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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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WHEN MRS. SOSNOWSKI WAS 12 (ABOUT 1930) IN PENNSYLVANIA
SHE AND HER MOTHER WERE IN THE LIVINGROOM OF HER HOUSE.
HER MOTHER WAS ROCKING HER LITTLE BROTHER TO SLEEP.
ALL OF A SUDDEN, THEY HEARD THREE LOUD KNOCKS.
WHEN THEY WENT TO THE DOOR, NO ONE WAS THERE. ABOUT
15 MINUTES LATER A MRS. ROMIKOFF, ONE OF THE NEARBY
NEIGHBORS RAN OVER TO THEIR HOUSE FOR HELP, BECAUSE
HER BABY WAS VERY SICK. WHEN THE TWO LADIES GOT
THERE, THE BABY WAS DEAD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): BELIEF TALE

Subject headings: Observation
Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Human Being
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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GHOST IN THE ROAD

THERE IS A ROAD, NOT FAR FROM WHERE I USED TO LIVE, THAT MY FRIENDS
AND I ALWAYS USED TO GO TO. IT WAS WHERE THE GHOST IN THE ROAD WAS.
THE ROAD WAS STRAIGHT AND A LITTLE HILLY AND WAS DIMLY LIT WITH A
COUPLE OF STREET LIGHTS. WHEN COMING DOWN THE ROAD, AT A CERTAIN
SPOT, YOU COULD SEE THE GHOST, CLAD IN A LONG WHITE ROBE. SOME
PEOPLE SAID IT LOOKED LIKE A LADY IN A WHITE GOWN. OTHERS THOUGHT
IT LOOKED LIKE JESUS CHRIST. WHEN DRIVING CLOSER TO THE GHOST, IT
SEEMED TO BE WALKING TOWARDS YOU. THEN IT WOULD DISAPPEAR.

Submitter comment: WHAT IT REALLY WAS, WAS AN OIL SLICK ON THE ROAD. THE LIGHT FROM THE
STREET LIGHT SHONE ON IT IN SUCH A WAY AS TO CREATE THE IMAGE OF A
PERSON. SINCE THEN, THOUGH, THE ROAD HAS BEEN RESURFACED AND THE
GHOST NO LONGER CAN BE SEEN.

Where learned: CALIFORNIA ; PLACENTIA

James Callow Keyword(s): DISBELIEF

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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THE STIGMATA OF PADRE PIO

PADRE PIO OF SAN GIOVANNI DI ROTONDO IN ITALY HAS THE STIGMATTA OF
OUR LORD ON HIS HANDS. THE WOUNDS ARE SAID TO BE OPEN ABOUT ONCE A
MONTH. ALSO ONLY MEN WERE ALLOWED TO SEE THIS. THE REASON FOR
THIS IS UNKNOWN.

Submitter comment: I ALSO HAD A CHANCE WHILE IN ITALY IN 72, TO SEE THIS SIGHT, HOWEVER
I CANNOT ACCOUNT FOR IT. THE WOUNDS WERE OPEN AND BLEEDING AS HE SAID
MASS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; RIVERVIEW

James Callow Keyword(s): BELIEF ; SEXISM ; STIGMATA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Religious hero

Date learned: 01-00-1974

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SMALL CHANGE FOR GOOD LUCK.

AN OLD MALTESE CUSTOM SAYS, PUT SMALL CHANGE ON THE WINDOW SILL
BEFORE THE NEW YEAR COMES. LEAVE IT THERE UNTIL AFTER THE NEW YEAR
SO THAT YOU'LL HAVE FINANCIAL GOOD LUCK THAT YEAR.

