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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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POLISH SUPERSTITION

IF YOU DROP A PIECE OF BREAD ON THE FLOOR, YOU MUST PICK IT UP
IMMEDIATELY AND KISS IT, OR ELSE YOU HAVE SINNED.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER POLISH MOTHER WHEN SHE WAS VERY YOUNG.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; YONKERS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
SPEECH -- Gesture

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MISCELLANEOUS CUSTOMS

A SEAMAN LEAVING THE FORECASTLE TO GO AFT, EITHER FOR HIS TRICK AT
THE WHEEL OR OTHER WORK, GOES AFT ALONG THE LEESIDE OF THE VESSEL,
UNLESS HIS IMMEDIATE DUTY LIES TO THE WINDWARD.
A SEAMAN SUMMONED TO THE CAPTAIN'S CABIN REMOVED HIS CAP AND
DROPPED IT TO THE DECK JUST OUTSIDE THE DOOR.
A MARINER ENTERING A NEW SHIP, OR EVEN AN OLD SHIP, FOR THE FIRST
TIME MAKES CERTAIN THAT HIS RIGHT FOOT IS THE FIRST TO TOUCH THE
DECK.
IT WAS A BREECH OF ETIQUETTE FOR A SEAMAN TO LOCK HIS SEA CHEST
WHILE ON BOARD HIS SHIP. OFFENDERS OFTEN FOUND, WHEN THEY
RETURNED TO THE FORECASTLE FROM THEIR WATCH ON DECK, THAT THE
COVER HAD BEEN NAILED DOWN.
IN THE BRITISH AND UNITED STATES NAVIES, A SCARF OF BLACK SILK IS
WORN, ORIGINALLY AS A MARK OF WARNING (MOURNING?) FOR THE DEATH
OF LORD NELSON.
IN THE ROYAL NAVY, OFFICERS WHO HAVE BEEN ROUND EITHER THE CAPE
OF GOOD HOPE OR CAPE HORN MAY PUT ONE FOOT ON THE WARDROOM TABLE;
BOTH CAPES CARRY THE RIGHT TO PUT BOTH FEET ON THE TABLE.
BY NAVAL CUSTOM THE SENIOR OFFICER PRESENT IS ALWAYS THE LAST
INTO A BOAT AND THE FIRST OUT OF IT.

Submitter comment:

CAPTAIN LUMAS SAYS THAT HE HAS LEARNED THESE CUSTOMS THROUGH THE
YEARS THAT HE HAS BEEN SAILING, BOTH IN THE U.S. NAVY AND UP AT
MACKINAW ISLAND.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; MACKINAW ISLAND

Keyword(s): British ; Captain ; Etiquette ; Language ; Lingo ; Naval ; Navy ; POSITION ; Seaman ; Ship ; Uniform ; United States

James Callow Keyword(s): DIRECTION ; LEFT ; POSITION ; RIGHT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Work Commerce Business
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F535
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Maturity
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Dress Overall body coverUpper body and arms
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Color
BELIEF -- Number Last events: the last person to the table...
SPEECH -- Gesture

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PADIDDLE

I AM NOT SURE OF THE SPELLING, BUT THIS IS THE WAY THE WORD IS
PRONOUNCED AND IT INDICATES A CAR WITH ONLY ONE OPERATIVE
HEADLIGHT. WHEN YOU ARE WITH A GIRL YOU GET TO KISS HER IF YOU SEE
SUCH A CAR AND YELL OUT PADIDDLE BEFORE SHE DOES. IF SHE DOES, SHE
GETS TO HIT YOU IN THE ARM.
ALSO GIRLS KEEP COUNT OF HOW MANY SUCH CARS THEY SEE BY THEM-
SELVES. THE FIRST BOY THEY SEE WHEN THEY HIT FIVE HUNDRED IS
SUPPOSED TO BE THE BOY THEY WILL MARRY.
A "GERONIMO" IS A CAR WHICH HAS ONE LIGHT BRIGHTER THAN THE
OTHER DUE TO AN ACCIDENT OR ONE ON WHICH THE HEADLIGHT FAILS
AS YOU ARE WATCHING IT.

Submitter comment: THE FIRST TIME I EVER HEARD THIS WAS IN THE EIGHTH GRADE. I
BELIEVE IT WAS IN A MOVIE WITH JAMES DEAN. AFTER THAT SOMEONE
EXPLAINED IT TO ME AND I HAVE HEARD IT COUNTLESS TIMES SINCE
THAT IN DETROIT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE ; QUICKNESS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Number P686.3.500
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 12-00-1963

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I WAS TOLD TO URINATE ON YOUR HANDS AND WASH YOUR FACE WITH IT.
THEN KISS YOUR GIRLFRIEND AND THIS WILL MAKE YOUR MATE LOVE YOU.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): APHRODISIACAL ACTIONS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Marriage
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 10-00-1974

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CORNETTO GESTURE

YOUR MIDDLE AND FOREFINGER POINTED AT A PERSON WITH THE EVIL EYE
WILL THROW THE BAD LUCK BACK ON THEM.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Curse
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 03-13-1975

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PROTECTION FROM EVIL EYE

THE MANU CORNATA, HAND GESTURE WITH FOREFINGER AND BABY FINGER
PROTECTS YOU FROM THE EVIL EYE

Submitter comment: HE CONSIDERS THIS A MALTESE BELIEF.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Curse
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 03-21-1975

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MEXICAN GOOD LUCK

THE MEXICANS HAVE A CHARM WHICH IS A CLOSED FIST WITH A BRACELET.
THIS IS PROTECTION FROM THE EVIL EYE.

