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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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OFFICIAL REQUEST

THERE WAS ONCE A MAN AND A WOMAN WHO HAD TWELVE SONS, AND THE
THIRTEENTH WAS ON THE WAY. THE FIRST TWELVE HAD BEEN NAMED
AFTER THE APOSTLES AND THEY DIDN'T KNOW WHAT THE NAME FOR THIS
ONE WOULD BE. BY THE TIME HE ARRIVED THEY HAD DECIDED TO NAME
HIM CHRIST--CHRIST MURPHY.
AFTER A FEW YEARS CHRIST MURPHY STARTED TO SCHOOL. ONE DAY
IN SECOND GRADE THE BISHOP WAS VISITING. HE SAID TO THE TEACHER,
"SISTER, I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR ONE OF YOUR PEOPLE SING. HOW ABOUT
THAT LITTLE BOY THERE," POINTING OUT LITTLE MURPHY.
"CHRIST MURPHY CAN'T SING," SHE PROTESTED.
"WELL, GODAMMIT, HE CAN TRY, CAN'T HE?"

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT HAS NO RECORD OF WHERE HE FIRST HEARD THE JOKE.

Where learned: VIRGINIA ; WOODSTOCK

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Explanation of a name
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ordinary Tale
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Baptism Naming rite

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NUMBER BELIEF

THE NUMBER THIRTEEN(13) IS BAD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; RESIDENCE HALLS

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.5

Date learned: 00001950S AND 00001960S

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JEWISH CUSTOM --BARMITZVAH

AT THE AGE OF 13 A BOY IS READY TO ACCEPT THE FULL
RESPONSIBITIES OF THE JEWISH FAITH.

Submitter comment: BY THIS CUSTOM A BOY TAKES ON THE ROLE OF A MAN IN THE JEWISH
RELIGION.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described
686 Specific number by specific number being described
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Maturity
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Maturity

Date learned: 00-00-1974

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FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH

ON FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH AND GOOD FRIDAY YOU SHOULD NOT GO
OUTSIDE AFTER 6 O'CLOCK IN THE EVENING OR SOMETHING BAD WILL HAPPEN
TO YOU

Where learned: DETROIT

Subject headings: 663 Good Friday
686 Specific number by specific number being described
BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour
BELIEF -- Number
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 11-03-1972

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THIRTEEN

13 IS A LUCKY NUMBER IN ITALY.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM AN ITALIAN FRIEND WHOSE GRANDMOTHER HAD
AN 18 KARAT GOLD METAL CHAIN WITH THE NUMBER 13 INSCRIBED ON IT TO
BE WORN FOR LUCK AROUND HER NECK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.5

Date learned: 09-25-1972

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THIRTEEN IS AN UNLUCKY NUMBER.

Submitter comment: THIS IS WHAT SHE SAYS, BUT I THINK THIS IS A LUCKY NUMBER FOR ME.

Where learned: DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.5
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.5

Date learned: 12-00-1972

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THE NUMBER "13" IS BAD LUCK.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; Wappingers Falls

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.5

Date learned: 00001950S

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LUCK/OMEN

IF SEVEN PEOPLE EAT A SEVEN COURSE MEAL TOGETHER, THEN THEY WILL
HAVE GOOD LUCK B/UT IF THIRTEEN PEOPLE EAT TOGER AT ALL, ONE OF TH
THE THIRTEEN WILL DIE WITHIN THE YEAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FARMINGTON ; TOLD IN

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described
686 Seven / Sevenths / Several
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.2
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

Date learned: 09-26-1972

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NUMBERS

IN ITALY, 13 IS A LUCKY NUMBER AND 11 IS BAD LUCK.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described
BELIEF -- Number P686.1.11
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.5
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.5

Date learned: 03-13-1975

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"GRISWOLD BUILDING"

THIS BUILDING LOCATED IN DOWNTOWN DETROIT
DOESN'T HAVE A FOURTH FLOOR, BUT IT HAS A THIRTEENTH. THE OWNERS
LUCKY NUMBER WAS 13; HIS UNLUCKY NUMBER WAS 4.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described
686 Fourths / Quarters
Favorites

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY THE COLLECTOR

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BELIEF

SEVEN PEOPLE EATING TOGETHER
BRING GOOD LUCK - IF THIRTEEN
EATING TOGETHER, ONE WILL
DIE BEFORE THE YEAR IS UP.

Where learned: HOME ; LOCATION NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR ; TOLD AT

Keyword(s): PREDICTION

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described
686 Seven / Sevenths / Several
Observation
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 10-23-1968

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NUMBER 13

THE NUMBER 13 WORN ON LEATHER JACKETS OF MOTORCYCLE GANGS REPRESENTS
MARIJUANA

Keyword(s): SYMBOL

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Dress Overall body coverUpper body and arms

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY THE COLLECTOR

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NUMBERS

THE NUMBER 13 IS CONSIDERED TO
BE BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT DOESN'T REMEMBER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 00-00-1967

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NUMBERS

THIRTEEN IS AN UNLUCKY NUMBER BECAUSE
AT THE LAST SUPPER THERE WAS THIRTEEN
AND ONE OF THEM WAS BETRAYED.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described
BELIEF -- Religious hero

Date learned: 11-00-1967

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THE ITALIAN GOOD LUCK NUMBER IS NUMBER "13"

Where learned: TOLD AT HOME OF A

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 02-27-1971

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NUMBER (COLLECTOR'S TITLE)

THIRTEEN IS AN UNLUCKY NUMBER TO THE SUPERSTICIOUS

Where learned: LOCATION NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

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NUMBER (COLLECTOR'S TITLE)

# 13 IS BAD LUCK

Where learned: LOCATION NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

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THIRTEEN (COLLECTOR'S TITLE)

IT IS UNLUCKY TO BE THE THIRTEENTH AT THE DINNER TABLE.

Where learned: HOME ; DETROIT ; TOLD AT

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described

Date learned: 03-01-1970

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SUPERSTITION (COLLECTOR'S TITLE)

NEVER SIT 13 AT TABLE.
THE LAST ONE TO SIT DOWN WILL NOT LIVE TO MEET AGAIN
WITH ALL THE PEOPLE PRESENT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 02-24-1968

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BELIEF-SUPERSTITION

INFORMANT WOULD NEVER SEAT 13 PEOPLE
TOGETHER AT ONE TABLE FOR A MEAL, AS IT IS EXTREMELY
MISFORTUNATE AND BRINGS BAD LUCK. ONCE AS A CHILD
THERE WERE 13 AT A THANKSGIVING DAY DINNER AT HER HOUSE
AND BEFORE CHRISTMAS, HER UNCLE GREGORY, ONE OF THOSE
AT THE TABLE, DIED. INFORMANT FIRMLY ADHERES TO THE
BELIEF THAT 13 AT THE DINNER TABLE IS A BAD LUCK OMEN.

Where learned: HOME ; DETROIT ; TOLD AT

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described

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