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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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A TRUE WAR STORY

WHEN I JOINED THE ARMY IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR WE WERE USHERED IN
AT CAMP DODGE, IOWA. MY INTERVIEWER, A SOUTHERN LIEUTENANT,
DISCOVERED THAT MY FATHER HAD FOUGHT IN THE MICHIGAN CAVALRY IN
THE CIVIL WAR FOR THE NORTH AND THAT MY RELIGION WAS CATHOLIC.
SOUTHERNERS HAVE A TENDENCY TO DISLIKE US CATHOLICS. MONTHS
LATER AS I WAS SHOVELING COAL OFF A TRAIN GONDOLA, A MAJOR STEWART
ASKED ME WHAT I DID IN CIVILIAN LIFE. I EXPLAINED THAT I WAS AN
ACCOUNTANT. THE CAPTAIN HAD ME TRANSFERRED TO HIS OFFICE WHERE
I SHOULD HAVE BEEN PLACED TO BEGIN WITH. WHILE CHECKING FILES FOR
HIM I FOUND MY ENTERING INTERVIEW. IT SAID "THIS MAN CLAIMS HE WAS
AN ACCOUNTANT BUT NO DOUBT HE IS A FIRST CLASS LIAR. NOT TO BE
TRUSTED, APPEARANCE IS VERY TACKY." AS A BLOND, BLUE-EYED
INDIVIDUAL FROM A GERMAN BACKGROUND THIS WAS OBVIOUSLY A HIGHLY
SUBJECTIVE FALSE REPORT RESULTING FROM SOUTHERN PREJUDICES.
IT TOOK A YEAR WHILE IN FRANCE FOR THE REMARKS TO BE DELETED
FROM THE RECORD. THE CAPTAIN STEWART MENTIONED IS THE FAMOUS
JIMMY STEWART'S FATHER WHO WAS IN COMMAND OF MY ENTIRE ARMY
EXPERIENCE. JIMMY STEWART ALSO WROTE TO ME AFTER MY NEPHEW
WROTE TO HIM ABOUT MY EXPERIENCES WITH HIS FATHER.

Submitter comment: MY GRANDFATHER HAS THE CLEAREST, MOST HONEST BLUE EYES AND IS
ALWAYS GROOMED TO PERFECTION SO THE INTERVIEWER MUST HAVE
REALLY BEEN LIVING IN THE PAST WITH THE BACKWARD PREJUDICES.

Where learned: CAMP DODGE ; IOWA

James Callow Keyword(s): GIFT-GIVING

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- B479

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WHILE BOB WAS VISITING IN PENNSYLVANIA HE HEARD A TALE
ABOUT A HILL AND IF YOU DROVE YOUR CAR UP THE HILL AND
STOPPED JUST BEFORE THE TOP, PUT YOUR CAR IN NEUTRAL
AND GOT OUT OF THE CAR, THE CAR WOULD NOT ROLL BACK
AS IT SHOULD. SO BOB DECIDED TO GO AND TRY IT FOR HIMSELF.
IT WORKED! MANY SCIENTISTS HAVE GONE THERE AND TRIED
TO FIGURE OUT WHAT MAKES THIS HAPPEN AND NO ONE
CAN EXPLAIN IT.

Submitter comment: HE IS MY STEPFATHER

Where learned: WHILE VISITING RELATIVES

Keyword(s): UNEXPLAINABLE

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- B479

Date learned: 00-00-1984

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For generations the Welty family has told the story of
how Levi Welty (1825-1902) had gone "Pikes Peak or bust
in a covered wagon." In the mid 1970's, an acquaintance
of the family familiar with these stories became injured
while skiing in Colorado. During her recuperative time
there, she came across a book recounting the history of
the area, and found a story about the naming of
Cripple Creek by a Levi Welty. The names of some of the sons
mentioned coincided with the family's genealogy, and it
is, therefore, quite likely that Terry's ancestor was
responsible for Cripple Creek's naming.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

