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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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MY GRANDMOTHER WOULD NEVER ALLOW YELLOW CATS INTO THE
HOUSE. THEY WERE TO REMAIN IN THE BARN. TIGER CATS,
BLACK CATS, WHITE CATS, THESE ALL HAD THE HOPE OF BEING
HOUSEHOLD PETS. STRICT APARTHEID WITH YELLOW CATS--TO
THE BARN! IT HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE BELIEF THAT THEY
WOULD BRING MISFORTUNE ON THE HOUSEHOLD. ON THE OTHER
HAND, MY FAMILY ONCE LIVED NEXT DOOR TO A FAMILY ORIGINALLY
FROM THE VERY RURAL PARTS OF KENTUCKY. MRS. PATTON COLLECTED
EVERY YELLOW CAT SHE COULD FIND AND CLAIMED THEY PURRED
LOUDER THAN OTHER CATS AND BROUGHT MORE CHEER TO A HOUSE.
WE OFTEN HEARD HER CRY, "YELLER CAT, HERE YELLER CAT"
FROM HER FRONT PORCH, AND WE WERE GLAD THAT MY GRANDMOTHER
AND MRS. PATTON NEVER LIVED NEAR EACH OTHER.

Submitter comment: TOLD TO ME BY MY NEIGHBOR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Color
BELIEF -- Use of Object Animals
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.31

Date learned: 00001940-1950

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IF SOMEONE SWEEPS OVER YOUR FEET WITH A BROOM,
YOU WON'T GET MARRIED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Marriage Dating Courtship

Date learned: 09-15-1969

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WART CURE--GO TO A HOUSE WHERE THE WOMAN IS FRYING BACON. WHEN
SHE ISN'T LOOKING, STEAL A PIECE OF BACON AND WHEN YOU GO
OUTSIDE, THROW IT AWAY.

Submitter comment: TOLD TO ME BY MY NEIGHBOR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Remedy

Date learned: 00001940-1950

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ROMANIAN

TUESDAY-BAD LUCK ALL DAY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour

Date learned: 09-17-1969

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CANNOT SEW ON SUNDAY, IT'S BAD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.4

Date learned: 10-06-1969

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AFTER HAVING BREAD OR ANY FOOD BLESSED BY A PRIEST
YOU MUST FIRST MAKE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS WITH A
KNIFE ON THE UNDERSIDE BEFORE EATING OR CUTTING
THE FOOD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications

Date learned: 10-06-1969

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IT IS BAD LUCK IF YOU DON'T HOLD A WHITE BUTTON
WHEN DRIVING THROUGH A CEMETERY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Color
BELIEF -- Conversions Leaving Entering Returning home Travel

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IT IS BAD LUCK IF YOU DON'T LIFT YOUR LEGS WHEN
DRIVING BY A CEMETERY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Conversions Leaving Entering Returning home Travel

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IT IS BAD LUCK IF YOU DON'T LIFT YOUR LEGS WHEN
DRIVING OVER A RAILROAD TRACK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

James Callow Keyword(s): TRAVELING

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Conversions Leaving Entering Returning home Travel

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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WHEN LEAVING THE HOUSE, ALWAYS STEP OUT WITH THE
RIGHT LEG, THEN YOU WILL HAVE GOOD LUCK. IF
YOU STEP OUT WITH LEFT LEG, YOU WILL HAVE BAD
LUCK ALL DAY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Conversions Leaving Entering Returning home Travel

Date learned: FROM YOUTH

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IF SOMEONE ASKS FOR YOUR HANDERCHIEF, MAKE SURE
YOU GET IT BACK OR YOU WILL HAVE BAD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

James Callow Keyword(s): BORROW

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

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IT IS BAD LUCK TO LIGHT MORE THAN THREE CIGARETTES
WITH THE SAME MATCH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

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

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IF YOU WHISTLE IN THE HOUSE, IT BRINGS BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: ROMANIAN

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Bad luck Activities

Date learned: 10-07-1969

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NEVER LEAVE A LOAF OF BREAD ON ITS TOP WITH
BOTTOM UP; IT SHOWS DISRESPECT FOR GOD AND
THEREFORE IS BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: FRENCH

