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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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THE BUBBLES ON THE SURFACE OF A CUP OF TEA FORETELL
HOW MUCH MONEY ONE WILL RECEIVE IN A BUSINESS
TRANSACTION.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
Food Drink -- Brew of leaf, bark, root
BELIEF -- Work Commerce Business
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 10-00-1967

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(AS THE) BRIDE LEAVES HER HOME TO BE MARRIED IN
CHURCH, A BROOM IS PLACED IN FRONT OF HER AT THE
DOORWAY. IF SHE PICKS THE BROOM UP, SHE WILL BE
A GOOD HOUSEKEEPER, IF NOT, SHE WILL BE A POOR
HOUSEWIFE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IF THERE IS A STRING ON YOU, YOU'RE GOING TO RECEIVE
A LETTER OR A PACKAGE.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 03-24-1970

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BRIDAL SHOWER GIFTS

AT A BRIDAL SHOWER YOU NEVER BRING KNIVES FOR A GIFT BECAUSE
SHE AND HER FUTURE HUSBAND WILL QUARREL ALL THE TIME.

Submitter comment: THIS WILL CAUSE THE COUPLE TO HAVE BAD LUCK IN THE FUTURE.
THIS ITEM WAS LEARNED DURING HER ADOLESCENT STAGE IN HER HOME TOWN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): GIFT-FIVING

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Use of Object
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.18

Date learned: 00001930S

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DETERMINING THE SEX OF AN UNBORN CHILD

IF YOU ARE BIG FROM THE FRONT IT IS A GIRL; IF YOU ARE BIG FROM
THE BACK IT IS A BOY.

Submitter comment: LEARNED DURING PREGNANCY OF INFORMANT'S FIRST CHILD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 10-16-1974

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FUTURE OF CHILD

WHEN A CHILD IS ONE YEAR OLD, PLACE HIM ON THE FLOOR WITH THREE
THINGS SET IN FRONT OF HIM; THE BIBLE, A BOTTLE OF WHISKEY, AND A
DOLLAR BILL. WHICHEVER ITEM HE PICKS WILL PREDICT YOUR BABYS FUTURE.

Submitter comment: AN INTERESTING THING WOULD BE TO SEE HOW THESE PREDICTIONS TURN OUT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 02-00-1974

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FEAST OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST

ON THE FEAST OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST GIRLS MADE WREATHS
FROM FLOWERS NEAR THE WATER. THEY PLACED CANDLES ON THEIR
WREATHS
AND SAW WHICH ONE WOULD FLOAT THE LONGEST. THAT GIRL WOULD BE
MARRIED FIRST WHOSE WREATH STAYED UP THE LONGEST.

Submitter comment: THIS WAS DONE IN POLAND.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; POLAND ; Sterling Heights ; GOWARCZOW

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- June 24 St. John's Day / Midsummer Day
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 11-00-1973

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BUTTER CUP

PLACE A BUTTER CUP (FLOWER) UNDER A PERSONS CHIN AND IF YOU CAN SEE
A YELLOW REFLECTION ON HIS CHIN. IT MEANS HE LIKES BUTTER.

Where learned: DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): VARIANT PLANT: DANDELION

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Plant food N244.44
BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 11-19-1972

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EVIL SPIRITS

ITALIANS DROP OIL AND VINEGAR IN WATER AND IF THE DROPS GROUP
TOGETHER. IT SYMBOLIZES THE COMING OF EVIL SPIRITS. IF THEY STAY
APART IT SYMBOLIZES A YEAR FREE OF EVIL SPIRITS

Where learned: DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Measure of time Year
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 11-03-1972

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THE DEVIL BEATS HIS WIFE

IF ONE STICKS A PIN IN THE GROUND AND THEN PUTS HIS EAR TO THE
GROUND AND IT IS RAINING WHILE THE SUN SHINES. YOU CAN HEAR
THE DEVIL BEATING HIS WIFE. THIS IS BECAUSE THE EARTH IS CRYING.

