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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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IF YOU STUMP YOUR RIGHT TOE YOU'LL HAVE GOOD LUCK.
IF YOU STUMP YOUR LEFT TOE, YOU'LL HAVE BAD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Good luck Body parts and functions
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions

Date learned: 10-07-1971

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BAD LUCK

IF A PERSON SEES HIS OWN SHADOW ON A NIGHT WITH A FULL MOON,
EVIL THINGS WILL BEGIN TO HAPPEN TO HIM.

Submitter comment: HE SAID HE SAW HIS OWN SHADOW AND HE WAS ALMOST RUN DOWN BY A CAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions
BELIEF -- Bad luck Time (year, season, week, hour, etc.) Occasion Event

Date learned: 12-03-1982

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RURAL BLACK BAD LUCK OMEN

IF YOU STUB YOUR TOE, YOU MUST IMMEDIATELY SPIN AROUND
THREE TIMES IN SUCCESSION. IF YOU DO NOT, YOU WILL HAVE
BAD LUCK. WE ACTUALLY DID BELIEVE THIS AS CHILDREN AND WE
SELDOM FAILED TO SPIN AROUND WHEN THE SITUATION CALLED FOR
IT. OF COURSE, ONCE WE BECAME A BIT OLDER, IN HIGH
SCHOOL, WE NO LONGER BOTHERED WITH THIS SORT OF THING. IT
WAS STRICTLY FOR KIDS.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT SPENT HIS CHILDHOOD IN A RURAL BLACK PORTION
OF LOUISVILLE, MISSISSIPPI DURING THE 1930'S. THE FAMILY
MOVED TO DETROIT DURING WORLD WAR II AND HAS LIVED IN
DETROIT SINCE THAT TIME.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Circle and other round forms
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions
BELIEF -- Bad luck Gestures
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 09-00-1982

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"Certain people have the power to give the evil eye.
Some would give it to you to make you sick, bring you
bad luck, etc. or they would say not to look in their
eyes so you would not get the evil eye (they could not
help themselves from giving the evil eye --- it was
beyond their control). Mr. DiSantis had the power. He
told my Dad and others about it when he was young,
(maybe age seven)."

Submitter comment: This is a verbatim account from Maryann Leisner detailing
a story told many times by her Italian father, Mr. Phillip
Melone. Mr. Melone believes this to be true.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; SKOKIE

Keyword(s): Curse, magic, harm

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Body part Senses Eyes, evil eye
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Eyes, evil eye
BELIEF -- Curse
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions

Date learned: 00001930S

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IT'S BAD LUCK TO COUNT YOUR TEETH.

Submitter comment: HIS MOTHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Mouth, teeth, lips, tongue
BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions

Date learned: 07-29-1964

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IF YOUR EAR IS RINGING, AND YOU ASK SOMEONE TO GUESS
WHICH ONE--IF THEY GUESS THE RIGHT ONE, YOU'LL
HAVE GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Ears, noise in ear
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions

Date learned: 11-01-1969

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IF TWO PEOPLE COMPARE ARMS, THEY WILL HAVE BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: A COMMON EXPRESSION OF THIS OCCURS WHEN PEOPLE
COMPARE TANS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hands, palms, fingernails
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions

Date learned: 03-27-1970

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IF YOUR NAIL BREAKS ON THE HOUR, IT IS BAD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): FINGERNAIL?

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hands, palms, fingernails
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions

Date learned: 11-01-1968

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IT IS BAD LUCK TO CLIP ONE'S TOENAILS AT NIGHT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SOUTHFIELD

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions

Date learned: 02-26-1971

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IF YOU ARE WALKING DOWN THE STREET AND STOMP YOUR
TOE, THAT IS A SIGN OF BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED IN CHILDHOOD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): STUB

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions

Date learned: 03-06-1971

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NEVER PART YOUR HAIR ON THE RIGHT; IT BRINGS BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: BARBARA LEARNED THIS FROM HER HUNGARIAN UNCLE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hair, on head, mustache, widow's peak
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions

Date learned: 09-23-1967

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I HEARD SOMEWHERE THAT IT IS BAD LUCK TO WASH YOUR
HAIR ON SUNDAY, BUT GOOD LUCK TO WASH IT ON
MONDAY.

Where learned: INDIANA ; INDIANAPOLIS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hair, on head, mustache, widow's peak
BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.2
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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THE THIRD PERSON TO HAVE HIS CIGARETTE LIT ON ONE
MATCH WILL EXPERIENCE BAD LUCK. IF THE THIRD
PERSON IS A FEMALE, SHE WILL BECOME PREGNANT.

Submitter comment: THE FIRST STATEMENT OF THE SUPERSTITION IS COMMON
IN THE OSWALD FAMILY; THE SECOND I LEARNED FROM
MY COWORKERS THIS SUMMER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions
BELIEF -- Bad luck Numbers

Date learned: 09-20-1967

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ONE SHOULD NEVER HAVE HIS HAIR CUT IN FEBRUARY; IT BRINGS
BAD LUCK.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- February
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hair, on head, mustache, widow's peak
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions

Date learned: 03-22-1969

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IF A BIRD MAKES PART OF HIS NEXT OUT OF ONE'S HAIR, IT BRINGS
BAD LUCK. FOR THIS REASON, ALWAYS BURN WASTE HAIR.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; RED BOILING SPRINGS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hair, on head, mustache, widow's peak
BELIEF -- Bird
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions

Date learned: 04-20-1969

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IF YOUR LEFT EYE JUMPS, IT'S A SIGN YOU'RE GOING TO GET SOME
MONEY, OR IT MAY BE A SIGN OF BAD LUCK.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Eyes, evil eye
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions

Date learned: 07-19-1968

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IT IS BAD LUCK TO CUT A BABY'S FINGERNAILS BEFORE IT IS A YEAR
OLD. IF THE NAIL GETS SO LONG THAT THE BABY IS SCRATCHING
HIMSELF, YOU SHOULD BITE OFF THE NAILS.

Submitter comment: COUNTRY PEOPLE IN EASTERN KENTUCKY BELIEVED IN THIS SUPERSTI-

Where learned: KENTUCKY EASTERN

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hands, palms, fingernails
BELIEF -- Maturity
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions

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FOR GOOD LUCK: IF LEFT HAND ITCHES, SPIT IN IT AND PUT IT
IN POCKET.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hands, palms, fingernails
BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions Itching hands and feet
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 03-00-1969

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