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THE CUSTOM OF TATTOOING

SAILORS ADOPTED THIS PRIMITIVE PRACTICE OF MARKING THE SKIN IN
A DESIRE TO ASSURE IDENTITY IN CASE OF DEATH BY SHIPWRECK OR
DROWNING. IT SEEMS TO HAVE ORIGINATED AMONG THE NATIVES OF THE
SOUTH PACIFIC AND SPREAD AS FAR NORTH AS JAPAN, WHERE IT WAS
BROUGHT TO HIGH, ARTISTIC DEVELOPMENT UNTIL PROHIBITED BY LAW.
ROMAN CATHOLIC SAILORS WERE THE FIRST TO ADOPT IT, HAVING A
CRUCIFIX TATTOOED ON THEIR BODIES SO THAT IN CASE OF SERIOUS
INJURY OR ILLNESS THEY MIGHT RECEIVE THE LAST RITES OF THEIR
CHURCH AND BURIAL IN CONSECRATED GROUND.
"AND MANY SAILORS, NOT CATHOLICS, WERE ANXIOUS TO HAVE THE
CRUCIFIX PAINTED ON THEM, OWING TO A CURIOUS SUPERSTITION OF
THEIRS. THEY AFFIRM--SOME OF THEM--THAT IF YOU HAVE THAT MARK
TATTOOED ON ALL FOUR LIMBS, YOU MIGHT FALL OVERBOAD AMONG SEVEN
HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE THOUSAND WHITE SHARKS, ALL DINNERLESS,
AND NOT ONE OF THEM WOULD SO MUCH AS DARE TO SMELL AT YOUR
LITTLE FINGER."

Submitter comment: THIS QUOTE IS TAKEN FROM MELVILLE'S "COMPLETE WORKS" (LONDON,
1922). IT IS TAKEN FROM THE "WHITE JACKET" STORY. CAPTAIN
LUMAS HIMSELF HAD A TATTOO ON HIS CHEST AND CLAIMS THAT HE
ALSO HAD ONE ON EACH OF HIS FOUR LIMBS BUT HIS WIFE MADE HIM
REMOVE THEM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; MACKINAW ISLAND

Subject headings: 686 Fourths / Quarters
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F535
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Human or animal body Tattoo
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications

Date learned: 09-00-1963

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ITALIAN AND FRENCH SUPERSTITION

NEVER CROSS YOUR FORK AND KNIFE AFTER A MEAL OR TERRIBLE
FORTUNE WILL COME YOUR WAY.

Submitter comment: LEARNED WHILE TRAVELLING IN EUROPE 1959-1961.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Measure of time Eating For menu, see N222.
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 12-24-1963

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WEDDING CUSTOM

THE IRISH BELIEVE THAT BEFORE ANY MARRIAGE TAKES PLACE
THE COUPLE SHOULD EACH TAKE A GOLD PIECE, AND
AN EGG AND A CROSS IN ONE HAND OF EACH, TO ASSURE
GOOD FORTUNE, FERTILITY AND THE BLESSING OF GOD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): COIN ; SYMBOLS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications

Date learned: 11-11-1974

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SIGN OF CROSS

NEVER GO BACK IF YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN SOMETHING UNLESS YOU MAKE THE
SIGN OF THE CROSS WITH YOUR FOOT.

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; New Orleans

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: CA11001973

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WISHING

WHEN YOU SEE A MAIL TRUCK, CROSS YOUR FINGERS AND MAKE A WISH. KEEP
THEM CROSSED UNTIL YOU SEE A DOG. THEN UNCROSS THEM AND YOUR WISH
WILL COME TRUE.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT WAS LIVING IN CALIFORNIA AT THIS TIME

Where learned: CALIFORNIA ; MICHIGAN ; Sterling Heights

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Prayer
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 11-15-1973

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MOROCCAN WEDDINGS

IN MOROCCO, AFRICA WATER AND MILK ARE SPRINKLED OVER YOUNG BRIDES
DURING THE MARRIAGE CEREMONY. THIS IS TO PURIFY THE GIRLS OF ANY
EVIL DEMONS THAT MAY BE AROUND. IN OTHER CEREMONIES THEY CROSS
SWORDS OVER THE NEWLYWED'S HEADS TO SCARE AWAY BAD SPIRITS.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT ACTUALLY PARTICIPATED IN SUCH A CEREMONY.

