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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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GHOST STORY

"WHEN MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER CAME TO THE UNITED STATES FROM
IRELAND, HE WAS WORKING AS A TAXI CAB DRIVER. ON HIS ROUTE
HE USED TO PASS A GRAVEYARD. ON HIS WAY PAST IT ONE TIME
HE NOTICED A WOMAN STANDING ON THE ROAD NEAR THERE. HE PICKED
HER UP AND TOOK HER HOME. HE PICKED UP THIS SAME LADY EVERY-
DAY AT THE SAME TIME. MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER GOT TO KNOW THIS
PERSON VERY WELL. ONE DAY THIS LADY DIDN'T SHOW UP, SO MY
GREAT-GRANDFATHER WENT TO HER HOUSE TO CHECK UP ON HER.
AN OLD LADY ANSWERED THE DOOR AND MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER ASKED
HER ABOUT THIS LADY. THE OLD LADY HAD A GHASTLY LOOK ON HER
FACE AND SAID THAT IT WAS HER DAUGHTER WHO HAD DIED SOME TIME
AGO AND THE GRAVEYARD THAT HE PASSED EVERYDAY WAS THE GRAVEYARD
THAT HER DAUGHTER WAS BURIED IN."

Where learned: NEW JERSEY ; CARTERET

James Callow Keyword(s): VANISHING HITCHHIKER

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter

Date learned: 00001973CA

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LESSON

"THIS IS A LESSON ABOUT NOT MINDING YOUR PARENTS TOLD
TO ME BY MY MOTHER: ONCE THERE WERE TWO BOYS DOING THEIR
HOMEWORK, A GOOD BOY AND A BAD BOY. THEIR MOM CALLED THEM
TO COME AND EAT THEIR SUPPER, THE GOOD BOY WENT BUT THE BAD
BOY STAYED TO DO HIS HOMEWORK. AFTER DINNER WHEN THE BOYS
WENT BACK TO THEIR ROOM, THE GOOD BOY FOUND HIS HOMEWORK HAD
BEEN COMPLETED IN GOLD BY ANGELS. WHEREAS, THE BAD BOY FOUND
THAT THE EDGES OF HIS PAPER HAD BEEN BURNED AND THAT HIS
HOMEWORK HAD BEEN COMPLETED ALL WRONG IN RED INK. THE DEVIL
HAD COME TO DO THE BAD BOY'S HOMEWORK."

Where learned: NEW JERSEY ; CARTERET

James Callow Keyword(s): FUNCTION

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Angel
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Devil Demon
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Religious

Date learned: 00001973CA

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GHOST STORY

"I COME FROM A VERY OLD TOWN IN NEW JERSEY THAT WAS
SETTLED BEFORE THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR. IT WAS ISOLATED
AND THE PEOPLE THERE WERE VERY STRICT. THERE WAS
A CURFEW AND OTHER VERY STRICT LAWS. THERE WAS ALSO A
TRUANT OFFICER THAT EVERYONE CALLED 'OLD NED.' OLD
NED WOULD RIDE AROUND THE STREETS AT NIGHT AT A CERTAIN
TIME OF CURFEW AND COLLECT ALL OF THE LITTLE CHILDREN
THAT WERE STILL OUT PLAYING AND HE WOULD SCOLD THEM
OR TAKE THEM HOME OR TAKE THEM TO JAIL. THE CHILDREN
WOULD GET INTO TROUBLE BY THEIR PARENTS. HE WAS A
ROTTEN, MEAN OLD MAN. AND IT IS SAID THAT AT CERTAIN
TIMES OF THE NIGHT YOU CAN STILL HEAR OLD NED RIDING
AROUND THE STREETS YELLING AT THE KIDS." CN[ CHRISTIAN, SHIRLEY 832917
C1[ 1780 CASGRAIN

Where learned: NEW JERSEY ; CARTERET

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Human Being

Date learned: 00001973CA

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GHOST STORY

"WHEN MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER CAME TO THE UNITED STATES, SHE
MOVED INTO AN APARTMENT BY HERSELF. AT THAT TIME SHE WAS IN
HER EARLY TWENTIES AND LIVED IN NEW YORK CITY. SHE LIVED
IN THE UPPERMOST APARTMENT. IT WAS AN ATTIC WHICH HAD BEEN
CONVERTED INTO AN APARTMENT. MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER WAS VERY
QUIET AND NEVER SPOKE TO ANYONE. EXCEPT ONE DAY A LADY
DRESSED IN A WOMAN'S VERSION OF A SAILOR SUIT CAME BY AND
VISITED MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER. MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER DIDN'T
KNOW HER BUT SHE STILL INVITED HER IN. EVENTUALLY THEY
BECAME GOOD FRIENDS. THE LADY CAME BY AND VISITED MY GREAT-
GRANDMOTHER EVERY DAY. ONE DAY, HOWEVER, THE LADY DIDN'T
COME. MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER WASN'T REAL WORRIED ABOUT IT
UNTIL A WHOLE WEEK WENT BY WITHOUT THE WOMAN VISITING HER.
MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER THEN WENT DOWNSTAIRS AND SPOKE TO HER
LANDLADY. SHE ASKED HER LANDLADY ABOUT THE MYSTERIOUS
WOMAN DRESSED IN A SAILOR SUIT. THE LANDLADY WAS SHOCKED.
SHE TOLD MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER THAT THE WOMAN SHE WAS
TALKING ABOUT HAD BEEN DEAD FOR SOME TIME; SHE HAD HANGED
HERSELF IN MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER'S APARTMENT SHORTLY BEFORE
MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER HAD MOVED IN."

