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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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LEGEND OF BEAR ISLAND

THERE IS AN INDIAN LEGEND THAT TELLS HOW THE FAMOUS MICHIGAN BEAR
ISLAND WAS MADE. IT WAS SAID THAT A MOTHER BEAR AND HER TWO CUBS
WERE ATTEMPTING TO SWIM ACROSS LAKE MICHIGAN, BUT THEY EACH WERE
OVERCOME BY EXHAUSTION BEFORE THEY COULD EVEN SWIM 5 TO 6 MILES.
THEIR BODIES NOW FORM THE BIG BEAR ISLAND AND THE TWO SMALL BEAR
ISLANDS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BATTLE CREEK

Keyword(s): AMERICAN INDIAN ; SLEEPING BEAR SAND DUNE

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Mammal
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Explanation of a name

Date learned: 00-00-1954

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FORMING MICHIGAN

ONE DAY THE INDIAN GOD WAS DRAWING THE VARIOUS LANDS ON THE GLOBE.
AND AS HE WAS TRACING ALONG, HE HAD TO LEAN ON THE LAND WITH HIS
OTHER HAND FOR SUPPORT. WELL, WHEN HE GOT DONE DRAWING AND HE
STOOD BACK TO LOOK AT HIS WORK, HE FOUND THAT HE HAD MADE A BIG
HAND PRINT RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LAND. WELL, THAT HAND PRINT
IS NOW THE STATE OF MICHIGAN.

Submitter comment:

THIS LEGEND WAS TOLD TO MY SISTER ONE DAY IN SCHOOL.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Lansing

Keyword(s): CREATION ; ETYMOLOGY ; GEOGRAPHY ; INDIAN ; Legend ; Lore ; MICHIGAN ; Native American ; Origin

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Creation and Order of Universe
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Formation
BELIEF -- Creator

Date learned: 11-01-1968

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STORY

IN THE 1820'S AT SPRING ARBOR, MICHIGAN, AN INDIAN CHIEF WAS
CAPTURED DURING THE WAR. AFTER THE WAR, THE ENGLISH ALLOWED
HIM TO RETURN TO HIS TRIBE. HE WAS SIX FEET TALL AND USED
CRUTCHES TO GET AROUND. IT IS SAID THAT HE WOULD CHALLENGE
ANY MAN TO RACE WITH HIM AND THAT HE ALWAYS WON. EVEN THOUGH
ONE-LEGGED, HE HAD DEVELOPED AN ENORMOUS SPRINT WITH THE AID
OF HIS CRUTCHES.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SPRING ARBOR

Keyword(s): INDIAN ; Legend ; Native American

Subject headings: ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Occupation War
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails

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FINGER LAKES BELIEF

THE IROQUOIS BELIEVED THAT THE FINGER LAKES OF UPPER NEW YORK STATE WERE
FORMED BY THE HAND OF GOD, DESCENDING IN BLESSING UPON THE LAND.

Submitter comment:

MR. WYATT LEARNED OF THE LEGEND WHILE LIVING IN GENEVA, NEW YORK,
HIS HOME. GENEVA IS ONE OF THE FINGER LAKES.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): AMERICAN INDIAN ; CREATION ; Entomology ; Finger Lakes ; God ; Indigenous ; Iroquois ; NAME ; NEW YORK

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Meat Bred animal
BELIEF -- Still water Small body.

Date learned: 10-22-1965

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LAKES BELIEF

SOME PEOPLE HOLD THAT THERE IS A SUBTERRANEAN CONNECTION BETWEEN
LAKE HURON AND HIGGINS LAKE. THIS BELIEF IS EXEMPLIFIED BY AN
INDIAN TALE OF AN INDIAN WHO WAS DROWNED DURING A STORM ON HIGGINS
LAKE, BUT WHOSE CANOE WAS FOUND ADRIFT ON LAKE HURON.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

Keyword(s): AMERICAN INDIAN ; Higgins Lake ; INDIAN ; Lake ; Lake Huron ; Lakes ; Legend ; Subterranean

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Still water Small body.

Date learned: 02-00-1968

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BELIEF ABOUT CLEFT IN CHIN

IF YOU HAVE A CLEFT IN YOUR CHIN-
YOU ARE HONEST, CLEAN CUT, AND ALL AMERICAN.

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): AMERICAN ; CLEAN CUT ; HONESTY

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Ears, noise in ear

Date learned: 02-20-1972

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THE GRIM REAPER

THE WORLD OF PROFESSIONAL ATHLETICS HAS CREATED A NUMBER OF
IMAGINARY CREATURES. ONE IS WELL KNOWN TO THE MANY ROOKIES
WHO HAVE FAILED TO MAKE THE GRADE. GEORGE ATTEMPTED TO MAKE THE
CLEVELAND BROWNS' FOOTBALL TEAM THIS PAST SUMMER BUT FAILED.
HE MENTIONED THAT "THE GRIM REAPER" WAS REALLY PRESENT. WHEN YOU
WERE CALLED TO THE COACH'S OFFICE, "THE REAPER" HAD STRUCK AND
HIS PRESENCE WAS FELT. THIS CREATURE SEEMS TO BE RATHER UNIVERSAL
IN CONJUNCTION WITH AMERICAN FOOTBALL.

