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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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"IF A BLACK CAT CROSSED IN FRONT OF THE CAR THAT REVEREND CASEY
WAS DRIVING, HE WOULD NOT SAY ANYTHING, BUT WOULD TURN HIS HAT
COMPLETELY AROUND ON HIS HEAD."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Color
BELIEF -- Bad luck Animals
BELIEF -- Conversions Animals

Date learned: 09-19-1982

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IF SOMEONE GIVES YOU A CAT, BRING IT HOME BY THE WINDOW; OTHERWISE
YOU WILL HAVE BAD LUCK.

Where learned: GUADELOUPE

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

Date learned: 00-00-1974

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IF A BLACK CAT CROSSES YOUR PATH, TAKE FOUR STEPS
BACKWARD AND TURN AROUND; THIS GETS RID OF THE BAD LUCK THE
CAT PASSED ON TO YOU.

Submitter comment: TRANSFER

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; PITTSBURGH

James Callow Keyword(s): REVERSE DIRECTION

Subject headings: 686 Fourths / Quarters
BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Conversions Animals

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"A townswoman was suspected of being a witch. Papa's
sister was sick and no doctor could cure her. They found
a cat in her room. Papa took the cat, put it in a bag,
beat it and threw it in the river. The next morning, they
found the woman (who was thought to be a witch) all
beaten by the side of the river, and Papa's sister got
well. The woman was obviously a witch. (Papa is my father's
father).

Submitter comment: This a verbatim account from Maryann Leisner which quotes
a story that her father, Phillip Melone, tells frequently.
He heard it from his father (in Italian) as he was growing
up, and believes it to be a true story.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; SKOKIE

Keyword(s): Occult

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Witch Shaman
BELIEF -- Witch Shaman
BELIEF -- Method of Curing
BELIEF -- Conversions Animals
BELIEF -- Control Prevention Provocation Protection P892.1

Date learned: 00001930S

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IF A BLACK CAT CROSSES YOUR PATH AND YOU CONTINUE,
YOU WILL HAVE BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: LEARNED IN CHILDHOOD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Color
BELIEF -- Conversions Animals

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IN LEBANON, WHEN THEY HEAR A DOG HOWLING, THEY
FEEL IT IS A SYMBOL OF BAD LUCK. THEY THROW IT
BREAD, BUT IF IT DOESN'T STOP, IT IS THE FORE-
SHADOWING OF VERY BAD LUCK OR DEATH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; MARYGROVE COLLEGE ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Bad luck Food and drink
BELIEF -- Bad luck Animals
BELIEF -- Conversions Animals

Date learned: 00001968 FALL

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SPIDER IN THE MORNING--BAD LUCK.
SPIDER AT NOON--THREE DAYS GOOD LUCK.
SPIDER AT NIGHT--WELL BEING.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
BELIEF -- Good luck Animals
BELIEF -- Conversions Animals

Date learned: 01-00-1968

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IT IS CONSIDERED GOOD LUCK IF YOU KILL A SPIDER
GOING UP A WALL, BUT IF IT IS GOING DOWN A WALL
AND YOU KILL IT, THEN BAD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Wall Partition Door Window
BELIEF -- Good luck Animals
BELIEF -- Bad luck Animals
BELIEF -- Conversions Animals

Date learned: 11-02-1969

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IF YOU SEE A SPIDER COME DOWN ON HIS WEB AND HE
DOESN'T TOUCH THE FLOOR, YOU'LL HAVE GOOD LUCK.
IF HE TOUCHES THE FLOOR, YOU'LL HAVE BAD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

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

Date learned: 11-13-1970

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BREAKING BAD LUCK CURSE OF BLACK CAT

DAD USED TO TURN HIS HAT AROUND THREE TIMES, WHEN A BLACK CAT
CROSSED THE ROAD. IF HE DIDN'T HAVE HIS HAT HE'D MAKE ONE OF US
KIDS TURN AROUND THREE TIMES. IT WAS MORE JOKINGLY THAN
SERIOUS.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
BELIEF -- Magic of Speech, Sign, Color
BELIEF -- Bad luck Animals
BELIEF -- Conversions Animals

