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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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PROVERBIAL COMPARISON

THAT SKIRT IS SO SHORT, IT WOULDN'T FLAG A TRAIN IF IT
WERE RED.

Submitter comment: HEARD BY INFORMANT FROM LONG TIME RESIDENT OF ROCKMART,
GEORGIA, JAMES TRIBLE.

Where learned: GEORGIA ; TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE ; ROCKMART

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor
PROVERB -- Proverbial Comparison

Date learned: 06-12-1972

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PROVERBIAL COMPARISON

HAPPY AS A DEAD PIG IN THE SUNSHINE.

Submitter comment: HEARD BY INFORMANT FROM OLDER MAN FROM ROCHMART, GEORGIA.
JAMES TRIBLE.

Where learned: GEORGIA ; TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE ; ROCKMART

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Comparison

Date learned: 06-11-1972

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Death Owl

There's an old belief down South that when a person has been
gravely ill for a period of time or near death, an owl would come
to call for their spirit. The owl would perch on the ill person's
porch, window sill, or tree near the person's home. Exactly one
day later, the ill person would die. The owl was called a squench
Owl, because of the sound that he made during his visit. He would
appear in the late evening. No one knew where he came from or when
he left. People would try to run the owl away to keep the person
from dying and the owl from taking their love one's spirit, but the
owl would only move to another spot and continue to make squenching
sounds and leave like he came. The people were very afraid of this
owl because he brought death.

Submitter comment: My friend was really adamant about this story because she had
exactly experienced this during her years growing up in Rome,
Georgia.

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Bird
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour

Date learned: 00001944CA

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Town Secrets

There was witches in the town. The people in the town would
tell someone a secret and it would get out and the person that was
told denied telling the secret, so they suspected that there was
witches or spirits in the town. They would get a group of people
to look in the neighbors' back yards and they would discover there
was human skins hanging on the fence. The witches had got out of
their human skins so they wouldn't be known through the community;
therefore they could go around listening to other people
conversation. So the town people decided that there had to be a
spirit around listening, so they would put black peppers in the
skins and when the witches got back into the skins they started
coughing, sneezing and itching so therefore the people knew who
were the liars and gossipers in the town.

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Witch Shaman
BELIEF -- Witch Shaman

Date learned: 00-00-1950

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When the sun is out and it's thundering, raining, and it is
said that the Devil is beating his wife.

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Sun
BELIEF -- Lightning Thunder
BELIEF -- Cloud Fog Mist Rain Hail Ice Snow Frost Dew

Date learned: 00-00-1955

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Do not wash clothes on New Year's Day because you'll wash a
person out of your family. The informant's mother died on January
15, 1982 right after the oldest sister washed clothes on January 1,
1982. The informant's mother was very upset because she was very
sick and she did die.

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Typical Elements of a Festive Pattern
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Measure of time Working

Date learned: 00-00-1955

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It is said when a dog howls in the middle of the night, was a
sign of death, a day or two later a person in the neighborhood
would die.

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour

Date learned: 00-00-1955

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When a person hears a bell ringing in the ear, particurally a
short quick ring, means a person is going to die. The ringing
noise is called a death bell.

Subject headings: 842 Ringing ears / buzzing / hot, burning
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Ears, noise in ear
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 00-00-1955

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When passing a funeral home, you were told not to point at it,
because if you did you would die. You would have to bite your
finger and then put it under your foot to keep death away. It
would reverse the curse of death.

James Callow Keyword(s): CONVERSION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 00-00-1955

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Pull your ear if you're talking about a dead person so by doing
this it will keep the evil spirit away.

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Ears, noise in ear
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 00-00-1955

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If a black cat crosses your path, cross your fingers on him
before he gets cross the path, if you don't you'll have bad luck.

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Bad luck
BELIEF -- Conversions
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 00-00-1955

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If someone sweeps your feet with a broom you have to spit on

the broom; if not the person's foot that you swept will have bad
luck.

James Callow Keyword(s): CONVERSION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Bad luck
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 00-00-1955

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It's said that if you sweep your trash off your porch after
dark, a police officer will come to your house and take one of your
family members to jail.

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour
BELIEF -- Measure of time Working

Date learned: 00-00-1955

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Outhouse

It is an outside toilet. People used it as a toilet to
dispose of their waste and lasted five to seven years. The hole
in the ground was four feet square and five feet deep. The house
was eight feet tall that was made of wood and the floor was made
of concrete. This was not only a custom but a way of life.

Where learned: GEORGIA

Subject headings: ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Separate structure accessory to dwelling

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Bible Class on Wednesday

Bible Class was held during mid-week and generally known as a
mid-week service. Members attended this mid-week service so that
they could be taught the "Word of God," whereas Sunday was a day
of Worship.

Where learned: GEORGIA

Keyword(s): God

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of time Week Day Hour

Date learned: 01001895 CA

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Rub your body down with vinegar when you have a fever to
reduce the fever.

James Callow comment: Salt and other ingredients are added to the vinegar in
Puckett, Ohio, nos. 9502, 9547.

Where learned: GEORGIA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Plant

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Don't eat "chittlings" (chitterlings) in the summer. This
would give you an upset stomach because too much pork in the
summer was not good for your health. "Chittlings are the
intestines of hogs.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

James Callow comment:

For eating pork only during months with an "R" in them, see
Puckett, Ohio, no. 6680.

Where learned: GEORGIA

Keyword(s): Chitlings ; FOOD ; Pork ; REGIONAL ; Seasonal ; Summer

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Meat Bred animal

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A male being the first person to enter your house on New
Year's Day would mean that you and your home would be blessed
with good fortune all year.

James Callow comment:

See Hand, North Carolina, nos. 3886, 3889-3890.

Where learned: GEORGIA

Keyword(s): BLESSING ; Guest ; Home ; Host ; LUCK ; Male ; Man ; New Year ; SIGN ; SUPERSTITION

James Callow Keyword(s): SEXISM

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's

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Throwing salt over your shoulder was considered to be a cure
for bad luck.

Where learned: GEORGIA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Conversions

Date learned: 01001900 CA

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