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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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WHEN A PERSON ASKS HOW SOMETHING IS COMING ALONG AND
THE PERSON BEING ASKED DOESN'T WISH TO SPEAK AT THE
TIME THE PERSON BEING ASKED MAY PUT THE TIPS OF
HIS THUMB AND FOREFINGER TOGETHER AND FORM A CIRCLE
WITH THEM AND HOLD HIS OTHER 3 FINGERS TOGETHER AND
STRAIGHT UP, AND SHOW THIS SIGN TO THE PERSON WHO
ASKED AND HE WILL KNOW THAT ALL IS OK.

Where learned: PORT CHESTER ; NEW YORK, ASSUMED

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Circle and other round forms
SPEECH -- All right O.K.

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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GREETING-GESTURE

THERE IS A SPECIAL HANDSHAKE THAT IS USED IN THE
BOY SCOUTS WHERE THE MIDDLE FINGER AND THE FOREFINGER
ARE PLACED ON THE OTHER PERSON'S WRIST AND THE PALMS
ARE CLASPED AND THE THUMB IS PLACED ON TOP OF HIS
HAND AND THE RING FINGER AND PINKEY ARE PLACED ON THE
BOTTOM OF HIS HAND. THE HANDSHAKE IS GIVEN WITH THE
LEFT HAND.

Submitter comment: I WAS TOLD THIS IN THE SCOUTS IN 1961-1967.

Where learned: PORT CHESTER ; NEW YORK, ASSUMED

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: 602 Body Parts
SPEECH -- Body parts involved
SPEECH -- Greetings Salutations

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GREETING GESTURE

WHEN A PERSON MEETS A FRIEND AND THE OTHER PERSON
IS AT A DISTANCE, THE PERSON WAVES HIS ARM AND
HAND AND THIS IS A GREETING OF HELLO TO THE
OTHER PERSON.

Where learned: PORT CHESTER ; NEW YORK, ASSUMED

Subject headings: 602 Body Parts
SPEECH -- Body parts involved

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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Entry filtered.

"GREEN GIRL"

THE O.D. GREEN BLANKET DISTRIBUTED TO ALL CADETS IS CALLED A "GREEN
GIRL". WHEN A CADET GOES OUT WITH HIS BLANKET UNDER HIS ARM , ALL
CADETS KNOW THAT HE WILL BE IN THE WOODS WITH HIS GIRL THAT NIGHT.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; WEST POINT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F535
SPEECH -- Folk etymology
SPEECH -- Trade & commerce
Filter - Mature Content

Date learned: 00-00-1971

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100TH NIGHT SHOW

TRADITIONAL COMEDY PLAY STAGED BY SENIOR CLASS ON THE 100TH NIGHT
BEFORE GRADUATION. SHOW TREATS FINER POINTS OF COMMANDING
OFFICERS AND WEST POINT TRADITION.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; WEST POINT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F535

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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JAMAICAN SUPERSTITION

FOR A NEW-BORN CHILD: NEVER LET A STRANGER INTO THE SAME ROOM
WITH THE CHILD FOR 9 DAYS. IF SOMEHOW THIS CANNOT BE AVOIDED,
IMMEDIATELY OPEN A BIBLE OVER THE CHILD'S HEAD TO DRIVE AWAY
EVIL SPIRITS.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM A LADY-FRIEND FROM JAMAICA.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

Subject headings: 686 Ninths / Nine
BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Magic Book

Date learned: 01-01-1964

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SUPERSTITION

IF A PREGNANT WOMAN IS HIT ON HER LEFT ARM, HER CHILD WILL HAVE
A SCAR THERE.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER MOTHER.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Specific distinguishing characteristic Dimple, wart, mole, scar, freckle, birthmark, strawberry mark, bruise, spot (on any part of body)
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 12-24-1963

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JAMAICAN SUPERSTITION

IF A PREGNANT WOMAN FEELS HER CHILD COMING ON AND THERE IS NO
DOCTOR OR HOSPITAL AVAILABLE TO HER, A HEAVY WEIGHT MUST BE
PLACED ON HER HEAD. THE BABY WON'T COME UNTIL THE WEIGHT IS
REMOVED.

