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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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BOTTOMLESS LAKE

IN THE EARLY NINETEEN HUNDREDS, A HORSE AND BUGGY STOOD AT THE TOP
OF SAND DUNES OVERLOOKING GRAND SABLE LAKE IN THE U.P. (UPPER
PENINSULA). THE HORSE WAS STARTLED BY SOMETHING AND RAN DOWN THE
DUNE AND INTO THE LAKE. NO TRACE OF EITHER HORSE OR BUGGY HAS
EVER BEEN FOUND.

Submitter comment: SHE LEARNED THIS UPON SEEING SABLE LAKE FOR THE FIRST TIME (AROUND
1957) AS A VERIFICATION FOR THE DEPTH OF THE LAKE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GRAND MARAIS

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Still water Small body. Lake, pond....
BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 00001957 CA

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DEAD MAN'S HILL

THERE IS A HILL FIVE MILES OUTSIDE OF ELMIRA, MICHIGAN WHICH IS
REFERRED TO BY LOCAL INHABITANTS AS "DEAD MAN'S HILL" BECAUSE
SOME TIME DURING THE LOGGING DAYS OF THE TURN OF THE CENTURY
THERE WAS A TRAGIC ACCIDENT INVOLVING SEVERAL DEATHS.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THE TALE OF THE HILL IN 1960 WHEN HE AND HIS
HIS FAMILY MOVED TO GAYLORD, MICHIGAN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Gaylord

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Explanation of a name
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 00-00-1960

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EXPLANATION OF NAME, "MURDER HILL"

THERE IS A STRETCH OF NARROW, WINDING ROAD ON THE SIDE OF A HILL
JUST OUTSIDE OF LITTLE VALLEY, NEW YORK. SIGNS AT EACH END OF THIS
LONG ROAD CALL IT "MURDER HILL."
ONE EXPLANATION OF THE NAME IS THE FACT THAT A FATAL ACCIDENT
COULD EASILY HAPPEN THERE.
ANOTHER EXPLANATION IS A LEGEND THAT A MAN KILLED HIS WIFE AND
THEN HIMSELF IN A HOUSE NOT FAR FROM THE ROAD.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: NEW YORK ; FRANKLINVILLE

Keyword(s): Murder Hill ; Origin of Name ; Tale ; Urban Legend

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
SPEECH -- S478

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Entry filtered.

YOUNG GIRL IS GIVEN SPANISH FLY

A YOUNG GIRL WAS SUPPOSEDLY GIVEN A DOSE OF SPANISH FLY BY HER DATE. HE LEFT HER ALONE FOR A WHILE TO GO INTO A STORE TO PURCHASE A PACK OF CIGARETTES. THE CAR IN WHICH SHE WAS SITTING HAD A GEAR SHIFT ON THE FLOOR, AND WHEN THE YOUNG MAN RETURNED, HE FOUND THE GIRL STRADDLING THE GEAR SHIFT WHICH WAS THRUST INTO HER VAGINA.

Submitter comment:

THIS STORY WAS WIDELY CIRCULATED IN HIGH SCHOOL, AND I STILL HEAR IT NOW. PAULSEN, J.M.
I HEARD THIS ANECDOTE IN OMAHA, NEBRASKA AROUND 1935--IT WAS
WIDELY CIRCULATED. THERE'S A VARIANT IN WHICH SHE STICKS A
COKE BOTTLE UP HER PUDENDUM--AND WHEN EXTRACTING IT (THE BOTTLE
IS EMPTY), SHE REMOVES HER VITAL ORGANS (SUCTION).

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM ; OMAHA ; NEBRASKA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Marriage

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THE CARPENTER'S ROAD LEGEND

TWO COUPLES WENT TO THE PROM AND THEN OUT TO PARK ON CARPENTER'S
ROAD, WHICH IS A DESERTED ROAD IN THE WOODS OF BEAVERCREEK. WHILE
NECKING, THEY HEARD A KNOCKING AND SCRATCHING NOISE OUTSIDE. ONE
OF THE BOYS WENT OUT TO CHECK IT OUT. AND AFTER A LONG WORRISOME
WAIT DURING WHICH HE HADN'T RETURNED, THE SECOND BOY LEFT. AGAIN
AFTER SEVERAL HOURS, THEY STILL HADN'T RETURNED, SO ONE GIRL WENT
FOR HELP WHILE THE OTHER WAITED. THE LAST GIRL FINALLY LEFT AND
FOUND THE POLICE. AFTER A LONG SEARCH, THE THREE WERE FOUND. THE
TWO BOYS WERE ENTIRELY CHEWED UP, BLOODY AND JUST TOTALLY MUTILA-
TED. THE GIRL, WITH HER HAIR, ONCE BRUNETTE, NOW HAD STARK WHITE
HAIR STANDING ON END AND HAD DIED OF FRIGHT. NOW NOBODY KNOWS
IF THIS IS TRUE BUT NO ONE GOES THERE UNLESS HE'S LOOKING FOR A
SCARE.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

