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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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THE LIMBO

TWO PEOPLE LOWER A POLE, WHILE YOU SLITHER UNDERNEATH,
BENDING YOUR KNEES AND LEANING FAR BACKWARDS. THIS
DANCE IS LIKE A GAME. YOU LOSE IF YOU TOUCH THE POLE
OR IF YOU FALL.

Where learned: TRINIDAD ; MICHIGAN ; Lansing

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

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LEGEND: WHY BURNT CHIPS ALWAYS FLOAT UP ALONG SHORE ON LAKE

SOMEWHERE AROUND THE 1920'S A MAN WHO WAS QUITE RICH SAILED IN HIS
YACHT BETWEEN BENTON HARBOR AND PORT HURON. HIS WIFE HAD DIED,
AND HE WAS VERY DESPONDENT. ONE NIGHT NEAR BENTON HARBOR, HIS
BOAT, WHICH HAD HE AND HIS THREE CREWMEN ABOARD, CAUGHT FIRE.
RESCUE EFFORTS FAILED AND THE BOAT FINALLY SANK OFF GLEN,
MICHIGAN. EVEN TODAY BURNT CHIPS STILL FLOAT UP ALONG THE SHORE
OF THE BIG LAKE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Lansing

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Air Weather Fire
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Means of transportation Water craft or boat propelled by human, wind, mechanical or other force

Date learned: 11-00-1968

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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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SLEEPING BEAR DUNES

HOW THE SLEEPING BEAR DUNES (IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN) GOT THEIR
NAME: ONCE THERE WAS A GIANT BEAR AND HER TWO CUBS, AND THEY
HAD TO SWIM ACROSS LAKE MICHIGAN TO GET SOME FOOD BECAUSE THEY
WERE STARVING. THEY SWAM AND THEY SWAM, BUT IT WAS A LONG, LONG
WAY. SO ONE OF THE CUBS COULDN'T GO ANY FURTHER AND IT SANK TO
THE BOTTOM. BUT THE MAMA BEAR AND THE OTHER CUB KEPT ON SWIMMING.
FINALLY THE OTHER CUB TIRED AND SANK TO THE BOTTOM ALSO. WELL,
THE MAMA BEAR KEPT ON COMING AND SHE FINALLY MADE IT TO THE
MICHIGAN SHORE. SO SHE JUST LAID HERSELF DOWN TO WAIT FOR HER
CUBS. WELL, THE SAND CAME AND BLEW OVER HER AND SHE IS STILL
LIVING THERE TODAY, LOOKING OUT OVER THE LAKE FOR HER CUBS. AND
YOU CAN STILL SEE THOSE CUBS TODAY, ONLY THEY HAVE BEEN COVERED
BY LAND ALSO AND THEY NOW LOOK LIKE TWO ISLANDS. WHERE THAT
MOTHER BEAR LIES IS NOW CALLED THE SLEEPING BEAR SAND DUNES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Lansing

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

Date learned: 11-01-1968

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NAMING MUSKEGON

ONCE AN INDIAN BRAVE WAS PADDLING HIS CANOE ALONG THE SHORE OF LAKE
MICHIGAN. HE HAD LEANED HIS MUSKET AGAINST THE FRONT THWART SO
THAT IT WOULD BE HANDY IN CASE HE NEEDED IT. WELL, IT WAS A
PRETTY STORMY DAY AND THE WAVES WERE KICKING UP SOMETHING FIERCE.
FINALLY ONE WAVE TUMBLED OVER THE BOW OF THE CANOE AND ALMOST
CAPSIZED HIM. HE SAW HIS MUSKET BEING CARRIED OVER THE SIDE OF
THE CANOE AND HE LEAPED TO CATCH IT. WELL, HE LOST IT AND THEN
HE EXCLAIMED, "OH NO, MUSKIE-GONE!" AND FROM THAT DAY FORWARD
THAT PLACE HAS BEEN CALLED MUSKEGON.

Submitter comment: THIS TALE, CONCERNING THE NAMING OF MUSKEGON, WAS PASSED DOWN TO
MY DAD FROM HIS FATHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Lansing

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Explanation of a name
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Occupation
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Means of transportation Water craft or boat propelled by human, wind, mechanical or other force

Date learned: 11-01-1968

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THE LEGEND OF BEAUMONT TOWER

AT MSU (MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY), WHENEVER A VIRGIN WALKS
UNDERNEATH THE TOWER, A SPIKE FALLS FROM ONE OF THE TOWERS.
ALL THE SPIKES REMAIN INTACT UPON THE TOWER EVEN TODAY.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT LEARNED IT FROM A FELLOW DORMIE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY ; Lansing

