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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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JAMAICAN SUPERSTITION

FOR A NEW-BORN CHILD: NEVER LET A STRANGER INTO THE SAME ROOM
WITH THE CHILD FOR 9 DAYS. IF SOMEHOW THIS CANNOT BE AVOIDED,
IMMEDIATELY OPEN A BIBLE OVER THE CHILD'S HEAD TO DRIVE AWAY
EVIL SPIRITS.

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

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

Subject headings: 686 Ninths / Nine
BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Magic Book

Date learned: 01-01-1964

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JAMAICAN SUPERSTITION

IF A WOMAN IS PREGNANT AND EXPECTING WITHIN A NUMBER OF DAYS OR
WEEKS, A FULL MOON WILL CAUSE THE CHILD TO COME QUICKER.

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

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 01-01-1964

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ITALIAN SUPERSTITION

ALL NEW BORN BABIES MUST IMMEDIATELY BE GIVEN A HORN-SHAPED
PIECE OF CORAL TO FASTEN TO THEIR UNDERSHIRTS. THIS WILL PROTECT
THEM FROM EVIL SPIRITS.

Submitter comment: LEARNED AS A YOUNG WOMAN LIVING IN ITALY.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; YONKERS

James Callow Keyword(s): AMULET

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure

Date learned: 12-29-1963

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ITALIAN SUPERSTITION

ASK A PREGNANT WOMAN IF HER HANDS ARE DIRTY: IF SHE LOOKS AT THEM
WITH THE PALMS UP FIRST, SHE WILL HAVE A GIRL; IF SHE LOOKS AT THE
OUTSIDE FIRST, SHE WILL HAVE A BOY.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER ITALIAN MOTHER.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; PLEASANTVILLE

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 12-27-1963

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ITALIAN SUPERSTITION

IF A WOMAN FALLS WHEN SHE IS PREGNANT AND SHE HELPS HERSELF UP
WITH HER RIGHT HAND, SHE WILL HAVE A BOY; IF SHE HELPS HERSELF
UP WITH HER LEFT HAND, SHE WILL HAVE A GIRL.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER ITALIAN MOTHER.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; PLEASANTVILLE

James Callow Keyword(s): RIGHT LEFT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 12-27-1963

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"HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN ANYTHING?"

THE BELIEF THAT A WET DIAPER LEFT AT SOMEONE'S HOME WILL BRING A
BABY TO THE FAMILY LIVING IN THAT HOUSE WITHIN A YEAR OR SO IS FAR
MORE WIDESPREAD THAN I BELIEVED IT WOULD BE. SEVERAL INSTANCES
FOLLOW.
AFTER ADOPTION OF OUR BABY LAST YEAR (1) MY SISTER-IN-LAW TOLD ME
THAT MY MOTHER HAD TOLD HER ON REPEATED OCCASIONS TO LEAVE A WET
DIAPER FROM ONE OF HER BABIES AT OUR HOME AFTER THEY VISITED US.
(2) A COUSIN WHOM WE VISITED IN FEBRUARY OR MARCH WAS QUITE CON-
CERNED THAT I REMEMBER TO TAKE ALL THE WET DIAPERS BECAUSE SHE WAS
TOO OLD TO HAVE ANY MORE BABIES, AND BESIDES HER YOUNGEST WAS 7
YEARS OLD. HER MOTHER TOLD HER THAT, AS DID HER MOTHER-IN-LAW
(ABOUT THE WET DIAPERS). (3) DEARBORN FRIENDS OF OURS WHO HAD OUR
BABY AT THEIR HOME LAST WEEK (MAY 20, 1965) MADE SURE THAT EVERY
LAST WET DIAPER WAS RETURNED TO US BEFORE WE LEFT. "WE DON'T
WANT ANY LITTLE STRANGERS AROUND HERE," THE LADY OF THE HOUSE
SAID.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 05-00-1965

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PREGNANCY

WHEN A WOMAN IS PREGNANT AND ACTS AS A GODMOTHER AT A BAPTISM, SHE
WILL ENTER THE CHURCH WITH TWO BABIES, ONE IN HER ARMS AND ONE IN
HER WOMB, BUT LEAVE WITH ONLY ONE BECAUSE ONE OF THE BABIES WILL
DIE IN THE CHURCH.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM HER PARENTS WHO ARE OF IRISH DESCENT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Baptism Naming rite
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 03-31-1967

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PREGNANCY

IF A WOMAN IS PREGNANT SHE MUST EAT FOR TWO SO THAT SHE CAN
NOURISH BOTH HERSELF AND THE BABY.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM HER MOTHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Measure of quantity or weight

Date learned: 03-20-1967

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"ADOPTIVE PARENTS, WARNING!"

