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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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FOR EVERY RIBBON YOU BREAK IN UNWRAPPING SHOWER GIFTS,
IT MEANS A BABY YOU WILL HAVE.

Where learned: ROYAL OAK ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of object for determining number of children or sex of unborn P863.3

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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TO PREDICT HOW MANY CHILDREN ONE WILL HAVE, TAKE A
NEEDLE AND THREAD, PLACE THE NEEDLE IN THE ERASER
END OF A PENCIL, THEN HOLD THE POINT OF THE PENCIL
JUST ABOVE THE VICTIM'S WRIST, LETTING IT SWING
FREELY. AT FIRST IT WILL CIRCLE, THEN ONE OF THE
FOLLOWING WILL OCCUR:
1. IF IT SWINGS NORTH TO SOUTH, IT SIGNIFIES A BOY
CHILD.
2. IF IT SWINGS EAST TO WEST, IT SIGNIFIES A GIRL.
3. IF IT COMES TO A COMPLETE STANDSTILL, IT MEANS
THE END OR NO CHILDREN.
BETWEEN THE PREDICTIONS (BOY OR GIRL) THE NEEDLE WILL
CIRCLE, AND WHEN THE PREDICTIONS HAVE STOPPED, IT
WILL STOP CIRCLING.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT BELIEVED IN THIS METHOD BECAUSE SHE HAD
DONE IT ON MARRIED WOMEN AND IT TOLD HOW MANY
CHILDREN (BOYS AND GIRLS) THAT THEY DID GIVE
BIRTH TO.

Where learned: OHIO ; CLEVELAND

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of object for determining number of children or sex of unborn P863.3

Date learned: 09-00-1971

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MY MOTHER ONCE TOLD ME OF THIS METHOD OF PREDICTING
THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN, BOYS AND GIRLS, WE WERE TO
HAVE ONCE MARRIED. WE'D HOLD A NEEDLE DANGLING
FROM THREAD ABOVE OUR LEFT WRIST. IF THE NEEDLE
MOVED BACK AND FORTH HORIZONTALLY, IT WAS A BOY;
IF IT MOVED IN A CIRCULAR PATH, WE'D HAVE A GIRL. THE
NEEDLE REALLY WOULD MOVE IN THESE DIRECTIONS, BUT
WE'VE YET TO DISCOVER IF THIS METHOD IS VERY VALID
BUT IT'S FUN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE WOODS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of object for determining number of children or sex of unborn P863.3

Date learned: 10-08-1971

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HANG A NEEDLE DOWN IN THE AIR BY A PIECE OF THREAD.
RUB IT AGAINST YOUR LITTLE FINGER ALONG THE SIDE,
AND THEN TAKE IT AWAY. CAREFULLY OBSERVE WHAT THE
NEEDLE DOES. IF IT GOES AROUND IN A CIRCLE, YOUR
FIRST BABY WILL BE A GIRL. IF THE NEEDLE GOES BACK
AND FORTH, YOUR FIRST BABY WILL BE A BOY. IF THE
NEEDLE MAKES NO MOTION, YOU ARE INFERTILE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of object for determining number of children or sex of unborn P863.3

Date learned: 02-02-1971

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TAKE A NEEDLE AND THREAD AND HOLD IT OVER THE
STOMACH OF AN EXPECTANT MOTHER. IF THE NEEDLE
SWINGS, IT'S A GIRL, AND IF IT DOESN'T SWING
IT'S A BOY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR SHORES

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of object for determining number of children or sex of unborn P863.3

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IF A PREGNANT WOMAN WANTS TO DETERMINE WHETHER SHE
WILL HAVE A BOY OR A GIRL, SHE SHOULD HAVE SOMEONE
BLINDFOLD HER, AND PLACE A KNIFE AND A PAIR OF
SCISSORS ON A TABLE. NEXT, SHE SHOULD WALK BLIND-
FOLDED AROUND THE TABLE A SPECIFIED NUMBER OF TIMES,
AND THEN REACH FOR ONE OF THE TWO OBJECTS. IF SHE
PICKS UP THE SCISSORS, SHE WILL HAVE A GIRL; AND
IF SHE PICKS UP THE KNIFE SHE WILL HAVE A BOY.

