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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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THE MYSTERIOUS (NO APPARENT REASON FOR) FALLING
OF A PICTURE MEANS THAT A DEATH OF A FRIEND OR
RELATIVE WILL OCCUR SOON OR HAS ALREADY OCCURED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN HEIGHTS

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Use of Object Domestic object, wax, needle, dishware

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IF YOU ARE SWEPT ACROSS THE FEET BY A BROOM, THAT'S
A SIGN THAT YOU WILL GO TO JAIL UNLESS YOU SPIT
ON THE BROOM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Use of Object Domestic object, wax, needle, dishware
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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WHEN SWEEPING THE HOUSE, DON'T LET THE BROOM SWEEP
OVER YOUR HOUSE (FEET?), OR YOU WILL NEVER GET
MARRIED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Use of Object Domestic object, wax, needle, dishware

Date learned: 03-31-1968

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PREDICTION

DROPPING SILVERWARE WHILE AT THE DINNER TABLE PREDICTS THAT
COMPANY WILL VISIT AND THE TYPE OF COMPANY. IF A FORK DROPS, A
WOMAN WILL VISIT. A YOUNG PERSON OR CHILD WILL VISIT IF A SPOON
DROPS. A DROPPED KNIFE DENOTES A MAN WHILE A DROPPED TABLESPOON
INDICATES A WHOLE FAMILY OF VISITORS.

Submitter comment: THOUGH I DON'T THINK THIS IS BELIEVED, IT IS REFERRED TO AT LEAST
ONCE A WEEK.

Where learned: DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Use of Object Domestic object, wax, needle, dishware

Date learned: 01-13-1980

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PENCIL TEST

THIS TEST IS TO DETERMINE HOW MANY CHILDREN A WOMAN WILL
BEAR, AND WHAT SEX THEY WILL BE. HOLD A PENCIL WITH A NEEDLE IN
THE ERASER, SUSPENDED BY A THREAD, OVER HER LEFT ARM. THE
ARM IS HELD WITH THE PALM UP, THE HAND IN A FIST. THE PENCIL
WILL CIRCLE OVER THE WOMAN'S ARM BETWEEN CHILDREN, SWING VER-
TICALLY TO INDICATE A GIRL, AND HORIZONTALLY TO INDICATE A BOY.
A DIAGONAL SWING INDICATES TWINS. A STRONG SWING INDICATES A
HEALTHY CHILD WITH A STRONG PERSONALITY.

Submitter comment: THIS TEST HAS BEEN USED ON ALL THE WOMEN ON MY FATHER'S SIDE
OF THE FAMILY AND HAS WORKED WITH 90 PERCENT ACCURACY. CK[ IRONY

Where learned: IOWA ; ESTHERVILLE

Keyword(s): PREDICTION

James Callow Keyword(s): IRONY

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Use of Object Domestic object, wax, needle, dishware
BELIEF -- Use of object for determining number of children or sex of unborn

Date learned: 07-00-1983 ; 00001900CA

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WHEN SETTING THE TABLE: DROP A KNIFE, A FEMALE
WILL DIE IN THE FAMILY.
DROP A FORK: A MALE WILL DIE IN THE FAMILY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GRAND RAPIDS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of Object Domestic object, wax, needle, dishware

Date learned: 03-27-1972

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IF YOU DROP A SPOON, A WOMAN VISITOR IS COMING, AND
IF YOU DROP A FORK A MAN VISITOR IS COMING.

Submitter comment: THIS WAS PASSED DOWN AND BELIEVED BY PARENTS AND
GRANDPARENTS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of Object Domestic object, wax, needle, dishware

Date learned: 09-22-1970

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ANY GOD TIPPED STICK CAN DETECT WATER, BECAUSE THE
GOLD WILL SEEK A BED TO LIE IN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GARDEN CITY

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of Object Domestic object, wax, needle, dishware

Date learned: 11-03-1971

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WHILE EATING DINNER AT YOUR KITCHEN TABLE, IF YOU DROP
A TEASPOON YOU WILL HAVE A YOUNG VISITOR. IF YOU DROP
A KNIFE YOU WILL HAVE AN ADULT MALE VISITOR. IF YOU
DROP A FORK, YOU WILL HAVE AN ADULT FEMALE VISITOR.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; GLENVIEW

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of Object Domestic object, wax, needle, dishware

Date learned: 11-29-1970

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IF YOU DROP A FORK, A LADY WILL COME.
IF YOU DROP A KNIFE, A MAN WILL COME.
IF YOU DROP A SPOON, A CHILD WILL COME.

Submitter comment: LEARNED AT HOME.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): COMPANY VISITING

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Use of Object Domestic object, wax, needle, dishware

Date learned: 02-14-1967

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WHEN A KNIFE DROPS, A MAN IS GOING TO COME FROM THE
DIRECTION IT POINTS.