IN SEPTEMBER, 1964, WE ADOPTED A LITTLE BABY. WHENEVER WE TOLD
THE GOOD NEWS, WE WERE ALMOST ALWAYS GREETED WITH "WELL, NOW
YOU'LL HAVE ONE OF YOUR OWN. I HAVE AN AUNT (SISTER, SISTER-IN-
LAW, DAUGHTER, ETC.) WHO ADOPTED A BABY AND THE NEXT YEAR THEY HAD
ONE OF THEIR OWN. THEY NOW HAVE (THIS IS USUALLY ADDED FOR
EMPHASIS OR SHOCK, I'VE NOT DETERMINED WHICH) FOUR, FIVE, SEVEN
(OR MORE)."
I GOT THE SAME STORY OR VARIATIONS ON THE THEME FROM: MY MOTHER-
IN-LAW, WHO COMES FROM DECATUR, ILLINOIS; MY DRESSMAKER, WHO HAD
BEEN IN DETROIT ABOUT 3 YEARS AND HAD COME FROM KENTUCKY;
A NEIGHBOR; A SECRETARY IN THE COMMERCE AND FINANCE COLLEGE DEAN'S
OFFICE; AND OTHERS.

Submitter comment: IF ALL GOES WELL, WE PLAN TO HAVE ANOTHER BABY--BY ADOPTION--LATER
THIS YEAR. WONDER WHAT THEY'LL SAY TO THAT?

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Birth
SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 05-00-1965

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AGAIN?

THE STORY SURROUNDING THE NAME OF CHEBOYGAN, MICHIGAN, IS USUALLY
CONNECTED WITH AN INDIAN FAMILY RESIDING IN THE AREA. THE FATHER
IS GENERALLY AN IMPORTANT CHIEF BUT SOMETIMES IS REPORTED AS A
COMMON HUNTER. HIS WIFE HAD SEVERAL CHILDREN, ALL OF WHOM WERE
BOYS. ALTHOUGH HE WAS VERY PLEASED, HE WISHED THEIR NEXT CHILD
TO BE A GIRL. HOWEVER, THE NEWBORN WAS AGAIN A BOY. WHEN TOLD OF
THE BIRTH, THE FATHER REPORTEDLY REPLIED, "SHE A BOY AGAIN?"
THIS ANSWER WAS CONSEQUENTLY ELIDED INTO THE NAME, "CHEBOYGAN."

Submitter comment: THE STORY HAS BEEN TOLD TO ME FROM MANY NATIVES OF THIS NORTHERN
MICHIGAN TOWN, AS WELL AS TOURISTS WHO HAVE VISITED THE SURROUND-
ING AREA, SO FOR THIS REASON, NO LONE INFORMANT HAS BEEN SINGLED
OUT.

Where learned: NOT GIVEN

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Explanation of a name
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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JEWELRY IS THE ONE THING MOST WOMEN ENJOY A
COLLECTION OF. BUT ONE MUST BE VERY CAREFUL OF
THE KIND OF JEWELRY SHE WEARS. OPALS FOR INSTANCE
ARE ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL STONES EVER USED
BY MAN. FOR THOSE BORN UNDER THE SIGN OF LIBRA
THEY ARE VERY GOOD LUCK. FOR THE PERSON NOT BORN
UNDER LIBRA, THEY ARE JUST THE OPPOSITE--WOE
TO THE PERSON WHO WEARS AN OPAL AND IS NOT
GUARDED BY THE SIGN OF LIBRA.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Metal Stone Bone Precious stone Gem
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Good luck Jewelry (gems, rings, etc.)
BELIEF -- Bad luck Jewelry (gems, rings, etc.)

Date learned: 08-00-1967

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ITALIAN LUCK

FOR GOOD LUCK, A RED RIBBON IS BLESSED WITH HOLY WATER
AND PLACED IN A NEW CAR, OR NEW HOME, ETC. OR SHOULD
BE PINNED ON A NEW BABY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Color
BELIEF -- Good luck Religious (relic, etc.)

