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DENI GRAS, LEGENDARY CHARACTER OF BREESE, ILLINOIS

THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO LIVED IN AN OLD HOUSE, NEVER TOOK BATHS,
WORE RAGS, (AND) CARRIED TWO POWDER KEGS AS BUCKETS FROM COAL
MINE. (A) SCAVENGER, (SHE) LIVED OFF ANYTHING SHE COULD FIND.
(SHE) ALWAYS HAD A SMILE ON HER FACE. (SHE WAS) PROMINENT BY
HER SILENCE AND ANTI-SOCIALNESS.
(SHE WAS) FOUND IN BED WITH A PARALYTIC STROKE. (SHE) DIED IN
A HOSPITAL SEVERAL YEARS LATER WITHOUT UTTERING A WORD.
THIS DENI GRAS WAS MORE OR LESS FEARED BY THE CHILDREN. SORT OF
TRAGIC IN A WAY. THE WAY IT WAS RELAYED TO ME, SHE MUST HAVE
REALLY BEEN A CHARACTER FITTING FOR DAMON RUNYON NICHE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SOUTHFIELD ; ILLINOIS ; BREESE

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Physically handicapped Deformed
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 10-02-1968

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If you are having trouble selling your house, bury a
statue of St. Joseph, head-down and facing the rear of
the house, until your house is sold. Afterwards you
dig the statue up and permanently display it in a place
of honor in your new home.

Submitter comment: This belief was heard from Maryann's sister, Leda, who
was having trouble selling her condominium. Leda's real
estate agent suggested that she try this. Within the
month Leda's condo was sold, and now the statue of St.
Joseph is on the mantlepiece of her new home. This
superstition is, evidently, very widely held by Italians.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; Rogers Park

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Religious hero
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Work Commerce Business
BELIEF -- Good luck Objects
BELIEF -- Conversions

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IN THE DORMS, IT IS TRADITIONAL TO GET THROWN IN THE
SHOWERS ON YOUR BIRTHDAY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; ILLINOIS ; GLENVIEW ; ASSUMED

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Private birthday or anniversary

Date learned: 11-15-1970

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THE GHOST LOOKING FOR HER GRAVE

THERE IS JEWISH CEMETERY BY MY HOUSE THAT WAS MOVED YEARS
AGO SO THAT A NEW HIGHWAY COULD BE BUILT. THEY DUG EVEYTHING UP
AND MOVED IT ABOUT A MILE BACK. THE HIGHWAY WAS BUILT AS
PLANNED. AFTER THE HIGHWAY WAS BUILT, MANY PEOPLE
BEGAN TO SEE THE IMAGE OF A YOUNG WOMAN WALKING THE HIGHWAY.
THIS SAME WOMAN WAS ALSO SEEN WALKING AROUND WHERE THE GRAVE
NOW IS. IT WAS SAID THAT THE YOUNG WOMAN MUST HAVE BEEN
BURIED IN THE CEMETERY AND LOST HER GRAVE WHEN THEY
MOVED THE CEMETERY. SHE NOW WANDERS AROUND LOOKING FOR
HER GRAVE.

Submitter comment: HE SAID THAT THE STORY HAS BEEN AROUND FOR A LONG TIME
AND THAT A CLOSE FRIEND OF HIS HAS EVEN SEEN THE GHOST.

Where learned: ILLINOIS

Keyword(s): LOST

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 00-00-1972 ; 10-00-1987

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SUPERSTITION

DO NOT SWEEP FLOORS AFTER THE LIGHTS ARE LIT IN THE HOME.
THIS WOULD MEAN SWEEPING HEALTH AND WEALTH FOR THE FAMILY OUT.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; WESTCHESTER

James Callow Keyword(s): BROOM

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Home
BELIEF -- P87O
BELIEF -- Bad luck

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BALL GAME

THIS GAME IS PLAYED WITH A LARGE AIR-FILLED BALL
(LIKE A BEACH BALL).
ONE PERSON IS CHOSEN TO BE IT. HE THROWS THE BALL UP IN THE AIR
WHILE THE OTHERS RUN. WHEN HE CATCHES THE BALL ALL THE OTHERS MUST
FREEZE. HE CAN THEN TAKE FIVE STEPS IN ANY DIRECTION, AND THROW
THE BALL AT ANY OF THE OTHERS. IF HE HITS THE PERSON HE CAN TAKE
FIVE MORE STEPS AND TRY FOR ANOTHER. IF HE HITS ALL OF THE OTHER
PLAYERS THEN THE FIRST ONE HIT BECOMES IT. IF NOT, HE MUST TRY THE
WHOLE THING AGAIN.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; WESTCHESTER