Submitter comment: MY INFORMANT CLAIMS TO HAVE HEARD THIS FROM HER
MOTHER WHO, IN TURN, CLAIMS TO HAVE HEARD IT FROM
MY INFORMANT'S AUNT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of object for determining number of children or sex of unborn P863.3

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METHOD OF DETERMINING HOW MANY CHILDREN YOU WILL
HAVE: THE NEEDLE GAME CONSISTS OF A PIECE OF THREAD
PUT THROUGH A NEEDLE. THE OBJECT OF THE GAME IS
TO TELL A PERSON HOW MANY CHILDREN THEY WILL HAVE.
HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED: A PERSON HANGS THE NEEDLE
AND THREAD DIRECTLY OVER THE BACKSIDE OF THE HAND
OF ANOTHER PERSON. IF THE NEEDLE STARTS SWINGING
FROM FINGERTIP TO ELBOW, THIS MEANS YOU WILL HAVE
A BOY, IF THE STRING SWINGS FROM THUMB TOWARDS
BABY FINGER, YOU WILL HAVE A GIRL. IF THE NEEDLE
STANDS STILL, THIS MEANS NO CHILDREN, AND IF THE
NEEDLE TURNS IN A CIRCLE, THIS MEANS THAT YOU WILL
HAVE A MISCARRIAGE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of object for determining number of children or sex of unborn P863.3

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PUT A PIN IN THE ERASER OF A PENCIL AND TIE A STRING
TO THE PIN. HOLD THE STRING DIRECTLY OVER THE
EXPECTANT MOTHER'S ARM. IF THE PENCIL GOES BACK
AND FORTH, THE BABY WILL BE A GIRL. IF IT GOES UP
AND DOWN, IT WILL BE A BOY. IF IT GOES IN A CIRCLE
THE MOTHER WILL HAVE A MISCARRIAGE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN HEIGHTS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of object for determining number of children or sex of unborn P863.3

Date learned: 10-00-1970

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TO DETERMINE HOW MANY CHILDREN A WOMAN WILL HAVE
PLACE A NEEDLE ON A LONG THREAD, SUSPEND IT OVER
THE OPEN PALM. TOUCH THE NEEDLE TO THE PALM, THEN
HOLD IT ABOVE THE PALM. WHEN THE NEEDLE MAKES A
CIRCLE, IT MEANS A BOY AND WHEN IT GOES BACK AND
FORTH IT MEANS A GIRL. THE NUMBER OF TIMES THESE
MOVEMENTS ARE MADE DETERMINES THE NUMBER OF
CHILDREN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of object for determining number of children or sex of unborn P863.3

Date learned: 10-20-1969

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TIE A NEEDLE ON A STRING (OR THREAD) AND HOLD IT OVER
THE TOP OF SOMEONE'S HAND AFTER RUBBING ONLY THE
STRING ON THE PERSON'S EDGE OF THEIR HAND.
IN THIS MANNER YOU CAN PREDICT HOW MANY CHILDREN AND
OF WHAT SEX THAT PERSON WILL HAVE. A CIRCULAR
PATTERN MEANS A GIRL, A STRAIGHT PATTERN, MEANS A
BOY. WHEN IT STOPS, IT MEANS NO MORE KIDS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of object for determining number of children or sex of unborn P863.3

Date learned: 10-16-1967

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TO DETERMINE SEX OF AN UNBORN CHILD: SUSPEND NEEDLE ON A STRING
OVER MOTHER'S STOMACH (ABDOMEN). IF THE NEEDLE REVOLVES
(GOES IN A CIRCLE), THE BABY WILL BE A GIRL. IF THE NEEDLE
SWINGS BACK AND FORTH, THE BABY WILL BE A BOY.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; SHELBYVILLE

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Use of object for determining number of children or sex of unborn P863.3

Date learned: 06-30-1973

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showing 11 items

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