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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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GAME SUPERSTITION

IF A PERSON HITS MOST OF HIS SHOTS IN A BASKETBALL
WARM UP, HE WILL MISS THEM IN A GAME, AND VICE VERSA.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; FRANKLINVILLE

James Callow Keyword(s): OPPOSITES

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.6

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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SUPERSTITON

AN ENGLISH IVY PLANT IN THE HOUSE WILL BRING BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT STRONGLY BELIEVES THIS. SHE CLAIMS THAT WHENEVER SHE
HAD SUCH A PLANT IN THE HOUSE, THE RESULT WAS NOTHING BUT BAD LUCK
UNTIL SHE DISPOSED OF THE PLANT.

Where learned: SAINT CLAIR SHORES

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 02-27-1971

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CARD BELIEF

CUT THIN AND WIN. CUT DEEP AND WEEP.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE WOODS

James Callow Keyword(s): CARD-PLAYING ; ELLIPSIS ; RHYME PARALLELISM

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance
SPEECH -- Game Pastime Sport S555.500
PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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CRIMINAL BELIEF

THIS PERSON RECALLS BELIEVING THAT A CRIMINAL ALWAYS RETURNS TO
THE SCENE OF THE CRIME. HE RECALLS FAITHFULLY
WATCHING FOR THE CULPRIT WHO STOLE HIS FAVORITE TOY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Common law
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 01-30-1968

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IT IS BAD LUCK TO LEAVE A HOUSEHOLD YOU ARE VISITING ON THE HALF OR
QUARTER HOURS. ONE MAY ONLY LEAVE ON THE HOUR. THIS IS AN OLD IRISH
PLOY TO KEEP THE GUESTS FROM LEAVING.

Submitter comment: THIS ITEM WAS GIVEN TO MRS. CHESNEY BY MATILDA MELLON, HER MOTHER,
WHO WAS AN IRISH IMMIGRANT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HARPER WOODS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Number
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 09-16-1975

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LEGEND

IF YOU NEED MONEY, ONE WAY TO GET IT IS TO WRITE A LETTER TO A DEAD
RELATIVE. ADDRESS THE ENVELOPE AND STAMP IT JUST LIKE YOU WERE
MAILING THE LETTER. THEN PUT IT ON TOP OF A GLASS OF WATER AND
PLACE THEM UNDER YOUR BED. WHAT IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN IS THAT THE
RELATIVE WILL COME BACK TO YOU AND TELL YOU THE NUMBERS FOR THE
NUMBERS RACKET THE NEXT DAY. SO A LADY DID THIS, SHE WROTE TO HER
DEAD BABY SISTER AND PUT THE LETTER ON A GLASS OF WATER UNDER HER
BED. SHE WOKE UP DURING THE NIGHT WHEN SHE FELT SOMEONE GETTING
INTO BED WITH HER. SHE LOOKED AND IT WAS THE BODY OF AN ADULT WITH
THE HEAD OF HER BABY SISTER. SHE RAN OUT OF THE HOUSE AND RAN
DOWN THE STREET SCREAMING. AND SHE'S BEEN CRAZY EVER SINCE.

Submitter comment: WHEN MY INFORMANT LEARNED THIS STORY, THE PERSON WHO TOLD IT TO HER
WARNED HER TO BE SURE NOT TO TRY IT. SHE THINKS IT,S A SILLY STORY,
BUT SHE WON'T TRY TO DISPROVE IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; CAMPUS

James Callow Keyword(s): DECAPITATION

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Physically handicapped Deformed
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Number
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 11-00-1975

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EASTER CROSS

AN ITALIAN EASTER CUSTOM IS TO MAKE A CROSS OUT OF THE PALM LEAVES
RECEIVED IN CHURCH ON PALM SUNDAY. THIS CROSS IS MOUNTED ON THE WALL
AND IS TO REMAIN THERE THROUGHOUT THE EASTER SEASON. THIS BRINGS
GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment: MY MOTHER AND GRANDMOTHER HAVE ALWAYS DONE THIS.

Where learned: NEW YORK, ASSUMED ; FRANKLINVILLE

Keyword(s): LUCK

Subject headings: 663 Palm Sunday
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

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GOOD FRIDAY SUPERSTITION

MY MOTHER WOULD NEVER LET ANY OF US THREE CHILDREN PLAY THE PIANO ON
GOOD FRIDAY. IF WE DID, IT WOULD BRING BAD LUCK. MY MOTHER WAS
TAUGHT THIS BY HER IRISH MOTHER, A VERY RELIGIOUS PERSON.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; PEORIA

Keyword(s): LUCK ; MUSIC

Subject headings: 663 Good Friday
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

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PRE-EASTER CUSTOM

SWIECONKA--ON THE SATURDAY BEFORE EASTER, A POLISH PERSON WILL TAKE
HIS EASTER BASKET TO CHURCH AND HAVE THE PRIEST BLESS IT TO INSURE
GOOD FORTUNE ON HIMSELF.