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

Date learned: CA00001960

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KICK THE CAN

PLAYED LIKE HIDE AND GO SEEK. THE BASE IS AN EMPTY
CAN. WHEN THE PERSON WHO IS IT SEES SOMEONE, HE
RUNS TO THE CAN AND SAYS "1-2-3 ON JOHNNY." ALL
THOSE CAUGHT MUST STAY BY THE CAN. IF SOMEONE WHO
IS NOT CAUGHT RUNS OUT FROM HIDING AND KICKS THE CAN
EVERYONE IS FREE AGAIN. GAME GOES UNTIL ALL ARE
CAUGHT, OR IT GIVES UP. WHEN IT WANTS TO GIVE UP,
HE SHOUTS "OLLE OLLE OXEN--ALL IN FREE."

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; JACKSONVILLE

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

Date learned: 00-00-1954

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THE PAPER FORTUNE TELLER

WHEN WE WERE KIDS WE MADE FORTUNE TELLERS BY FOLDING
A PIECE OF PAPER A CERTAIN WAY. ONCE IT WAS COMPLETE
THE PERSON WHO WANTED THEIR FORTUNE TOLD WOULD
PICK A NUMBER ON ONE OF THE TELLER'S FLAPS. THE PERSON
OPERATING THE FORTUNE TELLER WOULD THEN COUNT
THAT MANY NUMBERS. THEN THE PERSON WAS TOLD TO PICK
A COLOR. THEN THEY WOULD SPELL OUT THE COLOR. THEN
THEY WOULD PICK A FLAP AND THEIR FORTUNE WOULD
BE WRITTEN UNDER IT.

Submitter comment: I CAN'T THINK OF A SPECIFIC INFORMANT

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; RIVERSIDE

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 11-00-1987

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MAKING A WISH

WHEN WE WERE KIDS, WE BELIEVED THAT IF WE SAW A CAR
THAT HAD A BURNT OUT HEADLIGHT, YOU COULD WISH ON IT
AND THE WISH WOULD COME TRUE.

Submitter comment: STUDENT

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; RIVERSIDE

Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Prayer

Date learned: 00-00-1970 ; 00-00-1970

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MONK'S CASTLE

THERE IS A CASTLE LOCATED BY MY HOUSE IN ILLINOIS
WHERE MONKS USED TO LIVE.
THE CASTLE WAS BIG AND DARK AND SET IN A REMOTE AREA.
MANY KIDS LIKED TO GO THERE LATE AT NIGHT AND LOOK
IN THE WINDOWS. IT WAS SAID THAT IF ANYONE GOT CAUGHT
LOOKING IN THE WINDOWS OR TRESPASSING ON THE PREMISES
THE MONKS WOULD MAKE THEM STAY THE NIGHT AND PRAY
TO A MONK WHO WAS BURIED IN A GLASS TOMB.
THEN THE NEXT MORNING THEIR PARENTS WOULD HAVE
TO GO AND PICK THEM UP.

Submitter comment: HE WAS A SCHOOL MATE OF MINE.
HE HEARD THE STORY FROM HIS 2 OLDER BROTHERS.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; RIVERSIDE

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- B439
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 00-00-1980

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STATUE-MAKER

FOR THIS GAME ONE PERSON IS CHOSEN AS STATUE-MAKER AND ANOTHER AS
BUYER. THE STATUE-MAKER TAKES EACH OF THE OTHERS AND WHIRLS THEM
AROUND (AS IN CRACK THE WHIP) AND LETS THEM GO. THEY MUST STAY IN
WHATEVER POSITION THEY LAND. THE MAKER THEN INVITES THE BUYER TO
LOOK OVER HIS SELECTION OF STATUES, AND THEY GO AROUND STOPPING AT
EACH ONE. THE STATUE MUST EXPLAIN WHAT HE IS AND PERFORM SOME MOTION
REFLECTING THAT PERSONALITY WITHOUT MOVING FROM HIS POSITION (EXAMPLE
IF HE STOPPED IN A SQUATTING POSITION HE COULD EXPLAIN THAT HE IS A
DOG AND BARK AND SIMULATE WAGGING HIS TAIL). AFTER THE BUYER HAS
SEEN ALL OF THE STATUES HE CHOOSES ONE TO TAKE WITH HIM, THAT PERSON
THEN BECOMING THE BUYER FOR THE NEXT ROUND AND THE BUYER BECOMING
THE MAKER.

