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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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THERE WAS A GIRL IN COLLEGE WHO CLAIMED TO BE COMPLETELY
FEARLESS. HER ROOMMATE AND ALL HER FRIENDS PLAYED MANY
PRANKS TRYING TO FRIGHTEN HER. BUT SHE REMAINED BRAVE.
FINALLY, AS A LAST ATTEMPT TO SCARE HER, THEY STOLE AN
ARM FROM THE MED SCHOOL'S MORTUARY AND PUT IT IN HER
BED WHILE SHE WAS OUT.
WHEN THEY RETURNED THE NEXT DAY TO SEE HOW SHE FARED,
THEY FOUND HER SITTING ON HER BED, HER LONG, BLACK
HAIR TURNED WHITE, AND EATING THE ARM.

Where learned: OHIO ; CLEVELAND

James Callow Keyword(s): PRANK GORE

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Physically handicapped Deformed

Date learned: 11-21-1967

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BURIED IN THE SAND

SOME BOYS DECIDED TO PULL A JOKE ON A FRIEND AT THE
BEACH AND GAVE HIM SOME SLEEPING PILLS IN A DRINK TO
PUT HIM TO SLEEP. THEN THEY BURIED HIM IN THE SAND
AND PUT RAGS OVER HIS FACE SO THAT HE COULD BREATH.
LATER, THEY RETURNED AND THE WAVES HAD REARRANGED
THE SAND AND THEY COULDN'T FIND THEIR FRIEND. THEY
LOOKED AND LOOKED, BUT HE COULDN'T BE FOUND AND
THEY SAY HE'S STILL THERE SOMEWHERE.

Where learned: BOSTON ; Massachusetts

James Callow Keyword(s): FATAL PRANK

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 10-00-1967

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A PERSON CALLS SOMEONE ON THE PHONE AND ASKS VERY RAPIDLY,
"IS THERE A JOHN THERE?", SO THE ARTICLE "A" IS HARDLY, IF
AT ALL, HEARD. IF THE PERSON ANSWERS NO, THE CALLER SAYS,
"THERE'S NO JOHN THERE?" THE PERSON AGAIN SAYS NO AND THE
CALLER THEN ASKS, "WHAT DO YOU DO? CAN THE STUFF?"
THIS HAPPENNED TO ME JUST RECENTLY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR SHORES

James Callow Keyword(s): Prank

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 00-00-1972

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Entry filtered.

An Unpleasant Surprise

Historical record from James Callow Folklore Archive.

There was a young engaged couple from a small town who had come home from a date one night. Nobody was home and the house was dark. On the table there was a note for the girl which said to close the basement windows. Seeing that noone was around, the young couple stripped down naked. The girl got on the boy's shoulders piggy-back and they started down the stairs. As they reached the last step all the lights went on - it was surprise bridal shower for the girl!

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original Boggs number [B600] has been crossed out and replaced with B646

Where learned: DURING A VISIT

Keyword(s): ALLUSION TO SEXUAL INTERCOURSE ; Engagement ; HUMOR ; JOKES ; MARRIAGE ; Modesty ; Moral ; PARTY ; Prank ; SEX ; SURPRISE ; YOUTH

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Romantic Realistic
Filter - Mature Content

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Prank

In LeRoy, N.Y. a common prank would be to call a person on the telephone and tell him you were from teh water department. You would ask him to fill up his bathtub, since the water was to be off for the next day. The pranksters had no connections with the water department, and people would be without use of bathtubs for the night.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: Myself

Keyword(s): Bathtub ; Diversion ; Entertainment ; PRANKS ; TELEPHONE PRANK ; Water Department

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion

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Prank

Fletcher Tube:

The Fletcher Tube us a non-existent piece of equipment. When freshmen are having problems in lab, you tell them that a Fletcher Tube will do the trick. They go to the stockroom to check one out and are laughed at.