Submitter comment: I USED TO DO THIS AS A CHILD.

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game, Pastime, Sport
BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Sun
BELIEF -- Cloud Fog Mist Rain Hail Ice Snow Frost Dew
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 00001960S

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BUBBLES IN COFFEE

IF THE BUBBLES IN A FRESHLY POURED CUP OF COFFEE CAN BE LIFTED OUT
OF THE CUP BY A SPOON BEFORE THEY DISAPPEAR, THEN THAT PERSON WILL
COME INTO MONEY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

James Callow Keyword(s): DRINK

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Non-alcoholic fruit beverage Coffee
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 10-30-1972

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WHO WILL BE THE NEXT VISITOR?

A METHOD OF PREDICTING WHO THE NEXT VISITOR WILL BE. IF A PERSON
DROPS A FORK, HE CAN EXPECT A MAN VISITOR. IF HE DROPS A KNIFE,
HE CAN EXPECT A WOMAN VISITOR. IF HE DROPS A SPOON, HE CAN EXPECT
A CHILD VISITOR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 09-25-1972

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COUNTING-OUT RIME {PROBABLY AN INACCURATE TITLE}

RICH MAN, POOR MAN, BEGGAR MAN, THIEF. DOCTOR, LAWYER, MERCHANT,
CHIEF.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS WHEN SHE WAS A LITTLE GIRL. YOU SAY ONE NAME
FOR EACH BUTTON ON A SHIRT, SWEATER, ETC., AND WHERE YOU STOP, THAT
IS THE PERSON YOU WILL MARRY. SHE DOES NOT HOLD IT TO BE TRUE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Verse Game Verse
BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 09-20-1972

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DETERMINING SEX

WHEN A WOMAN IS PREGNANT YOU HAVE HER SIT ON THE FLOOR AND WHATEVER
HAND SHE LEANS ON WILL DETERMINE THE SEX OF THE CHILD. RIGHT HAND IS
A BOY AND LEFT HAND IS A GIRL.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM HER MOTHER AND INFORMANT DOES NOT HOLD
IT TO BE TRUE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

James Callow Keyword(s): RIGHT-HANDEDNESS SEXISM

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 09-25-1972

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IT IS A CUSTOM AT A WEDDING RECEPTION FOR THE GROOM TO REMOVE A
BLUE GARTER FROM THE BRIDES' LEG AND THROW IT OVER HIS RIGHT
SHOULDER TO THE BACHELORS. THE LUCKY ONE WHO CATCHES IT WILL BE
THE NEXT ONE TO GET MARRIED.

Where learned: DETROIT ; TOLD IN

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Garter toss
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 09-06-1972

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CHRISTMAS EVE CUSTOM

PUTTING A PILE OF STRAW IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TABLE, THEN THE MAIN
COURSES OF FOOD (IN LARGE BOWLS) ARE PLACED ON THE STRAW. IF THE
STRAW STICKS TO THE BOWL, THEN THAT PARTICULAR FOOD WILL BE
PLENTIFUL THE COMING YEAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve F122.2
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Christmas
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Measure of time Year
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 10-07-1972

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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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DANDELION

IF YOU SEE A YELLOW SHADOW WHEN YOU PUT A DANDELION UNDER YOUR
CHIN, IT MEANS YOU LIKE BUTTER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 12-04-1972

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LEAD LEAVES

ON NEW YEAR'S EVE GERMANS MELT LEAD. YOU THROW IT INTO
COLD WATER. THEY WILL TELL YOUR FORTUNE FOR THE COMING
YEAR BY THE WAY THE LEAD BREAKS UP INTO PIECES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F123
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 11-04-1972

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BELIEF WEDDING CAKE

PUT A PIECE OF WEDDING CAKE UNDER YOUR PILLOW AND THE ONE YOU DREAM
ABOUT YOU WILL MARRY.

Where learned: DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Dreams Dreams about friends and lovers
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 06-00-1972

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