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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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COUNT 100 RED CONVERTIBLES (CAR), A LADY IN A PURPLE
DRESS, A MAN IN A GREEN TIE, AND THE FIRST BOY YOU KISS
AFTER THAT YOU WILL MARRY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs
BELIEF -- Number P686.3.100
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 12-04-1967

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IF YOU COUNT FUNERAL CARS, SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY WILL DIE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FERNDALE

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs

Date learned: 09-26-1965

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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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IF THE NUMBER OF CARS IN A FUNERAL PROCESSION ARE
COUNTED, THE PEOPLE IN THE LAST CAR WILL BE NEXT
TO DIE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; GRADE SCHOOL ; SAINT STEPHEN

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Number Last events: the last person to the table...
BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs

Date learned: 11-19-1969

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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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WHEN A PERSON SNEEZES, THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS:
ONE, A WISH
TWO, A KISS
THREE, A LETTER
FOUR, SOMETHING BETTER.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM HER FAMILY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Marine City

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
686 Seconds / Twice / Two
686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
686 Fourths / Quarters
Observation
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs

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FUNERAL PROCESSION CARS

NEVER COUNT CARS IN A FUNERAL PROCESSION BECAUSE THAT IS HOW MANY
YEARS YOU WILL LIVE.

Submitter comment: THIS COULD HAVE BEEN SAID TO KEEP CHILDREN FROM STARING AT
FUNERAL PROCESSIONS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs

Date learned: 02-00-1974

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WEREWOLVES

IN ENGLAND PEOPLE USED TO PUT BROOMS OUTSIDE THEIR DOORS TO WARD
OFF WEREWOLVES. THE WEREWOLVES COULD NOT RESIST THE TEMPTATION
TO COUNT EACH BRISTLE OF THE BROOMS, AND THIS TASK KEPT THEM
BUSY UNTIL THE FULL MOON DISAPPEARED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Werewolf Vampire
BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs
BELIEF -- Sign or prediction through Observation of galactic or celestial bodies

Date learned: 09-00-1973

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BIRTHDAY CANDLES

ON YOUR BIRTHDAY CAKE, THE NUMBER OF
CANDLES YOU CAN'T BLOW OUT IS THE NUMBER OF
BOYFRIENDS YOU WILL HAVE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Private birthday or anniversary
BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs

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WARTS

WHEN A PERSON HAS WARTS COUNT THE NUMBER OFWARTS AND GO TO THE
DRAIN-SPOUT WHERE THE RAIN WATER RUNS OUT AND PICK UP THESAME
NUMBER OF SMALL PEBBLES. PUT THE PEBBLES INA PRETTY
HANDKERCHIEF AND TIE THEM IN A KNOT INSIDE IT. TAKE THE
HANDKERCHIEF WITH THE PEBBLES INSIDE IT TO A FORK IN THE ROAD
DROP IT, THE FIRST PERSON TO PICK IT UP WILL GET YOUR WARTS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN

James Callow Keyword(s): TRANSFER

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs
BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: 10-05-1972

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BABY'S COLD

2 DROPS OF MELTED BUTTER TO AS MANY MONTHS OLD AS THE BABY IS.

Where learned: OHIO ; LUCAS COUNTY

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs
BELIEF -- Animal
BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: 10-03-1972

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IF YOU COUNT THE TEETH OF A COMB, THEY WILL ALL FALL OUT.
MARYLOU'S INFORMANT WAS LUCY COTTON 30, DIVORCED BLACK-AMERICAN
ORIGINALLY FROM SOUTH CAROLINA, A CO-WORKER AT HENRY FORD HOSPITAL

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs

Date learned: 11-08-1972

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IF A SPIRIT IS RIDING YOU TAKE A BROOM INTO THE ROOM WHERE YOU
SLEEP. INSTEAD OF BOTHERING YOU THE GHOST WILL COUNT THE STRAWS OF
THE BROOM.

Where learned: DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs

Date learned: 10-09-1972

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LUCK BELIEF

A CHILD BORN WITH A 'CZEPAK' (FILM ON HEAD) WILL ALWAYS BE LUCKY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): CAUL AMNION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Head, physiognomy, face
BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.2

Date learned: 02-07-1971

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REMEDY

COUNT THE NUMBER OF WARTS OR MOLES,
CONCENTRATE ON THE NUMBER,
AND THEY WILL SOON DISAPPEAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): MEASURING ; POWER OF NUMBERS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs
BELIEF -- Remedy

Date learned: 03-10-1970

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VISITING A CHURCH (COLLECTOR'S TITLE)

ON YOUR FIRST VISIT TO A CHURCH, COUNT THE STEPS
AND MAKE A WISH ON THE LAST ONE.

Where learned: HOME ; DETROIT ; TOLD AT

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church
BELIEF -- Prayer
BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs

Date learned: 01-00-1970

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FUNERALS (COLLECTOR'S TITLE)

IF A PERSON COUNTS THE NUMBER OF CARS IN A FUNERAL PROCESSION
SOMEONE CLOSE TO HIM WILL DIE SOON.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs

Date learned: 09-29-1969

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COUNTING CARS OF A PASSING TPAIN (COLLECTOR'S TITLE)

NEVER COUNT THE CARS OF A PASSING TRAIN
THIS WILL BRING YOU BAD LUCK IN ALL YOU ATTEMPT DURING THAT DAY.

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN ; LIVONIA ; ; TOLD AT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 04-03-1970

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SUPERSTITION

IF YOU COUNT STARS, ONE WILL FALL ON YOU.

Submitter comment: THIS IS NOT STRONGLY BELIEVED BUT PRACTICED ON A "IT COULDN'T
HURT" BASIS. PERHAPS THIS SUPERSTITION CAME ABOUT BECAUSE OF
THE MYSTERY OF THE HEAVENS. ALSO MAYBE SOMEONE WAS ONCE
COUNTING STARS AND SAW A FALLING STAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Star
BELIEF -- Celestial body come to earth
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Angular forms
BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs

Date learned: 10-10-1977

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FUNERALS

COUNTING THE NUMBER OF CARS IN A FUNERAL PROCESSION,
IT IS ASSURED THAT THER WILL SOON BE A DEATH IN YOUR OWN FAMILY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; LIVONIA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs

Date learned: CA02001980

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