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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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MAN LOSES HIS HEAD TWICE

A MAN HAD HIS HEAD CUT OFF BY A TRACTOR ON A VERY COLD DAY. HE
PICKED IT UP AND PUT IT BACK ON. THAT EVENING HE SAT BEFORE THE
FIRE TO WARM HIMSELF AND HIS HEAD ROLLED OFF.

Submitter comment: HEARD WHILE IN SCHOOL SEVERAL YEARS AGO.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Air Weather Fire
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Lie Tall tale
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face

Date learned: 08-08-1964

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MAN LOSES HIS HEAD

A MAN WAS SKIING ONE DAY WHEN HE FELL IN FRONT OF A TRACTOR WHICH
CUT HIS HEAD OFF. HE PICKED IT UP AND PUT IT BACK ON. THE DAY
WAS VERY COLD AND HIS HEAD FROZE IN PLACE, AND HE LIVED.

Submitter comment: HEARD WHILE IN HIGH SCHOOL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Air Weather Fire
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Lie Tall tale
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face

Date learned: 08-08-1964

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THE GIRL AND THE ANTS

A GIRL WENT TO THE BEACH AND FELL ASLEEP THERE. LATER IN THE DAY,
AFTER SHE HAD BEEN AWAKENED TO GO HOME, HER CHEEK BEGAN TO ITCH.
THIS ITCH CONTINUED, NO MATTER HOW MUCH SHE SCRATCHED.
EVENTUALLY HER PARENTS NOTICED HER CONSTANT SCRATCHING OF HER
CHEEK AND ATTEMPTED TO BREAK HER OF A "BAD HABIT." YET SHE CON-
TINUED TO INSIST THAT HER CHEEK ITCHED. SO THEY ASSIGNED HER TO
A REST HOME WHERE HER HANDS WERE TIED DOWN AND SHE COULDN'T
SCRATCH HER CHEEK.
A FEW MONTHS LATER, WHEN HER MOTHER WAS VISITING HER, THE GIRL
ASKED THE MOTHER TO RELEASE HER HAND FOR JUST A MINUTE. THE
MOTHER GAVE IN TO HER DAUGHTER'S PLEADING AND DID SO. IMMEDIATELY
THE GIRL SCRATCHED HER CHEEK VIOLENTLY, TEARING OFF THE TOP LAYER
OF SKIN. THE WHOLE INSIDE OF HER CHEEK WAS FILLED WITH ANTS--
SHE HAD HOUSED A LIVING ANT COLONY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Insect
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face

Date learned: 00001957 CA

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WHEN A BIRD BUILDS A NEST IT MEANS GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS SUPERSTITION FROM HIS
MOTHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face
BELIEF -- Bird
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Use of Object Animals

Date learned: 07-00-1964

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ARABIAN BELIEF

WHEN WALKING IN THE STREET, IF A BIRD DEFICATES ON
ONE'S HEAD, IT MEANS THAT HE WILL SOON RECEIVE A
SUM OF MONEY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face
BELIEF -- Bird
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Use of Object Animals

Date learned: 10-00-1967

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IF YOUR RIGHT EAR RINGS, SOMEONE IS THINKING ABOUT YOU,
HOWEVER, IF YOUR CHEEK BURNS, SOMEONE IS TALKING ABOUT
YOU.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALPENA

Subject headings: 842 Ringing ears / buzzing / hot, burning
Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face

Date learned: 10-11-1970

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IT IS A GOOD SIGN IF THE BABY IS BORN WITH A LIGHT FILM
OF SKIN COVERING ITS FACE. IT MEANS THAT THE BABY WILL
BE INTELLIGENT.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM HER GRANDMOTHER (IRISH).

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

James Callow Keyword(s): CAUL

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Use of object for determining future of young

Date learned: 00-00-1966

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YOU'LL GROW HORNS IF YOU SING AT THE TABLE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): FUNCTION

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face

Date learned: 03-23-1968

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EXPECTANT MOTHERS

HERE ARE SOME BELIEFS ON THIS SUBJECT: IF YOU CARRY A BABY LOW,
IT IS A GIRL. IF YOU CARRY A BABY HIGH, IT IS A BOY.
DANGLE A PIN FROM A STRING, IF IT SWINGS IN A CIRCLE, ITS A GIRL;
IF IT SWINGS IN A STRAIGHT LINE, IT IS A BOY.
IF A PREGNANT WOMAN CRAVES SOMETHING, THE BABY, WHEN BORN, WILL
CRAVE IT ALSO.
IF YOU ARE SCARED OR AFRAID OF SOMETHING, THE BABY WILL BE MARKED.
IF YOU EAT STRAWBERRIES WHEN PREGNANT, YOUR BABY WILL HAVE A
STRAWBERRY MARK ON HIS FACE.

