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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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A GREAT-AUNT OF MINE CLAIMS THE ABILITY TO TELL
FORTUNES BY TEALEAVES. THE LEAVES ARE SWIRLED IN THE
CUP WITH A SMALL AMOUNT OF LIQUID, THEN TURNED OVER
ON ITS SAUCER AND TURNED AROUND THREE TIMES, THEN
TURNED UPRIGHT. SHE WOULD THEN PROCEED TO "READ"
THE LEAVES. I HAVE SEEN HER REVEAL SOME RATHER IN-
TIMATE INFORMATION SHOWING AT LEAST GREAT POWERS
OF OBSERVATION. MANY MEMBERS OF OUR FAMILY ACTUALLY
BELIEVE SHE REALLY HAS THIS POWER. IN HER HOME TOWN
SHE IS WELL KNOWN AND IS PAID WELL TO TELL FORTUNES
AT TIMES.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT WILL NOT REVEAL HOW SHE LEARNED HER TRADE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Prophet / Seer / Soothsayer
Food Drink -- Brew of leaf, bark, root
BELIEF -- Dreams Food and liquids

Date learned: 12-00-1963

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LUCK

SEVEN PEOPLE TURN A CLASS RING TO INSURE GOOD LUCK FOR THE OWNER
OF THE RING IN THE FUTURE.

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; UNICE

James Callow Keyword(s): JEWELRY

Subject headings: 686 Seven / Sevenths / Several
Prophet / Seer / Soothsayer
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.2

Date learned: CA11001973

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SLEEP WALKING SUPERSTITION

IF YOU WALK OR TALK IN YOUR SLEEP, YOU ARE FORETELLING
SOMETHING OF THE FUTURE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Prophet / Seer / Soothsayer
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Measure of time Sleeping

Date learned: 02-29-1972

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BELIEF, CURSE

A GYPSY CURSE PUT ON A PREGNANT WOMAN CAN CAUSE PERMANENT
DAMAGE TO THE CHILD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

Subject headings: Prophet / Seer / Soothsayer
BELIEF -- Birth

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ST. PAT

THE MOST POPULAR AND WIDE-SPREAD STORY ABOUT SAINT PATRICK IS
THAT THANKS TO HIM, IRELAND HAS NO SNAKES. IT IS BELIEVED THAT
ST. PAT REMOVED THEM IN PIED PIPER FASHION.

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL

Subject headings: Prophet / Seer / Soothsayer
BELIEF -- Religious hero
SPEECH -- Proper Name
SPEECH -- To Be Heard

Date learned: 00-00-1960

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SPIRIT MEDIUMS

THIS IS A BELIEF IN INDIA. MEDIUMS, PEOPLE WHO CAN CONTACT DEAD
SOULS, CAN CAUSE TROUBLE BY PULLING THEM INTO ACTIVITY.
IF A MEDIUM CALLS A SPIRIT, HE CAN CAPTURE THE SOUL OF A MAN
JUST DIED. THE SPIRIT OF THE NEWLY DEAD CAN BE FORCED OUT
BY THE MEDIUM. IT IS DANGEROUS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ANN ARBOR

Subject headings: 820
BELIEF -- Witch Shaman
BELIEF -- Bird
BELIEF -- Magic of Speech, Sign, Color

Date learned: 02-04-1968

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BELIEF/NUMBER

FAMILY BELIEVED THAT IF THERE WERE SEVEN CHILDREN OF THE SAME
SIX IN SUCCESSION, THE SEVENTH CHILD WAS ENDOWED WITH
SOMETHING SPECIAL. AT TEN YEARS OF AGE, THE SEVENTH CHILD
WOULD GO TO THE PARISH PRIEST AND HE WOULD GIVE THE
CHILD A SPECIAL BLESSING.