Submitter comment: EVEN THOUGH THE INFORMANT DIDN'T BELIEVE THE WART
CURE {PREVIOUS ENTRY}, SHE SEEMED TO
BELIEVE THIS ONE, JUST BY THE WAY SHE SAID IT.
SHE GOT THIS ITEM FROM HER MALTESE HUSBAND.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; RIVERVIEW

James Callow Keyword(s): BELIEF

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- 39815
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 31 New Year's Eve
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.42

Date learned: 01-00-1974

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WART CURE

IF YOU HAVE A WART, STEAL SOMEONE'S DISHRAG AND TAKE IT AND BURY IT.
THE WART WILL DISAPPEAR WITHIN THREE WEEKS.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT OFFERED THIS ONE, ALTHOUGH IT APPEARED SHE DID NOT
BELIEVE IT, SAYING SHE HAD HEARD IT FROM A FRIEND.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; RIVERVIEW

James Callow Keyword(s): DISBELIEF

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Specific distinguishing characteristic Dimple, wart, mole, scar, freckle, birthmark, strawberry mark, bruise, spot (on any part of body)
BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: 01-00-1974

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CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

IF THE FIRST PERSON TO COME THROUGH THE DOOR OF YOUR HOUSE ON
CHRISTMAS EVE IS A DARK HAIRED MAN YOU WILL HAVE GOOD LUCK IN THE
YEAR TO COME.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BELIEF ; CHRISTMAS ; COLOR ; GOOD LUCK ; HAIR ; holiday ; LUCK ; Man ; OMEN ; SYMBOL

James Callow Keyword(s): FIRST FOOTING

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.42

Date learned: 00001930S

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DON'T BURN YOUR HAIR WHEN IT COMES OUT IN THE COMB, YOU ARE
SUPPOSED TO THROW IT OUTSIDE FOR THE BIRDS TO MAKE THEIR NESTS
OUT OF.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ROYAL OAK

James Callow Keyword(s): OPPOSITE OF A CONTAGIOUS MAGIC BELIEF ALSO IN ARCHIVE

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Bird

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A BELIEF

IF A DRAGONFLY LANDS ON YOUR EAR, IT WILL SEW IT UP.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT WAS TOLD THIS TALE AS A CHILD, AND AT THE TIME HE THOUGHT
THAT IT WAS PROBABLY TRUE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL INSECT ; BELIEF

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Insect

Date learned: 02-15-1972

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WEATHER BELIEF

SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT ONE CAN PREDICT THE SEVERITY OF THE WINTER
BY OBSERVING THE COLORATION OF THE WOOLLY BEAR CATERPILLAR. IF THEY
ARE MOSTLY BLACK IN COLOR, THE WINTER WILL BE SEVERE, WHILE IF THEY
ARE MOSTLY BROWN IN COLOR, THE WINTER WILL BE LESS SEVERE.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAYS THIS BELIEF MIGHT BE TRUE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL INSECT ; BELIEF

Subject headings: 891 Animals, vertebrate and invertebrate)
891 Animals, (vertebrate and invertebrate)
891 Animals, (vertebrate and invertebrate)
891 Animals, (vertebrate and invertebrate)
891 Animals, (vertebrate and invertebrate)
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Weather sign or control
BELIEF -- Insect
BELIEF -- Sign or prediction through Animals (vertebrate and invertebrate)
BELIEF -- Sign or prediction through P891.3

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SEWING BUGS

NEVER GET TOO NEAR A SEWING BUG (DRAGON FLY), BECAUSE THEY WILL
SEW YOUR EYELIDS SHUT.

Submitter comment: I REALLY BELIEVED IN THIS WHEN I WAS LITTLE, AND I WAS TERRIFIED
OF SEWING BUGS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): BELIEF

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Eyes, evil eye
BELIEF -- Insect
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal P477.11

Date learned: 11-17-1968

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THE DEAD MAN IN A CRAB

THERE IS A CERTAIN PART OF A CRAB NEAR THE END OF THE SHELL, WHICH
IS BELIEVED BY SOME TO BE A DEAD MAN. ANYONE WHO ATE THIS WOULD
IMMEDIATELY DIE.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT AND HIS FRIENDS BELIEVED THIS ABSOLUTELY WHILE CHILDREN IN TIDEWATER, VIRGINIA IN THE 1930S.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL CRUSTACEAN ; BELIEF

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Fish
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance P880.34

Date learned: 02-18-1970

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DANCING DEVIL

THERE IS A BELIEF AMONG SOME PEOPLE THAT IF YOU SING AT THE DINNER
TABLE, THE DEVIL IS DANCING OVER YOUR HEAD.

