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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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BELIEF

A SPIDER HANGING FROM THE CEILING IS A SIGN OF GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Insect
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.33

Date learned: 03-00-1971

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A BELIEF

IF A DRAGONFLY LANDS ON YOUR EAR, IT WILL SEW IT UP.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT WAS TOLD THIS TALE AS A CHILD, AND AT THE TIME HE THOUGHT
THAT IT WAS PROBABLY TRUE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL INSECT ; BELIEF

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Insect

Date learned: 02-15-1972

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WEATHER BELIEF

SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT ONE CAN PREDICT THE SEVERITY OF THE WINTER
BY OBSERVING THE COLORATION OF THE WOOLLY BEAR CATERPILLAR. IF THEY
ARE MOSTLY BLACK IN COLOR, THE WINTER WILL BE SEVERE, WHILE IF THEY
ARE MOSTLY BROWN IN COLOR, THE WINTER WILL BE LESS SEVERE.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAYS THIS BELIEF MIGHT BE TRUE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL INSECT ; BELIEF

Subject headings: 891 Animals, vertebrate and invertebrate)
891 Animals, (vertebrate and invertebrate)
891 Animals, (vertebrate and invertebrate)
891 Animals, (vertebrate and invertebrate)
891 Animals, (vertebrate and invertebrate)
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Weather sign or control
BELIEF -- Insect
BELIEF -- Sign or prediction through Animals (vertebrate and invertebrate)
BELIEF -- Sign or prediction through P891.3

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IF A LADYBUG LANDS ON YOU SHE WILL BRING YOU GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL BEETLE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Insect
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.33

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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SIGN OF GOOD LUCK

HAVING A LADYBUG LAND ON YOU IS A SIGN OF GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL BEETLE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Insect
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.33

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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A HONEY BEE FLYING AROUND A PERSON IS A SIGN OF GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Insect
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.33

Date learned: 02-26-1970

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IT IS BAD LUCK TO KILL A CRICKET, ESPECIALLY ON SUNDAY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL INSECT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Insect
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.33

Date learned: 03-03-1970

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BELIEF OR PREDICTION

YOU CAN DETERMINE THE TEMPERATURE OUTSIDE BY COUNTING THE NUMBER
OF TIMES A CRICKET RUBS HIS FOOT IN A MINUTE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL INSECT ; WHICH RUBBING PRODUCES CHIRPING SOUND.

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Insect
BELIEF -- Weather sign or control P890.3

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BELIEF

A PRAYING MANTIS IS AN AGENT OF THE DEVIL. IT MAY SPIT IN YOUR
EYE AND BLIND YOU IF ANNOYED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Insect
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal P477.11

Date learned: 02-02-1970

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WHEN YOU SEE A LADYBUG YOU CHANT: LADYBUG, LADYBUG FLY AWAY HOME,
YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE, YOUR CHILDREN WILL ROAM. IF THE LADYBUG WAS
FOUND INSIDE THE HOUSE, IT WAS CONSIDERED A SIGN OF GOOD LUCK. IF IT
WAS FOUND OUTSIDE, IT WAS CONSIDERED TO BE BAD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Insect
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.33
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.33

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IF A MOSQUITO IS BITING YOU, SHE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO RETRACT HER
NEEDLE IF YOU HOLD YOUR BREATH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Insect
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal P477.11

Date learned: 11-23-1968

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IF A MOSQUITO IS BITING YOU ON THE FOREARM, SHE WILL NOT BE ABLE
TO RETRACT HER NEEDLE IF YOU EXTEND YOUR ARM OUT AND FLEX IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Upper body, arms, neck
BELIEF -- Insect
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal P477.11

Date learned: 11-24-1968

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SEWING BUGS

NEVER GET TOO NEAR A SEWING BUG (DRAGON FLY), BECAUSE THEY WILL
SEW YOUR EYELIDS SHUT.

Submitter comment: I REALLY BELIEVED IN THIS WHEN I WAS LITTLE, AND I WAS TERRIFIED
OF SEWING BUGS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): BELIEF

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Eyes, evil eye
BELIEF -- Insect
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal P477.11

Date learned: 11-17-1968

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A WAY TO MAKE A SWARM OF BEES SETTLE, IS TO THROW DIRT OR WATER
AT THEM. THEY CANNOT FLY WHEN THEIR WINGS ARE WET.

Submitter comment: THIS IS FAIRLY WELL KNOWN, ESPECIALLY THE WATER ON THE WINGS IDEA.
THEY CANNOT EVEN FLY IF THEIR WINGS ARE COVERED WITH HEAVY DEW.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Insect
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal P477.11

Date learned: 03-10-1968

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PROVERB

CRAZIER THAN A BESS BUG.

Submitter comment: PROVERBIAL COMPARISON--HEARD BY THE INFORMANT FROM SOME SOUTHERN
KENTUCKY FRIENDS AND NOW USED BY HER.THE BUG INVOLVED RUNS AROUND IN
FIRST ONE DIRECTION, THEN ANOTHER, WITHOUT SEEMING TO KNOW WHERE
ITS GOING. THIS PHRASE IS APPLIED TO PEOPLE WHO DO FOOLISH OR CRAZY
THINGS. USUALLY HE OR SHE IS CRAZIER THAN A BESS BUG.

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): INSECT

James Callow Keyword(s): BETSY BUG? BED BUG?

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Insect
PROVERB -- Proverbial Comparison

Date learned: 10-21-1969

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WEATHER BELIEF

AS A YOUNG BOY IN CANADA, I WAS ALWAYS TOLD BY MY MOTHER,
THAT I SHOULD NEVER KILL A SPIDER. SHE SAID THAT IF I DID
IT WOULD RAIN ALL DAY, AND SPOIL MY FUN.

Submitter comment:

I GUESS SHE JUST DIDN:T LIKE ME TO KILL SPIDERS.

Where learned: CANADA ; MONTREAL

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL ; FUNCTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Insect
BELIEF -- Cloud Fog Mist Rain Hail Ice Snow Frost Dew
BELIEF -- Weather sign or control P890.7

Date learned: MANY YEARS AGO

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A NATURAL TRANSITION

AT ABOUT TEN YEARS, I BEGAN A COLLECTION OF THE WHITE BALLS
OF FUZZ, WHICH COME OFF THE TREES IN OUR OLD NEIGHBORHOOD. WHEN MY
FRIENDS HEARD OF MY COLLECTION, THEY TOLD ME TO RID MYSELF OF IT
BEFORE THE LITTLE BALLS EVOLVED INTO SPIDERS. I RUSHED HOME
AS QUICKLY AS POSIBLE AND SCATTERED THEM FROM MY HOUSE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL: ARACHNID

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Insect
BELIEF -- Plant

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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