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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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BEWARE OF THE BLACKBIRDS

WHEN COMBING YOUR HAIR, BE SURE NOT TO LET A STRAND
OR A CLUMP OF YOUR HAIR FALL TO THE GROUND
WHERE A BLACKBIRD CAN PICK IT UP, FOR IF HE DOES,
YOU WILL GO CRAZY.

Where learned: WORK

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Physically handicapped Deformed
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hair, on head, mustache, widow's peak
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: 09-19-1969

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ROSES

IF A GIRL WEARS A ROSE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF HER HEAD IT MEANS SHE IS
SINGLE AND AVAILABLE. IF IT IS ON HER LEFT SIDE IT MEANS SHE IS
MARRIED.

Where learned: WORK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Signs of availability

Date learned: 07-00-1967

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BELIEF (COLLECTOR'S TITLE) ; BAD LUCK: GESTURES (CLASSIFIERHS TITLE)

THE THIRD PERSON ON A MATCH IS BAD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; LIBRARY ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; WORK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.22

Date learned: 01-29-1968

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GENERAL FOLKLORE

A MAN IN ENGLAND IN THE 1500,S COULD BE CRUSHED TO DEATH BY BEING
PLACED BETWEEN TWO BOARDS WHICH WERE LOADED WITH STONES, FOR NOT
PLEADING GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY AT THE BAR IN THE COURTS. BECAUSE
THIS WOULD HOLD UP THE COURTS AND DELAY OTHER TRIALS.

Where learned: WORK

Keyword(s): PLEADING ENGLISH COURTS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Common law

Date learned: 11-00-1968

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SAYING

ROB HAW THE GLECAE (GLASCOW) GLUTTON/ STOLE LAMB AND A LEG OF MUTTON.

Submitter comment: VOLUNTEERED

Where learned: WORK

Keyword(s): FEMININE RHYME ; RHYME: AA

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

Date learned: 09-22-1968

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AN OMEN

IF THERE IS A PIECE OF STRING, THREAD
LYING ON YOUR CLOTHES, THIS IS A SIGN
MEANING THAT YOU ARE GOING TO RECEIVE
A LETTER OR PACKAGE.

Where learned: WORK ; J L HUDSONS

Subject headings: Observation

Date learned: 10-13-1969

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SHE HAD A DREAM THAT HER DEAD MOTHER CAME DOWN
AND TOLD HER TO PLAY A 3 DIGIT NUMBER SO WHEN
SHE WOKE THE NEXT DAY SHE PLAYED THE NUMBER AND
IT CAME OUT STRAIGHT!

Submitter comment: WHEN YOU DREAM OF DEAD PEOPLE DO WHAT THEY TELL
YOU TO DO BECAUSE MOST OF THE TIME IT WILL BRING
YOU GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: WORK ; MAILROOM

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Dreams
BELIEF -- Good luck

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BELIEF

WHEN YOU GO VISITING, ALWAYS LEAVE BY THE SAME DOOR
THROUGH WHICH YOU ENTERED.

Where learned: WORK

Subject headings: Observation

Date learned: 12-02-1967

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INDIAN CORN SOUP

IN ORDER TO MAKE INDIAN CORN SOUP, ONE MUST FIRST
OBTAIN SOME INDIAN CORN STALKS. TAKE THE STALKS
AND PLACE THEM IN A PAN OVER A FIRE. THE HEAT
WILL CAUSE THE CORN KERNELS TO POP. TAKE THE POPPED
KERNELS AND WASH THEM FIRST IN ASHES AND THEN
IN LYE. REPEAT THIS PROCEDURE TWICE. AFTER COMPLETING
THE KERNEL WASHING, PLACE THE CORN IN A POT FILLED
WITH WATER, ADD SALT AND BRING THE MIXTURE TO A BOIL.
LET THE WATER BOIL FOR ABOUT 20 MINUTES. THEN THE SOUP
SHOULD BE DONE.

Where learned: DETROIT, ASSUMED ; WORK ; J L HUDSONS ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Mixed preparation in liquid

Date learned: 10-13-1969

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PROVERB

FIGURES DON'T LIE, BUT LIARS CAN FIGURE.

Where learned: WORK

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim

Date learned: 11-03-1967

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I DON'T KNOW

THERE IS A CERTAIN CHEMISTRY TEACHER AT U. OF D.
WHO ASKED A REALLY TOUGH PROBLEM ON THE FINAL. ONE
OF THE FELLOWS IN THE CLASS SIMPLY WROTE, "I DON'T
KNOW," FOR THE ANSWER AND THE TEACHER GAVE HIM CREDIT.
HE SAID THAT WAS THE RIGHT ANSWER FOR HIM--HE DIDN'T
KNOW.

Submitter comment: BOB HEARD THIS STORY AT SCHOOL THIS FALL AND SAYS THAT
IT HAPPENED AT FINALS LAST JUNE. IT IS TOLD FOR TRUE.

Where learned: WORK

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Tale

Date learned: 11-00-1963

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CUSTOM

SMOKING IS ALWAYS A CEREMONY TO INDIANS. THEY DON'T
SMOKE ALONE; ALL IMPORTANT DECISIONS ARE OPENED
WITH A SMOKE.