Subject headings: BELIEF -- School
BELIEF -- Marriage

Date learned: 09-00-1967

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LEGEND

AT MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY THERE IS AN ANNUAL CELEBRATION IN
HONOR OF THE ORANGE HORSE. EVERY YEAR DURING FALL TERM, STUDENTS
HAVE A SLEEP-IN AT BESSY HALL IN HONOR OF THEIR COMPATRIOTS WHO
STAGED A SLEEP-IN IN PROTEST OF THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT FIRING
THREE OUTSPOKEN TEACHERS. THIS PROTEST WAS NICK-NAMED THE ORANGE
HORSE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY ; Lansing

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Explanation of a name
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- School

Date learned: 11-05-1967

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HOW DRY I AM

HOW DRY I AM,
HOW WET I'LL BE
IF I DON'T FIND
THE BATHROOM KEY.

Submitter comment:

KEYPUNCHER NOTES THAT SHE KNOWS ANOTHER VERSE TO THIS SONG.
IT FOLLOWS.
I FOUND THE KEY,
IT WAS TO LATE.
FOR THERE IT WAS
UPON THE FLOOR
AND IT WASN'T GINGERALE.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Lansing

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Good humor Jest

Date learned: 09-15-1969

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LEGEND OF THE GHOST WITH COVERED FACE

THERE WAS A LARGE OLD HOUSE NEAR MY GRANDMOTHERS IN VERMONT THAT A
FAMILY OF A LONG HERITAGE LIVED IN. THE HOUSE WAS SAID TO BE
HAUNTED BECAUSE OBJECTS USED TO FLY AROUND, AND THEY WOULD SEE
STRANGE PEOPLE WALKING DOWN THE HALLS AT NIGHT MOANING.
ONE NIGHT THE YOUNG MAN OF THE FAMILY WHO WAS JUST HOME FROM COLLEGE
WAS SITTING IN FRONT OF THE FIRE PLACE WHEN SUDDENLY A FIGURE OF A
MAN OR SOMETHING CAME OUT OF THE FIRE. THE MAN WAS SO AFRAID THAT
HE COULD ONLY STAND THERE AND HE ALSO FELT AS THOUGH HE COULD NOT
LEAVE IF HIS LEGS WOULD LET HIM SINCE HE WAS INTRANCED IN SOME
WAY BY THIS DEAMON. THE THING HAD ITS FACE COVERED, IF IT HAD NOT,
HE WOULD HAVE DIED OF FRIGHT. HE BEGAN TO SAY THE ROSARY AND THE
DEAMON LEFT.

Data entry tech comment: COLLECTOR'S SPELLING CORRECTED BY KEYPUNCHER

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Lansing ; NOVEMBER

Keyword(s): FIREPLACE ; PRAYER

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter

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POLISH JOKE

THIS POLACK GOES TO A LUMBERYARD AND SAYS, "I WANT TO
BUY SOME WOOD."
"HOW LONG DO YOU WANT IT?" THEN ASKS THE OWNER.
"FOR A LONG TIME," REPLIES THE POLACK, "I'M BUILDING
A GARAGE."

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT HEARD IT FROM A FRIEND.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY ; Lansing

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Stupid man or woman

Date learned: 00001967 FALL

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QUEER THURSDAY

IN MY HIGH SCHOOL DAYS IN LANSING, MICHIGAN, IT WAS
THE CUSTOM TO LABEL ANYONE WHO WORE PURPLE ON A
THURSDAY AS A HOMOSEXUAL. MM
IT USED TO BE SAID THAT THURSDAY WAS THE QUEER DAY.
THAT IS, IT WAS THE DAY THAT WAS MORE OR LESS SET
ASIDE FOR HOMOSEXUALS. GUYS WOULD SOMETIMES DO
JOKINGLY SUCH NUTTY THINGS AS WALK DOWN THE STREET
HAND IN HAND, ETC.

Submitter comment: THOUGH MY PARTICULAR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS CUSTOM WAS
IN LANSING, MICH., IT SEEMS TO BE A FAIRLY WIDESPREAD
CUSTOM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Lansing

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

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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CREOLE RECEIPT

STUFFING TURKEY WITH RICE AND HAMBURGER AS A DRESSING.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Lansing

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Manner of preparation
Food Drink -- Plant food Cereal
Food Drink -- Meat Bird Poultry

Date learned: 00-00-1930

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COLD REMEDY

DRINK HOT WATER WITH SUGAR AND ONION IN IT.

