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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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SNAKES

THERE'S SOME KIND OF SNAKE THAT CAN PUT ITS TAIL IN
ITS MOUTH AND ROLL LIKE A HOOP.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT HAD NEVER SEEN ONE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Animal Tale

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GOOD LUCK IN RESTAURANTS

ON NEW YEAR'S DAY, A NEW ONE DOLLAR BILL IS PLACED
ON THE WALL OF THE RESTAURANT. IT REMAINS ON THE
WALL UNTIL THE NEXT YEAR, WHEN A NEW ONE DOLLAR
BILL IS PUT UP.

Submitter comment: BY DOING THIS, THE RESTAURANT WILL HAVE GOOD LUCK
ALL YEAR, AS WELL AS GOOD BUSINESS. GOOD FOOD AND
GOOD SERVICE WILL PREVAIL ALL YEAR ROUND.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Work Commerce Business
BELIEF -- Work Commerce Business
BELIEF -- Measure of time Year
BELIEF -- Good luck

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NEW YEARS EVE CUSTOM

EVERY NEW YEARS EVE A NEW DRINK WOULD BE CONCOCTED
AND WOULD THEN BE TOASTED AT MIDNIGHT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 31 New Year's Eve

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BELIEF

TO MAKE A TREE STUMP FALL APART, POUND A PENNY INTO IT

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT THIS WAS COLLECTED FROM IS AN IRISH-AMERICAN.
JOHN HANS LIVED IN EAST DETROIT AT THE TIME THE
INFORMATION WAS COLLECTED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Plant

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SAYING

A ROLL OF TOILET PAPER WITH RIBBON ON IT, A U. OF D. DIPLOMA.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT GAVE ME THIS COMMENT AS I WAS SITTING IN HIS KITCHEN
ORGANIZING ITEMS FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT. I BELIEVE THIS IS A SENTIMENT
AMONG SENIORS AS THEY LOOK FOR A JOB AFTER GRADUATION.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Phrase

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WEATHER BELIEF

LIGHTNING NEVER STRIKES TWICE IN THE SAME PLACE.

Where learned: EAST DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 686.1.2
BELIEF -- Lightning Thunder
BELIEF -- Weather sign or control P890.7

Date learned: 10-03-1968

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IF YOU SPILL SALT, YOU WILL HAVE BAD LUCK UNLESS
YOU IMMEDIATELY THROW SALT OVER YOUR RIGHT
SHOULDER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ACCIDENT ; POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Conversions Activities

Date learned: 04-03-1967

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IF A BLACK CAT CROSSES YOUR PATH, YOU WILL HAVE
BAD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Color
BELIEF -- Bad luck Animals

Date learned: 03-28-1967

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WISHING DITTY

STAR LIGHT, STAR BRIGHT,
FIRST STAR I SEE TONIGHT;
I WISH I MAY, I WISH I MIGHT
HAVE THE WISH I WISH TONIGHT.

Submitter comment: MUST BE RECITED TO FIRST STAR SEEN FOR WISH TO COME TRUE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Belief Belief
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 04-05-1967

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BAD LUCK (COLLECTOR,S TITLE)

IT IS BAD LUCK TO GIVE ANYONE A SHARP OBJECT FOR A GIFT. TO RID YOURSELF OF THE BAD LUCK,
GIVE YOUR MOTHER A COPPER PENNY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. ; CONVERSION; GIVING COIN (CLASSIFIER,S TITLE)

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Conversions P883.1

Date learned: 09-17-1967

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NURSERY RHYME

ITALIAN:
SECA SECA SECOLA
(NAME) VA ALLA SCUOLA
SE PORTA IL CANESTRINA
A TUTTO PIENO DI ROBBA
FINCI LA MAESTRA
CE LA PRENTE
A LA METTO SUL COMO
CI JA DIRE SI E NO.
TRANSLATION:
SEE SEE SAW.
(NAME) GOES TO SCHOOL.
SHE BRINGS A BASKET
ALL FILLED WITH GOODIES
FOR THE TEACHER.
THE TEACHER TAKES THE BASKET
AND PUTS IT ON THE DESK.
ASKS HER "YES" OR "NO."

Submitter comment: I HAVE HEARD THE INFORMANT SAY THIS TO HER GRANDSON, 1-1/2 YRS.
OLD, WHEN HOLDING HIM IN HER LAP. SHE TOOK BOTH OF HIS HANDS
AND ROCKED HIM TO AND FRO; AND ENDED THE RHYME BY PULLING
ONE HAND FOR "YES" AND THEN THE OTHER FOR "NO."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

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

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KILL A SPIDER ON FRIDAY AND YOU'LL HAVE ALL KINDS
OF BAD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): INSECT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour
BELIEF -- Bad luck Animals

Date learned: 09-21-1969

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GERMAN BELIEF: DON'T HANG A CALENDAR BEFORE THE
FIRST OF THE YEAR.

Submitter comment: BAD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
BELIEF -- Bad luck Activities

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IT IS UNLUCKY TO SPILL SALT--COMES FROM THE TIME WHEN
JUDAS UPSET SALT WITH HIS HAND AT THE LAST SUPPER
WHEN GETTING UP TO LEAVE TO BETRAY CHRIST.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): APOCRYPHAL BIBLE INCIDENT ; ISCARIOT ; JESUS

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Bad luck Food and drink

Date learned: 04-03-1967

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

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck Umbrella

Date learned: 04-03-1967

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IT IS UNLUCKY TO PUT ON YOUR LEFT SHOE BEFORE
YOUR RIGHT SHOE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck Clothing (dress, hat, shoes, suit, etc.)

Date learned: 02-28-1967

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IF YOU WALK UNDER A LADDER YOU WILL HAVE BAD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Angular forms
BELIEF -- Bad luck Ladder (angles, pyramid, etc.)

Date learned: 04-02-1967

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IF YOU BREAK A MIRROR, YOU WILL HAVE SEVEN YEARS OF
BAD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Seven / Sevenths / Several
BELIEF -- Bad luck Mirror

Date learned: 03-28-1967

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IT IS UNLUCKY TO SEE THE NEW MOON OVER YOUR LEFT
SHOULDER.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT DIDN'T KNOW WHY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Moon
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 02-28-1967

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IF YOU KNOCK ON WOOD, YOU WILL HAVE GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Good luck Activities
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 04-03-1967

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