Where learned: WORK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Typical Elements of a Festive Pattern

Date learned: 11-00-1968

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NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP
PUT 25 DOLLARS AT MY FEET,
PUT SYRUP IN MY HAND,
SO I CAN SUP MY WAY TO THE PROMISED LAND.

Where learned: WORK

James Callow Keyword(s): PARODY

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

Date learned: 10-30-1971

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Entry filtered.

RIDDLE

Q. WHAT HAS 50 MILLION LEGS, BUT CANNOT WALK?
A. JERRY,S KIDS.

Submitter comment:

WHAT A SICKIE) THIS OF COURSE IS REFERRING TO JERRY LEWIS
AND HIS ANNUAL TELETHON FOR MUSCULAR DISTROPHY. TROY IS GOING TO
HAVE LOTS OF BAD LUCK FOR THIS ONE)

Where learned: WORK

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- Riddle Question

Date learned: 09-00-1981

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Entry filtered.

Historical record from James Callow Folklore Archive.

How do you know Adam and Eve weren't black?
Ever try takin' ribs away from a nigger!
Did you hear about the little black kid who had diarrhea?
He thought he was melting.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; WORK

Keyword(s): African American ; Bigot ; Black ; JOKE ; Offensive ; RACISM ; Racist ; RIDDLE ; Stereotype ; Tasteless

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- Riddle Question
Filter - Mature Content

Date learned: 01-00-1992

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BURIAL CUSTOM OF NAVAL AIRFORCE

IN THE NAVAL AIRFORCE A SQUADRON IS USUALLY MADE UP OF
FOUR OR FIVE PLANES. WHEN ONE OF THE MEMBERS DIES, THE
OTHERS FLY OVER THE BURIAL SERVICE IN FORMATION, MINUS
THE DECEASED MEMBER LEAVING AN EMPTY PLACE IN THE
FORMATION.

Submitter comment: TOLD AT WHITEHEAD AND KALES MILL STREET PLANT AND NOTED
ON ALL TV STATIONS AT FUNERALS OF THE ASTRONAUTS.

Where learned: DETROIT, ASSUMED ; WORK ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

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Saying

Format for answering telephone:

"Barker's Morgue, you stab 'em, we slab 'em."

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs Added By TRD

James Callow comment:

Verse?

Where learned: WORK

Keyword(s): JOKE ; Morgue ; Saying ; Slab ; Stab ; TELEPHONE ; VERSE

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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REMOVAL OF THE EVIL EYE

ON ONLY ONE DAY OF THE YEAR CAN A PERSON BE TAUGHT HOW TO REMOVE THE
EVIL EYE. THE TIME IS BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND 2:00 AM CHRISTMAS
MORNING. THE WORDS HAVE TO BE MEMORIZED SINCE THEY ARE NOT WRITTEN
DOWN AND CANNOT BE WRITTEN DOWN. IT IS TAUGHT BY AN OLD WOMAN TO A
YOUNG WOMAN; OR AN OLD MAN TO YOUNG MAN, BUT NOT BY A MAN TO A
WOMAN; OR A WOMAN TO A MAN. AFTER THE PRAYERS ARE TAUGHT, A DISH
OF OLIVE OIL AND A DISH OF WATER ARE PREPARED. THE PERSON MAKES THE
SIGN OF THE CROSS ON SOMEONE'S FOREHEAD WHILE SAYING A PRAYER. THEN
HE DIPS HIS FINGER IN THE OIL AND DROPS THE OIL IN THE WATER. IF
IF THE OIL SEPARATES INTO BALLS, THE PERSON HAS AN EVIL EYE AND MORE
PRAYERS ARE SAID. THEN THE DISH OF WATER WITH THE OIL IN IT IS
THROWN IN THE STREET WHERE BUGGIES (TODAY CARS) CAN RUN OVER IT;
AND THE SPELL WOULD BE BROKEN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; WORK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 24 Christmas Eve Predictions

Date learned: 07-00-1964

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Entry filtered.

Historical record from James Callow Folklore Archive.

A white man and his family bought a dog from a black family.
The man bragged about how well the dog was trained. One day
the dog jumped on the couch. The white man shouted, "Rex,
get down!" The dog started dancing.

What do you call a black doctor?
A nigger.

Submitter comment:

"Get down" is slang that means to dance.
 

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: WORK ; POLICE

Keyword(s): African American ; Bigot ; Black ; JOKE ; Offensive ; Racist ; RIDDLE ; Stereotype ; Tasteless

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- Riddle Question
Filter - Mature Content

Date learned: 01-00-1990

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THE AGE-OLD SAYING, "THRICE A BRIDESMAID, NEVER A
BRIDE," IS RELATED TO THE SUPERSTITIOUS IDEA OF
"NEVER TWO, WITHOUT THREE."

Submitter comment: FROM RELATIVES

Where learned: WORK

Subject headings: 686 Seconds / Twice / Two
686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage

Date learned: 11-28-1967

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