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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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IF A SPOON AND A FORK ARE CROSSED, IT MEANS BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment:

MR. MARCHETT WAS TOLD THIS BY HIS RELATIVES WHILE
HE VISITED IN LATIN AMERICA.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): Bad ; Fork ; LUCK ; OMEN ; SIGN ; Spoon ; UTENSILS

James Callow Keyword(s): DIRECTION ; POSITION ; Silverware

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Service Table furnishing and decoration Implement to handle food
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Angular forms
BELIEF -- Bad luck Eating utensils

Date learned: 02-28-1970

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TODAY

DON'T WORRY ABOUT A BAD DAY. (TRANSLATION)
EN FEBRERO, UNI DIA MALO Y OTRO BUENO. (SPANISH)

Submitter comment: LEARNED THROUGH THE STUDY OF SPANISH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): LIIERALLY: IN FEBRUARY ONN DAY BAD, ANOTHER GOOD

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 10-05-1967

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CASE OF EVIL EYE CAUSING DEATH

AFTER COMING TO THIS COUNTRY, THE INFORMANT'S MOTHER
LOST A BABY GIRL NAMED CATHERINE BECAUSE SOME FRIEND OF THEIRS
(A MAN) PRAISED THE LITTLE BABY AND IT CAME UNDER A SPELL.
THEY COULDN'T FIND ANYONE IN THE U.S. WHO COULD BREAK THE SPELL
(THERE WERE PEOPLE GOOD AT THIS IN THE OLD COUNTRY).
THE BABY JUST WANED AWAY AND DIED. AND IN LATER YEARS
WHEN ANOTHER RELATIVE WAS GIVEN THE NAME OF CATHERINE SHE GOT
BAD LUCK TO GO WITH IT FROM THE OLD SPELL
AND THAT IS WHY SHE NEVER HAS ANY DATES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BAD LUCK ATTACHED TO NAME

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Eyes, evil eye
BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 10-26-1969

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IRISH SUPERSTITION

IF YOU WASH YOUR FACE IN DEW ON THE FIRST
DAY OF MAY, YOU WILL BE BEAUTIFUL.

Submitter comment: IN TELLING THIS, THE INFORMANT RECALLS ACTUALLY
WASHING HER FACE IN DEW ON MAY 1ST, AND ENDING
UP WITH A TERRIBLE RASH AND A FEW VISITS TO
A DERMATOLOGIST.

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

Keyword(s): BAD RESULTS FROM SUPERSTITIOUS PRACTICE ; IRONY ; SKIN

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- May 1 May Day

Date learned: 09-23-1969

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SUPERSITITION (COLLECTOR,S TITLE)

ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS THINGS TO DO IS PASS SOMEONE ON THE STAIRS.
IF SOMEONE IS COMING UP AND YOU ARE GOING DOWN OR VICE-VERSA IN
ORDER TO WARD OFF BAD LUCK YOU MUST COUNT TO TEN BEFORE YOU PASS.
THE SAME HOLDS TRUE IF YOU ARE GOING IN THE SAME DIRECTION.
NEVER PASSING ANYONE ON THE STAIRS MIGHT HAVE BEN VERY GOOD ADVICE.
IF THAT PERSON WAS CARRYING SOMETHING HEAVY OR IN SOME WAY OBSTRUCT-
ING PASSAGE. HOWEVER IT HAS GROWN TO BE A VERY STRONG SUPERSTITION.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CHANGE IN LUCK FROM BAD TO GOOD (IN PASSING ON STAIRWAY).

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Conversions P883.2

Date learned: 11-22-1968

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CONVERSION; SPIT (CLASSIFIER,S TITLE)

IF SOMEONE SWEEPS YOUR FEET WITH A BROOM
YOU MUST SPIT ON THE BROOM TO KEEP YOU FROM HAVING BAD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FERNDALE

Keyword(s): PREVENTION OF BAD LUCK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Conversions P883.2

Date learned: 11-18-1971

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IF YOU LIE DOWN WITH DOGS, YOU GET FLEAS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

Keyword(s): ANIMALS

James Callow Keyword(s): FRIENDS ASSOCIATES BAD COMPANY ; INSECTS ; OBSERVATION

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

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PROVERB

I GOT THE ROTTEN END OF THE DEAL.

Submitter comment: UNCERTAIN

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

Keyword(s): BAD DEALS

James Callow Keyword(s): CHEATED

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Phrase

Date learned: 00-00-1964

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PROVERB

I GOT THE SHORT END OF THE STRAW.

Submitter comment: UNCERTAIN

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

Keyword(s): BAD DEALS

James Callow Keyword(s): CHEATED

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Phrase

Date learned: 00-00-1964

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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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WHY DID THE BLACK MAN WEAR A TUXEDO TO HIS VASECTOMY?
ANSWER. IF I'M GONNA BE IMPOTENT I MIGHT AS WELL LOOK
IMPOTENT.

Submitter comment: I GOT THIS JOKE FROM THE MOVIE "SOUL MAN." IT WAS TOLD
BY TWO WHITE GUYS IN FRONT OF A BLACK GUY TO MAKE HIM
FEEL BAD.

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): IMPOTENT- USED INSTEAD OF THE WORD IMPORTANT TO MAKE ; THE BLACK MAN'S SPEECH SEEM BAD.

