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THE CUSTOM OF TATTOOING

SAILORS ADOPTED THIS PRIMITIVE PRACTICE OF MARKING THE SKIN IN
A DESIRE TO ASSURE IDENTITY IN CASE OF DEATH BY SHIPWRECK OR
DROWNING. IT SEEMS TO HAVE ORIGINATED AMONG THE NATIVES OF THE
SOUTH PACIFIC AND SPREAD AS FAR NORTH AS JAPAN, WHERE IT WAS
BROUGHT TO HIGH, ARTISTIC DEVELOPMENT UNTIL PROHIBITED BY LAW.
ROMAN CATHOLIC SAILORS WERE THE FIRST TO ADOPT IT, HAVING A
CRUCIFIX TATTOOED ON THEIR BODIES SO THAT IN CASE OF SERIOUS
INJURY OR ILLNESS THEY MIGHT RECEIVE THE LAST RITES OF THEIR
CHURCH AND BURIAL IN CONSECRATED GROUND.
"AND MANY SAILORS, NOT CATHOLICS, WERE ANXIOUS TO HAVE THE
CRUCIFIX PAINTED ON THEM, OWING TO A CURIOUS SUPERSTITION OF
THEIRS. THEY AFFIRM--SOME OF THEM--THAT IF YOU HAVE THAT MARK
TATTOOED ON ALL FOUR LIMBS, YOU MIGHT FALL OVERBOAD AMONG SEVEN
HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE THOUSAND WHITE SHARKS, ALL DINNERLESS,
AND NOT ONE OF THEM WOULD SO MUCH AS DARE TO SMELL AT YOUR
LITTLE FINGER."

Submitter comment: THIS QUOTE IS TAKEN FROM MELVILLE'S "COMPLETE WORKS" (LONDON,
1922). IT IS TAKEN FROM THE "WHITE JACKET" STORY. CAPTAIN
LUMAS HIMSELF HAD A TATTOO ON HIS CHEST AND CLAIMS THAT HE
ALSO HAD ONE ON EACH OF HIS FOUR LIMBS BUT HIS WIFE MADE HIM
REMOVE THEM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; MACKINAW ISLAND

Subject headings: 686 Fourths / Quarters
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F535
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Human or animal body Tattoo
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications

Date learned: 09-00-1963

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IF FOUR PEOPLE CROSS HANDS, WHEN SHAKING HANDS, THERE
WILL BE A WEDDING.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Fourths / Quarters
Observation
BELIEF -- Marriage
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 03-18-1968

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WHEN A PERSON SNEEZES, THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS:
ONE, A WISH
TWO, A KISS
THREE, A LETTER
FOUR, SOMETHING BETTER.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM HER FAMILY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Marine City

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 Seconds / Twice / Two
686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
686 Fourths / Quarters
Observation
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs

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MARRIAGE

IF IT RAINS 3 DAYS BEFORE THE WEDDING, THE COUPLE WILL HAVE
3 CHILDREN. 4 DAYS, 4 CHILDREN. THIS ONLY WORKS A WEEK BEFORE.

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
686 Fourths / Quarters
686 Seven / Sevenths / Several
Observation
BELIEF -- Cloud Fog Mist Rain Hail Ice Snow Frost Dew
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Marriage Superstition about good weather
BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour

Date learned: CA1963-1975

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BELIEF ABOUT A FRIENDSHIP BRACELET

A RAWHIDE BRACELET IS GIVEN TO YOU BY YOUR FRIEND
AS A TOKEN OF YOUR FRIENDSHIP. IT CONSISTS OF FOUR KNOTS
ONE THE BIGGEST, IS A SQUARE KNOT REPRESENTING SOME EVIL.
THE OTHER THREE REPRESENT IN ORDER, YOUR FRIEND, YOURSELF
AND A WALL. THIS IS SAID TO MEAN THAT AS LONG AS YOU HAVE YOUR FRIEND
YOU WILL NEVER HAVE TO FACE EVIL HEAD ON, BECAUSE YOUR FRIEND IS IN
FRONT OF YOU, AND THE WALL IS BEHIND YOU.
IT WAS SAID THAT YOU HAD TO WEAR THESE BRACELETS FOR A PERIOD OF
ONE YEAR, OR UNTIL THEY ROTTED OFF.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SOUTHFIELD

