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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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THERE WAS A MAN UPON THE STAIRS,
GEE I WISH HE WASN'T THERE.
HE WASN'T THERE AGAIN TODAY,
GEE, I WISH HE'D GO AWAY.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM HER MOTHER MANY YEARS AGO.

Data entry tech comment: YESTERDAY UPON THE STAIR, I SAW A MAN THAT WASN'T THERE.
HE WASN'T THERE AGAIN TODAY,
OH, HOW I WISH HE'D GO AWAY (THAT'S THE WAY I HEARD IT)

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CHIASMUS CONTRADICTIONS QUATRAIN ; FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE ; REPETITION METER: IAMB. RHYME: IMPERFECT, DOUBLE ; RHYME AABB ; SLANG CONTRADICTION ; WISH GHOSTS FEAR

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Verse without Music

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BATS

BATS ATTACK PEOPLE AND PREY ON THE HUMAN BLOOD, TO COUNTERACT
THIS ATTACK, ONE SHOULD WEAR A CROSS AROUND THE NECK. THIS
WILL ALSO KEEP AWAY VAMPIRES.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): Bats ; FEAR ; SUPERNATURAL ; SUPERSTITION

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMALS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Werewolf Vampire
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Upper body, arms, neck
BELIEF -- Animal
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications

Date learned: 02-10-1972

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PROVERB

PEOPLE ONLY TURN TO GOD WHEN IN DANGER BUT NEGLECT HIM OTHERWISE

Submitter comment: INFORMANT RECEIVED THIS INFORMANTION FROM RELATIVES IN UKRAINE

Data entry tech comment: ORIGINAL 5 X 8 CARD CONTAINS UKRAINIAN TEXT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): FEAR ; HIPOCRISY ; OBSERVATION ; TRANSLATION

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Proverb Proverb

Date learned: 11-14-1967

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PROVERB

HE WHO HAS NO FRIENDS IS AFRAID OF HIS ENEMIES.
EL QUE NO TIENE AMIGOS TEME A LOS ENEMIGOS.

Submitter comment: LEARNED THROUGH HIS STUDY OF SPANISH.

Data entry tech comment: MY MOTHER OFTEN TOLD ME THIS AS A CHILD IN THE BAHAMAS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CONTRAST ; FEAR OF ENEMIES.

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim

Date learned: 10-05-1967

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HICCUPS

HOLD YOUR BREATH AND SAY YOUR BOYFRIEND'S NAME 10 TIMES.
DRINK A GLASS OF WATER UPSIDE DOWN.
IF SOMEONE HAS THE HICCUPS SCARE THEM AND THE HICCUPS WILL GO AWAY.

Submitter comment: I LEARNED THESE THINGS WHEN I WAS VERY YOUNG ABOUT 1950.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SOUTHFIELD

Keyword(s): FEAR

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
686 First / Once / One / Newness
BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: 00-00-1950

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HAUNTED HOUSE

THERE IS A HAUNTED HOUSE ON JEFFERSON AND CADIEUX.
MANY OF HIS FRIENDS HAVE GONE INSIDE AND SEEN STRANGE SIGHTS,
BUT HE HAS NEVER BEEN ABLE TO GET UP ENOUGH
NERVE TO GO IN.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT HAS SEEN THE OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE
AND HIS FRIENDS HAVE TOLD HIM ABOUT IT.
THIS HOUSE IS STILL THERE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): FEAR TEST

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 05-12-1965

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OUR FAMILY DOCTOR HAS A LARGE BIRTH MARK ON THE SIDE OF HIS FACE.
IT WAS SAID THAT WHILE HIS MOTHER WAS PREGNANT WITH HIM THERE
WAS A FIRE AND HIS MOTHER RAISED HER HAND TO HER FACE. THIS
CAUSED THE BIRTH MARK ON HIS FACE IN THE SAME PLACE WHERE THE
MOTHER HAD TOUCHED HER FACE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Keyword(s): MARKS BROUGHT ABOUT BY FEAR.