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

James Callow Keyword(s): AMULET TALISMAN

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Curse
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: CA1963-1975

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PREDICTION

IF YOUR NOSE ITCHES, IT MEANS YOU ARE GOING TO KISS A FOOL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Spirit / Mind / Body
BELIEF -- Physically handicapped Deformed
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 03-00-1971

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CHICKENS DRINKING WATER

CHICKENS USUALLY PECK AT THE WATER AND THEN LOWER THEIR HEADS BACK
TO SWALLOW, BUT THE REAL REASON THAT THEY PUT THEIR HEADS BACK IS
BECAUSE THEY ARE THANKING GOD.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT MADE THIS OBSERVATION SEVERAL TIMES ON THEIR FARM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; CALUMET

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bird
BELIEF -- Prayer
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 04-00-1970

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GOOD LUCK GESTURE

WHEN YOU SEE YOUR FIRST ROBIN OF THE SEASON, LICK YOUR THUMB,
TOUCH IT TO YOUR PALM OF YOUR HAND, AND THEN POUND THAT PALM WITH
YOUR FIST FOR GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting
BELIEF -- Bird
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.22
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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FAIRY BELIEF

IN IRELAND,
THE FAIRIES WERE BAD TOO. THEY WOULD COME BY THE NIGHT AND MILK THE
COWS AND HAVE A PICNIC AND WHEN YOU CHURNED THE MILK YOU WOULD HAVE
NO BUTTER. THE ONLY WAY YOU COULD SHOOT THEM WAS TO PUT A SILVER
COIN IN THE GUN, ALONG WITH THE AMMUNITION. AT TWELVE MIDNIGHT,
THEY COULD TAKE YOU FOR A VERY LONG WALK AND KEEP YOU WALKING UNTIL
THE COCKS WOULD CROW AT 4 A.M. BUT YOU COULD FOOL THEM IF YOU
TURNED YOUR COAT INSIDE OUT AND BLESSED YOURSELF WITH THE SIGN OF
THE CROSS.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; ROCHESTER

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Fairy Elf Goblin Gnome
BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 03-11-1972

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STAR BELIEF

A FALLING STAR MEANS THAT SOMEONE IS SELLING HIS SOUL TO THE
THE DEVIL. IF YOU WISH TO SAVE THE SOUL, MAKE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS.

Where learned: WARREN

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Star
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 02-15-1970

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IRISH BELIEF

IN BLARNEY CASTLE THERE IS A HIGH ROCK CALLED THE BLARNEY STONE.
THE BLARNEY STONE IS DIFFICULT TO REACH, BUT THE IRISH BELEIVE
THAT IF A PERSON IS ABLE TO KISS THE STONE WITH HIS LIPS, THE
FEAT GIVES THE TOUNGUE THE POWER OF FLATTERY AND OF COMPLIMENTARY
SPEECH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mineral
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 11-03-1969

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IRISH BELIEF

WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR LIPS WHEN YOU KISS THE BLARNEY STONE?

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR SHORES

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Mineral
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 10-25-1968

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GROWTH BELIEF

IN THE UKRAINE IT IS BELIEVED THAT IF A SMALL CHILD IS LYING
DOWN AND A PERSON JUMPS OVER THEM, THE CHILD WON'T GROW.
BUT IF THE PERSON JUMPS BACK OVER AGAIN, THEN WALKS AROUND HIM, HE
WILL GROW NORMALLY.

Submitter comment: BELIEF STILL HIGHLY RESPECTED, HEARD FROM GRANDPARENTS.
BY INFORMANT IN UKRAINE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): HOMEOPATHIC ; RITUAL

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 10-01-1967

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HOUSEHOLD SUPERSTITON

IN MEXICO, WHEN PASSING SALT TO SOMEONE AT THE TABLE, PUT IT
ON THE TABLE, IF YOU HAND IT TO THE ASKER, YOU WILL FIGHT

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ANN ARBOR

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Home
BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Home
BELIEF -- P86O
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 02-04-1968

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CUSTOM

MEN ALWAYS WALK TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD BECAUSE IN THE OLD DAYS
IF A CHARIOT WENT BY, IT WOULD SPLASH THE MAN INSTEAD OF THE WOMAN.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): CHIVALRY ; POSITION DIRECTION

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

Date learned: 03-01-1971

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DATING SUPERSTITION

INFORMANT'S FATHER ALWAYS TOLD HER WHEN YOUR BOY FRIEND LETS YOU
WALK ON THE OUTSIDE PART OF THE WALK, HE DOESN'T WANT YOU
ANY MORE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): CHIVALRY ; POSITION DIRECTION

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

Date learned: 10-08-1971

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SUPERSTITION

WHEN YOU ARE IN A CAR, AND GOING OVER RAILROAD TRACKS,
YOU MUST PUT YOUR HAND FLAT AGAINST THE ROOF OF THE CAR, OR
YOU WILL LOSE YOUR SEX APPEAL.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hands, palms, fingernails
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 02-02-1971

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SUPERSTITION

WHEN GOING BY A CEMETERY, YOU SHOULD PUT YOUR HANDS
ON THE TOP OF THE CAR, OR YOU WILL NEVER MARRY.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hands, palms, fingernails
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Marriage Dating Courtship
SPEECH -- Gesture
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 03-26-1971

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