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Subject headings: Favorites
Food Drink -- Plant food Fruit
BELIEF -- Bad luck Food and drink

Date learned: 09-15-1969

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CANNOT OPEN AN UMBRELLA IN THE HOUSE--IT IS BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: ROMANIAN

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck Umbrella

Date learned: 10-06-1969

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FOLLOW THE ARROWS

WE USED TO GET UP A BIG GANG OF TEN OR FIFTEEN KIDS
FROM OUR NEIGHBORHOOD IN NASHVILLE. THIS WAS WHEN
I WAS AROUND TEN YEARS OLD. OUR NEIGHBORHOOD WAS
ABOUT THE SIZE OF TWO CITY BLOCKS, BUT WITHOUT
FENCES AND VERY LITTLE TRAFFIC. THERE WERE LOTS OF
STOREHOUSES, GARAGES AND A CREEK RUNNING THROUGH
IT. LITTLE KIDS COULDN'T PLAY WITH US BECAUSE
THEY COULDN'T RUN FAST ENOUGH.
YOU LET ONE OR TWO KIDS HIDE THEIR EYES WHILE THE
OTHERS RUN IN A GROUP TOWARD SOME SPECIAL PLACE,
SAY, BEHIND A GARAGE. ONE PERSON IN THE GANG MAKES
CHALK ARROWS POINTING THE DIRECTION TO GO. THEN
THE SEARCHERS WOULD HUNT FOR THE ARROWS. THE GAME
WAS OVER WHEN THE SEARCHERS WOULD SPOT THE BIG
GANG.
WE WOULD USUALLY PLAY THIS ONLY ONCE A DAY BECAUSE
OF THE RUNNING TIRING US OUT.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT PLAYED THIS GAME AROUND 1942 WHEN SHE
WAS A TEN YEAR OLD IN NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

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

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PLANTING TIME

PLANT CUCUMBER SEEDS ON JUNE 13 FOR A BUMPER CROP.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- June 13
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting
BELIEF -- Plant husbandry Farming

Date learned: 00001940-1950

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WHEN TO PLANT

FARMERS SAY NEVER PUT SEED (IN) WHEN THE MOON GETS
LESS, BUT WHEN IT GETS MORE. YOU PLANT AND GET MORE,
BIGGER FRUIT.

Submitter comment: TOLD TO ME IN MY HOME BY MY NEIGHBOR, WHO WAS BORN
AND RAISED IN RURAL GERMANY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GERMANY ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F476
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F476
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting

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USE OF ZODIAC CALENDAR FOR CASTRATION

WHEN WE WOULD BUTCHER THE HOGS IN FALL, WE WOULD USE THE
ZODIAC CALENDAR. WE DIDN'T LIKE TO CASTRATE ANIMALS
UNLESS THE ZODIAC SIGN WAS IN THE FEET ON THE CHART.
IF THE SIGN WAS IN THE PROPER PLACE, THE ANIMAL WOULDN'T
BLEED AS MUCH IF CASTRATED AT THE WRONG TIME IN THE
ZODIAC CALENDAR.

Submitter comment: TOLD BY MY NEIGHBOR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Subject headings: Observation
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of time
BELIEF -- Animal Husbandry Farming Ranching

Date learned: 00001940-1950

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IN MONTMORENCY COUNTY, S SHIVAREE BEGAN WITH RINGING
BELLS. MY MOTHER'S BIG BELL WAS USED OFTEN. THE
NEWLYWEDS WERE GIVEN A LITTLE NOTICE, AND THEY
WERE TO HAVE FOOD OR DRINKS READY FOR THE SHIVAREE
CROWD.
SOMETIMES, A COUPLE HAD TO GET MARRIED, OR THEY
WEREN'T WELL LIKED, AND THESE DIDN'T GET A SHIVAREE.
IF YOU DIDN'T GET SHIVAREED, IT WAS A SIGN OF BAD
LUCK ON THE MARRIAGE.

Submitter comment: TOLD TO ME BY MY NEIGHBOR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage F545.1341

Date learned: 00001940-1950

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