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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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LUCK

IF YOU SPILL SALT THROW SOME OVER YOUR LEFT SCHOULDER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WESTLAND

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Conversions

Date learned: 00001960S

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IF A BLACK CAT RUNS ACROSS YOUR PATH, WALK BACKWARDS TO THE POINT IN
WHICH IT CROSSED YOU TO UNCROSS THE BAD LUCK SPELL

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: 682 682.4
BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Color
BELIEF -- Bad luck
BELIEF -- Conversions

Date learned: 11-14-1980

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FLORIDA SUPERSTITION

"IF A BLACK CAT CROSSES YOUR PATH, YOU SHOULD WALK THE OTHER WAY
TO PREVENT BAD LUCK".

Where learned: OHIO ; FLORIDA ; ALLIANCE ; EUSTIS

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Color
BELIEF -- Conversions

Date learned: 11-13-1980 ; 00001920S

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ALABAMA SUPERSTITION

"WHEN YOU'RE WALKING DOWN THE STREET WITH SOMEONE
AND YOU COME TO A TREE OR A POST, ONE PERSON'S SUPPOSED TO
WALK AROUND ONE SIDE OF IT AND SAY 'BREAD AND BUTTER', WHILE THE
OTHER PERSON WALKS AROUND THE OTHER SIDE AND SAYS 'SALT AND PEPPER'.
IF YOU DON'T DO THIS, YOU'LL HAVE A FIGHT BEFORE THE DAY IS OUT."

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT LEARNED THIS ITEM AS A CHILD IN BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA
FROM HIS MOTHER, CIRCA 1928. SHE FIRST LEARNED IT FROM HER MOTHER
IN ALABAMA CIRCA 1900.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALABAMA ; DETROIT ; BIRMINGHAM

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Conversions
SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 11-22-1980 ; 00-00-1928 ; 00-00-1900

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ALABAMA SUPERSTITION

"IF YOU SPILL SALT, YOU SHOULD THROW SOME OVER YOUR LEFT SHOULDER
TO BRING GOOD LUCK".

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT LEARNED THIS ITEM AS A CHILD IN BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA
FROM HIS MOTHER, CIRCA 1928. SHE FIRST LEARNED IT FROM HER MOTHER
IN ALABAMA CIRCA 1900.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALABAMA ; DETROIT ; BIRMINGHAM

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Conversions

Date learned: 11-22-1980 ; 00-00-1928 ; 00-00-1900

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IF YOU SPILL SALT, YOU MUST TOSS SOME SALT OVER
YOUR LEFT SHOULDER, OTHERWISE YOU WILL HAVE BAD
LUCK.

Submitter comment: MISS MAYER LEARNED THIS AS A CHILD.

Where learned: HOME

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Conversions

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RAILROAD CROSSING

WHEN YOU CROSS A RAILROAD CROSSING IN A CAR TOUCH THE ROOF OF
THE CAR WITH YOUR PALMS SO YOU WON'T HAVE BAD LUCK.

Keyword(s): CONVERSION ; TRAVEL

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Conversions
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 11-17-1968

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SUPERSTITION

THE MAIN WEAPON OF THE GURKA INDIANS, MANY OF WHOM FOUGHT FOR
THE UNITED STATES DURING WORLD WAR 2, IS A LARGE KNIFE WHICH THEY
ALWAYS CARRIED WITH THEM. THEY WOULD NOT DRAW THIS KNIFE UNLESS
IT WOULD COME IN CONTACT WITH BLOOD, AS THEY BELIEVED THAT THE
FAILURE TO DO THIS WOULD BRING THEM BAD LUCK. THEY SO BELIEVED IN
THIS SUPERSTITION THAT IF THE KNIFE WAS EVER USED AND DID NOT
DRAW THE BLOOD OF SOMEONE ELSE, THEY WOULD CUT THEMSELVES BEFORE
PUTTING IT AWAY.

Keyword(s): CONVERSION

Subject headings: ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Occupation War
BELIEF -- War
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness
BELIEF -- Conversions

Date learned: 10-27-1969

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GOOD LUCK

THROW SALT OVER YOUR SHOULDER FOR GOOD LUCK OR TO ERASE SOME
EVIL EFFECTS OF A MISTAKE SUCH AS WALKING UNDER A LADDER.