Date learned: 12-00-1969

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EVERY TIME THERE WAS A STORM AND A COW DIED, THE
PEOPLE KNEW THAT A CALF WOULD BE BORN WITHIN A MONTH.

Submitter comment: JEAN HEARD THIS FROM HER GRANDMOTHER WHO LIVED ON
A FARM IN QUEBEC. HER GRANDMOTHER FIRMLY BELIEVES
THIS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HARPER WOODS ; CANADA ; QUEBEC

Subject headings: Observation
Favorites
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Use of Object Animals

Date learned: 11-06-1971

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WHEN YOU COME OUT OF CHURCH ON YOUR WEDDING DAY, IF YOU
CAN COUNT THE PIGEONS THAT IS HOW MANY CHILDREN
YOU WILL HAVE.

Where learned: HOME

Subject headings: Observation
Favorites
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs
BELIEF -- Use of object for determining number of children or sex of unborn

Date learned: 11-10-1970

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WHEN A WOMAN IS OPENING GIFTS AT A BABY OR BRIDAL
SHOWER, THE NUMBER OF TIMES SHE BREAKS A RIBBON
INDICATES THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN SHE WILL HAVE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs
BELIEF -- Use of object for determining number of children or sex of unborn

Date learned: 07-00-1969

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NEVER CUT A BABY'S FINGERNAILS BEFORE HE IS ONE YEAR OLD
OR HE WILL BE A THIEF.

Submitter comment: COLLECTOR: FROM MY MOTHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ROYAL OAK

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hands, palms, fingernails
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Use of object for determining future of young

Date learned: 10-28-1970

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IT IS A GOOD SIGN IF THE BABY IS BORN WITH A LIGHT FILM
OF SKIN COVERING ITS FACE. IT MEANS THAT THE BABY WILL
BE INTELLIGENT.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM HER GRANDMOTHER (IRISH).

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

James Callow Keyword(s): CAUL

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Use of object for determining future of young

Date learned: 00-00-1966

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ON TELEVISION I ONCE HEARD THAT DREAMS ARE JUST A PAST
EXPERIENCE. HE SAID THAT YOU HAVE MORE THAN ONE LIFE.
WHEN YOU DIE, YOU ARE BORN AGAIN IN THE BODY OF A
BABY THAT IS BORN THE SAME DAY AND SECOND YOU ARE.
HE PUT ONE WOMAN FROM THE AUDIENCE IN A TRANCE AND SHE
REMEMBERED HER LIFE IN THE 16TH CENTURY. SHE TOLD WHEN
SHE GOT MARRIED, WHEN HER HUSBAND DIED, BUT SHE
COULDN'T REMEMBER HER LAST DAY. SHE ALSO SAID THAT SHE
WAS IN THE 18TH CENTURY AND SHE TOLD ABOUT SOME OF HER
EXPERIENCES. SOMETIMES I WONDER WHAT HAPPENED TO ME
IN MY PAST LIVES, IF THERE WERE ANY, BECAUSE IN MOST
OF MY DREAMS I GET KILLED BY SOMEBODY OR SOMETHING.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; SAINT HYACINTH SCHOOL

James Callow Keyword(s): REINCARNATION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Dreams Reincarnation

Date learned: 02-29-1972

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GOOD LUCK

IN CHINA THE HUSBAND GIVES A JADE RING RATHER THAN A DIAMOND RING.
IT'S SUPPOSED TO GIVE GOOD LUCK.ANOTHER GIFT GIVEN
IS THE HAPPINESS BUDHA
(ITS HANDS ARE UP). IF THE COUPLE RUBS HIS TUMMY, THEY'RE
SUPPOSED TO HAVE A LOT OF KIDS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ROSEVILLE

James Callow Keyword(s): STATUE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.1

Date learned: 11-00-1974

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SUPERSTITION

THE IRISH HAVE A BELIEF THAT 2 SILVER DOLLARS SHOULD
BE PRESENTED TO A NEW INFANT, TO ASSURE MONETARY COMFORT
IN LIFE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): GIFT-GIVING

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration
686 Seconds / Twice / Two
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 11-11-1974

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