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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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IT WOULD BE BAD LUCK TO PASS A PERSON GOING THE
OTHER DIRECTION ON A FLIGHT OF STAIRS.

Submitter comment: FAMILY SUPERSTITION--IRISH

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

James Callow Keyword(s): WALKING

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Angular forms
BELIEF -- Bad luck Activities

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IT IS BAD LUCK TO SPLIT A TREE, THAT IS IF ONE PERSON
WALKS ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE TREE AND ANOTHER PERSON
WALKS ON THE RIGHT SIDE.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED IN CHILDHOOD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): WHILE WALKING TOGETHER.

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck Activities
BELIEF -- Bad luck Plants

Date learned: 01-26-1971

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BEFORE A FRESHMAN CAN STEP ON THE BIG M IN THE CENTRE OF THE
DIAG, HE MUST HAVE TAKEN HIS FIRST EXAM, OR HE WILL FLUNK OUT OF
SCHOOL WITHIN THE YEAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ROYAL OAK

James Callow Keyword(s): SLANG--DIAG FOR DIAGONAL? ; WALKING PROHIBITION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- School

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CUSTOM

THERE IS A TRADITION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN THAT IF
YOU STEP ON THE M OF THE DIAGONAL EMBLAZED IN THE CROSSWALK,
YOU WILL FLUNK YOUR NEXT EXAM.

Submitter comment:

WHEN A STUDENT AT U. OF M., THE INFORMANT TRIED THIS
TO DISPROVE THE TRADITION, BY STEPPING ON THE M AFTER STUDYING
FOR AN EXAM. SHE FAILED HER EXAM.
KEYPUNCHERS COMMENT, THERE IS ANOTHER LIKE THIS IN THE ARCHIVE.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): EDUCATION ; SYMBOL ; WALKING PROHIBITION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- School

Date learned: 12-00-1967

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HEADACHE

IF YOU FOLLOW EXACTLY IN SOMEONE'S FOOTPRINTS YOU WILL HAVE
A HEADACHE.

Where learned: DETROIT

Keyword(s): CAUSE ; WALKING

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: 01-19-1971

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CHILDREN'S VERSE

STEP ON A LINE,
BREAK YOUR MOTHER'S SPINE.

Submitter comment: FROM THE CHILDREN IN HER NEIGHBORHOOD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

James Callow Keyword(s): SIDEWALK

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: 00001964 (SUMMER)

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DIAPER TAG

IF YOU STEP IN A SQUARE WITH A LETTER WRITTEN ON IT,
YOU HAVE A DIAPER.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT IS A FRIEND'S YOUNGEST SISTER, AND SHE IS
ABOUT EIGHT YEARS OLD. THIS IS A GAME THEY PLAY

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FERNDALE

Keyword(s): SIDEWALK SQUARE?

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Racing Chasing Fighting

Date learned: 00001971 SPRING

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SLEEP WALKING

NELL, MY MOTHER'S SISTER, USED TO WALK IN HER SLEEP.
SHE WALKED RIGHT OUT OF THE HOUSE ONE NIGHT TOWARD
THE RAILROAD TRACK THAT YOU HAD TO CROSS TO GET TO THE
ROAD. HER DAD MISSED HER AND RAN OUTSIDE TO FIND HER.
HE CAUGHT HER JUST AS SHE WAS STARTING TO CROSS THE TRACK
WITH A TRAIN COMIN'. HE JERKED HER OFF THE TRACK JUST
AS THE TRAIN RAN BY.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; KINGSTON

James Callow Keyword(s): SLEEPWALKER

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Physically handicapped Deformed
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Body part Senses

Date learned: 07-27-1968

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YELLOW FINGER

ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS A CASTLE THAT WAS GUARDED BY
A HUGE YELLOW FINGER, WHO WOULDN'T LET ANYONE PASS
THE KING FROM A RIVALING CASTLE SENT ONE OF HIS BRAVEST
KNIGHTS TO GET BY THE FINGER, BUT THE FINGER KILLED HIM.
SO THE KING SENT A DUKE, BUT HE, TOO, WAS KILLED. THEN
THE KING SENT ONE OF HIS PAGES. HE JUST WALKED RIGHT
THROUGH.
MORAL: LET YOUR PAGES DO THE WALKING THROUGH THE YELLOW
FINGER.