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): CONVERSION

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Conversions

Date learned: NONE GIVEN

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CREOLE BELIEF

WALK BACKWARDS IF YOU CURSE YOUR MOTHER OR YOU WILL HAVE BAD LUCK.

Where learned: CALIFORNIA ; BREAUX BRIDGE ; LOS ANGELES

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Measure of time Year
BELIEF -- Curse
BELIEF -- Conversions

Date learned: 00-00-1929

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CREOLE BELIEF

IF AN OWL HOWLS TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES AND TURN THEM UPSIDE DOWN
OR BAD LUCK WILL COME TO YOU

Where learned: CALIFORNIA ; BREAUX BRIDGE ; LOS ANGELES

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bird
BELIEF -- Conversions

Date learned: 00-00-1933

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WHEN A FULL MOON OCCURS IN JULY, ALL THE WINDOWS
MUST BE KEPT OPEN TO FREE THE RESTLESS SPIRITS.
IF NOT THE SPIRITS WOULD REMAIN FOR THE REMAINDER OF
THE YEAR.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT'S GRANDMOTHER WAS TOLD THIS BY HER MOTHER
AND CONTINUED TO PRACTICE THE BELIEF, PASSING
IT ON TO HER CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN.

Where learned: ENGLAND ; COOKHAM RISE ; BERKSHIRE ; RECEIVED IN MAIL

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- July
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Wall Partition Door Window
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Conversions

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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IF YOU BREAK A GLASS, YOU WILL HAVE SEVEN YEARS OF BAD LUCK IF YOU
DON'T BURY THE BROKEN GLASS.

Submitter comment: WATCH FOR THE ACCIDENT ELEMENT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 686.1
BELIEF -- Bad luck
BELIEF -- Conversions

Date learned: 09-19-1982

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SOME PEOPLE ARE BELIEVED TO HAVE EVIL EYES; IF SUCH A PERSON GIVES
YOU A COMPLIMENT, YOU'D BETTER KNOCK ON WOOD OR HAVE SOMEONE PINCH
YOU SO BAD LUCK WILL NOT COME UPON YOU.

Where learned: GUADELOUPE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Curse
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness
BELIEF -- Conversions
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 00-00-1966

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BAD LUCK WITH A BROOM

IF YOU SWEEP SOMEONE'S FOOT WITH A BROOM, THEY MUST SPIT ON THE
BROOM TO GET RID OF THE BAD LUCK YOU GAVE THEM.

Where learned: DETROIT ; PARENTS HOME

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Bad luck Broom Sweeping
BELIEF -- Conversions

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IT IS BAD LUCK TO SAY MACBETH IN A THEATER. IF YOU DO SO YOU MUST
GO OUTSIDE AND TURN AROUND THREE TIMES BEFORE COMING BACK IN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR SHORES

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Bad luck
BELIEF -- Conversions

Date learned: 03-00-1984

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DO NOT WHISTLE IN A DRESSING ROOM.
IF YOU DO, WALK OUT IN THE HALL, TURN AROUND
THREE TIMES, WALK BACK IN THE ROOM AND CURSE.

Submitter comment: ON THE TONIGHT SHOW JOAN, AND HER GUEST, LILLIAN
GISH WERE TALKING ABOUT SUPERSTITIONS THAT MOVIE
STARS HAVE.

Where learned: CALIFORNIA ; LOS ANGELES

James Callow Keyword(s): DRAMA

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Circle and other round forms
BELIEF -- Conversions

Date learned: 02-00-1984

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BAD LUCK

IT IS A BELIEF IN PUERTO RICO THAT IF YOU WALK BACKWARDS
INTO ANY OCEAN, THAT IT WILL TAKE AWAY ALL OF YOUR BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: HER GRANDFATHER TOLD HER THIS

Where learned: PUERTO RICO

Keyword(s): BAD LUCK

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Still water Large body.
BELIEF -- Conversions

Date learned: 00-00-1970 ; 11-00-1987

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IF A PICTURE OF A PERSON FALLS OFF A WALL, SOMETHING BAD WILL HAPPEN
TO HIM UNLESS IT IS IMMEDIATELY PUT BACK UP.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Ortonville

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck
BELIEF -- Conversions

Date learned: 00001930S CA.

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IF YOU SPEAK BADLY OF A PERSON, KNOCK ON WOOD IMMEDIATELY AND
NO ONE WILL SPEAK BADLY OF YOU.

Where learned: MICHIGAN

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Conversions
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 11-12-1987

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