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- BLAC

Date learned: 10-00-1987

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Tale of Kate Elshender

A woman in the highlands, Named Kate Elshender, went to
a quarry hole to wash her clothes. As she passed the
village shop, she went in and bought a half pound of
soap and proceeded to wash; the soap slipped from her
hands, and she went back and bought another half pound.
The shopkeeper warned her to be careful, remembering the
old superstition...(when soap slips from your hand it
means death)...It slipped from her hands once again and
she returned for a third half pound of soap. This time
the shopkeeper was thoroughly frightened and begged her
not to go back again, but Kate went. Shortly after the
shopkeeper went to the quarry to find no one there. She
gave the alarm, and Kate Elshender was discovered drowned
at the bottom of the quarry hole.

Where learned: ENGLAND ; LONDON

Keyword(s): BAD LUCK

Subject headings: Observation
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Still water Small body. Lake, pond....
BELIEF -- P447
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Measure of time Working

Date learned: 00-00-1991

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A PREGNANT WOMAN MUST NOT SIT WITH HER LEGS TUCKED
UNDERNEATH HER, BECAUSE THIS COULD CAUSE THE UNBORN
CHILD TO BE KILLED. I THINK THIS IS AN ITALIAN
BELIEF.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ALSO BAD FOR THE CIRCULATION.

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 10-10-1969

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Entry filtered.

ONE HAND IN THE CROOK OF THE OTHER RAISED (CLENCHED
FIST) ARM MEANS "FUCK YOU" IN ITALIAN.

Submitter comment: PARDON MY "FRENCH"

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): FRENCH, IN THIS CASE, MEANS BAD LANGUAGE. ; INTERCOURSE

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn
Filter - Mature Content

Date learned: 12-00-1971

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Superstition: Baseball

Never mention a shutout or a perspective no-hitter to a pitcher or anyone in a Major-League dugout during the feat or it will be lost to fate.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

The original BN [P880] is crossed out and replaced with P536.

The words Bad Luck are also crossed out from the top left-hand corner of the card.

Where learned: NBC TELEVISION ; RADIO PROGRAM

Keyword(s): BAD LUCK ; BASEBALL ; BASEBALL STADIUM ; CHANCE ; CUSTOM ; Fan ; FATE ; jinx ; LUCK ; No-Hitter ; Shutout ; SPORTS ; SUPERSTITION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

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Superstition: Baseball

WHEN THE PITCHER HAS A NO-HITTER GOING IN A BASEBALL GAME IT IS BAD
LUCK TO MENTION THIS FACT UNTIL THE GAME IS OVER. IF YOU DO MENTION
IT THE PITCHER WILL LOSE HIS NO-HITTER. DURING THE 1979 DETROIT
TIGERS BASEBALL SEASON DAVE ROZEMA HAD A NO-HITTER GOING IN THE
SEVENTH INNING AND THE UN-BASEBALL-WISE CHANNEL FOUR TV ANNOUNCER
MIKE BARRY ANNOUNCED THIS AND SURE ENOUGH THE NEXT BATTER GOT A
HOMERUN. THE OTHER TV ANNOUNCERS, FORMER BASEBALL PLAYERS AL KALINE
AND GEORGE SWELL, ALMOST THREW BARRY OUT OF THEIR THIRD-DECK BOOTH.
ANYBODY THAT KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT BASEBALL KNOWS YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSE
TO MENTION A NO-HITTER AND BARRY SAID IT IN FRONT OF A QUARTER
MILLION PERSON TV AUDIENCE.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Keyword(s): BAD LUCK ; BASEBALL ; BASEBALL STADIUM ; CHANCE ; CUSTOM ; Fan ; FATE ; jinx ; LUCK ; No-Hitter ; Shutout ; SPORTS ; SUPERSTITION

James Callow Keyword(s): SPEAKING TABU

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 11-23-1979

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Superstition: Baseball

IF YOU'RE PLAYING BASEBALL AND YOUR PITCHER IS PITCHING
A NO-HITTER, IT'S BAD LUCK TO TALK ABOUT IT AND SAY
ANYTHING ABOUT IT TO HIM. JUST PRETEND LIKE YOU
KNOW NOTHING ABOUT IT.

Submitter comment:

THIS IS AN OLD CUSTOM IN BASEBALL THAT I LEARNED FROM
PLAYING IT VERY EARLY IN LIFE.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HARPER WOODS ; ASSUMED

Keyword(s): BAD LUCK ; BASEBALL ; BASEBALL STADIUM ; CHANCE ; CUSTOM ; Fan ; FATE ; jinx ; LUCK ; No-Hitter ; Shutout ; SPORTS ; SUPERSTITION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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Superstition: Baseball

NO ONE SHOULD MENTION TO A PITCHER BETWEEN INNINGS THAT
HE HAS A SHUTOUT OR NO-HITTER GOING.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ROYAL OAK

Keyword(s): BAD LUCK ; BASEBALL ; BASEBALL STADIUM ; CHANCE ; CUSTOM ; Fan ; FATE ; jinx ; LUCK ; No-Hitter ; Shutout ; SPORTS ; SUPERSTITION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 09-24-1969

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Superstition: Baseball

NEVER MENTION A NO-HITTER TO A PITCHER DURING THE GAME.

Submitter comment:

HEARD IT ON T.V.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD 12.2.2010

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; ASSUMED

Keyword(s): BAD LUCK ; BASEBALL ; BASEBALL STADIUM ; CHANCE ; CUSTOM ; Fan ; FATE ; jinx ; LUCK ; No-Hitter ; Shutout ; SPORTS ; SUPERSTITION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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Superstition: Baseball

BASEBALL PITCHER IS PITCHING A NO-HITTER, NO ONE SPEAKS
OF IT.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BAD LUCK ; BASEBALL ; BASEBALL STADIUM ; CHANCE ; CUSTOM ; Fan ; FATE ; jinx ; LUCK ; No-Hitter ; Shutout ; SPORTS ; SUPERSTITION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

Date learned: 10-16-1967

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