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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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NOT GIVEN

WHEN WE VISITED SOMEONE FOR THE FIRST TIME AT THE FIRST OF THE
YEAR, WE HAD TO TAKE SOMETHING TO THEM. IF THE FAMILY WAS NOT
TAKEN SOMETHING, THEY WOULD BE IN NEED THE REST OF THE YEAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN HEIGHTS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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GOOD LUCK FROM A DEAD SPIRIT WHEN YOU PLAY A NUMBER

IF YOU PUT A GLASS OF WATER UNDER YOUR BED IT WILL MAKE YOUR DEAD
GRANDMOTHER COME BACK TO YOU. HER SPIRIT WILL COME TO YOU AND
BRING YOU GOOD LUCK. IT HAS BEEN KNOWN TO HAPPEN BECAUSE A LADY
GOT RICH THAT WAY. YOU PICK OUT THE NUMBER WHICH YOU WANT TO
COME OUT. AND PUT IT INTO THE GLASS OF WATER. THE SPIRIT OF A
DEAD RELATIVE WILL COME TO GET A TASTE OF THE WATER AND THANK YOU
BY MAKING THE NUMBER COME OUT. THIS WAS PASSED ON TO ME BY MY
GRANDMOTHER. SHE CAME FROM THE SOUTH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): GAINING WEALTH ; GAMBLING: PLAYING THE NUMBERS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 10-00-1974

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ILLNESS

IF A BABY IS SICK, DIP HIM IN COLD WATER ON THE SECOND FULL MOON OF
THE SEASON.

Where learned: HOME ; SCHOOL ; MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Number
BELIEF -- Remedy
BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: CA1963-1975

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BELIEF

THE FIRST CHILD IS USUALLY THE SMARTEST

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
Observation
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 11-10-1968

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NEW HOUSE BELIEF

A NEW HOUSE BRINGS A NEW BABY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): HOMEOPATHIC

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 11-17-1968

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LEGAL PROVERB

POSSESSION IS NINE TENTHS OF THE LAW

Where learned: NOT GIVEN

James Callow Keyword(s): NUMBERS ; OBSERVATION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Number
PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 03-28-1968

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IT IS BAD LUCK TO LEAVE A HOUSEHOLD YOU ARE VISITING ON THE HALF OR
QUARTER HOURS. ONE MAY ONLY LEAVE ON THE HOUR. THIS IS AN OLD IRISH
PLOY TO KEEP THE GUESTS FROM LEAVING.

Submitter comment: THIS ITEM WAS GIVEN TO MRS. CHESNEY BY MATILDA MELLON, HER MOTHER,
WHO WAS AN IRISH IMMIGRANT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HARPER WOODS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Number
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 09-16-1975

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JAMAICAN SPIRIT BELIEF

WHEN YOU ARE BUILDING OR MOVING INTO A HOUSE, KILL ANY ANIMAL AND
SPRINKLE ITS BLOOD AROUND THE HOUSE TO MAKE A DEAL WITH THE
SPIRITS TO LEAVE IT ALONE. OFTEN MEN WON'T WORK ON HOUSES BEFORE
THIS IS DONE.

Submitter comment: DONALD LEE LEARNED THIS ITEM IN BUFF BAY JAMAICA.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL SACRIFICE

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Work Commerce Business
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 10-31-1975

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AN OLD SUPERSTITION THIS INDIVIDUAL LEARNED WAS THAT ONE COULD
ASCERTAIN THE AMOUNT OF YEARS ONE HAD REMAINING IN LIFE BY COUNTING
THE NUMBER OF CARS IN THE NEXT FUNERAL PROCESSION TO PASS BY. EACH
CAR REPRESENTED AN ADDITIONAL YEAR TACKED ON THE PERSONS LIFE SPAN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE ; NUMBERS ; SYMBOL

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 10-00-1975

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LEGEND

IF YOU NEED MONEY, ONE WAY TO GET IT IS TO WRITE A LETTER TO A DEAD
RELATIVE. ADDRESS THE ENVELOPE AND STAMP IT JUST LIKE YOU WERE
MAILING THE LETTER. THEN PUT IT ON TOP OF A GLASS OF WATER AND
PLACE THEM UNDER YOUR BED. WHAT IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN IS THAT THE
RELATIVE WILL COME BACK TO YOU AND TELL YOU THE NUMBERS FOR THE
NUMBERS RACKET THE NEXT DAY. SO A LADY DID THIS, SHE WROTE TO HER
DEAD BABY SISTER AND PUT THE LETTER ON A GLASS OF WATER UNDER HER
BED. SHE WOKE UP DURING THE NIGHT WHEN SHE FELT SOMEONE GETTING
INTO BED WITH HER. SHE LOOKED AND IT WAS THE BODY OF AN ADULT WITH
THE HEAD OF HER BABY SISTER. SHE RAN OUT OF THE HOUSE AND RAN
DOWN THE STREET SCREAMING. AND SHE'S BEEN CRAZY EVER SINCE.

Submitter comment: WHEN MY INFORMANT LEARNED THIS STORY, THE PERSON WHO TOLD IT TO HER
WARNED HER TO BE SURE NOT TO TRY IT. SHE THINKS IT,S A SILLY STORY,
BUT SHE WON'T TRY TO DISPROVE IT.

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

James Callow Keyword(s): DECAPITATION

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Physically handicapped Deformed
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Number
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 11-00-1975

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HOLY WATER

EVERYDAY IN MALTA DURING LENT THE VILLAGE PRIEST CAME TO SPRINKLE
THE DOOR-STOOP WITH HOLY WATER. AT THE SAME TIME THE HOUSEHOLDER
WAS TO SAY: "BEGONE" THREE TIMES AND SAY A ROSARY.