James Callow Keyword(s): NUMBERS ; POSITION DIRECTION ; SYMBOL

Subject headings: 686 Fourths / Quarters
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of time Year
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Leather Fur Feather
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Circle and other round forms

Date learned: 10-23-1970

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BANSHEE

IN IRELAND WHEN YOU HAVE HEARD THE WAIL OF THE BANSHEE, YOU
YOU KNOW THAT SOMEONE IN THE HOUSE WILL DIE.
THIS WAILING PRECEDES THE COMING OF THE COACH OF DEATH
WHICH IDENTIFIES THE BANSHEE, AND IS DRAWN BY 4 BLACK HORSES.
THIS COACH CARRIES THE ONE WHO IS TO DIE TO THE UNDERWORLD.

Where learned: TRENTON

James Callow Keyword(s): NUMBER

Subject headings: 686 Fourths / Quarters
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 12-00-1968

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MORAL PROVERB

EVEN THOUGH A HORSE HAS FOUR LEGS HE STILL GETS STUCK IN THE MUD.

Submitter comment: EVEN THOSE WHO HAVE EVERYTHING ARE STILL SUBJECT TO MISFORTUNE.
TRANSLATED FROM LITHUANIAN

Where learned: DETROIT

Keyword(s): ANIMAL ; NUMBERS

James Callow Keyword(s): OBSERVATION ; PESSIMISM ; SYMBOL

Subject headings: 686 Fourths / Quarters
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Lower body, legs
PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 02-17-1971

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HOSPITALITY CUSTOM

AMONG THE UKRANIANS, IT IS A CUSTOM, WHEN INVITED
TO EAT AT SOMEONE'S HOUSE, TO TURN DOWN THE
INVITATION THREE TIMES. IF ASKED A FOURTH TIME,
IT WOULD BE POLITE TO ACCEPT.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
686 Fourths / Quarters

Date learned: 10-02-1971

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BAD LUCK (COLLECTOR'S TITLE)

IN JAPAN, IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE NUMBER "4" BRINGS BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT LEARNED THIS WHILE HE WAS IN VIET NAM.

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

Keyword(s): VIETNAM

Subject headings: 686 Fourths / Quarters
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 10-27-1969

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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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LUCK

IN JAPAN THE NUMBER 4 IS BAD LUCK.

Data entry tech comment: THERE ARE FOUR SIMILAR ITEMS IN THIS SECTION OF THE ARCHIVE

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

Subject headings: 686 Fourths / Quarters

Date learned: 11-25-1969

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VERSE OF THE PLENA

"CUANDO LAS MUJERES QUIEREN A LOS HOMBRES, PRENDEN CUATRO VELAS Y SE
LAS PONEN POR LOS RINCONES." WHICH MEANS WHEN THE WOMEN WANT A MAN
THEY LIGHT FOUR CANDLES AND PUT THEM IN THE CORNERS.

Submitter comment: THE PLENA IS A TYPICAL FOLKLORIC DANCE OF PUERTO RICO. THE LIGHTING
OF FOUR CANDLES IN FOR CORNERS SIMBOLIZES A RITUAL OF TAKING OVER THE
ROOM.

