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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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AN AUTOGRAPH

MM[ THE ROSES ARE WILTED,
THE VIOLETS ARE DEAD,
THE SUGAR BOWL'S EMPTY,
AND SO IS YOUR HEAD.

Submitter comment: I GOT THIS FROM MY AUTOGRAPH BOOK.
IT WAS WRITTEN BY DAVE. IN 1961

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Keyword(s): INSULT ; PARODY OF " ROSES ARE RED..." ; RHYME: ABCB

Subject headings: Favorites
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse Lyrical Verse
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse Roses are red and other such associations

Date learned: 11-11-1967

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ROSES ARE RED, VIOLETS ARE BLUE,
I'M PRETTY CUTE, AND SO ARE YOU.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse Roses are red and other such associations

Date learned: 11-11-1967

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TO KILL A WITCH

ONCE AGAIN THE WIZARD OF OZ WILL BE TELEVISED FOR ALL GOOD
CHILDREN. EACH ONE WILL COME AWAY WITH THE BELIEF THAT ALL BAD
WITCHES CAN BE KILLED BY THROWING WATER ON THEM. SUCH AN ACTION
RESULTS IN THE SLOW DISSOLVING AND DISAPPEARING OF THE WITCH.

Where learned: HIGHLAND PARK ; ILLINOIS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Witch Shaman

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TO KILL A WITCH

WHILE FLIPPING TELEVISION CHANNELS LAST NIGHT, I PAUSED A MOMENT
IN MY INDECISION TO SEE HOW TO KILL A WITCH. A WOMAN FROM THE
PIONEER SOUTHWEST BELIEVED THAT BY MAKING AN IMAGE OF THE WITCH
IN QUESTION AND "MURDERING" THAT IMAGE, THE WITCH WOULD DIE. IN
THIS INSTANCE A DRESS THAT THE WITCH HAD WORN WAS HUNG UP TO
CREATE THE IMPRESSION OF THE WITCH'S PRESENCE. THEN THE KILLER
PLUNGED A HATPIN INTO "HER."

Where learned: HIGHLAND PARK ; ILLINOIS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Witch Shaman

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WITCHES

IMMORTALITY IS NOT A CHARACTERISTIC OF WITCHES, THOUGH SOME
SEEM TO BE VERY OLD. ONE REASON TO BELIEVE THAT THEY DO DIE OR
MEET AN END SOMEHOW IS THE TALE THAT A STAR FALLS FROM THE SKY
EVERY TIME A WITCH DIES.

Where learned: HIGHLAND PARK ; ILLINOIS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Witch Shaman

Date learned: 02-09-1967

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RELIGIOUS CUSTOM

ON JANUARY 6, THE FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY, YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO WRITE
THE INITIALS OF THE THREE KINGS ABOVE YOUR DOORWAY. IT IS A WAY TO
CELEBRATE' A BLESSING AND A CATHOLIC CUSTOM. WE DIDN,T FOLLOW IT.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT WAS VERY INSISTENT IN THE FACT THAT HIS FAMILY DID NOT
FOLLOW THIS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

James Callow Keyword(s): NUMBERS

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 6 Twelfth Day Epiphany
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
BELIEF -- Word Letter

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THE HEADLESS MOTORCYCLEMAN

IN TOLEDO, (OHIO?), ACTUALLY IN THE OUTSKIRTS,
THERE WAS AN ACCIDENT IN THE
LATE 50S. A GUY ON A MOTORCYCLE WAS HIT AND KILLED BY A CAR WHEN
THEY WERE PLAYING SOME GAME, "CHICKEN," I THINK. IF YOU GO AT NIGHT,
ROLL DOWN ALL YOUR WINDOWS AND FLASH YOUR LIGHTS. THIS IS A SIGNAL
THAT YOU'RE THERE. SOME PEOPLE HAVE SEEN HIM, SOME PEOPLE HAVE SEEN
HIS LIGHTS. I THINK THIS IS DUMB, BUT THE BELIEF HAS BEEN HELD FOR
A LONG TIME.

