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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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NOT GIVEN

ONCE IN A HOUSE ACROSS THE STREET, A GIRL WAS TAKING A BATH AND
THE DOOR WAS LOCKED. SOMEONE HAD COME IN AND CUT OFF THE GIRL'S
LEG AND HER TONGUE. SHE MADE A NOISE LIKE THIS: BUMP AH-AH,
BUMP AH-AH.
THE BUMP WAS HER TRYING TO WALK AND THE AH-AH WAS HER TRYING TO
TALK. EVEN THOUGH THE GIRL DIED THE MOTHER CONTINUED TO HEAR
THAT SOUND LONG AFTERWARDS.

Submitter comment: THIS WAS TOLD TO ME WHILE WE WERE HAVING RECESS. JUDITH'S MOTHER
TOLD IT TO HER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Outlaw Criminal Bandit Pirate
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Mouth, teeth, lips, tongue
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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NOT GIVEN

THERE WAS A SHRINE TO THE BLESSED MOTHER ON THIS MOUNTAIN IN
ITALY. IT WAS A VERY SACRED PLACE. THERE THE STATUE WAS ENCASED
IN GLASS. ONE DAY SOME BOYS WERE PLAYING "BOTCHES" (LIKE BOWLING)
AND ONE OF THE BALLS ROLLED NEAR THE GLASS CASE, THE NEXT ONE
ROLLED AND BROKE THE GLASS AT THE FEET OF THE STATUE. THE FEET
OF THE STATUE STARTED BLEEDING.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT IS COLLECTOR'S MOTHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Religious hero
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Pastime
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails

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PURGATORY FALLS, MILFORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE

AN AREA NEAR NORTH RIVER ROAD IN THE OLD QUARRY DISTRICT OF
MILFORD HAS A SET OF FOOTPRINTS AT THE BOTTOM OF A SMALL WATER-
FALL. THESE FOOTPRINTS ARE SUPPOSED TO BELONG TO THE DEVIL AND
ALL THE CHILDREN CALL THIS AREA PURGATORY FALLS.

Submitter comment: I LEARNED THIS WHILE IN HIGH SCHOOL.

Where learned: NEW HAMPSHIRE ; MILFORD

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Devil Demon
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Explanation of a name
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails

Date learned: 11-04-1967

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STORY

IN THE 1820'S AT SPRING ARBOR, MICHIGAN, AN INDIAN CHIEF WAS
CAPTURED DURING THE WAR. AFTER THE WAR, THE ENGLISH ALLOWED
HIM TO RETURN TO HIS TRIBE. HE WAS SIX FEET TALL AND USED
CRUTCHES TO GET AROUND. IT IS SAID THAT HE WOULD CHALLENGE
ANY MAN TO RACE WITH HIM AND THAT HE ALWAYS WON. EVEN THOUGH
ONE-LEGGED, HE HAD DEVELOPED AN ENORMOUS SPRINT WITH THE AID
OF HIS CRUTCHES.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SPRING ARBOR

Keyword(s): INDIAN ; Legend ; Native American

Subject headings: ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Occupation War
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails

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WHEN YOU RIDE OVER A RAILROAD TRACK, LIFT UP YOUR
FEET AND YOU'LL HAVE GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Good luck Leaving Entering Returning home Travel

Date learned: 00-00-1968

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IF YOU LIFT UP YOUR FEET FROM THE FLOOR AND TOUCH
YOUR HANDS TO THE CEILING WHILE GOING OVER A
RAILROAD TRACK IN YOUR CAR, YOU WILL HAVE GOOD
LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hands, palms, fingernails
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Good luck Leaving Entering Returning home Travel
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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WHEN YOU STUMP YOUR RIGHT BIG TOE, YOU'RE GOING TO
HAVE GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Good luck Body parts and functions

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IF YOU STUMP YOUR RIGHT TOE YOU'LL HAVE GOOD LUCK.
IF YOU STUMP YOUR LEFT TOE, YOU'LL HAVE BAD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Good luck Body parts and functions
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions

Date learned: 10-07-1971

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IF A WOMAN'S SECOND TOE IS LONGER THAN HER BIG TOE, IT
MEANS THAT SHE WILL BE THE BOSS OF HER FAMILY.

Submitter comment: LEARNED IT FROM HER MOTHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ALSO HAVE HEARD THIS MEANS YOU ARE DESCENDED FROM ROYALTY.