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

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LEGEND

THERE IS A LEGEND AT KISSING ROCK ON THE GROUNDS OF WEST POINT
THAT IF A FELLOW TAKES HIS HAT OFF AND THE GIRL HE IS WITH REFUSES
TO KISS HIM, THE ROCK WILL FALL AND KILL HER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Explanation of a name
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Marriage

Date learned: 12-05-1967

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PROSE NARRATIVE

A WOMAN, WHOSE SON MARRIED A GIRL SHE DISLIKED, TOOK ALL HER SON'S
POSSESSIONS FROM HER DAUGHTER-IN-LAW ON HER SON'S DEATH. EACH
NIGHT THEREAFTER AT MIDNIGHT ALL THE FURNITURE AND DISHES IN THE
MOTHER'S HOME WOULD RATTLE FOR ONE HOUR. IT WAS SAID TO BE THE
GHOST OF THE DEAD SON. AT LAST THE MOTHER RETURNED ALL TO HER
WIDOWED DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AND PEACE WAS RESTORED AT NIGHT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

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

Date learned: 09-23-1969

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NARRATIVE (TOLD IN FIRST PERSON)

MY DAD HAD A NIECE HE HAD QUARRELED WITH, YEARS BEFORE HE HAD
PASSED ON. SHE HAD TOLD HIM IF HE DIES BEFORE SHE DOES, SHE'LL
TURN HER BACK TOWARD HIM. SO BEFORE MY DAD COULD DIE, WE HAD TO
CALL HER AND AS SOON AS SHE ENTERED THE HOUSE MY DAD DIED PEACE-
FULLY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

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

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MYSTERY STREET

THE INFORMANT RELATES BEING TOLD THAT "STRASBURG," A STREET ON THE
EAST SIDE OF DETROIT, WAS A MYSTERY STREET. HE SAID THAT A GIRL
WAS RUN OVER BY A CAR IN 1962 AND THAT THE DRIVER REFUSED TO STOP.
THE GIRL BEAT CONTINUOUSLY ON THE TRUNK UNTIL THE DRIVER STOPPED.
WHEN THE DRIVER DID STOP, THE GIRL WAS DEAD. NOW, EVERY TIME A
CAR GOES DOWN STRASBURG, IT GOES THUMP, THUMP, THUMP.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): KNOCK-KNOCK STREET

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Outlaw Criminal Bandit Pirate
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Means of transportation Vehicle propelled by mechanical or other force on land
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 03-15-1967

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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 DRIVING OVER RAILROAD TRACKS, IT IS GOOD LUCK
TO PUT YOUR HAND, PALM SIDE UP, ON THE ROOF OF THE
CAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hands, palms, fingernails
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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IT IS GOOD LUCK TO LEAVE AND ENTER BY THE SAME DOOR.
IT IS EVEN BETTER LUCK, IF YOU DO THIS THE FIRST
TIME YOU ENTER AND LEAVE A STRANGER'S HOUSE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Good luck Leaving Entering Returning home Travel

Date learned: 11-01-1969

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TO START DONNA'S CAR, IT IS NECESSARY FOR EVERYONE IN
THE CAR TO SHAKE HER HAND FOR GOOD LUCK, OR ELSE THE
CAR WILL OFTEN NOT EVEN TURN OVER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Good luck Activities
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 03-27-1971

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IF YOU FIND A PENNY IT IS GOOD LUCK AS LONG AS
YOU KEEP IT. IF YOU CONSISTENTLY FIND PENNIES
WITH A PARTICULAR PERSON, THAT PERSON IS ALSO GOOD
LUCK.

Where learned: OHIO ; TOLEDO

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Good luck Money

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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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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HAWAIIAN SUPERSTITION

WHEN THE KINGS AND QUEENS RETURN TO THE ISLANDS, IT IS A GOOD
SIGN WHEN IT RAINS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GRAND RAPIDS

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Cloud Fog Mist Rain Hail Ice Snow Frost Dew
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 04-08-1971

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WHEN YOU SEE A RED BREAST ROBIN, IT MEANS YOU WILL
SEE A LOVED ONE BEFORE THE SUN GOES DOWN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Use of Object Animals

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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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