Data entry tech comment: ANOTHER SPELLING FOR THIS CUSTOM, WHICH EXTENDS TO ALL SLAVIC
PEOPLES, IS SWIECZONKA. BOTH SPELLINGS APPEAR TO BE ACCEPTABLE.

Where learned: TELEPHONE ; TOLD BY

Keyword(s): SWIECZONKA

Subject headings: 663 Holy Saturday
BELIEF -- Prayer
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 11-02-1971

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EASTER

IF THE FIRST PERSON WHO WALKS IN THE DOOR ON EASTER IS A MAN, IT'S
BAD LUCK; IF IT'S A WOMAN, IT'S GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: TELEPHONE ; TOLD BY

Keyword(s): FIRST FOOTING ; LUCK

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Sunday
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 03-07-1970

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POLISH EASTER

ON EASTER MORNING, THE FAMILY WOULD ALWAYS HOPE FOR ITS FIRST VISITOR
TO BE A VERY YOUNG PERSON OR A CHILD AS THAT WOULD DENOTE THAT GOOD
FORTUNE WOULD FOLLOW ALL YEAR.

Submitter comment: LEARNED IN POLAND

Where learned: STORE

Keyword(s): FIRST FOOTING ; LUCK

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Sunday
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 09-27-1967

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SEASONAL TRADITION

AMONG PEOPLE OF POLISH-AMERICAN EXTRACTION, EASTER MONDAY IS KNOWN
AS "SPRINKLE DAY." ON THIS DAY THEY SPRINKLE EVERYONE THEY MEET
WITH PERFUME. IT IS SUPPOSED TO BRING GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment:

MY MOTHER FIRST LEARNED OF THIS CUSTOM WHEN SHE WAS TEACHING IN THE
DELRAY SECTION OF DETROIT ABOUT 30 YEARS AGO.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant is collector's mother.
 

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Keyword(s): DYNGUS DAY ; LUCK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

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ITALIAN EASTER MONDAY CUSTOM

THE ITALIANS BELIEVE THAT EATING JUST BREAD AND DRINKING JUST WATER
ON THE MONDAY AFTER EASTER SUNDAY FOR SEVEN YEARS WILL BRING
BLESSINGS.

Submitter comment:

[INFORMANT] RELATED THAT HE TRIED IT FOR FOUR YEARS AND GAVE UP.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD CUSTOM ; SELF-SACRIFICE--FASTING

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Monday Dyngus
BELIEF -- Number
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 11-17-1968

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CRAFT DESIGN

WHEN UKRAINIANS DECORATE THEIR EASTER EGGS, THEY USE
THE GEOMETRIC SHAPE OF THE CIRCLE TO SYMBOLIZE THE SUN AND GOOD
FORTUNE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): LUCK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter eggs
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Circle and other round forms
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

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THE BREAKING OF EASTER EGGS

THERE IS A CUSTOM AMONG UKRAINIANS WHICH CONSISTS OF HITTING
TOGETHER TWO PAINTED EASTER EGGS BY TWO PEOPLE. THE PERSON
WHOSE EGG DOES NOT BREAK WILL HAVE GOD'S BLESSING.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): GAME

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter eggs
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 11-02-1969

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HOLY WEEK CUSTOM

ON EASTER SUNDAY EACH PERSON TAKES AN EASTER EGG THAT HE PARTICULARLY
LIKES. THEN HE AND ANOTHER PERSON MAKE A WISH. THEY THEN HIT THE
EGGS TOGETHER AND THE EGG THAT IS NOT CRACKED WILL GRANT THE WISH
OF THE HOLDER.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant and collector share same surname.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; SCRANTON

Keyword(s): GAME

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter eggs
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Sunday
BELIEF -- Prayer
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

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WEDDING SUPERSTITION

IT WAS BAD LUCK FOR THE GROOM TO SEE THE BRIDE IN HER WEDDING DRESS
OR EVEN THE DRESS ALONE AT ANYTIME BEFORE THE WEDDING.

Submitter comment: THIS IS A GERMAN CUSTOM.

Where learned: OHIO ; MOGADORE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Separation before wedding
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Bride and groom must not see each other
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Dress Overall body coverUpper body and arms
BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 10-00-1976

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ITS GOOD LUCK IF A FROG PISSES ON YOU WHEN YOU PICK HIM UP.

Where learned: MISSOURI ; AGENCY

Keyword(s): URINATION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Animal
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: CA00001967

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IF YOU FIND A COIN FACE UP, KEEP IT--ITS GOOD LUCK. BUT IF ITS
FACE DOWN, THROW IT AS FAR AWAY AS YOU CAN. IT MEANS BAD LUCK.

Where learned: CANADA ; CALGARY ; ALBERTA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Circle and other round forms
BELIEF -- Emblem
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

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