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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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IF EVERY FOOL WORE A CROWN, WE'D
ALL BE KINGS.

Submitter comment: SHE DOES NOT BELIEVE IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 00-00-1976 ; 00-00-1985

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THERE IS A HOUSE IN PALMER PARK THAT WAS
ONCE SAID TO BE HAUNTED. WHEN STUDENTS WENT
TO PALMER PARK FOR A FIELD TRIP, THEY
WOULD REPORT SEEING PEOPLE OR GHOSTS
IN THE VACANT HOUSE.

Submitter comment: HE ONCE BELIEVED IT, BUT HE NO
LONGER BELIEVES IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

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

Date learned: 00-00-1973 ; 00-00-1985

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WHEN YOU STEP ON AN ANT, IT WILL RAIN.

Submitter comment: SHE SAYS SHE TRIED IT AND IT DID
NOT HAPPEN; THEREFORE SHE DOES
NOT BELIEVE IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Insect
BELIEF -- Cloud Fog Mist Rain Hail Ice Snow Frost Dew

Date learned: 00-00-1983 ; 00-00-1985

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WHEN YOUR NOSE ITCHES, YOU WILL
GET SOME MONEY.

Submitter comment: SHE ACTS AS IF SHE BELIEVES IT, BUT SHE
SAYS IT HAS NEVER HAPPENED TO HER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions Itching nose

Date learned: 00-00-1971 ; 00-00-1985

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GOOD FENCES MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS.

Submitter comment: SHE BELIEVES IT. SHE SAYS IT IS BEST
NOT TO GET TOO INVOLVED WITH NEIGHBORS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 00-00-1978 ; 00-00-1985

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IF YOU PUT A TOOTH UNDER YOUR PILLOW,
A FAIRY GODMOTHER WILL PUT A DIME UNDER
THE PILLOW AND TAKE THE TOOTH.

Submitter comment: SHE BELIEVED IT AT THE TIME, BUT SHE NO
LONGER BELIEVES IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Fairy Elf Goblin Gnome

Date learned: 00-00-1983 ; 00-00-1985

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IF YOU LET AN UMBRELLA UP IN THE HOUSE,
YOU WILL HAVE BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: SHE BELIEVES IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 00-00-1975 ; 00-00-1985

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NEVER CROSS A BLACK CAT'S PATH OR YOU WILL HAVE
TEN YEARS OF BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: SHE BELIEVED IT THEN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: 686 First / Once / One / Newness
BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 00-00-1976 ; 00-00-1985

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WHEN YOUR LEFT PALM ITCHES, YOU WILL GET SOME MONEY;
BUT IF YOUR RIGHT PALM ITCHES, SOMETHING BAD WILL HAPPEN.

Submitter comment: SHE DID NOT BELIEVE IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

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

Date learned: 00-00-1974

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GOD BLESS THE DUKE OF ARGYLE

WHEN THE TELEGRAPH WAS FIRST BEING SET UP IN SCOTLAND,
THE DUKE OF ARGYLE HAD POLES ERECTED FOR THAT PURPOSE
ALL OVER THE COUNTRYSIDE. THE PEASANTS, BEING SIMPLE
PEOPLE DID NOT UNDERSTAND THAT THESE POLES WERE TO BE
USED FOR THE TELEGRAPH AND THEY THOUGHT THE DUKE HAD
THEM PLACED THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRYSIDE FOR THE PEASANTS
TO USE AS SCRATCHING POSTS. SO NOW, WHENEVER A SCOTSMAN
FROM THE DOMAIN OF THE DUKE OF ARGYLE GETS AN ITCHY
BACK, HE SAYS, "GOD BLESS THE DUKE OF ARGYLE."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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CURE

IF A CHILD, USUALLY A BABY, IS SUFFERING FROM AN ILLNESS, USUALLY A
CHILD'S ILLNESS LIKE A COLD OR FLU, YOU SHOULD CUT OFF THE EAR OF A
CAT. THEN DRIP THE BLOOD ON A PIECE OF BREAD AND FEED IT TO THE
INFANT. THIS IS SALEM WITCHCRAFT.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT THOUGHT THIS WAS A SICKENING THING TO DO, BUT HE
TALKED OF IT AS AN AUTHENTIC CURE ACCORDING TO SOME PEOPLE. AS HE
SAID, WHAT ELSE COULD THEY DO, THE DRUG STORES WERE CLOSED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

James Callow Keyword(s): IRONY

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Plant food
BELIEF -- Remedy
BELIEF -- Use of Object Animals

Date learned: 11-00-1975

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THE HEADLESS MOTORCYCLEMAN

IN TOLEDO, (OHIO?), ACTUALLY IN THE OUTSKIRTS,
THERE WAS AN ACCIDENT IN THE
LATE 50S. A GUY ON A MOTORCYCLE WAS HIT AND KILLED BY A CAR WHEN
THEY WERE PLAYING SOME GAME, "CHICKEN," I THINK. IF YOU GO AT NIGHT,
ROLL DOWN ALL YOUR WINDOWS AND FLASH YOUR LIGHTS. THIS IS A SIGNAL
THAT YOU'RE THERE. SOME PEOPLE HAVE SEEN HIM, SOME PEOPLE HAVE SEEN
HIS LIGHTS. I THINK THIS IS DUMB, BUT THE BELIEF HAS BEEN HELD FOR
A LONG TIME.