Where learned: NEW JERSEY ; CARTERET

Subject headings: --

Date learned: 00001973CA

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TO CURE A SORE THROAT TIE SOMETHING WOOL AROUND YOUR NECK.

Where learned: NEW JERSEY ; IRVINGTON

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Animal
BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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PROVERB

WHEN I WAS LEAVING TO COME TO THE UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT I TOLD MY
GIRLFRIEND THAT ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER. SHE REPLIED
WITH OUT OF SIGHT OUT OF MIND

Submitter comment: TOLD IN JERSEY CITY IN DECEMBER 1967

Where learned: NEW JERSEY ; JERSEY CITY

Keyword(s): ELLIPSIS

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim
PROVERB -- Wellerism Quotation

Date learned: 12-00-1967

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CUSTOM--BELIEF

MY MOTHER ACTUALLY WASHED MY MOUTH OUT WITH SOAP ONCE WHEN I HAD
SAID SOMETHING WRONG. IT PARALLELED WASHING AWAY WHAT I HAD SAID,
BUT IT ACTUALLY MADE ME WISH TO AVOID THE TASTE BY REFRAINING FROM
REPEATING WHAT I HAD SAID.

Where learned: NEW JERSEY ; JERSEY CITY

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 00-00-1953

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PROVERB

WHEN I WAS LEAVING TO COME TO THE UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT I TOLD MY
GIRLFRIEND THAT ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER. SHE REPLIED
WITH "OUT OF SIGHT OUT OF MIND."

Submitter comment: TOLD IN JERSEY CITY IN DECEMBER, 1967

Where learned: NEW JERSEY ; JERSEY CITY

Keyword(s): ELLIPSIS

James Callow Keyword(s): CONTRAST ; RETORT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Dating Courtship
PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim
PROVERB -- Wellerism Quotation

Date learned: 12-00-1967

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KICK THE CAN

A SODA CAN WAS PLACED ON A SEWER PLATE IN THE MIDDLE
OF THE STREET. WE CHOSE SOMEONE TO BE "IT." SOMEONE
ELSE KICKED THE CAN DOWN THE BLOCK. "IT" HAD TO RUN TO
GET THE CAN, NOT LOOKING BACK. AT THE SAME TIME THE
GUYS WOULD HIDE. "IT" WOULD WALK BACKWARDS TILL HE
REACHED THE SEWER PLATE. HE WOULD PUT THE CAN DOWN AND
TAP IT ON THE GROUND THREE TIMES. HE WOULD THEN SEEK
THE OTHERS. IF HE FOUND ONE, HE WOULD TAP THE CAN
THREE TIMES SAYING WHO HE SAW AND WHERE HE WAS HIDING
AND THEN "IT" WOULD KICK THE CAN. ONE CATCH, IF
"IT" STRAYED TOO FAR FROM THE CAN SEEKING SOMEONE, THEN
SOMEONE ELSE MIGHT COME OUT AND KICK THE CAN AGAIN.
"IT" WOULD HAVE TO START ALL OVER AND EVERYBODY ELSE
WOULD CHANGE HIDING PLACES.

Where learned: NEW JERSEY ; JERSEY CITY

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement Special Object or Implement

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SCRATCHING YOUR HEAD. DONE WITH FOREFINGER AS IF TO
STIMULATE YOUR MIND TO REMEMBER SOMETHING OR TO
THINK BETTER.

Submitter comment: PICKED IT UP IN JERSEY CITY, N. J. WHEN I WAS 7 OR 8
YEARS OLD IN ABOUT 1954.

Where learned: NEW JERSEY ; JERSEY CITY

Subject headings: 602 Body Parts
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
SPEECH -- Thinking Remembering Forgetting

Date learned: 00-00-1954

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THE CHESTER TRAIN MAN

CHESTER, NEW JERSEY IS A SMALL RURAL TOWN 45 MILES WEST OF NEW
YORK CITY. FREQUENTLY, JOY RIDERS IN MORRIS COUNTY, N.J. WILL DRIVE
INTO CHESTER LOOKING FOR THE CHESTER TRAIN MAN. IN CHESTER, THERE
REMAINS OLD AND RARELY USED RAILROAD TRACKS. A LONG TIME AGO A TRAIN
ENGINEER HOLDING A LANTERN WAS BEHEADED IN AN ACCIDENT. THE STORY
GOES, ON SOME NIGHTS A HEADLESS MAN WAVING A LANTERN ON RR TRACKS CAN
AND HAS BEEN SEEN. MY INFORMANTS WERE A FRIEND FROM HOME, MATT
CARLSON. THIS STORY WAS SUPPORTED BY A CO-WORKER OF MINE BILL FRANEY
WHO IS FROM MORRISTOWN, NEW JERSEY.

Where learned: NEW JERSEY ; MORRIS PLAINS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Physically handicapped Deformed

Date learned: EASTER OF 1972

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