Submitter comment: THIS IS SOMETHING HER MOTHER TOLD HER.

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Use of Object Domestic object, wax, needle, dishware

Date learned: 09-24-1969

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TELLING THE FUTURE FROM WAX

ANOTHER UKRAINIAN CUSTOM WHICH EXISTS CONCERNS
MELTING WAX OVER COLD WATER. WHEN THE WAX HITS
THE WATER IT SOLIDIFIES. FROM THIS SOLIDIFICATION,
CERTAIN UKRAINIAN MYSTICS COULD TELL THE FUGURE
BY THE VARIOUS SHAPES THE WAX HAD TAKEN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of Object Domestic object, wax, needle, dishware

Date learned: 09-21-1969

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IN UKRAINE, IT IS BELIEVED THAT IF YOU CAN'T FIND
SOMETHING, YOU SHOULD TURN A GLASS OVER AND THE
OBJECT WILL BE FOUND IMMEDIATELY.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT RECEIVED INFORMATION PASSED DOWN FROM
GRANDPARENTS IN UKRAINE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of Object Domestic object, wax, needle, dishware

Date learned: 10-01-1967

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IF YOU PLACE A BROOM IN THE DOORWAY, THE FIRST ONE
TO PICK IT UP IS YOUR ENEMY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Use of Object Domestic object, wax, needle, dishware

Date learned: 02-00-1968

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IF YOU DROP A KNIFE, A MAN WILL VISIT SOON. A
SPOON DROPPED, MEANS A CHILD WILL VISIT. A FORK
DROPPED IS A SIGN THAT A WOMAN WILL DROP IN.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER FRENCH GRANDMOTHER EARLY IN HER
LIFE (AROUND 1910.)

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Use of Object Domestic object, wax, needle, dishware

Date learned: 00001949 CA.

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THE INFORMANT BELIEVES THAT DROPPED SILVERWARE FORE-
TELLS THE COMING OF PERSONS TO VISIT. THE SILVER
PIECE WILL POINT TO THE DIRECTION FROM WHICH THE VISITOR
WILL COME. EACH PIECE OF SILVER SIGNIFIES A DIFFERENT
THING. A FORK MEANS A MAN WILL COME SHORTLY. A
SPOON OF SOUP SIZE FORETELLS A WOMAN VISITOR. TEA-
SPOONS STAND FOR CHILDREN AND A KNIFE MEANS AN ENTIRE
FAMILY WILL VISIT SOON.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Use of Object Domestic object, wax, needle, dishware

Date learned: 03-15-1967

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VOODOO

IT IS BELIEVED IN MANY OF THE AFRICAN TRIBES THAT
THE WITCH DOCTOR, AND OFTENTIMES OTHER MEMBERS OF
THE TRIBE, HAVE THE POWER FROM THE EVIL ONE TO
INFLICT PAIN, OR EVEN DEATH, ON THEIR ENEMIES. THIS
IS DONE BY POKING PINS THROUGH A DOLL, WHICH REPRE-
SENTS THE ENEMY. SOON AFTERWARDS, THE ENEMY BEGINS
TO HAVE PAIN, OR IS INJURED, IN THE SAME SPOTS
WHERE THE PINS HAD BEEN DRIVEN THROUGH THE DOLL.
AN ENEMY, WHO DOES NOT HIMSELF BELIEVE IN VOODOO,
HAS A FAR BETTER CHANCE OF ESCAPING DEATH THROUGH
THIS CURSE THAN ONE WHO DOES.

Submitter comment: I DO NOT KNOW FROM WHOM I OBTAINED THIS INFORMATION,
BUT I DO KNOW THAT THIS CULT IS STILL PRACTICED
TODAY, SINCE I HAVE READ ARTICLES ON THE SUBJECT.
WHETHER THE VOODOO POWERS ARE REAL OR NOT, I REALLY
CANNOT SAY; BUT I DO KNOW THAT I HAVE HEARD MANY
ACCOUNTS OF THESE POWERS FROM PEOPLE WHO, IN TURN,
HAVE HEARD THEM FROM OTHER PEOPLE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; LATHRUP VILLAGE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness
BELIEF -- Use of Object Domestic object, wax, needle, dishware

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IF YOU DROP A DISHCLOTH, YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A
VISITOR.

Submitter comment: FR. MALONY LEARNED THIS FROM HIS MOTHER AT HOME,
WHO IS OF IRISH DESCENT.

Where learned: DETROIT ; RECTORY ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; HOLY NAME

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Use of Object Domestic object, wax, needle, dishware

Date learned: 02-19-1967

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