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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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POLISH SUPERSTITION

IF YOU DROP A PIECE OF BREAD ON THE FLOOR, YOU MUST PICK IT UP
IMMEDIATELY AND KISS IT, OR ELSE YOU HAVE SINNED.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER POLISH MOTHER WHEN SHE WAS VERY YOUNG.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; YONKERS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
SPEECH -- Gesture

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NOT GIVEN

WHEN I WAS ABOUT SIX YEARS OLD AND WE LIVED NEAR THE COUNTRY,
I WOULD OFTEN GO OUT TO PLAY ALL DAY. SO I USED TO GO TO THE
LAVATORY OUTSIDE. MY MOTHER WOULD ALWAYS TELL ME THAT I SHOULD
COME HOME TO GO TO THE BATHROOM, BECAUSE WHEN THE DEVIL CAUGHT
LITTLE BOYS GOING TO THE BATHROOM OUTSIDE HE WOULD BITE OFF
THEIR PENIS.

Where learned: MARYLAND

James Callow Keyword(s): FUNCTION ; URINATION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

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FRIENDSHIP

IF YOU PASS SOMEONE A SHARP IMPLEMENT IT WILL CUT YOUR FRIENDSHIP.

Submitter comment: GRANDMA HAS KNOWN THIS ONE ALL HER LIFE AND THINKS SHE GOT IT FROM
HER MOTHER WHO WAS BORN IN IRELAND.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

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HOW TO REMEMBER SOMETHING YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN

IF YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN SOMETHING COME BACK IN THE HOUSE AND COUNT
TO TEN OR ELSE GO THROUGH THE ALPHABET SLOWLY. YOU WILL ALMOST
ALWAYS REMEMBER WHAT IT IS YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN.

Submitter comment: I LEARNED THIS FROM MY MOTHER ABOUT 1950.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SOUTHFIELD

James Callow Keyword(s): SPEED

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Number P686.3.10

Date learned: 05-12-1965

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RELIGIOUS SUPERSTITION ABOUT MIRRORS

IF YOU STOOD BEFORE A MIRROR AND GROOMED YOURSELF, YOU WERE
LEAVING YOURSELF OPEN TO TEMPTATIONS OF PRIDE.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER MOTHER AT HOME.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Daily Life

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HOW TO REMEMBER

IF YOU FORGET SOMETHING GO BACK WHERE YOU STARTED FROM WHEN YOU
FORGOT IT AND USUALLY IT COMES TO YOU.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM HIS FATHER IN ABOUT 1945.

Where learned: WALLACEBURG

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 05-12-1965

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SUPERSTITION

YOU SHOULD NEVER SEW ANYTHING WHILE A PERSON IS WEARING IT.

Submitter comment: HEARD IN STEELTON, PENNSYLVANIA ABOUT 1920. COLLECTED 01121964.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; STEELTON

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

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SUPERSTITION

ALAYS CUT YOUR HAIR WHEN THE MOON IS GROWING, NEVER SHRINKING,
AND IT WILL GROW FASTER.

Submitter comment: SOURCE NOT REMEMBERED.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

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HUNGARIAN SUPERSTITION

NEVER STEP OVER A PERSON WHEN HE IS LYING IN BED OR IT WILL BRING
HIM GREAT DANGER.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER HUNGARIAN FATHER.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; YONKERS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Home
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 12-22-1963

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ON THE STAIRS

IF YOU PASS SOMEONE ON THE STAIRS, IN THE HOUSE, IT IS AN OMEN
OF BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: GRANDMA HAS KNOWN THIS ONE AS LONG AS SHE CAN REMEMBER AND THINKS
SHE GOT IT FROM HER MOTHER WHO CAME FROM IRELAND.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; IRELAND

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

Date learned: 09-00-1963

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JAMAICAN SUPERSTITION: MENSTRUATION

WHEN A WOMAN IS MENSTRUATING, SHE SHOULD NEVER LOOK AT THE DEAD
OR SOMETHING TERRIBLE MIGHT HAPPEN.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM A LADY-FRIEND FROM JAMAICA.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

Keyword(s): B477 HUMAN ACTIVITY (BODILY FUNCTION)

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 01-01-1964

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JAMAICAN SUPERSTITION: MENSTRUATION

A WOMAN SHOULD NEVER BAKE A CAKE WHEN SHE IS MENSTRUATING OR IT
WILL NOT RISE.