Data entry tech comment: THE POPULATION OF MALTA IS 100% ROMAN CATHOLIC.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): WATER

Subject headings: 663 Lent
BELIEF -- Prayer
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 10-00-1971

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LENT

RED WINE IS TAKEN AT DINNER ON EVERY SUNDAY OF LENT EXCEPT THE THIRD.
WHITE WINE IS THEN TAKEN.
(MY UNCLE'S FRIEND WAS THE SOURCE OF THIS)

Submitter comment: ( THIS IS ) NOT NECESSARILY ( A GERMAN CUSTOM ).

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM

Subject headings: 663 Lent
BELIEF -- Sign Color
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 00001960S

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LENTEN CUSTOM

THE CATHOLIC CUSTOM IS TO FAST DURING THE 40 DAYS OF LENT AS CHRIST
DID ON MT. SINAI.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): SELF-SACRIFICE--FASTING

Subject headings: 663 Lent
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 11-04-1968

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HOLY WEEK

ON HOLY THURSDAY AND GOOD FRIDAY PEOPLE HAVE ELABORATE
PROCESSIONS THROUGH THE STREETS OF MALTA VISITING SEVEN DIFFERENT
CHURCHES. CHILDREN CARRY SYMBOLS OF THE PASSION--E.G. ( , ) THE
NAILS, ROBE, DICE.

Data entry tech comment: 100% OF THE POPULATION OF MALTA IS ROMAN CATHOLIC.
THIS IS DONE TO SYMBOLIZE THE SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ABSTINENCE

Subject headings: 663 Holy Thursday
663 Good Friday
Favorites
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Accessories
DRAMA -- Religious
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting F663.30
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 03-08-1970

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PROVERB

UF KAERFREIDAK SULL MER'S ERSCHT MOL IM JOR FISCHE GE, NO BEISE DI
FISCH'S GANZ JOR.
YOU WILL HAVE GOOD LUCK IN FISHING ALL YEAR IF YOU FISH THE FIRST
TIME IN THE YEAR ON GOOD FRIDAY.

Data entry tech comment: FROM FISHERS OF MEN?

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA

Keyword(s): LUCK

Subject headings: 663 Good Friday
Favorites
BELIEF -- Fish
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 00-00-1965

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ON GOOD FRIDAY A TABLE IS SET UP IN THE EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH
AND DECORATED WITH FLOWERS. THE TABLE REPRESENTS THE GRAVE OF
CHRIST. DURING THE EVENING SERVICES IT IS DISASSEMBLED AND CARRIED
BY CHURCH ELDERS IN A PROCESSION IN WHICH ALL OF THE MEMBERS
JOIN. EVERYONE CARRIES A LIGHTED CANDLE AND MARCHES AROUND THE
CHURCH THREE TIMES ILLUSTRATING THE THEME, "CHRIST HAS DIED, CHRIST
HAS RISEN, CHRIST WILL COME AGAIN". AT THE RESURRECTION MASS
THE SAME PROCEDURE IS REPEATED.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAID THAT DESPITE THE REVISIONS IN THE ORTHODOX MASS, THIS
EASTER CUSTOM HAS BEEN PRESERVED AND IS STILL WIDELY PRACTICED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 663 Good Friday
DRAMA -- Religious
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Sunday
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 10-20-1971

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CUSTOM HOLY SATURDAY:

IN THE AFTERNOON, A PILE OF THORNS, LIKE THOSE USED IN CHRIST'S
CROWN, IS SET ON FIRE. WHEN THE FIRE HAS BURNED ABOUT HALF DOWN,
EACH PERSON TAKES A PIECE OF BURNED THORN AND KEEPS IT IN THEIR
( HIS ) HOME FOR A YEAR.

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): AMULET

Subject headings: 663 Holy Saturday
Favorites
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 11-27-1967

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FOOD BLESSED

ON HOLY SATURDAY ( , ) SEVERAL PEOPLE GET TOGETHER AT AN APPOINTED
HOUSE AND EVERYONE BRINGS VARIOUS ITEMS OF FOOD. THEY WOULD INCLUDE
HAM, BREAD, EGGS AND SALT. ALL OF THIS FOOD WOULD BE BLESSED AND
IT WOULD BE THE FIRST FOOD EATEN ON EASTER SUNDAY.

Submitter comment: THIS WAS A TRADITIONAL CUSTOM IN THE UPPER PENINSULA.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; CALUMET

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM ; SWIECZONKA

Subject headings: 663 Holy Saturday
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Sunday
BELIEF -- Prayer
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

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CUSTOM HOLY SATURDAY

THE FAMILIES TAKE A BASKET OF FOOD TO CHURCH IN THE AFTERNOON AND
HAVE IT BLESSED BY THE PRIEST. THIS BASKET ONCE CONTAINED ONLY SMALL
LOAVES OF BREAD, BUT NOW CONTAINS BREAD, BUTTER, SALT, SAUSAGE, AND
COLORED EGGS. THIS IS THE FIRST FOOD EATEN WHEN THE FAMILY RETURNS
FROM MASS ON EASTER SUNDAY.
THIS IS A REMEMBRANCE OF THE MIRACLE OF THE LOAVES AND THE FISHES; IT
IS ALSO A REQUEST THAT GOD WILL MAKE THE YEAR PLENTIFUL.

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM ; SWIECZONKA

Subject headings: 663 Holy Saturday
DRAMA -- Religious
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter eggs
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Sunday
BELIEF -- Prayer
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 11-27-1967

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CUSTOM

ON THE MONDAY AFTER EASTER THE FARMERS BLESSED THE FOUR CORNERS
OF THEIR LAND WITH HOLY WATER.

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN ; TAYLOR

Keyword(s): SYMBOL: FOUR CORNERS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus
BELIEF -- Prayer
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 11-27-1967

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