Submitter comment: THIS IS ONE OF THE FEW CHILDREN'S GAMES THAT I HAVE SEEN WHERE
IMAGINATION DETERMINES THE WINNER. IT IS ALSO DIFFERENT IN THAT
THE WINNER IS DETERMINED BY JUDGEMENT.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; WESTCHESTER

Subject headings: Favorites
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Dramatic

Date learned: CA00001960

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BRICK STORY

A BRICKLAYER WAS DESIGNING A BUILDING AND HE DETERMINES THAT IT
WILL REQUIRE EXACTLY 1000 BRICKS TO BUILD. SO HE GOES TO THE BRICK
COMPANY AND ASKS THE SALESMAN FOR EXACTLY 1000 BRICKS. THE SALESMAN
SAYS HE DOESN'T KNOW IF HE HAS THAT MANY BRICKS AND SAYS HE'LL GO
AND CHECK. HE WENT OFF TO COUNT THEM AND COMES BACK AND SAYS, I'VE
ONLY GOT 999. THE BRICKLAYER SAYS, WELL I NEED A THOUSAND FOR THIS
BUILDING, I GUESS I'LL HAVE TO GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. THE SALESMAN DIDN'T
WANT TO LOSE A BIG SALE SO HE SAYS, JUST A MINUTE, MAYBE I COUNTED
WRONG. LET ME TRY IT AGAIN. SO HE WENT BACK AND COUNTED THEM AGAIN
AND THIS TIME HE CAME OUT AND SAID, I DID MISCOUNT, THERE ARE EXACTLY
ONE THOUSAND HERE . THE BRICKLAYER SAYS, WELL NOW, IF YOU MISCOUNTED
ONCE HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE YOU THIS TIME? WHY DON'T YOU
GO COUNT THEM AGAIN. THE SALESMAN DID THAT AND CAME BACK AND SAID,
YOU WERE RIGHT. I DID MISCOUNT LAST TIME. THERE ARE REALLY 1001.
WELL I DON'T NEED 1001, I ONLY NEED A THOUSAND. ALRIGHT, I'LL SELL
YOU A THOUSAND THEN. SO THE BRICKLAYER BUYS HIS THOUSAND BRICKS,
LOADS THEM ON HIS TRUCK AND DRIVES OFF TO BUILD HIS BUILDING. WHEN
HE FINISHED IT, HE PUT THE LAST BRICK IN PLACE AND LOOKED DOWN AND
THERE WAS ONE MORE BRICK. SO HE CHECKED THE BUILDING TO MAKE SURE
HE HADN'T FORGOTTEN ANY AND THEN TOOK THE LAST BRICK AND THREW IT
WAY UP IN THE AIR AND WALKED AWAY.
THIS ONE IS TOLD FIRST AND THEN THE OTHER WITH ONE OR TWO IN BETWEEN
THE BRICK IS THEN FOUND IN THE DOG'S MOUTH. THAT STORY (17):