Where learned: MARYLAND ; BALTIMORE ; TOLD IN

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Ceremony
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications

Date learned: 00001971 WINTER

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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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MALIGNANT WIND

IN AUSTRIA-HUNGARY, IN MY PARENTS HOME VILLAGE, THERE WAS A CROSS-
ROADS WITH A SIGNPOST THAT GAVE DIRECTIONS TO LARGE NEIGHBORING
TOWNS. PEOPLE WOULD NEVER GO THERE AROUND SUNSET OR DURING THE
NIGHT BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY DESCRIBED AS A TERRIFIC WIND THAT WOULD
BUFFET YOU, TEAR YOUR CLOTHES, KNOCK YOU DOWN, GIVE YOU BRUISES,
ETC. ONE EVENING THE VILLAGE PRIEST WAS RETURNING FROM VISITING
A SICK PERSON OUT IN THE FOREST AND APPROACHED THE CROSSROADS JUST
AFTER SUNSET. WHEN HE REACHED THEM, A HUGE WIND THREW HIM DOWN,
AND PHYSICALLY INJURED HIM. THE PRIEST ONLY SURVIVED BY CRAWLING
TO THE SIGNPOST AND HANGING ON. THE PEOPLE FOUND HIM BADLY INJURED
THE NEXT MORNING, STILL CLINGING TO THE POST. AFTER HE RECOVERED
HE WENT TO THE CROSSROADS NEAR SUNSET WITH SOME OF THE VILLAGERS.
THEY HAD A LARGE WOODEN CRUCIFIX THAT THEY SET UP NEXT TO THE SIGN-
POST. THE PRIEST WAS BLESSING THE CRUCIFIX AND THE ROADWAYS WHEN
THE STRONG WIND CAME UP AND TRIED TO TEAR THE CRUCIFIX DOWN AND
HURT THE PEOPLE. BUT AS IT STARTED SHAKING THE CRUCIFIX IT SUDDENLY
DIED OUT. NO ONE WAS EVER BOTHERED AGAIN.

Where learned: OHIO ; HUNGARY ; AUSTRIA ; CLEVELAND

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Wind Whirlwind Hurricane Cyclone Tornado
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications

Date learned: 09-10-1972

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IF YOU KEEP A BLESSED CRUCIFIX ABOVE EACH DOORWAY THAT IS AN OUTSIDE
ENTRANCE TO YOUR HOME, EVIL WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO ENTER.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAYS SHE STILL KEEPS A BLESSED CRUCIFIX OVER HER OUTSIDE
DOORS.

Where learned: OHIO ; CLEVELAND

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications

Date learned: 09-10-1972

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MY MOTHER AND FATHER WERE WALKING WITH MY BROTHER WHEN HE WAS A BABY.
IT WAS ABOUT SUNSET AND NEXT TO A CEMETERY, SUDDENLY MY FATHER
NOTICED THAT SOMEONE ALL IN BLACK WAS FOLLOWING THEM. MY FATHER
TOLD MY MOTHER NOT TO TURN AROUND BUT TO KEEP WALKING. BUT MY
MOTHER WAS CURIOUS AND KEPT TRYING TO SEE OUT OF THE CORNER OF HER
EYE. WHATEVER IT WAS, IT KEPT COMING CLOSER AND CLOSER AND THEY
COULD FEEL A PRESENCE OF EVIL. MY MOTHER HANDED MY BROTHER TO MY
FATHER JUST AS THEY WERE BEING OVERTAKEN. SHE OPENED HER PURSE AND
GRABBED A CRUCIFIX THAT SHE ALWAYS CARRIED AS SHE WAS VERY
SUPERSTITIOUS.
SHE TURNED AROUND WITH THE CRUCIFIX IN HER HAND AND CON-
FRONTED THE FIGURE IN BLACK AS IT WAS JUST A FEW FEET FROM THEM.
AS SOON AS SHE DID SO THE FIGURE DISAPPEARED INTO THIN AIR. MY
MOTHER BELIEVED THAT IT WAS THE DEVIL THAT WAS FOLLOWING THEM.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAYS THIS HAPPENED TO HER MOTHER IN CLEVELAND IN 1906

Where learned: OHIO ; CLEVELAND

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications

Date learned: 09-10-1972

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CROSSING YOURSELF

ALWAYS CROSS YOURSELF WHEN YOU HEAR AN AMBULANCE SIREN.