Submitter comment: IT SEEMS THERE ARE ALOT OF THESE KIND OF FACTS TO KEEP PREGNANT WOMEN
AWARE OF WHAT THEY EAT AND DO.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ANAPEL

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 02-00-1974

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CURE FOR HEADACHES

IF YOU HAVE A HEADACHE OR A BUMP ON YOUR HEAD, IN ORDER TO STOP THE
PAIN OR SWELLING, YOU MUST DO THE FOLLOWING FIVE STEPS:
1) GET SOME POTATOES
2) CUT THEM IN HALVES
3) CUT THEM IN QUARTERS
4) PUT THEM IN A TOWEL
5) WRAP THE TOWEL AROUND YOUR HEAD, OR AROUND THE BUMP

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

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face
BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: 10-00-1973

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SHOES

NEVER PUT YOUR SHOES OVER YOUR HEAD ON A SHELF OR YOU WILL ALWAYS
HAVE A HEADACHE.

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; New Orleans

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: CA11001973

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PROVERB

THE BRAIN IS A WONDERFUL THING. IT NEVER STOPS FUNCTIONING FROM THE
TIME YOU ARE BORN UNTIL YOU OPEN YOUR MOUTH TO SAY SOMETHING.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): HUMAN BODY

James Callow Keyword(s): CONVERSATION ; IRONY ; OBSERVATION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face
PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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A POLISH PROVERB

CHOOSE A WIFE BY HER EARS, NOT HER EYES. (TRANSLATION)

Submitter comment: MY GRANDMOTHER KNOWS THIS FROM POLAND.

Data entry tech comment: POLISH TEXT GIVEN

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

Keyword(s): HUMAN BODY

James Callow Keyword(s): ADVICE: NEGATIVE ; ADVICE: POSITIVE ; MATRIMONY

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face
BELIEF -- Marriage
PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 11-27-1967

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THE GREEN MAN

THERE WAS A MAN WHO USED TO WORK FOR ONE OF THE POWER COMPANIES
IN PITTSBURGH. IT SEEMS THAT ONE DAY HE HAD AN ACCIDENT WITH A HIGH
TENSION WIRE AND WAS HORRIBLY DISFUGURED. THE SHOCK TURNED
HIS SKIN A GREEN COLOR AND GREATLY DISTORTED HIS FACE.
THIS MAN NOW LIVES BY HIMSELF IN A RAMSHACKLE HOUSE OUT IN
SOUTH PARK. HE IS KNOWN TO SCARE CHILDREN AND CHASE ANYONE
WHO GOES NEAR HIS PLACE AWAY. PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT THERE IS
SOMETHING WEIRD ABOUT HIM. TONY HAS NEVER SEEN THE MAN
BUT APPARENTLY HIS EXISTENCE IS ACCEPTED AS A FACT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): DISFIGUREMENT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Physically handicapped Deformed
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face

Date learned: 11-08-1968

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THE GHOST OF WHITNEY, INDIANA

IT IS BELIEVED THAT EVERY HALLOWEEN A HEADLESS HORSEMAN
RIDES DOWN A PARTICULAR ROAD NEAR WHITNEY, INDIANA.
THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE GO SEEKING HIM EVERY YEAR, AND SOMEONE ALWAYS
CLAIMS SUCCESS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- October 31 Halloween
BELIEF -- Physically handicapped Deformed
BELIEF -- Body part Senses P438.1

Date learned: 11-00-1968

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STRASBOURG, THE KNOCK, KNOCK STREET

IN DETROIT, IF YOU DRIVE DOWN STRASBOURG STREET, YOUR CAR WILL
KNOCK. THIS IS BECAUSE MANY YEARS AGO, A LITTLE GIRL WAS PLAYING
IN THE STREET WHEN HIT BY A CAR, WHICH DRAGGED HER BODY DOWN THE
STREET WITH HER HEAD KNOCKING AGAINST THE CAR DOOR UNTIL SHE WAS
DEAD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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LUCK BELIEF

A CHILD BORN WITH A 'CZEPAK' (FILM ON HEAD) WILL ALWAYS BE LUCKY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): CAUL AMNION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face
BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.2

Date learned: 02-07-1971

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BELIEF

IF A BABY IS BORN WITH A THIN VEIL OF SKIN OVER HIS FACE
IT MEANS THAT HE WILL BECOME A VERY IMPORTANT PERSON

Where learned: FLORIDA ; FORT LAUDERDALE

James Callow Keyword(s): CAUL AMNION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face
BELIEF -- Birth

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LEGEND

EVERY HALLOWEEN NIGHT THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN GOES LOOKING
FOR HIS HEAD.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- October 31 Halloween
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face

Date learned: 03-15-1968

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CUSTOMS

THE THAI BELIEVE THAT THE HUMAN HEAD IS A SACRED PART OF THE BODY.
IT IS THE DWELLING PLACE OF THE "KHWAN" OR SOUL.
IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU DO NOT
TOUCH THE HEAD OR SHOULDERS OF A THAI.

Where learned: THAILAND

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 03-00-1971

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