Where learned: PUERTO RICO

Subject headings: 686 Fourths / Quarters
BELIEF -- Marriage

Date learned: 00-00-1979

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POSTCARD FOR LUCK

GOOD LUCK
I PATIENTLY TUMBLED OVER
THE POSTCARDS OLD AND NEW,
TO FIND THIS FOUR LEAF CLOVER
TO SEND FOR LUCK TO YOU.
THE FIRST LEAF STANDS FOR PATIENCE
THE SECOND FOR PLUCK
THE THIRD FOR PERSEVERANCE
THAT'S WHY THE FOURTH BRINGS LUCK.

Submitter comment: THE VERSE IS PRINTED ON THE FRONT CARD, WITH A PICTURE OF A
CLOVER.

Where learned: OHIO ; VERSE ON POSTCARD ; PAINESVILLE

Keyword(s): CHARM ; RHYME: ABABCDED

James Callow Keyword(s): AMULET ; SYMBOL

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 Seconds / Twice / Two
686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
686 Fourths / Quarters
BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.11

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BED CHARM

MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE, AND JOHN
BLESS THE BED THAT I LIE ON
FOUR CORNERS TO MY BED
FOUR ANGELS ROUND MY HEAD
ONE AT HEAD AND ONE AT FEET
AND TWO TO GUARD MY SOUL ASLEEP.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): RHYME: AABBCC PRAYER

James Callow Keyword(s): FOUR EVANGELISTS

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 Seconds / Twice / Two
686 Fourths / Quarters
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse Lyrical Verse
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief C860.422
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief Belief
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of time Sleeping
BELIEF -- Angel

Date learned: 00-00-1965

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FINDING A FOUR-LEAF CLOVER IN YOUR YARD BRINGS YOU GOOD LUCK
(MORE SO THAN FINDING IT IN SOMEONE ELSE'S YARD)

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ROYAL OAK

Subject headings: 686 Fourths / Quarters
Favorites
BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Good luck Plants

Date learned: 00001960S

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PALMS RECEIVED ON PALM SUNDAY SHOULD BE PLACED ON THE FOUR CORNERS
OF ONE'S PROPERTY TO KEEP AWAY NATURAL DISASTERS.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT HEARD THIS BELIEF FROM HIS MOTHER, WHO IS OF POLISH
HERITAGE, BUT NEITHER ONE TAKES THIS BELIEF SERIOUSLY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FRASER

Subject headings: 663 Palm Sunday
686 Fourths / Quarters
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of space: distance, height, depth
BELIEF -- Weather sign or control

Date learned: 03-00-1982

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SUPERSTITION AND THE WEATHER

WHEN A CORN ON THE FOURTH TOE ACHES IT MEANS BAD WEATHER IS IN THE
NEAR FUTURE. BY CORN I MEAN A COMBINATION BETWEEN A BLISTER OR
CALUS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Fourths / Quarters
Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Weather sign or control
BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions

Date learned: 10-00-1982

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IF A BLACK CAT CROSSES YOUR PATH, TAKE FOUR STEPS
BACKWARD AND TURN AROUND; THIS GETS RID OF THE BAD LUCK THE
CAT PASSED ON TO YOU.

Submitter comment: TRANSFER

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; PITTSBURGH

James Callow Keyword(s): REVERSE DIRECTION

Subject headings: 686 Fourths / Quarters
BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Conversions Animals

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SNEEZING FOUR TIMES BEFORE BREAKFAST MEANS THAT COMPANY IS COMING.

Submitter comment: MAGIC NUMBER

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Ortonville

Subject headings: 686 Fourths / Quarters
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Measure of time Eating For menu, see N222.

Date learned: 00001930S CA. ; 11001987 CA.

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Bay-Rama Fishfly Festival

Our town has a four-day celebration in honor
of the fishfly. We have a carnival and top
it off with a parade on the last day.
This always takes place in June. Fishflys
originate in the Anchor Bay, which is the
bay next to New Baltimore.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; NEW BALTIMORE

James Callow Keyword(s): INSECT ; June Bug ; May Fly

Subject headings: 686 Fourths / Quarters
Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Movable Date
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Summer

Date learned: 00001971ca

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