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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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IT FLOATS

MY MOTHER USED TO TELL ME ABOUT A HAUNTED HOUSE THAT HAD
GHOSTS, BATS, DRAGGING CHAINS AND OTHER SCARY THINGS.
WHEN SHE HAD BUILT UP THE SUSPENSE, SHE WOULD SAY,
"IT FLOATS, IT FLOATS," AND THEN I WOULD SAY, "WHAT
FLOATS?" AND SHE WOULD GRIN AND SAY, "WHY, IVORY
SOAP FLOATS!"

Submitter comment: HEARD WHEN SHE WAS A CHILD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Formula tale

Date learned: 00001964 SUMMER

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JESUS HELPS THOSE THAT HELP THEMSELVES

ONE DAY JESUS WAS TAKING A WALK WITH PETER DOWN AN OLD
ROAD. THEY SAW A MAN WITH A DONKEY BY THE SIDE OF THE
ROAD, THE DONKEY GOT STUCK IN THE MUD. THE MAN FELL DOWN
ON HIS KNEES AND HE STARTED PRAYING, "GOD, OH GOD, PULL
MY DONKEY OUT OF THE MUD." BUT JESUS JUST KEPT WALKING
BY. AS HE KEPT WALKING, ANOTHER MAN AND DONKEY WERE
STUCK IN THE MUD. BUT THE MAN WAS CUSSING, SWEARING,
SAYING, "YOU DAMN BASTARD MULE." AS HE SWORE HE WAS
PULLING AND PUSHING THE DONKEY. JESUS WENT DOWN AND
HELPED HIM.
AFTER, PETER ASKED JESUS, "WHY DID YOU HELP THIS MAN
WHO CUSSED, AND NOT THE MAN WHO PRAYED?" JESUS SAID
THAT HE HELPED HIM 'CAUSE HE WAS HELPING HIMSELF.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

Keyword(s): BIBLICAL TALE

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Religious hero

Date learned: 01-24-1972

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WHENEVER YOU HAVE WARTS, THIS IS A GOOD CURE. TAKE AN APPLE
AND SLICE IT IN HALF, RUB THE SLICES OVER YOUR WARTS.
PUT THE APPLE TOGETHER AND BURY IT. BY THE TIME THE APPLE
ROTS, YOUR WARTS WILL BE GONE.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAID THAT HER FRIEND DID THIS IN FRONT OF HER. WITHIN
A WEEK, HER FRIEND'S' WARTS WERE GONE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

James Callow Keyword(s): PLUGGING TRANSFER

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: 02-02-1972

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TO CURE WARTS, SOME SAY THAT YOU WOULD PEEL A POTATO, AND PUT IT
IN A DIRTY SOCK; THEN THEY SAY, THAT YOU SHOULD BURY IT IN YOUR
BACKYARD. WHEN THE POTATO ROTS, YOUR WARTS WILL BE GONE.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT DID NOT BELIEVE THIS, BUT SAID THAT HER MOTHER DID
THIS WHEN SHE WAS SMALL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: 02-09-1972

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WHENEVER A FUNERAL PROCESSION IS PASSING, YOU SHOULD
HOLD ONE OF YOUR BUTTONS, OTHERWISE YOU WOULD BE THE
NEXT TO DIE.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT STILL PERFORMS THIS TASK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 02-01-1972

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WHEN I WAS ABOUT FOURTEEN, WHEN WE WOULD EAT AN APPLE
WITH A STEM ON IT, WE WOULD TWIST THE APPLE HOLDING
THE STEM IN THE OTHER HAND. WITH EACH TWIST, A
LETTER WAS NAMED. WHEN THE STEM CAME OFF ON A PARTI-
CULAR LETTER, THAT WAS THE INITIAL OF YOUR FUTURE
BOYFRIEND'S FIRST NAME.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT RECALLS THAT THIS FAD LASTED FOR ABOUT FOUR
YEARS (1964-1968).

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

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

Date learned: 02-01-1972

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NEVER STEP OVER A PERSON LYING DOWN ON THE FLOOR.
IT WILL BRING HIM BAD LUCK. IF YOU HAPPEN TO
STEP OVER HIM, QUICKLY STEP BACKWARDS OVER HIM
TO REMOVE THE BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: I CAN REMEMBER MY RELATIVES SAYING THIS TO ME,
IF I WAS ABOUT TO STEP OVER ONE OF MY YOUNGER
COUSINS LYING ON THE FLOOR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Conversions Activities

Date learned: 00001950S LATE

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WHENEVER YOU BUY A TYPE OF SHOE CALLED "PENNY"
LOAFERS, YOU MUST PUT A PENNY IN THEM FOR GOOD
LUCK.

Submitter comment: DURING THE LATE 1960S EVERYONE WAS WEARING PENNY
LOAFERS. YOU HAD TO PUT A COIN IN THE SLOT AT THE
TONGUE OF THE SHOE FOR GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Conversions Money
BELIEF -- Conversions Clothing (dress, hat, shoes, suit, etc.)

