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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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BIRTH PREDICTION

THIS ENTRY WAS MADE JAN. 17, 1967 FROM MRS. SWEROCK WHO,
UPON VISITING HER EXPECTANT NIECE, PREDICTED THE SEX
OF THE UNBORN CHILD. SHE LEARNED THIS METHOD OF
DETERMINING THE SEX FROM HER MOTHER, A NATIVE
OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA.
IF THE WOMAN IS POINTED IN THE FRONT, SHE WILL HAVE
A BOY; IF SHE IS BROAD AND WIDE FROM BEHIND, THEN
SHE'LL HAVE A GIRL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; WYANDOTTE

Subject headings: Observation
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Birth

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THE SISTER-IN-LAW, IN HER SLEEP, IMAGINED THAT HER
MOTHER WAS CALLING TO HER. SHE AWAKENED FRIGHTENED
BUT SHRUGGED IT OFF AS A BAD DREAM. THE NEXT MORNING
WHEN SHE WENT TO SEE HER MOTHER, WHO LIVED TWO
HOUSES AWAY, SHE WAS DEAD. THE DOCTOR SAID SHE DIED
ABOUT 4:30 THAT MORNING, THE SAME TIME THAT THE
SISTER-IN-LAW AWAKENED FROM HER DREAM.

Submitter comment: THIS WAS COLLECTED ON JAN. 31, 1967; MRS. SWEROCK
RELATED THIS INCIDENT AS HEARD FROM HER SISTER-IN-LAW.

Where learned: MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; WYANDOTTE

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Dreams Foretelling a death

Date learned: 01-31-1967

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LOCAL HAUNTED HOUSE STORY

THERE WAS AN OLD HOUSE NEAR HERE, BUT THIS WAS QUITE A FEW YEARS
AGO, AND PEOPLE THOUGHT IT WAS HAUNTED BECAUSE THEY WOULD HEAR
NOISES COMING FROM IT AND EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE A HORRIBLE SMELL
WOULD COME OUT OF THE HOUSE. FINALLY, THEY FOUND AN OLD WOMAN
IN THE BASEMENT WHO HAD BEEN LIVING THERE AND EATING THE RATS
TO KEEP ALIVE.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

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

Date learned: 09-19-1967

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LOCAL HAUNTED HOUSE STORY

THERE WAS AN OLD HOUSE NEAR HERE, BUT THIS WAS QUITE A FEW YEARS
AGO, AND PEOPLE THOUGHT IT WAS HAUNTED BECAUSE THEY WOULD HEAR
NOISES COMING FROM IT AND EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE A HORRIBLE SMELL
WOULD COME OUT OF THE HOUSE. FINALLY, THEY FOUND AN OLD WOMAN
IN THE BASEMENT WHO HAD BEEN LIVING THERE AND EATING THE RATS
TO KEEP ALIVE.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

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

Date learned: 09-19-1967

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IN POLAND, ON A CHILD'S FIRST BIRTHDAY, YOU PUT
FIVE OBJECTS IN FRONT OF HIM OR HER. THESE OBJECTS
ARE: A BOOK, A ROSARY, A WINE GLASS, A PAIR OF
SCISSORS, AND CIGARETTES. IF A CHILD CHOOSES
THE BOOK, HE WILL BE INTELLIGENT. IF HE CHOOSES
THE ROSARY, HE WILL BE A PRIEST OR NUN. IF HE
CHOOSES THE WINE GLASS, HE WILL BE AN ALCOHOLIC.
IF THE CIGARETTES, HE'LL BE A TRAMP. IF A CHILD
CHOOSES THE SCISSORS, SHE'LL BE A GOOD HOUSEWIFE.
ON MY FIRST BIRTHDAY (THERESA) I CHOSE THE
SCISSORS AND I CAN SEW AND COOK QUITE WELL..

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; SAINT HYACINTH SCHOOL

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of object for determining future of young

Date learned: 02-01-1972

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WILL IT BE A BOY OR GIRL?

IF A MOTHER KNITS GIRLISH THINGS DURING HER PREGNANCY,
SHE WILL GET A GIRL. IF SHE LOOKS AT BOYISH THINGS
AND MAKES THEM, SHE WILL HAVE A BOY.

Submitter comment: DR. THORDEN SAID THIS ONE DAY WHEN A BOY ASKED HER
IF YOU CAN TELL BEFOREHAND IF YOUR CHILD WILL BE A
BOY OR A GIRL. WE WERE STUDYING REPRODUCTION AT THIS
TIME. SHE SAID THIS AS A PASSING THING, NOT AS THE
REAL ANSWER TO HIS QUESTION.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: --

Date learned: 11-14-1969

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NIGHT SWEATS

IF THE SKIN SURFACE OF THE BODY IS GIVEN A CUPPED-PALM HAND BATH
OF APPLE CIDER AT BEDTIME, THE NIGHT SWEATS WILL BE PREVENTED.