Submitter comment: WHAT I CAN'T FIGURE OUT IN THIS IS WHY HE IS CALLED THE HEADLESS
MOTORCYCLEMAN AND HE STILL HAS HIS HEAD. THE INFORMANT TREATED THIS
AS JUST ANOTHER LOCAL LEGEND AND DIDN'T BELIEVE IN IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Supernatural Being
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
SPEECH -- Game Pastime Sport
SPEECH -- To Be Seen

Date learned: 11-00-1975

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CURE

IF A CHILD, USUALLY A BABY, IS SUFFERING FROM AN ILLNESS, USUALLY A
CHILD'S ILLNESS LIKE A COLD OR FLU, YOU SHOULD CUT OFF THE EAR OF A
CAT. THEN DRIP THE BLOOD ON A PIECE OF BREAD AND FEED IT TO THE
INFANT. THIS IS SALEM WITCHCRAFT.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT THOUGHT THIS WAS A SICKENING THING TO DO, BUT HE
TALKED OF IT AS AN AUTHENTIC CURE ACCORDING TO SOME PEOPLE. AS HE
SAID, WHAT ELSE COULD THEY DO, THE DRUG STORES WERE CLOSED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

James Callow Keyword(s): IRONY

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Plant food
BELIEF -- Remedy
BELIEF -- Use of Object Animals

Date learned: 11-00-1975

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HICCUPS CURE

TAKE A PAPER BAG AND BREATHE INTO IT SEVERAL TIMES.

Submitter comment: I ONCE HEARD THIS FROM A FRIEND.

Where learned: HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Remedy

Date learned: 09-15-1967

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FALLING STARS

NOT ONLY DO FALLING STARS MEAN THE DEATH OF WITCHES, FOR MANY
OTHERS SUCH AN OCCURRENCE MEANS A DEATH OF A MAN.
THIS TALE SEEMS MUCH EASIER TO BELIEVE BECAUSE OF THE NUMBER
OF FALLING OR SHOOTING STARS. I SCARCELY THINK THERE ARE SO
MANY WITCHES, DEFINITELY THERE ARE SO MANY MEN.

Where learned: HIGHLAND PARK ; ILLINOIS

Subject headings: Observation

Date learned: 02-09-1967

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AN AUTOGRAPH

THE ROSES ARE WILTED,
THE VIOLETS ARE DEAD,
THE SUGAR BOWL'S EMPTY,
AND SO IS YOUR HEAD.

Submitter comment: I GOT THIS FROM MY AUTOGRAPH BOOK.
IT WAS WRITTEN BY DAVE. IN 1961

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Keyword(s): INSULT ; PARODY OF " ROSES ARE RED..." ; RHYME: ABCB

Subject headings: Favorites
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse Lyrical Verse
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse Roses are red and other such associations

Date learned: 11-11-1967 ; 00-00-1961

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GOD BLESS THE DUKE OF ARGYLE

WHEN THE TELEGRAPH WAS FIRST BEING SET UP IN SCOTLAND,
THE DUKE OF ARGYLE HAD POLES ERECTED FOR THAT PURPOSE
ALL OVER THE COUNTRYSIDE. THE PEASANTS, BEING SIMPLE
PEOPLE DID NOT UNDERSTAND THAT THESE POLES WERE TO BE
USED FOR THE TELEGRAPH AND THEY THOUGHT THE DUKE HAD
THEM PLACED THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRYSIDE FOR THE PEASANTS
TO USE AS SCRATCHING POSTS. SO NOW, WHENEVER A SCOTSMAN
FROM THE DOMAIN OF THE DUKE OF ARGYLE GETS AN ITCHY
BACK, HE SAYS, "GOD BLESS THE DUKE OF ARGYLE."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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KISS A FOOL