Submitter comment: LEARNED THIS FROM A LADY-FRIEND FROM JAMAICA.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Manner of preparation Process
Food Drink -- Pastry Sweet Dessert
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 01-01-1964

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COINS AT THE STEP OF THE MAST

THE CUSTOM OF PLACING A COIN OR COINS AT THE HEEL OF THE MASTS
SEEMS TO HAVE A DOUBLE PURPOSE. IN ANTIQUITY IT WAS TO PAY THE
FARES OF THE CREW ACROSS THE RIVER STYX IF THE SHIP SHOULD BE LOST
AT SEA; MORE LATTERLY IT WAS DONE TO ASSURE GOOD FORTUNE. THE
COINS MUST BE PLACED FACE UP, FOR TO HAVE THEM FACE DOWN WOULD BE
TO INVITE DISASTER. EVEN TO THIS DAY THE OWNER OF A SMALL CRAFT
WILL SECRETE A COIN ABOARD, THE LOCATION, VALUE, AND DATE OF WHICH
ARE KNOWN TO HIM ALONE--THE KNOWLEDGE ENABLING HIM TO PROVE HIS
OWNERSHIP SHOULD IT EVER BE QUESTIONED.

Submitter comment: CAPTAIN LUMAS SAID THAT HE LEARNED OF THIS TRICK THE FIRST TIME
HE EVER OWNED A BOAT, WHICH WAS ABOUT FORTY YEARS AGO.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; MACKINAW ISLAND

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Custom
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: 09-00-1963

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BELIEF: U-D BELLS

THE DEFUNCT BELLS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT TOWER ARE SUPPOSED
TO RING WHEN A VIRGIN WALKS BY.

Submitter comment: MR. TEVENS SAID HE HAD OFTEN HEARD THIS ON THE U.OF D. CAMPUS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- School

Date learned: 12-00-1963

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BELIEF-DAILY LIFE

DON'T TELL A DREAM BEFORE BREAKFAST OR IT WILL COME TRUE.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER MOTHER.

Where learned: INDIANA ; Hudson Lake

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Measure of time Eating For menu, see N222.
BELIEF -- Dreams

Date learned: 11-25-1967

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SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT YOU SHOULD ALWAYS PUT YOUR
RIGHT SOCK ON FIRST WHEN DRESSING. THIS IS FOR LUCK.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAYS HE ALWAYS FOLLOWS THIS BELIEF.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 8P88 8P88.165
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 02-15-1972

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DO NOT HAND A PERSON A KNIFE. PUT IT ON THE TABLE
AND LET HIM PICK IT UP. IF YOU DO NOT, A FIGHT
MAY ARISE.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAID HER MOTHER BELIEBED IN THIS SUPER-
STITION, AND ALWAYS PASSED A KNIFE BY FIRST PUTTING
IT ON THE TABLE. THEN THE OTHER PERSON COULD
PICK IT UP.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 02-14-1972

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IF YOU SMELL ROSES WHEN THERE ARE NO ROSES NEAR,
YOU WILL SOON HEAR OF SOMEONE CLOSE TO YOU DYING.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Use of Object Plant

Date learned: 01-00-1968

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IF YOU HEAR BELLS, SOMEONE'S TALKING ABOUT YOU.
IF YOUR WRITING SLANTS FORWARD BACKWARD, IT
MEANS THAT YOU ARE AN INTROVERT.
IF YOUR WRITING SLANTS FORWARD, IT
MEANS THAT YOU ARE AN EXTROVERT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 03-23-1968

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A KNIFE AS A GIFT WILL "CUT" THE FRIENDSHIP.

Submitter comment: THIS IS A COMMON SUPERSTITION IN THE UNDY HOUSEHOLD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 09-23-1967

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