Where learned: APARTMENT ; DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: 11-08-1969

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SALT OVER YOUR SHOULDER ( COLLECTOR'S TITLE) ; GOOD LUCK; SALT ( CLASSIFIER'S TITLE )

FOR GOOD LUCK YOU THROW SALT OVER YOUR LEFT SHOULDER.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Good luck P881.17

Date learned: NOT RECORDED

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LOCAL HAUNTED HOUSE STORY

THERE WAS AN OLD HOUSE NEAR HERE, BUT THIS WAS QUITE A FEW YEARS
AGO, AND PEOPLE THOUGHT IT WAS HAUNTED BECAUSE THEY WOULD HEAR
NOISES COMING FROM IT AND EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE A HORRIBLE SMELL
WOULD COME OUT OF THE HOUSE. FINALLY, THEY FOUND AN OLD WOMAN
IN THE BASEMENT WHO HAD BEEN LIVING THERE AND EATING THE RATS
TO KEEP ALIVE.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

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

Date learned: 09-19-1967

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FRUITS DECAY AS SOON AS THEY RIPEN
LOVE AND KISSES SOON GROW OLD
YOUNG MEN'S VOWS ARE SOON FORGOTTEN
LOOK OUT! DON'T GET SOLD.

Submitter comment: THIS WOMAN, WHO WISHES TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS, PERMITTED
ME TO COLLECT THESE VERSES FROM HER AUTOGRAPH BOOK.
THE VERSES WERE ENTERED BY HER HIGH SCHOOL CLASSMATES
IN 1939.

Where learned: MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; WYANDOTTE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse Cynical insight

Date learned: 00-00-1939

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TAKE A HANDFUL OF ANY KIND OF METAL (GOLD, SILVER, IRON)
AND PUT IT UNDER YOUR PILLOW,
THE NEXT DAY THERE WILL BE A LARGE SUM OF MONEY THERE.

Submitter comment: MY MOTHER TOLD ME THIS WHEN SHE SAID SHE HAD TO GET SOME MONEY
TO PAY OUR BILLS. SHE THEN WENT ON TO SAY THAT SHE
SHOULD DO THIS AND SEE IF IT WORKED.

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

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Magic of Speech, Sign, Color

Date learned: 11-21-1969

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WHEN IT RAINS ON A WEDDING DAY, BAD LUCK WILL FOLLOW.
(TRANSLATED FROM THE POLISH).

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; DEARBORN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Marriage Superstition about good weather
BELIEF -- Bad luck Crucial moment of life

Date learned: 11-00-1968

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FIRE PREVENTION- ALLGAU, BAVARIA, GERMANY

IN ORDER TO PREVENT HOUSE FIRES, ALWAYS KEEP A PICTURE
OF ST. FLORIAN IN THE HOME.

Where learned: WARREN ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; PENNSYLVANIA, ASSUMED

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Religious hero
BELIEF -- Use of Object
SPEECH -- Proper Name

Date learned: 11-17-1968

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CURES

MRS. BOLCEN TOLD ME OF THE HOME MADE CURES HER MOTHER HAD.
SHE TOLD ME OF THE TIME THAT SHE CURED SCARLET FEVER BY MAKING THE
CHILDREN SOAK IN HOT WATER AND MUSTARD.
SHE ALSO CURED BOILS BY PUTTING BREAD AND MILK POULTICES ON THEM.
TO CURE BURNS SHE PUT COLD TEA ON THEM.

Submitter comment: SHE LEARNED THIS FROM HER MOTHER WHEN SHE WAS A CHILD.

Data entry tech comment: COLLECTOR'S SPELLING CORRECTED BY KEYPUNCHER.

Where learned: DETROIT, ASSUMED ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; BRASS RAIL CHOP HOUSE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Method of Curing

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WHEN TWO PEOPLE SAY THE SAME THING AT THE SAME TIME,
THEY LINK PINKIES AND MAKE A WISH.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: 602 Body Parts
BELIEF -- Prayer
SPEECH -- Formula
SPEECH -- Wishes Wants Desires Predictions

Date learned: 10-02-1967

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AT WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY, NO FEMALE STUDENT IS
OFFICIALLY A COED OF W.M.U. UNTIL SHE IS KISSED
UNDER A PARTICULAR LAMP ON EAST HALL ON EAST CAMPUS,
BY HER FAVORITE BEAU.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- School

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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PROVERBIAL METAPHOR

A NEW BROOM SWEEPS WELL BUT AN OLD ONE IS BEST FOR THE CORNERS

Where learned: BIRMINGHAM ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

James Callow Keyword(s): PARODY ; POLITICS

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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POLISH GOOD FRIDAY CUSTOM

IF THE PEOPLE CAN'T BE IN CHURCH FOR THE TRE ORE SERVICES, THEY DO
NOT SPEAK AT ALL FOR THE 3 HOURS.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): SILENCE ; SPEECH TABOO

Subject headings: 663 Good Friday

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

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FAMILY CHRISTMAS CUSTOM

EVERY CHRISTMAS WE HAVE PLUM PUDDING.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: HARPER WOODS ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): CHRISTMAS ; CUSTOM ; FOOD ; PLUM ; Pudding ; tradition

Subject headings: 122 Christmas

Date learned: NOT RECORDED

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POLISH PROVERB

LET THE HORSE WORRY SINCE HE HAS A BIG HEAD.
TRANSLATION FROM THE POLISH:
NIECH SIE MARTIVI KON', HO MA WILLKA GLOIVA.

Where learned: DEARBORN ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 11-21-1967

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