Date learned: 00001960S

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IT IS BAD LUCK TO LIGHT CIGARETTES OF THREE PEOPLE
ON ONE MATCH.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT STATED THAT THIS EVOLVED OUT OF WORLD WAR II
WHEN GERMANS WOULD WATCH A LIGHTED MATCH GO FROM THE
FIRST, TO THE SECOND, AND TO THE THIRD AND THEN
SHOOT THAT PERSON.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
BELIEF -- Bad luck Numbers

Date learned: 02-02-1972

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IT IS BAD LUCK TO LEAVE FROM A HOUSE IN A DIFFERENT
DOOR THAN YOU CAME IN.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT'S BROTHER NEVER BROKE THIS BELIEF, ALWAYS
ENTERING AND EXITING FROM THE SAME DOOR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Bad luck Leaving Entering Returning home Travel

Date learned: 01-24-1972

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WHEN YOU MOVE INTO A NEW HOME YOU SHOULD SPILL
CHICKEN OR ROOSTER BLOOD OUTSIDE THE DOOR FOR
GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAID THE SPILLING OF CHICKEN BLOOD REFERS *33460/CENCKEN
TO THE PAGAN TRADITION OF SACRIFICES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
BELIEF -- Good luck Animals
BELIEF -- Good luck Numbers

Date learned: 02-14-1972

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TURKISH CUSTOM

A NEW BRIDE WEARS A RED VEIL HEADDRESS FOR ONE
MONTH AFTER MARRIAGE. IT IS TO SHOW THAT SHE IS
NEWLY MARRIED.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAID THIS IS A VERY OLD ARMENIAN CUSTOM
WHICH WAS OBSERVED IN THE OLD COUNTRY (YOZGOT,
TURKEY).

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage F545.1571

Date learned: 01-24-1972

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AT WEDDINGS, ALMOND CANDIES ARE GIVEN AWAY IN SOME
KIND OF CONTAINER. BUT AN UNEVEN NUMBER MUST BE
IN THE CONTAINER, OR ELSE THE COUPLE THAT IS GETTING
MARRIED WILL HAVE A BAD MARRIAGE.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAID THAT AT ALL OF HER CHILDREN'S WEDDINGS,
SHE MADE SURE THAT THIS WAS DONE. THE WEDDINGS WERE
ITALIAN-ORIENTED..

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Reception

Date learned: 01-21-1972

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AFTER A GIRL HAS JUST BEEN MARRIED SHE MUST KISS
THE HANDS OF HER PARENTS AND NEW MOTHER AND FATHER
IN-LAW FOR GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAID THAT THIS WAS DONE IN THE OLD
COUNTRY (YOZGAT, TURKEY).

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; TURKEY ; OAK PARK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage Ceremony

Date learned: 02-27-1972

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INFORMANT HAS A POLISH AUNT FROM BUFFALO, NEW YORK, WHO
GIVES EVERYONE IN THE FAMILY A LOTTERY TICKET FOR
HIS BIRTHDAY FROM AGE SIXTEEN ON.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Private birthday or anniversary

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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JACKS GAME

YEARS AGO IN RUSSIA, THE CHILDREN WOULD TAKE TINY LAMB
BONES, DRY THE, AND USE THEM FOR JACKS.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAID THAT HER MOTHER-IN-LAW GREW UP IN RUSSIA
(1897-1902) AND REMEMBERS MAKING AND PLAYING WITH THESE
BONES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

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

Date learned: 02-02-1972

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MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY YULE,
TAKE A FRIEND AND GO TO SHULE.

Submitter comment: YULE IS AT CHRISTMAS TIME, AND SHULE IS A JEWISH HOUSE
OF WORSHIP.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

Keyword(s): HOLIDAYS ; MOCK EPIC ; PARODY OF SONG ; RELIGIOUS ; RELIGIOUS OR PIOUS MOCK

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Custom Festival C840.642

Date learned: 10-03-1971

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THERE IS A CUSTOM THAT SAYS THAT THE GODMOTHER MUST BE
THE FIRST TO CUT OFF THE FINGERNAILS OF AN INFANT.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAID THAT THE GODMOTHER WOULD PREVENT ANY
EVIL EYE THAT MIGHT GET A HOLD OF THE FINGERNAILS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Baptism Naming rite

Date learned: 01-21-1972

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SLEEPING CUSTOM

THE HUSBAND SHOULD ALWAYS SLEEP NEXT TO THE DOOR, OR
IN THE PLACE WHERE HE CAN GET TO THE DOOR THE
QUICKEST.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT FELT THAT IT WAS NECESSARY FOR THE MAN TO BE
READY TO TAKE CARE OF ANYTHING BY JUMPING UP AND RUNNING
OUT OF THE ROOM BY SLEEPING WHERE HE COULD EXIT QUICKLY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of time Sleeping

Date learned: 01-21-1972

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YOU CAN TELL HOW MANY DAYS ARE IN THE MONTHS BY USING
YOUR KNUCKLES. USING THE FOUR KNUCKLES, ON THE
KNUCKLES IS 31 DAYS, IN THE LOW PART BETWEEN THE
KNUCKLES ARE THE MONTHS WITH LESS THAN 31 DAYS.

Data entry tech comment: DRAWING ON 5 X 8 CARD: ON KNUCKLES, JULY, ON THE

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; OAK PARK

Subject headings: ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- MNEM

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