Submitter comment: LEARNED THIS FROM A LADY-FRIEND FROM JAMAICA.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 01-01-1964

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JAMAICAN SUPERSTITION

IF YOU HAVE COMPANY AND YOU WISH THAT SOMEONE WOULD LEAVE, STAND
IN BACK OF THAT PERSON WITH A BROOM. HOLD IT UPSIDE-DOWN AND
SPRINKLE SALT AND PEPPER INTO IT. THE PERSON WILL LEAVE ALMOST
IMMEDIATELY.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM A LADY FRIEND FROM JAMAICA.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Flavoring Spice
BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 01-01-1964

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ITALIAN AND FRENCH SUPERSTITION: BREAD AND LUCK

ALWAYS HAVE THE CRUST OF THE BREAD FACING UP ON THE TABLE OR YOU
WILL HAVE BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: LEARNED WHILE TRAVELLING THROUGHOUT EUROPE 1959-1961.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

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

Date learned: 12-24-1963

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JAMAICAN SUPERSTITION: MENSTRUATION

A WOMAN SHOULD NEVER BAKE A CAKE WHEN SHE IS MENSTRUATING OR IT
WILL NOT RISE.

Submitter comment: LEARNED THIS FROM A LADY-FRIEND FROM JAMAICA.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Manner of preparation Process
Food Drink -- Pastry Sweet Dessert
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 01-01-1964

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JAMAICAN SUPERSTITION: MENSTRUATION

WHEN A WOMAN IS MENSTRUATING, SHE SHOULD NEVER LOOK AT THE DEAD
OR SOMETHING TERRIBLE MIGHT HAPPEN.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM A LADY-FRIEND FROM JAMAICA.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

Keyword(s): B477 HUMAN ACTIVITY (BODILY FUNCTION)

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 01-01-1964

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MENSTRUATION SUPERSTITION

WHEN A WOMAN IS MENSTRUATING SHE SHOULD NEVER GO NEAR FLOWERS
OR THEY WILL WILT.

Submitter comment: LEARNED AS A YOUNG GIRL FROM HER MOTHER.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; JAMAICA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Plant

Date learned: 01-01-1964

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Entry filtered.

Historical record from James Callow Folklore Archive.

A TRAVELING SALESMAN WAS PASSING THROUGH THE
COUNTRYSIDE ONE DAY AND HE STOPPED AT A FARMHOUSE
FOR A DRINK OF WATER. THE FARMER, THE FARMER'S
WIFE, AND THE BEAUTIFUL 19 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER AND
THE SALESMAN TALKED SOCIABLY A WHILE AND THE
SALESMAN GOT IDEAS ABOUT THE DAUGHTER. BUT HE
DIDN'T WANT TO STAY AROUND VERY LONG, BECAUSE HE
WANTED TO GET BACK TO THE CITY, SO HE SAID TO THE
FARMER, "I'LL BET YOU $5.00 THAT I CAN LIFT YOUR
WHOLE FAMILY AT ONE TIME." "HO, HO," THE FARMER
SAID, "I'LL BET YOU CAN'T." SO THE SALESMAN
HAD THE FARMER LAY FACE DOWN ON THE FRONT LAWN,
THE WIFE ALSO FACE DOWN ON HER HUSBAND'S BACK AND
THE DAUGHTER FACE UP ON HER MOTHER'S BACK. THEN HE
GOT ON TOP OF THE PILE AND LET ON THAT HE WAS
GOING TO LIFT THEM ALL, BUT INSTEAD, HE STARTED
GETTING INTO THE DAUGHTER. SHE HOLLERED. "OH,
DADDY, HE'S DOING IT." AND THE FARMER LAUGHED
AND ANSWERED, "HE IS LIKE HELL, I'LL PULL ALL THE GRASS
OUT FIRST.

Data entry tech comment:

SEXUAL INTERCOURSE INTIMATED.