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

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Physically handicapped Deformed
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 01-00-1968

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PAJAMA PARTY STORY

ONCE THERE WERE TWO GIRLS WHO DECIDED TO SPEND A WEEKEND AT A
COTTAGE WHICH BELONGED TO THE PARENTS OF ONE OF THE GIRLS. THIS
COTTAGE WAS NEAR AN INSANE ASYLUM. THE FIRST NIGHT THEY WERE
THERE, ONE OF THE GIRLS WENT TO BED EARLY, BUT THE OTHER DECIDED
TO STAY UP AND SIT IN THE ROCKING CHAIR.
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, THE FIRST GIRL WOKE UP AND THOUGHT SHE
HEARD COUNTING: FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY-TWO, FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE.
SHE WAS TOO SLEEPY TO THINK MUCH OF IT, SO SHE FELL BACK TO SLEEP
AGAIN SHE WOKE TO HEAR: EIGHT HUNDRED NINETY-SIX, EIGHT HUNDRED
NINETY-SEVEN. BUT AGAIN SHE FELL ASLEEP.
IN THE MORNING SHE WOKE UP AND THE COUNTING WAS STILL GOING ON.
SHE GOT OUT OF BED AND WENT IN THE OTHER ROOM TO FIND A MAN SITTING
IN THE ROCKING CHAIR, WITH THE OTHER GIRL'S HEAD IN HIS LAP. HE WAS
PULLING OUT HER HAIR AND COUNTING EACH STRAND. WHEN HE SAW THE FIRS
GIRL HE STARTED CHASING HER, CALLING HOW MANY HAIRS DO YOU HAVE ON
YOUR HEAD?
HOW MANY HAIRS DO YOU HAVE ON YOUR HEAD?

Where learned: LOCATION NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

Keyword(s): MURDER, FEAR

James Callow Keyword(s): DECAPITATION ASSUMED

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Physically handicapped Deformed
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Formula tale

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

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A MAN ACCEPTED A BET OF $200 TO GO INTO A CEMETERY AT NIGHT AND
POUND A STAKE INTO THE GROUND. AS HE WAS POUNDING THE STAKE,
SOMETHING KEPT ON PULLING ON HIS COAT. HE SCREAMED AND DIED. THE
POLICE CAME INTO THE CEMETERY AND FOUND HIS COAT WAS CAUGHT UNDER
THE STAKE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Keyword(s): FEAR TEST

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Physically handicapped Deformed

Date learned: 01-00-1968

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LEGEND

IN ST. THOMAS, ONTARIO, CANADA MANY YEARS AGO A FAMILY OF BOYS LIVED
ON A FARM. THESE BRADEY BOYS, AS THEY WERE CALLED, TERRORIZED THE
COUNTRY SIDE. WHEN THEY SEEMINGLY ALL DIED, THE TOWNSPEOPLE BURNT
DOWN THEIR HOMESTEAD IN REVENGE FOR ALL THE HARDSHIPS THE BRADEY BOY
CAUSED. TO THIS DAY THE BRADEY FARM LIES IN WASTE AS IN MEMORY OF TH
BRADEY'S DESTRUCTION AND ALSO IN FEAR THAT SOME OF THE BRADEY BOYS
MIGHT STILL BE ALIVE AND EVENTUALLY SEEK REVENGE IF ANYONE WOULD TAK
OVER THEIR LAND.

Where learned: DETROIT, ASSUMED ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): FEAR ; PLACE NAMES

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Outlaw Criminal Bandit Pirate

Date learned: 02-15-1970

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THE MAN UNDER THE TROLLEYCAR

THERE IS A LITTLE MAN WITH A LONG STICK WITH A BIG SHARP BLADE, LIKE
A SYCTHE ON THE END OF IT. HE USED TO CUT OFF PEOPLE'S HEADS
WHEN THEY STUCK THEIR HEADS OUT OF THE WINDOW.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT'S MOTHER USED TO TELL HIM THIS STORY EVERY TIME HE
TRIED TO STICK HIS HEAD OUT OF THE MOVING TROLLEY CAR WINDOW. THE
INFORMANT SAYS HE USED TO TRY TO LOOK FOR THE LITTLE MAN WHEN THEY
GOT OFF THE TROLLEY CAR BUT HIS MOTHER SAID HE'D (THE LITTLE MAN)
TRY TO PULL ANYONE WHO BENT OVER TO LOOK AT HIM INTO THE WHEEL WITH
HIM.
THE INFORMANT THINKS HE WAS FIRST TOLD THE STORY AT AGE 2 OR 3 AND
BELIEVED IT FOR 6 OR 7 YEARS.
TOLD SEVERAL TIMES, THE LAST TIME BEING JAN. 25, 1967
AT THE WOJACK HOUSE IN DETROIT