Submitter comment:

GEORGE TOLD ME THIS JUST AFTER RETURNING FROM "CAMP" TO DETROIT.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

Keyword(s): AMERICAN ; Cleveland Browns ; Football ; Haunting ; Reaper ; SPORTS ; SUPERSTITION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion

Date learned: 08-00-1964

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LAKE BELIEF

ACCORDING TO LOCAL INDIAN BELIEF IN SYRACUSE NEW YORK, THE LAKE HAS
NO END AND JUST SINKS ENDLESSLY IN THE EARTH.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): American Indians ; ETYMOLOGY ; GEOGRAPHY ; INDIANS ; Lake ; Legend ; Lore ; NEW YORK ; River ; Syracuse ; WATER

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Still water Small body.

Date learned: 10-14-1970

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FINGER LAKES BELIEF

THE IROQUOIS BELIEVED THAT THE FINGER LAKES OF UPPER NEW
YORK STATE WERE FORMED BY THE HAND OF GOD, DESCENDING IN BLESSING
UPON THE LAND.

Submitter comment:

MR. WYATT LEARNED OF THE LEGEND WHILE LIVING IN GENEVA, NEW YORK
HIS HOME. GENEVA IS ONE OF THE FINGER LAKES.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): AMERICAN INDIAN ; BELIEF ; BLESSING ; ETYMOLOGY ; Finger ; Finger Lakes ; Hand of God ; INDIAN ; Iroquois ; Lakes ; Lakes ; Legend ; NEW YORK ; Origin ; WATER

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Still water Small body.

Date learned: 10-22-1965

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VERSE

MINNIE MINNIE HA HA, WENT TO SEE HER PAPA,
PAPA DIED, MINNIE CRIED. MINNIE HAD A BABY,
CALLED HIM TINY TIM, PUT HIM IN THE BATHTUB
TO TEACH HIM HOW TO SWIM.
DRANK A GALLON OF WATER, ATE A BAR OF SOAP,
MINNIE CALLED THE DOCTOR, MINNIE CALLED THE NURSE,
MINNIE CALLED THE LADY WITH THE ALLIGATOR PURSE.
OUT WENT THE DOCTOR, OUT WENT THE NURSE,
IN STAYED THE LADY WITH THE ALLIGATOR PURSE.

Data entry tech comment: THERE CAN ALSO BE ADDED ANOTHER VERSE BETWEEN LINES 9 AND 10.

Where learned: LIBRARY

Keyword(s): AMERICAN INDIAN ; BATHTUB VERSE MONOLOGUE ; JUMP ROPE RHYME

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

Date learned: 00-00-1967

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JOHN C. WOBBLESQUAW

HE WAS MY FATHER,S GREAT, GREAT, GRANDFATHER ON HIS MOTHER,S SIDE.
ACCORDING TO THE LEGEND, HE BUILT MACKINAC ISLAND.
HE HAD A GIRLFRIEND ACROSS THE STRAITS, AND HE USED TO LIKE TO SEE
HER, SO HE WOULD SWIM ACROSS THE STRAITS. HE SAW LITTLE WHITE STONES
ON THE LOWER PENINSULA SIDE AND HE USED TO TAKE THEM TO HER.
NOW HE WAS A STRONG FELLOW, BUT HE TIRED WITH ALL THE STONES WHILE
SWIMMING, SO HE USED TO DUMP THEM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STRAITS.
THIS WAS A HOT ROMANCE, BUT HE COULDN,T GET ACROSS THE STRAITS WITH
SOME MORE STONES. THAT,S HOW HE BUILT MACKINAC ISLAND. BECAUSE IF YOU
GO THERE TODAY, YOU CAN SEE THE LITTLE WHITE STONES IN THE SAND.

 

or something like that.

Where learned: MARYGROVE COLLEGE ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): AMERICAN INDIAN ; STONES USED TO MAKE BRIDGE NOW A HISTORIC PATH ; STONES USED TO MAKE BRIDGE OF LOVE

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Creation and Order of Universe
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Human Being
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Formation
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Lie Tall tale