Where learned: TOLD AT ; SAINT RITAS

Subject headings: 686 First / Once / One / Newness
686 Seven / Sevenths / Several
Prophet / Seer / Soothsayer
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Prayer

Date learned: 03-01-1970

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TELLING FORTUNES-PROTECTION AT SEA

THE SEVENTH DAUGHTER OF SEVEN DAUGHTERS, BORN WITH A VEIL, CAN TELL
FORTUNES.
THIS VEIL IS THEN GIVEN TO A SEA CAPTAIN, SO THAT HE WILL NOT PERISH
AT SEA
(IRISH)

Submitter comment: MRS. DUNMIRE SAID THAT THIS HAPPENED TO HER MOTHER, AND THAT SHE
REALLY DID
HAVE THE POWER TO READ FORTUNES.

Where learned: HOME ; TOLD AT

Keyword(s): AMULET

Subject headings: 686 Seven / Sevenths / Several
Prophet / Seer / Soothsayer
Favorites
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Emblem

Date learned: 01-00-1970

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NUMBER

THE SEVENTH SON OF THE SEVENTH SON HAS SPECIAL POWERS.

Where learned: HOME ; TOLD AT

Subject headings: 686 Seven / Sevenths / Several
Prophet / Seer / Soothsayer
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: NOT RECORDED BY THE COLLECTOR

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MAGIC

IN CHINA, A WOMAN CALLED 'OOPOH' IS CONSIDERED A "MAGICAL WOMAN."
SHE CAN PREDICT THE FUTURE, WORK SPELLS, PERFORM MAGIC.
IF A MAN DIES AWAY FROM HOME, HIS SPIRIT CAN BE BROUGHT HOME BY THE
WIZARD (OOPOH), AND HIS FAMILY CAN SEE THAT IT IS INTERRED.
THE BODY IS NOT TRANSFERRED--JUST THE SPIRIT. AND ONLY THE SPIRIT
OF A GOOD MAN CAN BE BROUGHT HOME FOR BURIAL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ANN ARBOR

Subject headings: 820
BELIEF -- Witch Shaman
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 02-04-1968

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FORTUNE TELLING RICE BIRDS OF INDONESIA

IN INDONESIA A VENDER COME AROUND THE HOUSE WITH THREE
LITTLE RICE BIRDS IN A CAGE. HE WOULD ASK IF HE COULD
TELL YOUR FORTUNE FOR THE NEXT SEVEN YEARS. IF ALLOWED,
HE WOULD THROW RICE INTO THE CAGE OF BIRDS. IF THE BIRDS
ATE THE RICE, YOU WOULD HAVE SEVEN YEARS OF STARVATION, BE-
CAUSE EVERYTHING HAS BEEN EXHAUSTED. IF THEY DIDN'T EAT
ALL THE RICE, YOU WOULD HAVE SEVEN YEARS OF SUCCESS AND
GOOD LUCK. THE IDEA WAS TO GET THE VENDER AFTER HE HAS
BEEN TO ALL THE OTHER HOUSES, BY THAT TIME THE BIRDS WOULD
BE TOO FULL OF RICE, YOU COULD NOT HELP BUT GET GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

James Callow Keyword(s): AUSPEXY ; HOMEOPATHIC

Subject headings: 686 Seven / Sevenths / Several
Prophet / Seer / Soothsayer
870
Favorites
BELIEF -- Bird
BELIEF -- Good luck
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 04-00-1979 ; 00001930-1950

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A LUCKY CHILD

THE SEVENTH SON OR DAUGHTER BORN IN A ROW IS
SUPPOSED TO BE BLESSED WITH A SPECIAL SUPERNATURAL
POWER.

