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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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THE DANCE TO THE DEVIL

WHEN MY FRIEND AND I WERE IN CALIFORNIA LAST CHRISTMAS
WE HAD THESE SILVER BEADS, CALLED THE BEADS OF DEATH.
WE PUT THEM IN THE SHAPE OF A D FOR DEVIL, AND PROCEEDED
TO DO A DANCE. WE REALLY GOT INTO IT, BECAUSE WE STARTED
TO LOSE COMPLETE CONTROL OF OURSELVES AND WERE ROLLING
ALL OVER THE FLOOR AND DOING WILD DANCES AND YELLING. IT
WAS LIKE SOME FORCE HAD TAKEN US BOTH OVER AND WAS CONTROL-
LING OUR MOVEMENTS. I DID THIS ONE OTHER TIME WITH ANOTHER
FRIEND, AND SOMEWHAT OF THE SAME THING HAPPENED BUT NOT AS
VIOLENT. OH YES, AFTER WE DID THIS WE HAD BAD LUCK FOR
ABOUT ONE WEEK.

Where learned: CALIFORNIA

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- C425
BELIEF -- Bad luck

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HUNGARIAN SUPERSTITION

NEVER STEP OVER A PERSON WHEN HE IS LYING IN BED OR IT WILL BRING
HIM GREAT DANGER.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER HUNGARIAN FATHER.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; YONKERS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Home
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 12-22-1963

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ITALIAN AND FRENCH SUPERSTITION: BREAD AND LUCK

ALWAYS HAVE THE CRUST OF THE BREAD FACING UP ON THE TABLE OR YOU
WILL HAVE BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: LEARNED WHILE TRAVELLING THROUGHOUT EUROPE 1959-1961.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Home
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 12-24-1963

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SUPERSTITION--BAD LUCK

IT IS UNLUCKY TO LIGHT THREE CIGARETTES FROM A SINGLE MATCH.

Submitter comment: FROM FRIENDS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
BELIEF -- Bad luck

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GERMAN SUPERSTITION

ACCIDENTALLY PUTTING YOUR STOCKING ON WRONG SIDE OUT MEANS GOOD
LUCK, BUT IT'S UNLUCKY TO TURN THEM ON THE RIGHT SIDE IF YOU SEE
THE MISTAKE.

Submitter comment: HEARD IN STEELTON, PENNSYLVANIA ABOUT 1920.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Good luck
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 00001920 CA

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ITALIAN AND FRENCH SUPERSTITION

NEVER CROSS YOUR FORK AND KNIFE AFTER A MEAL OR TERRIBLE
FORTUNE WILL COME YOUR WAY.

Submitter comment: LEARNED WHILE TRAVELLING IN EUROPE 1959-1961.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Measure of time Eating For menu, see N222.
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 12-24-1963

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JAMAICAN SUPERSTITION

IT'S BAD LUCK TO SWEEP THE HOUSE AFTER 6 O'CLOCK AT NIGHT.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM A LADY-FRIEND FROM JAMAICA.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour
BELIEF -- Measure of time Working
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 01-01-1964

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DREAMS

DREAMING OF SNAKES OR EGGS IS BAD LUCK.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Dreams Food and liquids
BELIEF -- Dreams Dreams about animals
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 03-13-1975

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SHOES

LEAVING SHOES IN THE WRONG ORDER BRINGS BAD LUCK.

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN ;

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: CA1963-1975

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MIRRORS

NEVER PASS A MIRROR WUTHOIT LOOKING OR YOU WILL LOSE YOUR IDENTITY.

James Callow comment: COLLECTOR'S SPELLING CORRECTED

Where learned: HOME ; SCHOOL ; MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck
BELIEF -- Conversions

Date learned: CA1963-1975

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PROVERB

BREAD ALWAYS FALLS ON THE BUTTERED SIDE.

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): ANIMATED NATURE ; FOOD

James Callow Keyword(s): OBSERVATION ; PESSIMISM

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck
PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 10-01-1965

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MAXIM

CAN'T WIN FOR LOSING.

Submitter comment: NOT ABSOLUTELY SURE BUT PROBABLY HEARD THIS FROM MY FATHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CONTRAST ; ELLIPSIS

James Callow Keyword(s): CONTRAST

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck
PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim

Date learned: 11-11-1967

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BELIEF ABOUT A CROSS-EYED WOMAN

IF YOU MEET A CROSS-EYED WOMAN IN THE MORNING, THINGS WILL
GET CROSSED ALL DAY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): CONTAGIOUS MAGIC ; HOMEOPATHIC MAGIC

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Physically handicapped Deformed
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Eyes, evil eye
BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 03-05-1971

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WEDDING BELIEF

IN SMALL ITALIAN CITIES IT IS CONSIDERED
GOOD LUCK TO HAVE RAIN ON YOUR WEDDING DAY. IN LARGER ITALIAN
CITIES IT IS CONSIERED BAD LUCK WHEN IT RAINS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Superstition about good weather
BELIEF -- Cloud Fog Mist Rain Hail Ice Snow Frost Dew
BELIEF -- Good luck
BELIEF -- Bad luck
BELIEF -- Weather sign or control P890.7

Date learned: 10-00-1969

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TREE SUPERSTITION

A LONE TREE THAT IS FOUND IN THE MIDDLE OF A FIELD WITHOUT
ANY OTHER TREES AROUND IT IS CONSIDERED SACRED. NO ONE SHOULD
RISK CUTTING IT DOWN FOR FEAR OF EVIL HAPPENING TO HIM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 11-00-1970

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SUPERSTITON

AN ENGLISH IVY PLANT IN THE HOUSE WILL BRING BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT STRONGLY BELIEVES THIS. SHE CLAIMS THAT WHENEVER SHE
HAD SUCH A PLANT IN THE HOUSE, THE RESULT WAS NOTHING BUT BAD LUCK
UNTIL SHE DISPOSED OF THE PLANT.

Where learned: SAINT CLAIR SHORES

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 02-27-1971

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THORNBERRY BUSH BELIEF

IN IRELAND, NO ONE SHOULD EVER DIG UP A THORNBERRY BUSH.
OTHERWISE HE WILL HAVE A TRAGIC DEATH.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 03-01-1971

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BLACK TABOO

IF YOU EAT BLACK GRAPES OR BLACK FIGS THEN SOME SORT OF BAD LUCK
WILL COME TO YOU, SUCH AS BAD NEWS, OR YOU WILL DO SOMETHING
THAT YOU WILL REGRET LATER. HOWEVER RED, WHITE , GREEN, AND BLUE
GRAPES AND FIGS ARE FINE TO EAT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; KALAMAZOO

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Plant food Fruit
BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Color
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 02-18-1971

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HOME BELIEF

IF SOMEONE ENTERS YOUR FRONT DOOR, IT IS BAD LUCK FOR THEM
TO EXIT YOUR BACK DOOR.

Submitter comment: LEARNED IN CHILDHOOD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

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

Date learned: 04-00-1972

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SUPERSTITION

DO NOT SWEEP FLOORS AFTER THE LIGHTS ARE LIT IN THE HOME.
THIS WOULD MEAN SWEEPING HEALTH AND WEALTH FOR THE FAMILY OUT.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; WESTCHESTER

James Callow Keyword(s): BROOM

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Home
BELIEF -- P87O
BELIEF -- Bad luck

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