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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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ON THE STAIRS

IF YOU PASS SOMEONE ON THE STAIRS, IN THE HOUSE, IT IS AN OMEN
OF BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: GRANDMA HAS KNOWN THIS ONE AS LONG AS SHE CAN REMEMBER AND THINKS
SHE GOT IT FROM HER MOTHER WHO CAME FROM IRELAND.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; IRELAND

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

Date learned: 09-00-1963

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IF A PERFORMER DOES NOT BREAK A GUITAR STRING DURING A
PERFORMANCE, BAD LUCK OF SOME SORT (USUALLY NOT
SERIOUS) WILL COME TO HIM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM ; ABSOLUTE ZERO COFFEEHOUSE

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Number Emptiness, nothingness, zero
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

Date learned: 00-00-1969

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A HAT ON THE BED IS BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: SYLVIA LEARNED THIS FROM HER SISTER, WHO IN TURN
LEARNED IT AT THE NURSES' LOUNGE AT BEAUMONT
HOSPITAL, ROYAL OAK, MICHIGAN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

Date learned: 09-23-1967

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BROOM

NEVER SWEEP ANYONE'S FEET OR YOUR FEET WITH A BROOM BECAUSE THAT
PERSON OR YOU WILL GO TO JAIL.

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; New Orleans

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.21

Date learned: 11-23-1973

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BAD LUCK

WHEN A PERSON LEAVES THE HOUSE AND THEN NOTICES HE FORGOT SOMETHING,
HE GOES BACK INTO THE HOUSE AND AFTER LOCATING IT HE
SITS DOWN MOMENTARILY
BEFORE LEAVING THE HOUSE AGAIN. IF THE PERSON FAILS TO DO
THIS HE WILL HAVE BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT'S GRANDMOTHER TOLD HER THIS AND INFORMANT HOLDS IT TO BE
TRUE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HANCOCK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

Date learned: 09-25-1972

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BAD LUCK

IT IS BAD LUCK FOR A WOMAN TO PUT HER SLIP ON BACKWARDS.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM HER GRANDMOTHER AND HOLDS IT TO BE TRUE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HANCOCK

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

Date learned: 09-25-1972

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"IF TWO PEOPLE WALK ON DIFFERENT SIDES OF A POST, BOTH OF THEM WILL
HAVE BAD LUCK."

Where learned: DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.1
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

Date learned: 11-10-1972

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WHEN I WAS SMALL, AND THAT'S WHEN WE USED TO HAVE $2.00 BILLS, THEY
USED TO ALWAYS TELL YOU NOT TO TAKE IT IN CHANGE, OR IT WOULD BRING
YOU BAD LUCK."

Where learned: DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.1
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

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SUPERSTITION

POLISH PEOPLE DON'T KISS IN DOORWAYS - BAD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ROSEVILLE

James Callow Keyword(s): LOCATION POSITION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 11-30-1972

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NEVER WHISTLE IN THE HOUSE; THAT'S BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: THIS IS NOT PRACTICED BY THIS INFORMANT.

Where learned: DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

Date learned: 11-03-1972

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NEVER SING IN BED; IT'S BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT IS A GOOD FRIEND OF MINE. ONCE WHILE STAYING AT A MOTEL
WHILE VACATIONING, I WAS SINGING IN BED, AND SHE ASKED ME NOT TO,
BECAUSE SOMETHING BAD WOULD HAPPEN.

Where learned: DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

Date learned: 12-00-1972

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A GIRL THAT WHISTLES IN THE HOUSE WILL COME TO A BAD END.

James Callow Keyword(s): FUNCTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

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THE DAY THE GIRL MARRIES SHE IS NOT SUPPOSED TO SEE HER HUSBAND TO
BE, BEFORE THE CEREMONY, THIS WOULD BE BAD LUCK.

Where learned: DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Bride and groom must not see each other
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

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IF YOU STUMP YOUR LEFT TOE; ITS BAD LUCK.

Where learned: DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): DIRECTION POSITION LEFT ; STUB YOUR TOE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

Date learned: 12-00-1972

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IT IS BAD LUCK TO GO SWIMMING BEFORE THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN THE
BAPTIST, (JUNE 24)

Where learned: DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- June 23
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- June 24 St. John's Day / Midsummer Day
BELIEF -- Religious hero
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

Date learned: 00-00-1972

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LUCK

NO NEW MOTHER SHOULD BE ALLOWED IN THE HOME FOR FORTY DAYS AFTER
GIVING BIRTH, FOR SHE IS UNBLESSED BY GOD, AND COULD BRING BAD
LUCK TO THE FAMILY OF THE HOME SHE VISITS.

Submitter comment: IT IS NOT ONLY BAD LUCK FOR ANYONE TO LET THIS WOMAN IN THEIR
HOUSE, BUT IT IS ALSO BAD LUCK FOR THE WOMAN TO EVEN LEAVE THE HOUSE.
SHE SHOULD BE HOME GUARDING THE CHILD, WHO IS ESPECIALLY SUSEPTIBLE
AT THIS TIME.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FARMINGTON ; TOLD IN

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Birth
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Number P686.1.40
BELIEF -- Bad luck
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.43

Date learned: 09-24-1972

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LUCK/OMEN

IF SEVEN PEOPLE EAT A SEVEN COURSE MEAL TOGETHER, THEN THEY WILL
HAVE GOOD LUCK B/UT IF THIRTEEN PEOPLE EAT TOGER AT ALL, ONE OF TH
THE THIRTEEN WILL DIE WITHIN THE YEAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FARMINGTON ; TOLD IN

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described
686 Seven / Sevenths / Several
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.2
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

Date learned: 09-26-1972

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VISITOR

IT IS A SIGN OF BAD LUCK IF YOUR FIRST VISITOR ON
NEW YEAR'S DAY IS A WOMAN.

Submitter comment: THIS WAS TOLD TO THE INFORMANT BY A CO}WORKER WHO IS A BLACK
GIRL OF THE MUSLIM FAITH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): FIRST FOOTING ; SEXISM

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

Date learned: 10-25-1972

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MAN'S HAT

IT IS BAD LUCK TO PLACE A MAN'S HAT ON A BED.

Submitter comment: THIS WAS TOLD TO INFORMANT BY A CO}WORKER WHO IS A BLACK
GIRL OF THE MUSLIM FAITH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.1
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.2

Date learned: 10-25-1972

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