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails

Date learned: 00001967 FALL

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GOOD LUCK

IF YOU STUMPLE ON YOUR FOOT, OR IT MAY ITCH, THAT'S A
SIGN FOR GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment: SHE REMEMBERED THIS ITEM FROM TIMES WHEN SHE WAS YOUNG. BUT
IT WAS TOLD TO HER FROM HER MOTHER AND NEIGHBORS USUALLY BY WORD
OF MOUTH. HER MOTHER AS WELL AS HER MOTHER'S MOTHER BELIEVED
THAT OLD SAYINGS ARE WORTH REMEMBERING. THE INFORMANT REGARDS
THIS FOLK ITEM AS A PIECE OF GOLD FOR A GUIDE LINE OF LIFE'S
EXPERIENCE.
SHE LEARNED THIS ITEM IN RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
THIS IS A SUPERSTITIOUS BELIEF.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; VIRGINIA ; PHILADELPHIA ; RICHMOND

James Callow Keyword(s): STUMBLE?

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions Itching hands and feet
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.2

Date learned: 00-00-1935

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SIGN OF CROSS

NEVER GO BACK IF YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN SOMETHING UNLESS YOU MAKE THE
SIGN OF THE CROSS WITH YOUR FOOT.

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; New Orleans

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: CA11001973

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BROOM

NEVER SWEEP ANYONE'S FEET OR YOUR FEET WITH A BROOM BECAUSE THAT
PERSON OR YOU WILL GO TO JAIL.

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; New Orleans

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.21

Date learned: 11-23-1973

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LUCKY CROSSING

IF YOU LIFT YOUR FEET OFF THE FLOOR OF YOUR CAR WHILE CROSSING A
BRIDGE OVER WATER YOU WILL ALWAYS REACH THE OTHER SIDE SAFELY.

Submitter comment: THIS WAS A MORE COMMON BELIEF IN THE EARLY 1900S WHEN PEOPLE WERE A
LITTLE MORE WARY ABOUT DRIVING CARS OVER BRIDGES.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; SAINT CLAIR

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE ; MAGIC

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 00001960S

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TRICK OR TREAT RHYME

TRICK OR TREAT.
SMELL MY FEET.
I LIVE ON MILL STREET.

Submitter comment: THIS IS USED BY TRICK OR TREATERS ON HALLOWEEN IN ORDER TO COLLECT
CANDY AND OTHER GIFTS. THE NAME OF THE STREET IN THE THIRD LINE IS
NOT ALWAYS MILL BUT RATHER THE STREET THE PERSON LIVES ON. THIS IS
SUPPOSED TO BE A CLUE TO THEIR IDENTITY.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; SAINT CLAIR

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Custom Festival C840.1031
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- October 31 Halloween
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails

Date learned: 00001960S

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IF YOUR LEFT FOOT ITCHES YOU'LL SOON GO ON A SAD TRIP.

Where learned: MARYLAND ; BALTIMORE ; TOLD IN

James Callow Keyword(s): RIGHT LEFT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions Itching hands and feet

Date learned: 11-18-1972

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GENIES

IN INDIA, THE EASY WAY TO DISTINGUISH GENIES FROM GHOSTS IS TO
LOOK AT THEIR FEET A GENIES FEET ARE BACKWARDS; THAT IS, THEY GO
THE OPPOSITE WAY HIS BODY IS FACING.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Fairy Elf Goblin Gnome
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails

Date learned: 03-05-1971

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BELIEF

IF A GIRL IS GOING OVER A RAILROAD TRACK, SHE SHOULD
LIFT HER FEET UP WHILE GOING OVER, OR ELSE SHE WILL BREAK
UP WITH THE GUY SHE IS GOING WITH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR SHORES

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Dating Courtship
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 02-18-1971

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LOSS OF A SWEETHEART

IF YOU ARE RIDING OVER TRACKS, (WHETHER THEY ARE TRAIN TRACKS
OR STREETCAR TRACKS) RAISE YOUR FEET OFF THE GROUND. IF YOU
DO NOT, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR PRESENT SWEETHEART.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BELIEF ; Relationship ; SUPERSTITION ; Sweetheart ; Tracks

James Callow Keyword(s): DIRECTION ; POSITION

Subject headings: Observation
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Dating Courtship
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
SPEECH -- Gesture

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CAR BELIEF

IF A GIRL IS RIDING IN A CAR AND IT CROSSES OVER RAILROAD
TRACKS, SHE MUST LIFT UP HER FEET OR SHE WILL NOT GET MARRIED.

Submitter comment: INFORMANTS ATTITUDE WAS QUITE SKEPTICAL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; LINCOLN PARK

James Callow Keyword(s): DISBELIEF ; POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Dating Courtship
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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RAILROAD CROSSING

WHENEVER CROSSING OVER RAILROAD TRACKS EVERYONE IN THE CAR
SHOULD LIFT THEIR FEET OFF THE FLOOR, DRIVER INCLUDED, AND
TOUCH THE ROOF OF THE CAR WITH THEIR HANDS. THIS IS TO INSURE THE
OCCUPANTS OF A LONG LIFE AND TO WARD OFF THE COMING OF OLD AGE.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT DOES THIS OFTEN WHEN CROSSING RAILROAD TRACKS IN A CAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
SPEECH -- Gesture

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