Submitter comment: WHAT I CAN'T FIGURE OUT IN THIS IS WHY HE IS CALLED THE HEADLESS
MOTORCYCLEMAN AND HE STILL HAS HIS HEAD. THE INFORMANT TREATED THIS
AS JUST ANOTHER LOCAL LEGEND AND DIDN'T BELIEVE IN IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Supernatural Being
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
SPEECH -- Game Pastime Sport
SPEECH -- To Be Seen

Date learned: 11-00-1975

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RELIGIOUS CUSTOM

ON JANUARY 6, THE FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY, YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO WRITE
THE INITIALS OF THE THREE KINGS ABOVE YOUR DOORWAY. IT IS A WAY TO
CELEBRATE' A BLESSING AND A CATHOLIC CUSTOM. WE DIDN,T FOLLOW IT.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT WAS VERY INSISTENT IN THE FACT THAT HIS FAMILY DID NOT
FOLLOW THIS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

James Callow Keyword(s): NUMBERS

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Word Letter

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IF THE GROUNDHOG SEES HIS SHADOW ON FEBRUARY 2ND,
ANOTHER SIX WEEKS OF COLD WEATHER WILL FOLLOW. IF
HE DOES NOT SEE HIS SHADOW, THE WEATHER WILL BEGIN
TO GET WARMER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: Observation
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- February 2 Candlemas Groundhog Day

Date learned: 06-00-1964

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IF YOU CARRY A RABBIT'S FOOT AROUND WITH YOU ALL THE
TIME, IT WILL BRING YOU GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment: WHEN I WAS IN GRADE SCHOOL THIS WAS QUITE COMMON.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Good luck Amulet, mojo

Date learned: 11-08-1967

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WITCHES

IMMORTALITY IS NOT A CHARACTERISTIC OF WITCHES, THOUGH SOME
SEEM TO BE VERY OLD. ONE REASON TO BELIEVE THAT THEY DO DIE OR
MEET AN END SOMEHOW IS THE TALE THAT A STAR FALLS FROM THE SKY
EVERY TIME A WITCH DIES.

Where learned: HIGHLAND PARK ; ILLINOIS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Witch Shaman

Date learned: 02-09-1967

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ORIGIN OF WOODPECKER

THIS INFORMANT WAS TOLD THAT AN OLD WOMAN WHO WAS
DRESSED IN A BLACK DRESS, WHITE APRON, AND RED CAP REFUSED
TO FEED A HUNGRY WANDERER AS SHE WAS BAKING BREAD.
FOR HER SELFISHNESS THE WOMAN WAS TURNED INTO THE RED-
HEADED WOODPECKER TO PECK FOR WORMS AND BUGS FOR THE
REST OF HER LIFE.

Where learned: HIGHLAND PARK ; ILLINOIS

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Creation and Order of Animal Life
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Bird

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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ORIGIN OF WOODPECKER

THIS INFORMANT WAS TOLD THAT AN OLD WOMAN WHO WAS
DRESSED IN A BLACK DRESS, WHITE APRON, AND RED CAP REFUSED
TO FEED A HUNGRY WANDERER AS SHE WAS BAKING BREAD.
FOR HER SELFISHNESS THE WOMAN WAS TURNED INTO THE RED-
HEADED WOODPECKER TO PECK FOR WORMS AND BUGS FOR THE
REST OF HER LIFE.

Where learned: HIGHLAND PARK ; ILLINOIS

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Creation and Order of Animal Life
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Bird

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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THE YOUNG LADIES OF RUTH'S NEIGHBORHOOD EAGERLY AWAIT
APPLE SEASON SO THAT THEY CAN BAKE PIES AND CAKES AND
STRUDELS. IN ORDER TO MAKE THESE, THE APPLES MUST
BE PEELED. PARING OR PEELING IS A TRICKY SKILL. IF
THEY CAN SUCCESSFULLY PARE THE WHOLE APPLE WITHOUT
BREAKING OR CUTTING THE PEELING, THEN THEY THROW
THE PEEL OVER THEIR LEFT SHOULDERS. THEY BELIEVE
THE PEEL WILL FALL SO THAT THE INITIAL OF THEIR
BELOVED IS FORMED.

Submitter comment: I ONLY PRESUME THAT SOME OF THE PIES, CAKES,
DUMPLINGS, AND STRUDELS WENT TO THE BELOVED.

Where learned: HIGHLAND PARK ; ILLINOIS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of object for determining true love P861.1

Date learned: 04-08-1967

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BUTTERCUPS TELL

TODAY, WHEN RUTH AND I WERE REMINISCING ABOUT CHILDHOOD DAYS,
SHE TOLD ME OF A SPRINGTIME PRACTICE TYPICAL OF THE
PERSONS OF HER NEIGHBORHOOD. WHEN THE BUTTERCUPS BLOSSOM
ALONG THE SWAMPS, CHILDREN WOULD PICK THEM AND PRESENT
THE BOUQUETS TO THEIR MOTHERS. THE MOTHER WOULD TAKE A
FLOWER OUT OF THE NOSEGAY AND TICKLE THE UNDERSIDE OF THE
GIVER'S CHIN WITH A BUTTERCUP. IF SOME OF THE YELLOW
SHOULD RUB OFF, THEN THAT WAS A SIGN THAT THE CHILD
LIKED BUTTER. SHE SAID THAT ONCE WHEN THE BUTTERCUPS
TOLD OF HER LIKING BUTTER, HER MOTHER SENT HER OFF TO
PLAY WITH A THANK YOU FOR THE NOSEGAY AND A PIECE OF TOAST
DRIPPING WITH MELTED BUTTER.

Where learned: HIGHLAND PARK ; ILLINOIS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting
BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Use of Object

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