Submitter comment:

THIS WAS TOLD TO ME BY CATHOLIC NUNS IN GRADE SCHOOL.
IT WAS DONE IN RESPECT FOR THE DEAD AND INJURED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
SPEECH -- Gesture

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CUSTOM

SIGN OF THE CROSS AFTER COMING ACROSS AN ACCIDENT OR
FUNERAL PROCESSION.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ROSEVILLE

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 11-30-1972

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MEDICINE

WHEN I WAS YOUNGER I REMEMBER HELPING MY MOTHER WITH MY BABY BROTHER.
ONE DAY HE HAD THE HICCUPS. MY MOTHER TOOK TWO STRAWS OUT OF THE
BROOM AND PLACED THEM IN MY BROTHER'S HEAD IN THE SIGN OF A CROSS.
MY MOTHER SAID THAT SHE REMEMBERED HER MOTHER DID THE SAME THING.
I DO NOT REMEMBER THAT IT CURED MY BROTHER'S HICCUPS, BUT I DO
REMEMBER HOW FUNNY HE LOOKED WITH THE STRAWS IN HIS HEAD.

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
BELIEF -- Method of Curing

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EVIL EYE

ONE CURE FOR THE EVIL EYE IS TO DROP SOME OIL WATER IN THE PRESENCE
OF THE VICTIM . IF AFTER IT SPREADS THE OIL TAKES ON THE SHAPE OF AN
EYE , THERE IS NO DOUBT THE VICTIM HAS FALLEN TO THE EVIL EYE. THE
PERSON GIVING THE CURE CAN THEN MAKE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS THREE
TIMES ON THE VICTIM'S FOREHEAD, RESULTING IN A RAPID RECOVERY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FARMINGTON ; TOLD IN

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
BELIEF -- Curse
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
BELIEF -- Use of Object
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 09-24-1972

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CURER

THERE USED TO BE SIGNS ALONG GRAND RIVER THAT READ "READINGS".
PEOPLE WOULD CALL THESE PLACES TO HAVE ONE OF THE CURERS COME
OVER AND HEAL ONE OF THEIR SICK. THEY WOULD COME OVER WITH A
BIBLE, OPEN IT TO A CERTAIN PASSAGE AND PRAY OVER THE SICK
PERSON. THEN THEY WOULD PLACE A HANDKERCHIEF ON THE PLACE OF
PAIN. AFTER A WHILE THEY WOULD REMOVE IT AND BURN IT IN THE
FIRE. PEOPLE BELIEVED THIS TRANSFERRED THE PAIN TO THE FIRE.
THE SICK PERSON WAS USUALLY WELL AFTER THIS. THESE CURERS
ALSO MADE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS IN FOUR DIFFERENT WAYS AS PART
OF THEIR RITUAL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; LINCOLN PARK

James Callow Keyword(s): TRANSFER

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
BELIEF -- Curer
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 10-03-1972

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SAINT PATRICK'S DAY

THE FOUR LEAF CLOVER IS THE TRADITIONAL GOOD LUCK CHARM.
WEARING ONE ON ST. PAT'S DAY BRINGS DOUBLE LUCK.

Where learned: HOME ; RELATIVES HOME

James Callow Keyword(s): SYMBOL

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- February 17
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.11
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.4

Date learned: CA1960-1975

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FAIRY BELIEF

IN IRELAND,
THE FAIRIES WERE BAD TOO. THEY WOULD COME BY THE NIGHT AND MILK THE
COWS AND HAVE A PICNIC AND WHEN YOU CHURNED THE MILK YOU WOULD HAVE
NO BUTTER. THE ONLY WAY YOU COULD SHOOT THEM WAS TO PUT A SILVER
COIN IN THE GUN, ALONG WITH THE AMMUNITION. AT TWELVE MIDNIGHT,
THEY COULD TAKE YOU FOR A VERY LONG WALK AND KEEP YOU WALKING UNTIL
THE COCKS WOULD CROW AT 4 A.M. BUT YOU COULD FOOL THEM IF YOU
TURNED YOUR COAT INSIDE OUT AND BLESSED YOURSELF WITH THE SIGN OF
THE CROSS.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; ROCHESTER

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Fairy Elf Goblin Gnome
BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 03-11-1972

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STAR BELIEF

A FALLING STAR MEANS THAT SOMEONE IS SELLING HIS SOUL TO THE DEVIL.
IF YOU WISH TO SAVE HIS SOUL, MAKE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS.

Where learned: WARREN

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Star
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications

Date learned: 02-15-1970

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STAR BELIEF

A FALLING STAR MEANS THAT SOMEONE IS SELLING HIS SOUL TO THE
THE DEVIL. IF YOU WISH TO SAVE THE SOUL, MAKE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS.

Where learned: WARREN

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Star
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 02-15-1970

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