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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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ITALIAN SUPERSTITION

IF A WOMAN FALLS WHEN SHE IS PREGNANT AND SHE HELPS HERSELF UP
WITH HER RIGHT HAND, SHE WILL HAVE A BOY; IF SHE HELPS HERSELF
UP WITH HER LEFT HAND, SHE WILL HAVE A GIRL.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER ITALIAN MOTHER.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; PLEASANTVILLE

James Callow Keyword(s): RIGHT LEFT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 12-27-1963

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NO-SPILL-SALT

IF YOU SPILL SALT YOU WILL HAVE BAD LUCK UNLESS YOU DO THIS,
TAKE A HAND FULL OF SALT AND THROW IT OVER YOUR LEFT SHOULDER.
THIS WILL REVERSE THE BAD LUCK AND GIVE YOU GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment: SHE LEARNED THIS FOLKLORE FROM HER CHILDHOOD DAYS OF HER HOME TOWN.
THIS SUPERSTITIOUS BELIEF IS SYMPATHETIC MAGIC BECAUSE THERE IS A
PRIMITIVE CONNECTION BETWEEN SPILLING AND THE THROWING THE SALT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION ; RIGHT LEFT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Conversions P883.17

Date learned: 00001930'S

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EASTER BREAKFAST CUSTOM

ON HOLY SATURDAY YOU WOULD PREPARE A BASKET LINED WITH LINEN NAPKINS
AND COVERED WITH THEM TOO. IN THE BASKET YOU WOULD PUT LITTLE ROUND
LOAVES OF BREAD, COLORED BOILED EGGS, LAMB SHAPED WHIPPED BUTTER,
SALT AND PEPPER, HORSERADISH, KIELBASA AND HAM. YOU WOULD TAKE THIS
TO THE PARISH TO BE BLESSED AND ON EASTER MORNING IT WOULD BE YOUR
BREAKFAST. ANYTHING YOU DIDN'T EAT WOULD HAVE TO BE BURNED OR BURIED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): LEFTOVERS

Subject headings: 663 Holy Saturday
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Palm Sunday
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Season
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter baskets
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Sunday
Food Drink -- Typical menus for the various meals For meal hours, see F574.84. Special or festive meals
BELIEF -- Prayer

Date learned: 11-00-1973

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IF YOUR LEFT FOOT ITCHES YOU'LL SOON GO ON A SAD TRIP.

Where learned: MARYLAND ; BALTIMORE ; TOLD IN

James Callow Keyword(s): RIGHT LEFT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions Itching hands and feet

Date learned: 11-18-1972

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IF YOUR RIGHT HAND ITCHES YOU WILL SOON SHAKE HANDS WITH A STRANGER.

Where learned: MARYLAND ; BALTIMORE ; TOLD IN

James Callow Keyword(s): RIGHT LEFT

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

Date learned: 11-18-1972

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IF YOUR LEFT EYE JUMPS IT MEANS YOU WILL BE MAD BEFORE THE DAY IS
OVER.

Where learned: MARYLAND ; BALTIMORE ; TOLD IN

James Callow Keyword(s): ANGER ; RIGHT LEFT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Eyes, evil eye
BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions

Date learned: 11-18-1972

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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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LUCK

IF YOU SHOULD STUMP YOUR LEFT TOE, TURN AROUND, AND SPIT ON THE
GROUND TO KEEP FROM HAVING BAD LUCK. THE INFORMANT SAID SHE ACTUALLY
DID THIS HERSELF WHEN SHE WAS YOUNGER.

Where learned: SOUTH CAROLINA

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

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

Date learned: 10-26-1972

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CURE FOR WARTS

TO GET RID OF WARTS, RUB A FRESHLY PICKED MUSHROOM ON THE WART AND
THROW IT OVER YOUR LEFT SHOULDER. THE WART WILL DISAPPEAR IN 2 DAYS.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAID AN OLD GERMAN TOLD HIM THIS WHEN HE WAS} YOUNG.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): LEFT DIRECTION POSITION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: 10-03-1972

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MY BACK IS BREAKING, MY GIRDLE'S TOO TIGHT, MY HIPS ARE SHAKING
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT. LEFT, RIGHT...

Submitter comment: THIS IS USE TO TEACH CHILDREN THEIR LEFT FROM THEIR RIGHT SIDES.

Where learned: DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): FUNCTION ; POSITION--LEFT AND RIGHT

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Verse Game Verse

Date learned: 08-04-1972

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NECK

IF YOU HAVE A STIFF NECK, HAVE A LEFT-HANDED PERSON CRACK IT FOR YOU.