THE NEWLY WED COUPLE
A MAN AND A WOMAN HAD BEEN MARRIED FOR A WHILE, AND THEY
WERE JUST ABOUT TO THE POINT WHERE THE HONEYMOON WAS OVER. IN THE
COURSE OF THEIR MARRIAGE THE HUSBAND HAD PICKED UP ONE HABIT THAT
REALLY ANNOYED THE WIFE AND THE WIFE HAD ONE THING THAT THE HUSBAND
COULD NOT STAND. THE HUSBAND'S WAS THAT HE WOULD SMOKE THESE BIG
BLACK CIGARS AND THE WIFE'S WAS AN UGLY POODLE THAT SHE HAD MANICURED
AND CUT AND SO FORTH . ONE TIME THEY WENT ON A VACATION TOGETHER AND
SINCE IT WAS COLD OUT THEY HAD TO KEEP THE WINDOWS ROLLED UP. THE
HUSBAND WAS SMOKING AWAY AND THE WIFE SAID, IF YOU DON'T PUT OUT THAT
CIGAR I'M GOING TO TAKE IT AND THROW IT OUT THE WINDOW. THE HUSBAND
SAID, IF YOU DO THAT I'LL TAKE THAT DOG OUT OF THE BACK SEAT AND
THROW HIM OUT THE WINDOW. WELL, THEY DROVE ON IN SILENCE FOR ABOUT
30 MILES UNTIL THE WIFE COULDN'T TAKE IT ANY LONGER, AND SHE REACHED
OVER, GRABBED THE CIGAR, AND THREW IT OUT THE WINDOW. THE HUSBAND
THEN REACHED BACK AND GRABBED THE DOG OUT OF THE BACK SEAT AND THREW
IT OUT THE WINDOW. THEY DROVE ON AND COMPLETED THEIR VACATION IN
SILENCE. ABOUT TWO MONTHS LATER THEY WERE SITTING AT HOME , STILL
NOT TALKING TO EACH OTHER, WHEN THEY HEARD A SCRATCHING AT THE DOOR.
THEY WENT TO THE DOOR AND OPENED IT AND SURE ENOUGH THERE WAS THE
POODLE AND HE HAD SOMETHING IN HIS MOUTH , WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WAS?
RIGHT, IT WAS THE BRICK.

Submitter comment: THIS STORY IS USED IN CONNECTION WITH SEQUENCE NUMBER 701604-17.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; WESTCHESTER

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Formula tale

Date learned: 00001960S

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SUPERSTITION

DO NOT SWEEP FLOORS AFTER THE LIGHTS ARE LIT IN THE HOME.
THIS WOULD MEAN SWEEPING HEALTH AND WEALTH FOR THE FAMILY OUT.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; WESTCHESTER

Keyword(s): DIRECTION ; Domesticity ; Housekeeping ; Lights ; LUCK ; SUPERSTITION ; Sweep

James Callow Keyword(s): BROOM

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Home
BELIEF -- P87O
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 10-26-1968

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Entry filtered.

DRUNK JOKE

Historical record from James Callow Folklore Archive.

A DRUNK IS WALKING DOWN THE STREET. HE IS HOLDING A CAR STEERING
WHEEL IN HIS HANDS AND HIS COCK IS HANGING OUT. A POLICEMAN ON THE
STREET SEES HIM AND SAYS, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THAT STEERING
WHEEL. THE DRUNK LOOKS AT IT AND SAYS, OH MY GOD, I LOST MY CAR.
THE COP THEN SAYS, WELL WHY IS YOUR COCK HANGING OUT? THE DRUNK
LOOKS DOWN AND SAYS, OH MY GOD I LOST MY WIFE, TOO.

Submitter comment:

I GOT THIS IN HIGH'SCHOOL (ST. JOSEPH S IN WESTCHESTER) FROM ANOTHER
STUDENT. TELLER USUALLY USES ARM MOTION TO INDICATE HOLDING
STEERING WHEEL IN DRIVING POSITION.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; WESTCHESTER

James Callow Keyword(s): PENIS

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Stupid man or woman
SPEECH -- Gesture
Filter - Mature Content