TODAY, WHILE CHATTING OVER A CUP OF COFFEE IN THE
ROOST OF MERCY COLLEGE'S STUDENT CENTER (DETROIT, MICHIGAN),
IT NOTICED RUTH'S NOSE TWITCH A LITTLE. SHE GAVE IT A
SMALL SCRATCH AND MUMBLED SOMETHING UNDER HER BREATH.
I THOUGHT PERHAPS SHE HAD CAST A SPELL ON ME BY THIS
LITTLE RITUAL. (RECENTLY I SAW A TELEVISION SHOW
"BEWITCHED" IN WHICH THE WITCH'S NOSE TWITCHING
INDICATED THAT SHE WAS CASTING A SPELL). I ASKED RUTH
WHAT SHE HAD SAID. OF COURSE, I RECEIVED THE TYPICAL
FEMALE ANSWER, "OH, NOTHING." AFTER PUMPING A FEW
MINUTES, SHE FINALLY PLEASED MY CURIOSITY. SHE HAD
SAID "ITCHY NOSE MEANS YOU'LL KISS A FOOL."
MY ONLY THOUGHT WAS THAT I WOULDN'T KISS HER
GOODNIGHT. I KNOW BETTER--NOW.

Where learned: HIGHLAND PARK ; ILLINOIS

Subject headings: Observation

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MIND YOUR P'S AND Q'S

THE INFORMANT TOLD THIS STORY AS TO THE ORIGIN
OF THE EXPRESSION "MIND YOUR P'S AND Q'S." SHE SAID
THAT IN LONDON THERE IS AN ALE HOUSE WITH THAT SIGN
ABOVE THE DOOR, AND INSIDE WRITTEN ON THE WALLS,
AND LOW CEILING, THE BARTENDER KEEPS A RUNNING
TALLY OF HOW MUCH SOMEONE OWES. HENCE, THE
EXPRESSION MEANS TO WATCH THE TOTAL MONEY OWED
FOR YOUR PINTS AND QUARTS.

Data entry tech comment: I THOUGH THEY USED LITERS!

Where learned: HIGHLAND PARK ; ILLINOIS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of quantity or weight Liquid
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of quality Medium of exchange
BELIEF -- Explanation of a name
SPEECH -- Formula
SPEECH -- To Be Seen

Date learned: 03-20-1967

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WHEN YOUR LEFT PALM ITCHES, YOU WILL GET SOME MONEY;
BUT IF YOUR RIGHT PALM ITCHES, SOMETHING BAD WILL HAPPEN.

Submitter comment: SHE DID NOT BELIEVE IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

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

Date learned: 00-00-1974

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NEVER CROSS A BLACK CAT'S PATH OR YOU WILL HAVE
TEN YEARS OF BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: SHE BELIEVED IT THEN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: 686 First / Once / One / Newness
BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 00-00-1976 ; 00-00-1985

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IF YOU LET AN UMBRELLA UP IN THE HOUSE,
YOU WILL HAVE BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: SHE BELIEVES IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 00-00-1975 ; 00-00-1985

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IF YOU PUT A TOOTH UNDER YOUR PILLOW,
A FAIRY GODMOTHER WILL PUT A DIME UNDER
THE PILLOW AND TAKE THE TOOTH.

Submitter comment: SHE BELIEVED IT AT THE TIME, BUT SHE NO
LONGER BELIEVES IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Fairy Elf Goblin Gnome

Date learned: 00-00-1983 ; 00-00-1985

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GOOD FENCES MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS.

Submitter comment: SHE BELIEVES IT. SHE SAYS IT IS BEST
NOT TO GET TOO INVOLVED WITH NEIGHBORS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 00-00-1978 ; 00-00-1985

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WHEN YOUR NOSE ITCHES, YOU WILL
GET SOME MONEY.

Submitter comment: SHE ACTS AS IF SHE BELIEVES IT, BUT SHE
SAYS IT HAS NEVER HAPPENED TO HER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HIGHLAND PARK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions Itching nose

Date learned: 00-00-1971 ; 00-00-1985

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