Submitter comment: IT SEEMS TO ME THERE WAS SLIGHTLY MORE BUILD-UP ON THIS
STORY, BUT I CAN'T REMEMBER IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): PUN ON TELEVISION ADVERTISEMENT: LET YOUR FINGERS DO THE WALKING THROUGH THE YELLOW PAGES. COMMERCIAL FOR THE BELL TELEPHONE CO., REGARDING SAVING TIME AND ENERGY BY PRE-SHOPPING THROUGH MAKING CAL

Subject headings: 6677 Formula Tale

Date learned: 11-18-1968

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YELLOW FINGERS

ONCE THERE WAS A KING WHO WANTED TO GET A MESSAGE THROUGH
TO A NEIGHBORING KINGDOM. BUT IN ORDER TO GET THROUGH,
THE MESSANGER WOULD HAVE TO PASS THE MONSTROUS YELLOW
FINGERS. FIRST A KNIGHT WAS SENT, BUT THE YELLOW FINGERS
PINCHED HIM TO DEATH. THEN A SQUIRE TRIED, BUT MET WITH
THE SAME FATE. FINALLY, A PAGE WAS SENT AND MADE IT
THROUGH.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS: LET YOUR PAGES DO THE WALKING
THROUGH THE YELLOW FINGERS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): PUN ON COMMERCIAL FOR THE BELL TELEPHONE CO., WHICH SAYS, "LET YOUR FINGERS DO THE WALKING, THROUGH THE YELLOW PAGES." TIMESAVING AND ENERGY SAVING METHOD OF SHOPPING--LOOK UP IN THE YELLOW PAGES O

Subject headings: 6677 Formula Tale

Date learned: 10-15-1969

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PROVERBIAL APOTHEGM

WATCH YOUR STEP.

Keyword(s): WALKING ACCIDENTS

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

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Proverb

Tell me with whom you walk and I'll tell you who you are.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Keyword(s): Aphorism ; Apothegm ; CHARACTER ; Company ; FRIENDS ; Maxim ; PROVERB ; VERSE ; Walk

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim

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Entry filtered.

Language

Vocabulary of Prejudiced Group:

During the first moon walk, prejudiced people in Flint would chant "Coon to the Moon."

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs Added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Were they black or white or both?
All were white

sense of "coon to the moon?"

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; SOUTH QUAD

Keyword(s): CHANT ; Coon ; FLINT ; Language ; MICHIGAN ; MOON ; Moonwalk ; PREJUDICE ; RACISM ; SLANG ; Space

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula
Filter - Mature Content

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WHY DO BIRDS FLY SOUTH?
BECAUSE IT'S TOO FAR TO WALK.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Keyword(s): BIRDS ; Fly ; JOKE ; RIDDLE ; South ; Walk

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- Riddle Question

Date learned: 02-00-1972

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WHEN WALKING WITH ANOTHER, DO NOT WALK ON EITHER (SIDE)
OF AN OBSTACLE OR YOU WILL HAVE A FIGHT.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: OHIO ; TROTWOOD

Keyword(s): FIGHT ; Obstacle ; SIGN ; SUPERSTITION ; WALKING

Subject headings: Prediction / Divination

Date learned: 04-00-1972

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SLEEP WALKING SUPERSTITION

IF YOU WALK OR TALK IN YOUR SLEEP, YOU ARE FORETELLING
SOMETHING OF THE FUTURE.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: SAINT HYACINTH SCHOOL

Keyword(s): Fortune Telling ; FUTURE ; Portent ; Sleep-talking ; Sleepwalking ; Somnambulism ; Talking in your sleep

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 02-29-1972

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SUPERSTITION

NEVER WAKE A SLEEPWALKER OR HE WILL DIE.

Submitter comment:

THIS IS A BELIEF COMMON IN THE OSWALD FAMILY.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

Keyword(s): Awaken ; BELIEF ; DEATH ; Die ; Legend ; Lore ; SLEEPWALKER ; SUPERSTITION ; WAKE

James Callow Keyword(s): ADVICE ; NEGATIVE

Subject headings: Daily Life
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Measure of time Sleeping

Date learned: 09-20-1967

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DATING SUPERSTITION

INFORMANT'S FATHER ALWAYS TOLD HER WHEN YOUR BOY FRIEND LETS YOU
WALK ON THE OUTSIDE PART OF THE WALK, HE DOESN'T WANT YOU
ANY MORE, AND ANYONE CAN TAKE YOU. HE HAS ALWAYS KIDDED
HER ABOUT THIS.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BELIEF ; CHIVALRY ; Relationship ; SIDEWALK ; SIGN ; SUPERSTITION ; SYMBOL

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

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 10-08-1971

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BELIEF

IF A MAN WALKS ON THE INSIDE OF THE WALK, IT MEANS THAT
THE GIRL HE IS WITH IS FOR SALE.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ;

Keyword(s): BELIEF ; CHIVALRY ; Girlfriend ; Relationship ; SIDEWALK ; SUPERSTITION ; Walk

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

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Signs of availability
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 11-26-1970

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