Submitter comment:

Informant said that he pulled this gag while he was a graduate student.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; CLASSROOM ; CHEMISTRY BUILDING

Keyword(s): ACADEMIC JOKES ; Chemistry ; COLLEGE ; COLLEGE PRANK ; COLLEGE PRANK ; Entertainment ; Freshman ; Hazing ; JOKE ; Laboratory ; PRACTICAL JOKE ; Prank

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion

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Prank

TeePee-ing Houses:

A group of people go to a house late at night and throw toilet paper up into the trees, decorate the shrubbery and generally create a real mess.

Submitter comment:

This was done to my house by a group of friends who had attended Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte, MI. It was done in May of 1968. It seems that this was not an uncommon practice for them to do to their friends.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: Myself

Keyword(s): Amusement ; CUSTOM ; Diversion ; Entertainment ; JOKE ; PRACTICAL JOKE ; Prank ; Shrubbery ; Toilet Paper

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion

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Trick

Trick:

A trickster points at your tie or shirt and asks, "what's that?"

When you look down at your tie to see what's there he raises his finger and drags his finger up over your face.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): JOKE ; Prank ; Tease ; TRICK ; TRICKSTER

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion

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Trick

Trick:

A tricky person will point at a button on your clothing and ask "Do you want that?" If you say "yes," then he rips it off and gives it to you. If you are unfortunate enough to say "no," he rips it off and throws it away.

Submitter comment:

Be careful who you pull this trick on. He should not be Dick the Bruiser.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): BULLY ; Button ; CLOTHING ; JOKE ; Prank ; Tease ; TRICK ; TRICKSTER

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion

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Trick

Cooties:

You used to put an "X" on your hand or something. That was your cootie shot. One girl was designated as having cooties and if she touched you, you passed it on to somebody else. Or else if you didn't have the "X" you'd get it."

Submitter comment:

Informant recalls this as being practices often while attending grade school.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): GAME ; gender ; Prank ; SCHOOL ; Tease ; TRICK ; TRICKSTER

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- School

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Retort

Telephone Joke:

Question: "Are you the lady that washes?

Answer: "No."

Response: "Gee, you must be dirty!"

Submitter comment:

Learned this during school days. We'd call any number in the telephone book and ask the question. When the party answered "no," we gave the punchline.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Keyword(s): Call ; COMEBACK ; HUMOR ; INSULT ; Prank ; RETORT ; SARCASM ; TELEPHONE ; Wisecrack

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Custom: Holiday

"NO ONE REALLY KNOWS WHO ENJOYED THE FIRST APRIL FOOL'S
DAY GUFFAWS. SOME SAY THE DAY OF BUFFOONERY BEGAN IN
FRANCE IN 1564, WHEN NEW YEAR'S DAY WAS CARRIED BACK
TO JANUARY 1 INSTEAD OF BEING CELEBRATED ON MARCH 25.
THOSE PEOPLE WHO OBJECTED TO THE TIME JUGGLE WERE
GIVEN MOCK NEW YEAR'S GIFTS ON APRIL 1, WHICH USED TO
BE THE FINAL DAY OF MERRYMAKING. THE PRACTICAL JOKE
CUSTOM POPPED UP IN BRITAIN BY THE 18TH CENTURY, AND
THE BRITISH EXPORTED THE ZANY PRACTICE TO NORTH
AMERICA."

Data entry tech comment:

Updated and Motifs added / 02-28-2011 / TRD

Keyword(s): APRIL FOOL'S DAY ; Britain ; CUSTOM ; France ; holiday ; JOKE ; New Years ; Origin ; PRACTICAL JOKE ; Prank

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- April 1 April Fools
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- April 1 April Fools
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- March 21 equinox to June 20

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Prank

Dorm Doorknobs:

I have often heard of this trick praticed in college dormatories and once actually saw it being done. One night, quiet [sic] late when most everyone had gone to sleep a girl on muy floor took a ball of string and tied either end to doorknobs which faced one another. The idea of this is that the next morning when girls began leaving for class they would be unable to open their doors. You can well imagine the shouting which occured the "morning after" this trick.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Keyword(s): COLLEGE ; Doorknob ; Dorm ; Dormitory ; JOKE ; PRACTICAL JOKE ; Prank ; String

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- C537

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