOORS OF THE HOMES. THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BRING HAPPINESS AND
HEALTH AND KEEP AWAY THE THE EVIL SPIRITS. PEOPLE IN TOWN GIVE
CONTRIBUTIONS.

Submitter comment: THIS TRADITION IS FOLLOWED IN POLAND. AT ONE TIME IT WAS POPULAR
IN DETROIT AND ITS SUBURBS.

Where learned: DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Prayer
BELIEF -- Word Letter
BELIEF -- Color

Date learned: 04-15-1979

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AS A GOOD LUCK CHARM WHEN TAKING AN EXAM OR TURNING IN A PAPER,
WRITE JMJ IN THE TOP RIGHT CORNER OF THE PAGE. IT STANDS FOR
JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): INITIALS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- School
BELIEF -- Word Letter
BELIEF -- Good luck

Date learned: 02-00-1980

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EPIPHANY CEREMONY

EACH YEAR ON THE FEAST OF EPIPHANY, JANUARY 6, THE FATHER
USING A WHITE CHALK, MAKES A CROSS OVER EACH DOORWAY.
NEXT TO THE CROSS HE WRITES THE YEAR. IT'S SYMBOLIC OF
ASKING GOD'S BLESSING ON ANYONE WHO ENTERS THE ROOMS
FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR. THE CROSS, SYMBOLIC OF CHRIST,
REMINDED EACH PERSON THAT GOD MANIFESTED HIMSELF AT THE
BAPTISM OF JESUS IN THE JORDAN RIVER.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; SHAMOKIN

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Typical Elements of a Festive Pattern
BELIEF -- Prayer
BELIEF -- Word Letter
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications

Date learned: 00001970S

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IT IS BELIEVED THAT IF YOU WANT TO INVOKE THE DEVIL, YOU REPEAT
HIS NAME WITHOUT STOPPING FOR 24 HOURS. IF DURING THAT TIME YOU
SAY: "OH MY GOD" YOU WILL FIND YOURSELF IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN.

Where learned: GUADELOUPE

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration
BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour
BELIEF -- Prayer
BELIEF -- Word Letter
BELIEF -- Number P686.24

Date learned: 00-00-1968

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IF YOU BURY TWO FISH HEADS IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS AND
PUT YOUR NAME ON ONE AND HIS NAME ON THE OTHER FISH HEAD
YOU WILL FIGHT ALL THE TIME.

Where learned: LOUISIANA

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Magic of Speech, Sign, Color
BELIEF -- Word Letter

Date learned: 01161984CA

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IF YOU WRITE YOUR NAME ON A RAILROAD TRACK ALL YOU WILL DO
IS HOP TRAINS FROM CITY TO CITY.

Where learned: LOUISANA

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Word Letter

Date learned: 01161984CA

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TO CALL BACK SOMEONE YOU LOVE FROM THE DEAD

PLACE A LETTER WRITTEN TO A DECEASED MEMBER OF THE FAMILY ON TOP
OF A GLASS OF WATER AND PLACE IT UNDER YOUR BED. YOUR BELOVED ONE
WILL COME AND VISIT YOU IN PEACE. BEWARE: NEVER PERFORM THIS TASK
ON A FULL MOON NIGHT OR EVIL SPIRITS WILL HAUNT YOU.

Where learned: DETROIT ; NORWEST THEATER

James Callow Keyword(s): CONJURATION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Word Letter

Date learned: 01-30-1984

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WHENEVER YOU TAKE A TEST ONE
SHOULD PLACE IN THE LEFT HAND
CORNER, IN SMALL LETTER, J.M.J.
THIS STANDS FOR JESUS, MARY AND
JOSEPH.

Submitter comment: THE NUNS TAUGHT MICHAEL THIS, IT
IS SUPPOSED TO BRING GOOD LUCK TO
THE TEST TAKER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Religious hero
BELIEF -- School
BELIEF -- Prayer
BELIEF -- Word Letter
BELIEF -- Good luck

Date learned: 00001970S

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