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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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CUSTOM FOR CHOOSING TEAMS

IN ELECTING SOMEONE FOR SOMETHING, OR FOR CHOOSING UP TEAMS, WE
USED TO EMPLOY A BASEBALL BAT. THE TWO CAPTAINS WOULD STAND
FACING EACH OTHER AND A THIRD PARTY WOULD TOSS THE BAT STRAIGHT
UP INTO THE AIR. ONE OF THE TWO CAPTAINS WOULD TRY TO CATCH IT
NEAR THE BOTTOM BY GRABBING IT WITH HIS HAND. THE OTHER PERSON
WOULD THEN WRAP HIS HAND AROUND THE BAT DIRECTLY ABOVE THE FIRST
PERSON'S. THIS WOULD CONTINUE UNTIL THERE WAS NO MORE ROOM AT THE
TOP OF THE BAT. WHEN THIS STAGE WAS REACHED THEN THE PERSON WHOSE
HAND WAS NEAREST TO THE TOP WAS THE WINNER. SEVERAL VARIATIONS
WERE ALLOWED. ONE WAS TO REST YOUR ELBOW ON THE FIRST PERSON'S
HAND AND THEN WRAP YOUR HAND AROUND THE BAT. ANOTHER WAS TO PLACE
ONLY TWO FINGERS AROUND THE BAT (BUT THE FINGERS MUST BE ABLE TO
TOUCH THE THUMB IN THIS CASE). FINALLY YOU COULD DO "EAGLE'S
CLAWS," THAT IS, WRAP YOUR FINGERS OVER THE KNOB OF THE BAT IN
THE MANNER OF A BIRD'S CLAWS. BUT IT YOU DID THIS YOU HAD TO
SUBSEQUENTLY THROW THE BAT FARTHER THAN TEN FEET BEHIND YOURSELF
OR YOU LOST. THESE MANEUVERS WERE USED TO SKILLFULLY TRY TO
SHORTEN OR LENGTHEN DISTANCES ON THE BAT SO YOU WOULD WIN.

Submitter comment: I LEARNED THIS FROM PLAYMATES IN FORT WAYNE, INDIANA, BUT ALSO
USED IT HERE IN DETROIT, ESPECIALLY WHEN CHOOSING TEAMS FOR
SOME GAME THAT REQUIRED A BAT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; INDIANA ; FORT WAYNE

Subject headings: 686 First / Once / One / Newness
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Pastime
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion

Date learned: 12-00-1963

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BELIEF: CATCHING FISH

TAKE ROSE SEED AND MUSTARD SEED, AND THE FOOT OF A WEASEL, AND
HANG THESE IN A NET; FISH WILL COLLECT THERE.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HIS YOUTH.

Where learned: INDIANA ; South Bend

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Fish
BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion

Date learned: 11-23-1967

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LUCK AT CARDS BELIEF

TIE THE HEART OF A BAT WITH A RED SILKEN STRING TO THE RIGHT ARM
AND YOU'LL HAVE GOOD LUCK AND WIN EVERY CARD GAME YOU PLAY.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER FATHER.

Where learned: INDIANA ; South Bend

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement
BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Color
BELIEF -- Good luck

Date learned: 11-23-1967

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FISHING SUPERSTITION

IT'S MORE EFFECTIVE TO GO FISHING BY THE DARK OF THE MOON BECAUSE
THEN THE FISH CAN'T SEE IF YOUR BAIT IS FAKE OR NOT.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM A CANADIAN FISHERMAN ABOUT 1945.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; YONKERS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion

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IF A PERFORMER DOES NOT BREAK A GUITAR STRING DURING A
PERFORMANCE, BAD LUCK OF SOME SORT (USUALLY NOT
SERIOUS) WILL COME TO HIM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM ; ABSOLUTE ZERO COFFEEHOUSE

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Number Emptiness, nothingness, zero
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

Date learned: 00-00-1969

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I HEARD THIS STORY FROM TWO WOMEN WHO WERE SITTING DIRECTLY
BEHIND ME ON A BUS ONE EVENING:
SAY, YOU KNOW, I ALWAYS HEARD THE BELIEF THAT IF ANYONE
EVER WHISTLED IN THE THEATER ON OPENING NIGHT, THAT THE
PERFORMANCE WOULD BE A FLOP. WELL, WE TOOK BILLY TO THE
THEATER WITH US LAST NIGHT AND HE LET OUT A WHISTLE JUST
AS THE CURTAIN WAS GOING UP AND YOU KNOW, THAT WAS REALLY
THE WORST PLAY I EVER SAW. JUST READ THE REVIEWS IN THE
PAPER.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
Observation
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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DON'T CROSS BATS