Submitter comment: SOURCE NOT REMEMBERED

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

Keyword(s): LEFT HANDEDNESS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: 01-01-1964

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BELIEF (COLLECTOR,S TITLE) ; CONVERSION; NAILS (CLASSIFIER,S TITLE)

SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT WHEN CONSTRUCTING A BUILDING, IF YOU HAMMER
A NAIL AND IT COMES BACK BENT, YOU MUST REMOVE THE NAIL AND THROW IT
OVER YOUR LEFT SHOULDER. THIS IS FOR GOOD LUCK. IF YOU USE THE BENT
NAIL, IT IS BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT HAS SEEN THIS PRACTICE DONE, BUT DOES NOT BELIEVE IT,S TRUE

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; TOLD AT

Keyword(s): LEFT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Conversions P883.2

Date learned: 02-23-1972

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SUPERSTITION

A LEFT HANDED PERSON IS THE CHILD OF THE DEVIL AND HAS THE EVIL EYE.

Submitter comment: MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER USE TO ALWAYS TELL ME THIS AND TRY TO GET MY
MOTHER TO FORCE ME TO USE MY RIGHT HAND.

Where learned: DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): FUNCTION ; LEFTHANDEDNESS ; POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Curse

Date learned: 00-00-1965

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Entry filtered.

POLISH JOKE

Historical record from James Callow Folklore Archive.

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE POLACK WHO HAD B.O. ONLY ON ONE SIDE?
HE DIDN'T KNOW WHERE TO BUY ANY LEFT GUARD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SOUTHFIELD

James Callow Keyword(s): ALLUSION TO DEODERANT "RIGHT GUARD" ; B.O.: SLANG FOR OFFENSIVE BODY ODOR ; LEFT GUARD: AN ANTIPERSPIRANT FOR BODY ODOR

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Poli

Date learned: 02-00-1980

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PALM SUPERSTITION

IF YUOR RIGHT PALM ICHES YOU WILL COME INTO SOME MONEY, IF YOUR LEFT
PALM ICHES PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT YOU.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GARDEN CITY

James Callow Keyword(s): LEFT, RIGHT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions Itching hands and feet

Date learned: CA00001980

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EGYPTIAN ENGAGEMENT CUSTOM

THE BRIDE TO BE WEARS BOTH HER ENGAGEMENT AND WEDDING RING ON HER
RIGHT FINGER, AND THEN AT THE WEDDING CEREMONY BOTH RINGS ARE PUT ON
HER LEFT FINGER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; TROY

James Callow Keyword(s): LEFT, RIGHT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage

Date learned: CA00001980

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IF YOUR RIGHT HAND ITCHES YOU WILL RECEIVE SOME MONEY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): RIGHT LEFT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Measure of quality Monetary systemMoneyWealth
BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions Itching hands and feet

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IF YOUR LEFT HAND ITCHES YOU WILL RECEIVE A LETTER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): RIGHT LEFT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions Itching hands and feet

Date learned: 00001928CA

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WHEN I WAS A CHILD, MY FATHER USED TO TELL ME THAT I SHOULD
ALWAYS BE HONEST, DO GOOD THINGS, AND BE NICE TO PEOPLE. HE
SAID THAT GOD KNEW EVERYTHING WE DID. HE SAID THERE WAS A LITTLE
ANGEL SITTING ON EACH OF OUR SHOULDERS AND THAT EVERY TIME WE DID
SOMETHING GOOD, THE ANGEL ON THE RIGHT SHOULDER WOULD WRITE IT
DOWN. ON THE OTHER HAND, WHEN WE DID SOMETHING BAD, THE ANGEL ON THE
LEFT SHOULDER WOULD RECORD IT. HE SAID THAT WHEN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT
CAME, GOD WOULD CHECK TO SEE WHICH LIST WAS LONGER. IT WASN'T
ENOUGH TO JUST TRY NOT TO BE BAD BECAUSE THE ANGEL ON THE RIGHT
SHOULDER ONLY WROTE DOWN GOOD DEEDS--NOT NO DEEDS AT ALL.

Submitter comment: MY FATHER WAS RAISED IN LEBANON. HE CAME TO THE UNITED STATES
IN 1929 WHEN HE WAS 20 YEARS OLD AND LIVED HERE UNTIL HIS DEATH
IN 1982.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

James Callow Keyword(s): LEFT ; RIGHT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Gods
BELIEF -- Angel
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Measure of quantity or weight

Date learned: 00001950S

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STEPPING INTO "SHIT" BRINGS GOOD LUCK, SPECIALLY IF IT IS THE
LEFT FOOT.

Where learned: GUADELOUPE

James Callow Keyword(s): LEFT RIGHT ; POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Good luck

Date learned: 00-00-1972

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