Where learned: BUFFALO ; NEW YORK ; JOKE COLLECTION

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Stupid man or woman

Date learned: 10-05-1971

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KRAKOWIAK (POLISH DANCE)

LIKE THE AMERICAN SQUARE DANCE.

Where learned: CHILDHOOD ; NOT GIVEN ; HOME ; PENNSYLVANIA ; MICHIGAN ; LETTER ; OHIO ; NEW JERSEY ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; AUTOGRAPH BOOK ; GROSSE POINTE ; HARPER WOODS ; GROSSE POINTE WOODS ; WARREN ; JAPAN ; RUSSIA ; GRAND RAPIDS ; SHIPLE HALL ; GARDEN CITY ; ROYAL OAK ; TOLEDO ; TRENTON ; FARMINGTON ; KALAMAZOO ; CANADA ; ONTARIO ; MARYGROVE COLLEGE ; DETROIT ; MAIL ; INDIANA ; DETROIT, ASSUMED ; TOLD AT HOME ; FERNDALE ; SOUTHFIELD ; TENNESSEE ; MACKENZIE HIGH SCHOOL ; HAMTRAMCK ; DEARBORN ; MINNESOTA ; ILLINOIS ; NEW YORK ; FLORIDA ; KOREA ; WISCONSIN ; NEW HAMPSHIRE ; STUDENT UNION ; READING ; AUSTRALIA ; Sylvania ; Sterling Heights ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; GROSSE POINTE PARK ; OAK PARK ; SOUTHGATE ; STURGEON LAKE ; REDFORD ; TOORAK ; VICTORIA ; ROSEVILLE ; LINCOLN PARK ; TRAVERSE CITY ; HUNTINGTON WOODS ; PONTIAC ; TROY ; PORT CHESTER ; SOUTH AMERICA ; BROOKVILLE ; MONTREAL ; SEOUL ; NORTH OLMSTED ; EASTOWN THEATER ; ERIE ; University of Notre Dame ; FRANKLINVILLE ; TORONTO ; TOLD AT ; TOLD BY ; TOLD IN ; SCRANTON ; MONROE ; GLENVIEW ; MOSCOW ; GULLEY ; FINLAND ; HARBOR BEACH ; HOUGHTON LAKE ; Hudson Lake ; INDIANAPOLIS ; JONESBORO ; KANSASVILLE ; LEXINGTON ; MASSILLON ; MAUCH CHUNK ; MELVINDALE ; MILFORD ; NEW ROCHELLE ; NIAGARA FALLS ; PANAMA CITY ; PATAGONIA ; ARGENTINA ; RESIDENCE HALL ; SAINT CLAIR SHORES ; TOLD AT HONORS HOUSE ; AMERICAN HISTORY CLASS

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

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EXPLANATION OF NAME, "MURDER HILL"

THERE IS A STRETCH OF NARROW, WINDING ROAD ON THE SIDE OF A HILL
JUST OUTSIDE OF LITTLE VALLEY, NEW YORK. SIGNS AT EACH END OF THIS
LONG ROAD CALL IT "MURDER HILL."
ONE EXPLANATION OF THE NAME IS THE FACT THAT A FATAL ACCIDENT
COULD EASILY HAPPEN THERE.
ANOTHER EXPLANATION IS A LEGEND THAT A MAN KILLED HIS WIFE AND
THEN HIMSELF IN A HOUSE NOT FAR FROM THE ROAD.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: NEW YORK ; FRANKLINVILLE

Keyword(s): ETYMOLOGY ; Murder Hill ; Origin ; Urban Legend

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
SPEECH -- S478

Date learned: 06-00-1968

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EXPLANATION OF NAME, "MURDER HILL"