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FEAR

James Callow Keyword(s): DECAPITATION

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Physically handicapped Deformed

Date learned: 01-25-1967

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THE RUBBERBAND AND THE HAND

THERE WAS A LITTLE GIRL WHO GOT INTO THE HABIT OF WRAPPING RUBBER
BANDS AROUND HER WRIST BECAUSE SHE LIKED TO LOOK AT THE IMPRESSIONS
THEY LEFT ON HER SKIN WHEN SHE TOOK THEM OFF. ONE DAY SHE FORGOT SHE
HAD THE RUBBER BANDS ON AND KEPT WEARING THEM.
YEARS LATER THE GIRL'S
HAND TURNED BLACK SO THEY TOOK HER TO THE HOSPITAL WHERE THEY
OPERATED ON HER HAND. THE DOCTOR CUT OPEN HER WRIST TO SEE WHY THE
BLOOD STOPPED FLOWING INTO HER HAND AND HE FOUND THE RUBBER BAND. IT
SEEMS THE RUBBER BAND HAD BECOME IMPRESSED IN HER SKIN AND EVENTUALLY
THE SKIN GREW OVER IT. THE GIRL PROMISED NEVER TO WEAR A RUBBER BAND
ON HER WRIST AGAIN.

Submitter comment: TOLD TO THE INFORMANT BY HIS MOTHER WHEN HE WAS A CHILD TO BREAK
HIM OF WEARING RUBBER BANDS. HE SAYS IT WORKED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FEAR ; FUNCTIONAL SCARE STORY

James Callow Keyword(s): FUNCTION

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Body part Senses

Date learned: 03-03-1967

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"BLOODY MARY" (BRAVERY GAME)

A TEST OF BRAVERY IN MY GRADE SCHOOL WOULD BE A GAME CALLED
"BLOODY MARY".
FIRST, ONE WOULD GO INTO A SCHOOL BATHROOM, TURN OUT THE LIGHTS
AND FILL THE SINK WITH WATER. AFTER STARING INTO THE WATER FOR
THIRTY SECONDS, ONE WOULD QUICKLY LOOK INTO A MIRROR IN HOPE OF
SEEING THE GHOST OF "BLOODY MARY" STABBING HERSELF.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; LIVONIA ; CASS ELEMENTARY

James Callow Keyword(s): CONJURATION ; FEAR TEST

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Pastime
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter

Date learned: CA00001970

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THE MAN AND THE COAT

THE MAN AND THE COAT. THERE WAS A MAN WHO WAS VERY TIMID. HE WAS
IN LOVE WITH THE SCHOOLTEACHER. ANOTHER MAN LOVED HER TOO, THOUGH.
THIS OTHER MAN WAS VERY MEAN AND DECIDED TO PLAY A TRICK ON THE FIRST
MAN TO RID HIMSELF OF THE COMPETITION. KNOWING THAT THE FIRST MAN
WAS TIMID, THE SECOND MAN MADE A BET WITH HIM IN FRONT OF THE WOMAN
AND EVERY ONE ELSE. THERE WAS A VERY SPOOKY CEMETARY IN THE
MIDDLI OF TOWN WHICH NO ONE LIKED TO ENTER AT NIGHT ESPECIALLY
THE FIRST MAN. THE SECOND MAN TEASED THE FIRST ABOUT HIS TIMIDITY
AND TOLD HIM THAT IF HE WERE REALLY BRAVE HE WOULD WALK THROUGH THE
CEMETARY THAT NIGHT ON HIS WAY HOME. THE FIRST DID NOT WANT TO
BE OUTDONE SO HE AGREED THOUGH HE WAS VERY SCARED. THAT NIGHT
THE TOWN GATHERED TO SEND THE MAN OFF ON HIS JOURNEY. THE MAN
BEGAN WALKING. HE HEARD MANY STRANGE NOISES WHICH REALLY FIGHTENED
HIM AND HE BEGAN TO RUN. SUDDENLY HE TRIPPED RIGHT IN FRONT OF
A TOMBSTONE AND FELL DOWN. AS HE TRIED TO GET UP HE FELT SOMETHING
TUG ON HIS COAT. HE DID NOT REALIZE THAT IT WAS CAUGHT ON A TWIG.
HE PULLED AND TUGGED AND SCREAMED AND SCREAMED BUT COULD NOT GET
LOOSE. HE BEGAN TO GET SO SCARED THINKING THAT A GHOST HAD GRABBED
HIM THAT HE HAD A HEART ATTACK AND DIED. THE NEXT MORNING SOMEONE
FOUND HIM WITH A HORRIBLE LOOK OF FRIGHT ON HIS FACE. HE WAS
PALE AS A GHOST, LOOKED AS IF HE HAD BEEN SCARED TO DEATH.

