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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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IF ST. ELMO'S FIRE APPEARS AROUND A SHIP IT IS A
SURE SIGN OF BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: I SAW THIS ON TELEVISION IN "MOBY DICK."

Where learned: NEW HAMPSHIRE ; MILFORD

James Callow Keyword(s): MARITIME ; ST. ELMO, PATRON OF SAILORS.

Subject headings: ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Means of transportation Water craft or boat propelled by human, wind, mechanical or other force
BELIEF -- Religious hero
BELIEF -- Fire
BELIEF -- Water
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 09-00-1967

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EXPLANATION OF WHY SMOKE FROM A FIRE OF ANY SOURCE WILL
FOLLOW SOMEONE NO MATTER WHERE THEY MOVE TO:
BEAUTY DRAWS SMOKE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Fire

Date learned: 00-00-1968

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IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A CUSTOM TO BURN BLESSED CANDLES
AT THE TIME OF A SEVERE LIGHTNING STORM. THIS IS
PRACTICED BY STRICT CATHOLICS.

Where learned: HIS HOME

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Lightning Thunder
BELIEF -- Fire

Date learned: 00-00-1967

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THE GHOST OF CHAPEL HILL

IN CHAPEL HILL, TENNESSEE, THERE IS A SET OF RAILROAD TRACKS
WHERE ONE CAN SEE A GHOST. AT NIGHT, WHEN A TRAIN COMES
THROUGH THE TRACKS, YOU CAN SEE A RED LIGHT, WHICH IS A
LITTLE WAYS BEHIND IT. THE LIGHT FOLLOWS THE TRAIN AT
ABOUT THE SAME DISTANCE ALL THE TIME. NO ONE CAN REALLY TELL
JUST EXACTLY WHAT IT IS. PEOPLE HAVE SHOT AT IT AND NOTHING
HAPPENS. PEOPLE SAY THAT ONE, A LONG TIME AGO, A MAN WAS
SEVERED. SUPPOSEDLY THE GHOST, THE RED LIGHT, KEEPS
RETURNING IN SEARCH OF HIS HEAD.

Where learned: TENNESSEE, ASSUMED ; COLUMBIA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Physically handicapped Deformed
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Fire
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

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IN CHAPEL HILL, TENNESSEE, A MAN WAS ONCE DECAPITATED
BY THE RAILROAD. SINCE THEN, PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN BY
THE TRACKS AT NIGHT HAVE REPORTED SEEING A LIGHT MOVING
ALONG THE TRACKS.

Where learned: NASHVILLE ; PEABODY COLLEGE, ASSUMED ; TENNESSEE, ASSUMED

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Fire

Date learned: 04-29-1969

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WILL-O-THE WISP ARE CORPSE CANDLES CARRIED BY GHOSTS.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Fire

Date learned: 00-00-1972

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IF THE FIRE MAKES LOUD POPPING SOUNDS WHILE IT IS BLAZING, IT
MEANS A SNOW WILL SHORTLY FALL.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; LAFAYETTE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Cloud Fog Mist Rain Hail Ice Snow Frost Dew
BELIEF -- Fire

Date learned: 03-29-1969

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INFORMANT'S GRANDMOTHER USED TO GO (TO) THE BARN IN THE
SPRING, GET THREE HORSESHOES, AND NAME ONE THE HAWK, ONE
THE CROW, AND ONE OF THE OWL. UPON RETURNING TO THE HOUSE,
SHE WOULD PITCH THEM INTO THE FIREPLACE, TO KEEP HAWKS,
CROWS, AND OWLS FROM CATCHING THE CHICKENS.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; MCKENZIE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bird
BELIEF -- Fire
BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Measure of time Summer
BELIEF -- Magic of Speech, Sign, Color
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 07-05-1970

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SMOKE FOLLOWS BEAUTY.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

James Callow comment:

"SMOKE FROM AN OUT-OF-DOOR FIRE DRIFTS TO THE MOST BEAUTIFUL
PERSON WITHIN RANGE"--#675 IN HAND, NORTH CAROLINA.
ALSO SEE HAND & TALLEY, UTAH #2134; PUCKETT OHIO #5713.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; CORNERSVILLE

Keyword(s): Aphorism ; BEAUTY ; Maxim ; Saying ; Smoke

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Human Being
BELIEF -- Fire
PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim

Date learned: 00001972-00001973 (ASSUMED)

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WATER WILL NOT PUT OUT A FIRE STARTED BY LIGHTNING.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Lightning Thunder
BELIEF -- Fire

Date learned: 06-17-1973

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BELIEF

IF YOU PLAY WITH FIRE, YOU WILL WET THE BED.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Subject headings: Prediction / Divination
BELIEF -- Fire
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 00-00-1972

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