Date learned: 00001968 FALL

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JOHN C. WOBBLESQUAW

THIS WAS THE COLDEST WINTER MICHIGAN EVER KNEW, LONG BEFORE THEY
RECORDED TEMPERATURES. JOHN C. LIVED ON A RESERVATION WITH HIS FAMILY
AND FRIENDS. IT WAS SUCH A HARD WINTER THAT THEY RAN OUT OF FOOD AND
WERE IN PRETTY ROUGH SHAPE. SEEING THAT JOHN C. WAS THE STRONGEST,
THEY SENT HIM OUT TO GO HUNTING. THEY HAD SENT OTHERS OUT BEFORE,
BUT THEY DIDN,T GET ANYTHING.
JOHN C. WENT OUT AND HE WAS LOOKING THROUGH THE WOODS AND HE HAD A
FEELING THAT SOMEONE WAS FOLLOWING HIM. HE TURNED AROUND, AND THERE
WAS THIS BIG BLACK BEAR. SO THAT SCARED HIM, SINCE HE NEVER FACED
ONE BEFORE. WELL, HE WAS OUT OF AMMUNITION SINCE HE MISSED OTHER
ANIMALS, SO HE RAN AND RAN UNTIL SWEAT CAME ON HIS FOREHEAD, AND
IT WAS SO COLD THAT IT FROZE RIGHT THERE. HE GOT AN IDEA.
SO HE TOOK THE POWDER OUT OF HIS HORN AND PUT IT IN HIS GUN.
AND HE TOOK A FEW BEADS OF FROZEN PERSPIRATION OFF HIS FOREHEAD AND
PUT THEM IN TOO. THEN HE TURNED AROUND, SHOT THE BEAR, AND HIS
PEOPLE LIVED THROUGH THE WINTER.

Where learned: MARYGROVE COLLEGE ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): AMERICAN INDIAN ; FROZEN BEADS OF SWEAT USED FOR AMMUNITION

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Human Being
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Lie Tall tale

Date learned: 00001968 FALL

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REMEDY

I REMEMBER MY GRANDMOTHER CURING A YOUNG CHILD OF A FEAR. IT'S A
RITUAL. WHEN A CHILD IS AFRAID OF SOMETHING, YOU GET SOME WHITE ROCK.
IT'S A SOFT ROCK, I DON'T KNOW THE NAME OF IT. THE ROCK IS PUT INTO A
SKILLET AND HEATED. AS IT HEATS, IT SOFTENS, AND IT WILL FORM INTO A
FIGURE OF WHAT THE CHILD IS AFRAID OF. THE FEAR IS REMOVED FROM THE
CHILD THIS WAY.

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): CONJURATION DIVINATION ; HOMEOPATHIC ; MEXICAN-AMERICAN CURE

Subject headings: Observation
Favorites
BELIEF -- Physically handicapped Deformed
BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: 03-00-1979

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REMEDY

EATING SNAKE MEAT WILL CURE RHEUMATISM.

Submitter comment: HE HEARD THIS FROM HIS GRANDMOTHER, WHO SAID IT WORKED FOR HER. YOU
HAVE TO EAT IT REGULARLY IN ORDER FOR IT TO DO ANY GOOD. RATTLESNAKE
MEAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE THE BEST.

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): MEXICAN-AMERICAN

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Animal

Date learned: 03-00-1979

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REMEDY

DRINKING OREGANO TEA WILL HELP IF YOU HAVE A COLD. YOU HAVE TO MAKE
IT REAL STRONG AND DRINK IT REAL HOT. USUALLY I DRINK THREE CUPS A
DAY WHEN I'M SICK.

Submitter comment: HE SAYS IT WORKS FOR HIM.

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): MEXICAN-AMERICAN

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: 03-00-1979

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A BLACK CUSTOM KNOWN TO MY FATHER IS THAT ALCOHOLIC DRINKS
SHOULD NEVER BE CONSUMED IMMEDIATELY BEFORE, DURING OR AFTER, EATING
ANY KIND OF MELON.

Submitter comment: BLACK CUSTOM

Where learned: DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): AFRO-AMERICAN

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Plant food Fruit
Food Drink -- Alcoholic beverage
BELIEF -- Plant

Date learned: 00001940S

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WEATHER BELIEF

A BLACK BELIEF IS THAT BLACKS HAVE A GREATER SUSCEPTIBILITY TO
PNEUMONIA WHEN IT RAINS AND ARE BEST PROTECTED FROM THIS BY
WEARING A HAT.

Submitter comment: BLACK CUSTOM

Where learned: DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): AFRO-AMERICAN

Subject headings: ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Dress Head
BELIEF -- Cloud Fog Mist Rain Hail Ice Snow Frost Dew
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness
BELIEF -- Weather sign or control

Date learned: 00001940S

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WHAT DOES A JEWISH WOMAN MAKE FOR DINNER? SHE MAKES
RESERVATIONS!

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

James Callow Keyword(s): THE SO-CALLED JEWISH-AMERICAN PRINCESS WOULD AVOID WORK,

Subject headings: JEWI

Date learned: 10-00-1983

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Some people say that a man of dark color is crazy about a
high yellow, but high yellow will throw you, and when
you come home, there will be another mule kicking in your
stall. A brown skin girl is the best gal after all.

Where learned: VIRGINIA

James Callow Keyword(s): African-American color of skin

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Color
SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 00-00-1939

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Entry filtered.

HOW DO YOU KEEP A GROUP OF NIGGERS FROM RAPING A WHITE
GIRL? THROW THEM A BASKETBALL.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): African American ; Basketball ; Black ; Female ; Male ; Offensive ; RACISM ; Racist ; Rape ; SEXISM ; Stereotype ; White

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- Riddle Question

Date learned: 00001970S

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