THERE IS A STRETCH OF NARROW, WINDING ROAD ON THE SIDE OF A HILL
JUST OUTSIDE OF LITTLE VALLEY, NEW YORK. SIGNS AT EACH END OF THIS
LONG ROAD CALL IT "MURDER HILL."
ONE EXPLANATION OF THE NAME IS THE FACT THAT A FATAL ACCIDENT
COULD EASILY HAPPEN THERE.
ANOTHER EXPLANATION IS A LEGEND THAT A MAN KILLED HIS WIFE AND
THEN HIMSELF IN A HOUSE NOT FAR FROM THE ROAD.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: NEW YORK ; FRANKLINVILLE

Keyword(s): ETYMOLOGY ; Murder Hill ; Origin ; Urban Legend

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
SPEECH -- S478

Date learned: 06-00-1968

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BEFORE PLAYING A REGULATION VARSITY BASKETBALL
GAME, I WOULD NOT TAKE OFF ANY WARM UP CLOTHES
UNTIL THE LAST POSSIBLE MOMENT, OR IT WOULD BRING
BAD LUCK.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; FRANKLINVILLE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement
BELIEF -- Bad luck Games Pastimes Sports

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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LUCK IN A BASKETBALL GAME

WHEN TAKING A FOUL SHOT DURING A GAME, I WOULD
DRIBBLE THE BALL EXACTLY FIVE TIMES BEFORE SHOOTING
FOR GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; FRANKLINVILLE

Subject headings: 881 Games / Pastimes / Sports

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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MAPLE FESTIVAL

EVERY APRIL, THE FRANKLINVILLE, NEW YORK JUNIOR CHAMBER
OF COMMERCE SPONSERS THE MAPLE FESTIVAL. THIS IS HELD AT
FRANKLINVILLE CENTRAL SCHOOL. INSIDE THE SCHOOL,
BOOTHS ARE SET UP BY BUSINESSMEN, FROM FRANKLINVILLE
AND NEIGHBORING TOWNS TO DISPLAY THEIR WARES. MAPLE
SYRUP IS PREPARED IN A WOODEN "SUGAR SHANTY" OUTSIDE
THE SCHOOL. THE SAP IS COLLECTED BY THE JAYCEES, WHO
PUT BUCKETS ON ALL THE MAPLE TREES IN FRANKLINVILLE
(WHICH IS QUITE A FEW). THE AREA RESIDENTS WHO MAKE
THEIR OWN MAPLE SUGAR CANDY DISPLAY AND SELL IT INSIDE
THE SCHOOL. THE JAYCEES SPONSER A PANCAKE AND SAUSAGE
DINNER ON EACH DAY OF THE THREE-DAY AFFAIR. AN
ANTIQUE SHOW IS SET UP IN THE GYMNASIUM, WHERE ALL THE
ANTIQUE COLLECTORS AND DEALERS FROM THE AREA DISPLAY
THEIR WARES. CLASSES OR ORGANIZATIONS FROM THE SCHOOL
SET UP ICE CREAM, CANDY, SODA POP, AND HOT DOG STANDS
INSIDE AND OUT. A "MAPLE QUEEN" IS SELECTED FROM LOCAL
GIRLS AND IS CROWNED DURING THIS FESTIVAL. SHE LATER
COMPETES ON A STATEWIDE AND NATIONAL SCALE. A SQUARE
DANCE FOR THE ELDERS AND A ROCK AND ROLL DANCE FOR THE
YOUNGER PEOPLE ARE HELD ON THE FIRST NIGHT. THE
SCHOOL PLAY IS SOMETIMES PRESENTED THE SECOND NIGHT,
FOLLOWED BY A CONCERT FEATURING GROUPS SUCH AS A
BARBERSHOP QUARTET. ON THE THIRD DAY, ANTIQUE CARS FROM
ALL OVER NEW YORK STATE AND PENNSYLVANIA ARE DISPLAYED
ON THE FRONT LAWN OF THE SCHOOL. PRIZES ARE AWARDED IN
VARIOUS CATEGORIES.
THIS FESTIVAL DREW 10,000 PEOPLE IN 1971. FRANKLINVILLE
HAS A POPULATION OF 1800. THE ATTENDANCE INCREASES
EVERY YEAR.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; FRANKLINVILLE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F476
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F476
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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