Date learned: 00-00-1968

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THE VIPER STORY

A COUPLE HAD JUST GOTTEN MARRIED AND THEY LOOKED FOR AN APARTMENT
TO LIVE IN. THEY FOUND ONE ON THE SEVENTH FLOOR OF AN APARTMENT
BUILDING AND TWO DAYS LATER THEY MOVED IN. THE FIRST NIGHT THEY
WERE THERE THEY WERE SITTING IN THE LIVING ROOM WHEN THEY HEARD A
STRANGE SOUND FROM THE FIRST FLOOR. THERE WAS THIS VOICE CALLING
VERY MOURNFULLY, I'M THE VIPER. THEY GOT A LITTLE WORRIED BUT DIDN'T
THINK MUCH OF IT TIL THEY REALIZED THAT THE VOICE WAS COMING CLOSER.
THEY HEARD IT ON THE SECOND FLOOR SAYING, I'M THE VIPER. SOON THEY
HEARD IT EVEN CLOSER, ON THE THIRD FLOOR SAYING, I'M THE VIPER. BY
NOW THEY WERE PRETTY SCARED AND THE HUSBAND VENTURED OUT INTO THE
HALL WHERE HE COULD HEAR FOOTSTEPS COMING UP THE STAIRS FROM BELOW
AND HE STAYED THERE TIL HE HEARD I'M THE VIPER COMING FROM THE
FOURTH FLOOR. THEN HE RAN BACK INTO THE ROOM. BY THIS TIME THE
FOOTSTEPS WERE AUDIBLE EVEN INSIDE THE APARTMENT AND THEY LISTENED
WHILE IT CLIMBED TO THE FIFTH FLOOR, AND IT SAID I'M THE VIPER.
THEN IT SLOWLY CLIMBED THE STAIRS TO THE SIXTH FLOOR AND SAID I'M
THE VIPER. NOW IT WAS GETTING VERY CLOSE AND THEY HEARD EACH STEP
AS IT CLIMBED TO THEIR FLOOR. THEY COULD HEAR IT STOP OUTSIDE THEIR
DOOR AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN THE DOOR FLEW OPEN AND A LITTLE MAN
CAME IN AND SAID, I'M THE VINDOW VIPER, VANT YOUR VINDOWS VIPED?

Submitter comment: THIS STORY IS TOLD VERY OMINOUSLY WITH THE I'M THE VIPERS BEING
A LITTLE LOUDER AND MORE HAUNTING EACH TIME. IT ALSO HELPS TO THROW
IN THE SOUND OF STAIRS BEING CLIMBED AT APPROPRIATE TIMES.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; WESTCHESTER

James Callow Keyword(s): PUN WIPER ; VIPER=SNAKE ANIMAL

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Formula tale

Date learned: 00001960S

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THE DRESS.

A GIRL, PRESUMABLY A RELATIVE OF A FRIEND OR CLASSMATE, BOUGHT A
DRESS FOR A HIGH SCHOOL PROM. WHILE WEARING THE DRESS, SHE BECAME
VIOLENTLY ILL AND DIED LATER AT A LOCAL HOSPITAL. UPON INVESTIGATION
IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT THE DRESS HAD BEEN PREVIOUSLY PURCHASED
FROM THE STORE AND RETURNED. THE FIRST " OWNER " WAS A GIRL OF
THE SAME AGE WHO WORE THE DRESS TO BE LAID OUT BEFORE HER FUNERAL
IT WAS THE EMBALMING FLUID WHICH CAUSED THE SECOND OWNER'S DEATH.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; CHICAGO

Keyword(s): FATAL DRESS. ; THE POISONED DRESS. TY Z551 IN BAUGHMAN

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: CA00001965

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SUPERSTITION

IF YOU SEE A SPIDER SPINNING HER WEB IN THE MORNING YOU WILL
HAVE BAD LUCK. BUT, IF YOU SEE THE SPIDER SPINNING HER WEB AT
EVENING YOU WILL HAVE GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; JACKSONVILLE

Keyword(s): INSECTS: SPIDERS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Insect
BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour
BELIEF -- Measure of time Working
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.33
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.33

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MARRIAGE ; SWEETS ; OBTAINING GOOD LUCK.

FREEZE THE TOP PORTION OF THE BRIDE AND GROOM'S WEDDING CAKE. ON
THE ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY, THE COUPLE CAN UN-THAW IT, EAT THE CAKE,
AND IT WILL BRING GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment: THIS CUSTOM DEALS NOT ONLY WITH MARRIAGE BUT WITH LUCK ALSO.
AN INTERESTING EXAMPLE OF MODERN FOLKLORE.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; BERWYN

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Private birthday or anniversary
Food Drink -- Pastry Sweet Dessert
BELIEF -- Good luck P881.41

Date learned: 00-00-1966

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IF YOUR LEFT PALM ITCHES, YOU WILL RECEIVE MONEY.
IF YOUR RIGHT PALM ITCHES, YOU WILL GIVE AWAY MONEY.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT SAID THAT THIS WAS A COMMON PRACTICE (BELIEF?)

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; BERWYN

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions Itching hands and feet

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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Proverb

Step on a crack. Break your mother's back.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: HOME ; ILLINOIS ; SKOKIE

Keyword(s): Aphorism ; Apothegm ; Back ; Crack ; Maxim ; MOTHER ; PROVERB ; VERSE

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim

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