THE INFORMANT LEARNED THE FOLLOWING WHILE PLAYING BABE RUTH BASEBALL
IN PORT HURON. "IT IS BAD LUCK WHEN THE BASEBALL BATS LAY ACROSS
ONE ANOTHER INSTEAD OF IN A STRAIGHT ORDERLY LINE."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.6

Date learned: 10-30-1972

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Superstition: Baseball

I LEARNED THE FOLLOWING WHILE PLAYING BABE RUTH BASEBALL IN PORT
HURON. "DURING A GAME WHEN A PITCHER IS PITCHING A NO HITTER, IT
IS BAD LUCK TO TELL HIM HOW MANY STRIKE-OUTS HE HAS OR HOW MANY
INNINGS HE HAS YET TO PITCH."

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

Keyword(s): BAD LUCK ; BASEBALL ; BASEBALL STADIUM ; CHANCE ; CUSTOM ; Fan ; FATE ; jinx ; LUCK ; No-Hitter ; Shutout ; SPORTS ; SUPERSTITION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.6

Date learned: 10-30-1972

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BASEBALL

IF YOU RUB A BASEBALL IN THE DIRT BEFORE YOU PLAY, YOU WILL WIN.

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN ;

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.2

Date learned: CA1963-1975

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MORTAL SINS--SHOCK THEATRE

AT HOLY NAME GRADE SCHOOL IN BIRMINGHAM, MICHIGAN, ONE OF THE NUNS
USED TO TELL THE KIDS THAT WATCHING 'SHOCK THEATER' (A WEEKLY SHOW
WHICH PRESENTED HORROR MOVIES) WAS A MORTAL SIN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FERNDALE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- P439
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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GAME SUPERSTITION

IF A PERSON HITS MOST OF HIS SHOTS IN A BASKETBALL
WARM UP, HE WILL MISS THEM IN A GAME, AND VICE VERSA.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; FRANKLINVILLE

James Callow Keyword(s): OPPOSITES

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.6

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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ENTERTAINMENT BELIEF

A NERVOUS STOMACH ALWAYS PRECEDES A GREAT PERFORMANCE.

Where learned: NEW JERSEY

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion

Date learned: 00-00-1968

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GAME SUPERSTITION

IF A BATTER SWINGS AND MISSES AT THE FIRST PITCH, HE WILL
STRIKE OUT.

Submitter comment: THIS ALWAYS HAPPENED TO THE INFORMANT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): BASEBALL

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.6

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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GAME SUPERSTITION

IN BOWLING THERE IS A SUPERSTITION THAT IF
SOMEONE MAKES THREE STRIKES IN A ROW, THE PERSON SCORING
SHOULD NOT FILL IN THE SCORE EXCEPT X'S FOR FEAR OF BAD LUCK FOR THE
BOWLERS NEXT ROLLS.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; PORT CHESTER

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.6

Date learned: 12-00-1970

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LUCK

ON THE WAY TO A TRACK MEET, A RUNNER WOULD NOT GO
ACROSS A YELLOW LINE, SO IN THE MEET IT WOULD
CAUSE THE RUNNER TO LACK THE ABILITY TO PASS UP OPPOSING RUNNERS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): CONTAGEIOUS MAGIC? ; HOMEOPATHIC MAGIC?

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Racing Chasing Fighting
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.6

Date learned: 10-00-1971

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BELIEF

THE BLESSED MOTHER TURNS HER BACK ON GIRLS WHO WHISTLE.

Submitter comment: HEARD FROM REV. CAHILL'S MOTHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): FRIVOLITY

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Pastime
BELIEF -- Religious hero
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion

Date learned: 01-22-1968

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MONEY COUNTING

IT IS A SURE SIGN OF A QUICK DOWNFALL TO COME IF
YOU COUNT YOUR WINNINGS WHILE A GAME OF CARDS IS STILL IN
PROGRESS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): GAMBLING ; MONEY

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion

Date learned: 11-17-1969

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EXPLANATION OF POPCORN AND PEANUT SELLING AT SPORT EVENTS:

IN ROMAN DAYS, RED HOT PEAS WERE SOLD AT GLADIATOR GAMES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Plant food Vegetable
Food Drink -- Plant food Nut
Food Drink -- Flavoring Spice
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion

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CARD BELIEF

CUT THIN AND WIN. CUT DEEP AND WEEP.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE WOODS

James Callow Keyword(s): CARD-PLAYING ; ELLIPSIS ; RHYME PARALLELISM

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance
SPEECH -- Game Pastime Sport S555.500
PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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