Submitter comment: IT WORKS BUT ITS AFTER EFFECTS LEAVE YOUR BREATH SMELLING REAL BAD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Lansing

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Mineral

Date learned: 00-00-1978

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A CORN OF A PIG'S HOOF (LIKE A TOE NAIL) MIXED WITH SALT GRINDED
TOGETHER, AND IF PLACED ON BOILS AND BUMPS THEY WILL GO AWAY.

Submitter comment: CREOLE REMEDY FOR ACNE

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Lansing

James Callow Keyword(s): ACNE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Animal
BELIEF -- Mineral

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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YOU ARE TRAPPED IN A ROOM, THE DOOR IS LOCKED,
YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY KEYS, ALL THAT IS IN THE ROOM IS A PIANO,
A CALENDAR, AND A BED, YOU MANAGE TO EAT FRUIT AND DRINK WATER,
HOW DO YOU GET OUT, AND WHERE DID YOU GET THE FOOD?
ANSWER: YOU GOT THE WATER FROM THE SPRINGS IN THE BED,
DATES FROM THE CALENDAR, AND A KEY FROM THE PIANO
TO OPEN THE LOCKED DOOR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Lansing

James Callow Keyword(s): PUNS

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: 00-00-1984

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THIS IS A BELIEF IN MY FAMILY, THEY BELIEVE THAT BY KEEPING A
A PIECE OF RED CLOTH IN THEIR POSSESSION THEY ARE PROTECTED
FROM EVIL AND HARM, FOR THIS CLOTH SIGNIFIES THE SHROUD THAT
COVERED JESUS WHEN HE ROSE FROM DEATH AFTER DYING ON THE
CROSS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Lansing

Keyword(s): RED BELIEF

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Sign Color
BELIEF -- Color

Date learned: 00001980S

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IT WAS TOLD TO ME BY MY MOTHER, THAT IF YOU HEAR A VOICE
CALLING YOU IT IS BEST TO GO AND FIND OUT IF THAT VOICE IS
FROM SOMEONE CALLING YOU OR IF IT IS JUST YOUR IMAGINATION,
FOR IT IS BELIEVED THAT IF IT IS YOUR IMAGINATION CALLING
AND YOU ANSWER IT IS A BAD SIGN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Lansing

Subject headings: Observation

Date learned: 00001980S

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THIS IS A SUPERSTITION THAT IS HELD IN MY FAMILY.IT IS
BELIEVED THAT ONE SHOULD BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL ABOUT
THROWING AWAY HAIR, BECAUSE IF RETRIEVED BY ONE WHO
KNOWS VOODOO A SPELL CAN BE PLACED ON THAT INDIVIDUAL.

Submitter comment: I WAS TOLD THAT IN THE SOUTH VOODOO IS WIDELY BELIEVED IN
AND THAT THIS IS A WIDELY BELIEVED SUPERSTITION.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Lansing

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hair, on head, mustache, widow's peak
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 00001980S

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DODGE BALL

THE GAME IS CALLED DODGE BALL AND ANY NUMBER CAN PLAY. YOU
NEED A KICKBALL AND A GROUP OF KIDS. THE OBJECT OF THE
GAME IS NOT TO GET OUT. TO PLAY THE GAME A GROUP OF KIDS
SPLIT UP INTO TEAMS AND THE TEAM MEMBER WITH THE BALL
THROWS IT AT A PLAYER ON THE OTHER TEAM. IF THE PLAYER THAT
THE BALL IS THROWN AT IS HIT, THAT PLAYER IS OUT IF THE
PLAYER THAT IS THROWN AT CATCHES THE BALL, THE PLAYER ON
THE OPPOSING TEAM THAT THREW THE BALL IS OUT. AND THIS
GOES ON UNTIL ONLY ONE PLAYER FROM ONE OF THE TEAMS IS
LEFT AND THAT PLAYER'S TEAM IS THE WINNER.

Submitter comment: THIS GAME HAS MANY DIFFERENT TITLES AND VERSIONS BUT THE
GENERAL WAY THE GAME IS PLAYED SEEMS TO BE THE SAME.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Lansing

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

Date learned: 00001980S

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MY MOTHER ALWAYS TOLD ME THAT THE NIGHT BEFORE A TEST IF
I WANTED TO RETAIN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT I HAD STUDIED I SHOULD
TAKE MY BOOK OF THE SUBJECT THAT I WAS TO BE TESTED ON AND
PLACE THAT BOOK UNDER MY MATTRESS BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP, AND
THE KNOWLEDGE WOULD STAY WITH ME.

Submitter comment: THE THING ABOUT THIS BELIEF IS THAT IT REALLY DID WORK: I
WOULD USUALLY REMEMBER ALL THE INFORMATION.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Lansing

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- School
BELIEF -- Magic of Speech, Sign, Color

Date learned: 00001980CA

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