Date learned: 07-30-1968

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IF A BLACK CAT RUNS IN FRONT OF YOU, MAKE AN "X" ON THE BOTTOM MMOF YUR SHOE AND IT WILL CROSS OUT THE BAD LUCK. IT WON'T BRING
YOU GOOD LUCK, IT JUST CROSSES OUT THE BAD LUCK.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; FAYETTEVILLE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
BELIEF -- Bad luck Animals
BELIEF -- Conversions Animals

Date learned: 07-04-1970

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IF A BLACK CAT GOES IN FRONT OF YOU, YOU SHOULD SPIT ON THE
WINDSHIELD AND TIE A KNOT IN YOUR HANDKERCHIEF TO KEEP BAD
LUCK FROM STRIKING.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; FAYETTEVILLE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Magic of Speech, Sign, Color
BELIEF -- Bad luck Animals
BELIEF -- Conversions Animals

Date learned: 07-06-1970

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IT IS BAD LUCK IF A BLACK CAT CROSSES YOUR PATH, BUT IF YOU TEAR
UP A PIECE OF PAPER, IT CANCELS OUT THIS BAD LUCK.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Magic of Speech, Sign, Color
BELIEF -- Bad luck Animals
BELIEF -- Conversions Animals

Date learned: 06-29-1970

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IF A BLACK CAT CROSSES YOUR PATH, TURN YOUR HAT AROUND.

Where learned: ALABAMA ; ATHENS

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Magic of Speech, Sign, Color
BELIEF -- Conversions Animals

Date learned: 06-16-1973

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IF YOU SEE A BLACK CAT CROSS IN FRONT OF YOUR CAR, ROLL UP
YOUR LEFT BRITCHES' LEG.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Magic of Speech, Sign, Color
BELIEF -- Conversions Animals

Date learned: 06-16-1973

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IF A BLACK CAT CROSSES YOUR PATH, HE'LL BRING YOU BAD LUCK.
TO AVOID THIS, GO BACK TO YOUR STARTING POINT OF THE JOURNEY
AND BEGIN AGAIN.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; SHELBYVILLE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Magic of Speech, Sign, Color
BELIEF -- Bad luck Animals
BELIEF -- Conversions Animals

Date learned: 06-15-1973

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IF A RABBIT CROSSES THE ROAD, TURN YOUR HAT AROUND, OR ELSE
YOU WILL HAVE BAD LUCK.

Where learned: KENTUCKY ; MAYFIELD

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck Clothing (dress, hat, shoes, suit, etc.)
BELIEF -- Bad luck Animals
BELIEF -- Conversions Animals

Date learned: 08-10-1968

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IT IS GOOD LUCK FOR A LITTLE HOOTY OWL TO BUILD A NEST IN
YOUR YARD. EVERY TIME HE HOOTS, HE IS SCARING AWAY BAD LUCK.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Good luck Animals
BELIEF -- Conversions Animals

Date learned: 00001928 CA.

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IF A SCREECH OWL OR A WHIP-POOR-WILL CRIES NEAR THE HOUSE,
YOU WILL HAVE BAD LUCK UNLESS YOU TURN YOUR COAT WRONG SIDE OUT
AND HANG IT ON THE DOOR KNOB. IN THE WINTER, YOU CAN STICK
THE SHOVEL IN THE FIRE UNTIL THE OWL IS QUIET.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; WILLIAMSON COUNTY

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bird
BELIEF -- Measure of time Winter
BELIEF -- Bad luck Clothing (dress, hat, shoes, suit, etc.)
BELIEF -- Bad luck Animals
BELIEF -- Conversions Animals

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IF A BLACK CAT CROSSES YOUR PATH, GO OUT AND WET YOUR FINGERS
AND MAKE A CROSS IN THE ROAD AND YOUR BAD LUCK WILL GO AWAY.

Where learned: CENTERVILLE ; TENNESSEE, ASSUMED

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hands, palms, fingernails
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Magic of Speech, Sign, Color
BELIEF -- Bad luck Animals
BELIEF -- Conversions Animals

Date learned: 07-19-1968

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