Submitter comment: THIS STORY IS LIKE THE ONE ABOUT ICHABOD CRANE AND IN FACT I
BELIEVEVE THE MANS NAME WAS THE SAME BUT I CANT BE SURE NOW.

Where learned: NEW JERSEY ; TOMS RIVER

James Callow Keyword(s): FEAR TEST

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Magic

Date learned: 00001970S

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326 Youth Who Wanted to Learn What Fear Is

There once was a little girl that claimed she was very
brave, and wasn't afraid of anything. So one day her
brothers dared her to go to the grave yard to steal a
tombstone and bring it back to show them. The little girl
did indeed go to the graveyard to get that tombstone but
never returned. What everyone says that happened was that as
she was putting her dress over the stone to carry it out the
stone fell on her dress and pulled her down. Of course the
little girl thought that the spirit of the grave was tugging
on her dress, and she was so scared that she died right there
on the spot.

Where learned: IOWA ; Des Moines

James Callow Keyword(s): dying of fright ; FEAR TEST

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Magic

Date learned: 00-00-1910

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Entry filtered.

I HAVE WORKED WITH THEM IN THE KITCHEN AND KNOWN THEM TO STOP
EVERYTHING WHEN A THUNDERSTORM CAME UP AND GO TO A CORNER AND
NOT BUDGE UNTIL IT WAS OVER. (SPEAKING OF NEGROES FEAR OF
STORMS)

Submitter comment:

SISTER HAD CHARGE OF THE KITCHEN IN THE EARLY PART OF THIS

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Keyword(s): Black ; FEAR ; NEGRO ; RACISM ; SUPERSTITION ; Thunderstorm

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Cloud Fog Mist Rain Hail Ice Snow Frost Dew

Date learned: 00001965 SUMMER

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SHAKING SAND

ONCE THERE WAS A HAUNTED HOUSE THAT NO ONE WAS ABLE TO STAY IN
OVERNIGHT. THE FOLK WHO OWNED THE HOUSE SAID THAT IF ANYONE WAS
ABLE TO REMAIN THERE FOR A WHOLE NIGHT (HE) COULD HAVE THE HOUSE.
A MAN, WITHOUT A HOME, DECIDED HE WOULD GIVE IT A TRY. THE
NIGHT HE CHOSE TO STAY IN THE HOUSE WAS UNUSUALLY DARK AND DREARY
LOOKING. WHILE IN THE KITCHEN PREPARING SUPPER, THE MAN HEARD A
VOICE SAYING, "I'M COMING CROSS THE FIELD SHAKING SAND. I'M COMING
IN THE FRONT YARD SHAKING SAND. I'M COMING UP THE STEPS SHAKING
SAND. I'M COMING ON THE FRONT PORCH SHAKING SAND. I'M COMING IN
THE FRONT ROOM SHAKING SAND. I'M COMING IN THE DINING ROOM
SHAKING SAND. I'M COMING IN THE KITCHEN SHAKING SAND." THE MAN
SAID, "I'M GOING OUT THE BACK DOOR SHAKING SAND."

James Callow comment: FINAL QUOTATION MARK ADDED.

Where learned: GEORGETOWN ; SOUTH CAROLINA, ASSUMED

James Callow Keyword(s): CHAIN ; FEAR TEST

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal

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COMPARISON

TO RUN LIKE A SCARED RABBIT.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Keyword(s): FEAR

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Comparison

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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Entry filtered.

FOLK SAYING

SWEATING LIKE A NIGGER AT ELECTION TIME.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; RED BOILING SPRINGS

Keyword(s): ANXIETY FEAR NERVOUSNESS

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Comparison

Date learned: 02-12-1972

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IF A PREGNANT WOMAN IS FRIGHTENED BY AN ANIMAL, HER
NEWBORN CHILD WILL RESEMBLE THAT ANIMAL.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Keyword(s): ANIMAL ; BELIEF ; FEAR ; PREGNANCY ; Resemblance

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Animal
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 10-23-1973

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