Submitter comment: MY MOTHER SAYS THIS BELIEF REFLECTED THE GENERAL BELIEF IN HER
CONSERVATIVE LUTHERAN FAMILY THAT GRACE AND DINNER SHOULD BE QUIET
AND DIGNIFIED. THE DEVIL WAS SUPPOSED TO BE BEHIND SINGING AT
THE TABLE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): BELIEF

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal P477.8

Date learned: 04-04-1970

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BELIEF ABOUT THE DEVIL

WHEN YOU COME HOME FROM CONFESSION, THE DEVIL HIDES IN THE BUSHES
AND TRIES TO GET YOU. WHEN YOU GO BY YOU CAN FEEL THE HEAT
RADIATING FROM HIM. SOMETIMES HE LEAPS FROM THE BUSHES AND CHASES
YOU.

Submitter comment: MY MOTHER WAS TOLD THIS WHEN SHE WAS A CHILD IN DETROIT BY AN
IRISH FRIEND. HER FRIEND HAD FELT THE HEAT OF THE DEVIL MANY TIMES.
HER MOTHER HAD ACTUALLY BEEN CHASED NUMEROUS TIMES IN THE OLD COUNTRY
WHEN THE JEALOUS DEVIL TRIED TO CAPTURE HER SOUL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

James Callow Keyword(s): BELIEF

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Devil Demon

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FLEMISH PROVERB

AS THE CLOCK TICKS AT HOME, IT TICKS NOWHERE ELSE. ZOOALS HET KLOKJE THUIS TIKT, TIKT HET NERGENS. (FLEMISH)

Submitter comment: THIS WAS GIVEN TO ME WHEN HE WAS VISITING DETROIT, MICH. FROM BELGIUM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): HUMAN CREATIONS ; ONOMATOPEIA

James Callow Keyword(s): COMPARISON ; OBSERVATION ; TIME FLIES WHEN YOU'RE HAVING FUN

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 10-00-1967

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PROVERB

BE NO TIME FOR CHEERS AND LAUGHTER, IN THE COLD GRAY DAWN OF THE
MORNING AFTER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): RHYME

James Callow Keyword(s): ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE (IMPLIED) ; HANGOVER ; OBSERVATION

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Proverb Proverb
PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 03-10-1968

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CROSSEYED

IF YOU LET A BABY LOOK IN A MIRROR BEFORE HE IS A YEAR OLD,
HE WILL BE CROSSEYED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

James Callow Keyword(s): ADVICE: POSITIVE (IMPLIED)

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
BELIEF -- Physically handicapped Deformed
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Eyes, evil eye
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: 10-00-1968

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MOON BELIEF

IF THE MOON IS FULL THE CROPS GROW TALL.
THIS WAS NOT GOOD FOR POTATOES BECAUSE THEY WERE ON THE GROUND.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALLEN PARK

James Callow Keyword(s): PLANTING BELIEF

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Food
BELIEF -- Moon

Date learned: 02-07-1972

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SIGN

SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT EVERY TIME A SHOOTING STAR FLASHES
ACROSS THE SKY, A CHILD HAS BEEN BORN TO REPLACE SOMEONE WHO HAS
DIED.

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT DOES NOT BELIEVE THE STATEMENT.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): DISBELIEF

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Comet
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 02-23-1972

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LEAF BELIEF

IF THE LEAVES TURN UP, AND UNDER, IT'S GOING TO RAIN.

Submitter comment:

IT USUALLY DOES RAIN IF THIS HAPPENS. IT IS A VERY GOOD
SIGN FOR PREDICTING RAIN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): BELIEF ; PLANT

Subject headings: 46O
BELIEF -- Sign or prediction through Plants

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