Keyword(s): pioneer

James Callow Keyword(s): Eudora Welty ; Pike's Peak

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- B439
PROSE NARRATIVE -- B479
BELIEF -- Explanation of a name

Date learned: 00001977CA

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THUMP GUARD

THE MOST FRIGHTENING SUMMER CAMP STORY I EVER HEARD WAS
10 YEARS AGO. ONCE THERE WAS A MEAN CAMP COUNSELOR NAMED
THURMAN P. GUARDIN. THEY STARTED CALLING HIM THUMP GUARD
WHEN HE TRIED TO STOMP A SQUIRREL, OUT OF MEANNESS, SO
HARD HE MISSED, JAMMING HIS KNEE, A PERMANENT INJURY
THAT CAUSED HIM TO MAKE A THUMPING NOISE WHEN HE WALKED.
KIDS USED TO SAY HE WAS TOO MEAN TO LIVE AND WASN'T FIT TO
DIE. NO ONE KNOWS WHY HE WAS A COUNSELOR OR HADN'T BEEN
FIRED. HE HATED KIDS. HE ONLY LIKED TO GIVE THEM A HARD
TIME. HE HATED ANIMALS, ESPECIALLY MICE AND DOGS. HE
COMPLAINED ALL THE TIME, ESPECIALLY ABOUT THE FOOD, BUT HE
WAS ALWAYS EATING. ONE NIGHT A FIRE BROKE OUT IN THE
CAMP COUNSELORS OFFICE, WHICH WAS RIGHT OFF THE LAKE. NO
ONE EVER FOUND OUT HOW IT GOT STARTED. A FEW KIDS WERE
HURT, BUT ALL THE COUNSELORS, EXCEPT THUMP GUARD, ESCAPED
BEFORE IT COLLAPSED AND FELL IN THE LAKE. IT WAS JUST
ONE BIG PILE OF FLAMING DEBRIS AS IT SUNK INTO THE WATER.
A YEAR LATER STORIES STARTED POURING IN ABOUT ACCIDENTS,
THEFT, ANIMAL MUTILATIONS, AND SIGHTINGS OF A MONSTER.
FOOD WAS BEING STOLEN FROM THE CAMP, BARRACKS WERE BEING
TRASHED, ANIMALS WERE BEING FOUND WITH SNAPPED NECKS,
MUTILATED, BOATS WERE BEING TIPPED OVER IN THE LAKE, AND
COUNSELORS AS WELL AS CAMPERS WERE DESCRIBING A HUGE,
UGLY, LIMPING MAN WANDERING THROUGH THE FOREST. A
YOUNG GIRL WAS SAID TO HAVE SEEN HIM FACE TO FACE AND
WAS ALMOST SCARED TO DEATH. HER FATHER AND OLDER
BROTHER SET OUT TO FIND THE THING. THE STORY GOES
THEY FOUND AND SHOT SOMETHING THAT RESEMBLED A BURNED,
MUDDY CORPSE, AND BURIED IT BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD.
THEY SAID IT MUST HAVE STILL BEEN ALIVE BECAUSE AFTER
THEY BURIED IT; THEY HEARD A THUMP, THUMP, THUMP
UNDERGROUND. THEY SAID SOMETIMES IF YOU FIND THE RIGHT
SPOT IN THE ROAD AND LISTEN YOU MIGHT STILL BE ABLE TO
HEAR IT.

Submitter comment: WHEN THIS WAS TOLD TO ME IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT IT STILL
MADE RODNEY RATHER UNCOMFORTABLE TO TALK ABOUT IT. IT
WAS TOLD TO HIM WHEN HE WAS A BOY, AWAY AT SUMMER CAMP IN
UPPER-MICHIGAN, HE FORGOT EXACTLY WHERE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UPPER PENINSULA

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- B479

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showing 4 items

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