Submitter comment: I HEARD THIS FROM MY FRIEND WHILE I WAS IN MEXICO.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Seven / Sevenths / Several
Prophet / Seer / Soothsayer
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 12-04-1967

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DIVINATION OF SEX BELIEF

THE INFORMANT'S GRANDFATHER BELIEVED THAT WHEN SOME WOMAN
HE KNEW WAS PREGNANT HE COULD LOOK AT THE MOON AND GET A
FEELING WHETHER THE CHILD WOULD BE A BOY OR A GIRL.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT'S GRANDFATHER TENDED TO DISREGARD ANY INCORRECT
PREDICTIONS REGARDING THIS PRACTICE OF HIS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; CLINTON TOWNSHIP

James Callow Keyword(s): SEX

Subject headings: Prophet / Seer / Soothsayer
Spirit / Mind / Body
Observation
BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 11-00-1982

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A CHILD WITH A VEIL

WHEN I WAS A CHILD IT WAS SAID THAT I WAS BORN WITH A VEIL OVER
MY FACE. AS A TODDLER, I WOULD CRY AND SCREAM AND POINT AT
OBJECTS THAT MY PARENTS COULD NOT SEE. BUT ONCE MY FATHER WOULD
HOLD ME IN HIS ARMS, I WOULD STOP CRYING AND WHATEVER IT WAS
WOULD DISAPPEAR.

Where learned: DETROIT ; PARENTS HOME

Subject headings: Prophet / Seer / Soothsayer
Favorites
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 02-21-1984

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NO FUTURE

THERE ONCE WAS A FORTUNE TELLER WHO READ PALMS. SHE NEVER SPOKE OF
ANY BAD OCCURENCES SHE SAW, ONLY GOOD ONES. ONE DAY A BEAUTIFUL
YOUNG GIRL WALKED IN AND REQUESTED HER PALM BE READ. THE FORTUNE
TELLER ATTEMPTED TO READ HER PALM BUT COULD NOT AND SHE WAS VERY
PUZZLED. "I CAN'T SEEM TO READ YOUR PALM, I HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED
THIS BEFORE." THE GIRL, FURIOUS, LEFT THE HOME OF THE PALM READER.
AS THE GIRL WAS CROSSING THE STREET TO GET TO HER CAR,
ALL OF A SUDDEN OUT OF NOWHERE A CAR APPEARED AND STRUCK
HER DOWN DEAD. THE FORTUNE TELLER COULD NOT READ HER PALM
BECAUSE THE YOUNG GIRL HAD NO FUTURE TO READ.

Subject headings: Prophet / Seer / Soothsayer
Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Human Being

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My grandmother used to read tea leaves in order to see the
future. She predicted several things with astounding accuracy.
The most astounding prediction was that of her daughter's
blond friend having some sort of medical problem in her throat.
Several months later one of the daughter's blond haired friends
was rushed to the hospital with a burst thyroid.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; CENTERLINE

Subject headings: Prophet / Seer / Soothsayer
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 00-00-1973

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My mother believes that when a baby is born with a
veil(placenta) still covering its face that it will be able to see
spirits.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Keyword(s): Gypsies

Subject headings: Prophet / Seer / Soothsayer
Spirit / Mind / Body
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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THE 7TH GENERATION SON OF A 7TH GENERATION SON ARE
BORN GIFTED WITH THE POWER TO HEAL PEOPLE OF SICKNESS
AND TO PREDICT THE FUTURE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Seven / Sevenths / Several
Prophet / Seer / Soothsayer
BELIEF -- Curer

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IF YOU ARE BORN "UNDER THE VEIL" OVER YOUR EYES, YOU'LL
BE ABLE TO FORESEE THINGS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BERKELEY

Keyword(s): CAUL

Subject headings: Prophet / Seer / Soothsayer
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 03-24-1970

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THE RIGHT OVARY PRODUCES GIRLS; LEFT OVARY PRODUCES BOYS.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT ACTUALLY FOUND THIS IN THE ANN LANDERS
COLUMN OF THE "DETROIT NEWS."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; FARMINGTON ; DETROIT ; CHORUS OFFICE

Subject headings: Prophet / Seer / Soothsayer
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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