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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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THE GHOST OF CHAPEL HILL

IN CHAPEL HILL, TENNESSEE, THERE IS A SET OF RAILROAD TRACKS
WHERE ONE CAN SEE A GHOST. AT NIGHT, WHEN A TRAIN COMES
THROUGH THE TRACKS, YOU CAN SEE A RED LIGHT, WHICH IS A
LITTLE WAYS BEHIND IT. THE LIGHT FOLLOWS THE TRAIN AT
ABOUT THE SAME DISTANCE ALL THE TIME. NO ONE CAN REALLY TELL
JUST EXACTLY WHAT IT IS. PEOPLE HAVE SHOT AT IT AND NOTHING
HAPPENS. PEOPLE SAY THAT ONE, A LONG TIME AGO, A MAN WAS
SEVERED. SUPPOSEDLY THE GHOST, THE RED LIGHT, KEEPS
RETURNING IN SEARCH OF HIS HEAD.

Where learned: TENNESSEE, ASSUMED ; COLUMBIA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Physically handicapped Deformed
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Fire
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

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HOO DOO

LAST YEAR WHILE I WAS WORKING AT THE MAURY COUNTY HOSPITAL, AN
AID, WHOSE NAME ESCAPES ME, TOLD ME ABOUT AN OLD LADY IN
MOUNT PLEASANT, WHO PRACTICED HOO DOO. THIS OLD LADY HAD
THE POWER TO PUT A CURSE ON ANYONE WHO BOTHERED HER. SHE'S
AN OLD NEGRO AND APPARENTLY THE NEGROES IN MOUNT PLEASANT
BELIEVE IN HER POWERS. THE ONES WHO DON'T HAVE BEEN
SHOWN THAT HER POWER DOES EXIST.

Where learned: TENNESSEE, ASSUMED ; COLUMBIA

James Callow Keyword(s): VOO DOO

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Witch Shaman

Date learned: 06-15-1970

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THERE IS A CHURCH ON THE MOUNT PLEASANT HIGHWAY WITH AN
ADJACENT GRAVEYARD. IF YOU CAN DRIVE AROUND THE CHURCH
THREE TIMES WITHOUT SEEING A GHOST, YOU'LL HAVE A
HEALTHY LIFE. IF YOU SEE A GHOST, YOU DON'T HAVE LONG
TO LIVE.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; COLUMBIA

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 06-20-1970

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ALWAYS IRON BEFORE GOING TO BED SO YOUR HANDS WILL NOT HAVE
TO TOUCH WATER IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE COMPLETION OF THIS
TASK. IF YOUR HANDS TOUCH WATER AFTER IRONING, SOME
UNFORTUNATE OCCURRENCE WILL BEFALL YOU.

Submitter comment: THIS BELIEF WAS PRACTICED BY A MEXICAN GIRL WHO LIVED

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; COLUMBIA

James Callow Keyword(s): METAL

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Water
BELIEF -- Curse
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 00-00-1968

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CURSE

CROSS YOUR (MY) HEART AND HOPE TO DIE,
STICK A NEEDLE IN YOUR EYE.

Submitter comment: THIS CURSE IS UTTERED BY A PERSON TO ANOTHER TO EXACT A

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; COLUMBIA

James Callow Keyword(s): OATH

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Speech Speech
BELIEF -- Curse

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CURSE

IF A PREGNANT WOMAN SEES SOMETHING THAT SCARES HER, IT
WILL MARK THE BABY.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; COLUMBIA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Birth

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IT'S BAD LUCK TO LIGHT THREE CIGARETTES FROM ONE MATCH.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; COLUMBIA

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 07-03-1972

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IF A BLACK CAT WALKS ACROSS YOUR PATH, YOU CAN CONVERT
THE BAD LUCK BY ROLLING UP ONE PANTS' LEG AND TURNING
YOUR HAT AROUND BACKWARDS.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; COLUMBIA

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck Clothing (dress, hat, shoes, suit, etc.)
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.50
BELIEF -- Conversions

Date learned: 07-03-1972

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IF YOU CHEW TOBACCO AND SPIT, YOU WILL CATCH A FISH.

Submitter comment: MY UNCLE TAUGHT MY FATHER THIS TRICK AS A SMALL BOY.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; COLUMBIA

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration

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TO MAKE FISH BITE, YOU MUST SPIT ON THE FISH BAIT. THIS
CHARM GUARANTEES YOU WILL CATCH A FISH.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; COLUMBIA

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration

Date learned: 06-22-1972

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SMALL CHILDREN ARE OFTEN CONSOLED BY THEIR MOTHERS WHO OFFER
TO "KISS THE HURT AND MAKE IT WELL."

Submitter comment: MY MOTHER CONSOLED ME WITH THESE SAME WORDS.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; COLUMBIA

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration

Date learned: 06-14-1972

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A CROSS IS SAID TO WARD OFF VAMPIRES, SINCE THEY BECOME
BURNED OR PARALYZED AT ITS TOUCH.

Submitter comment: MY AUNT, CHERI SHERMAN, WHO NOW RESIDES IN SAN ANTONIO,

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; COLUMBIA

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration
BELIEF -- Sign Color

Date learned: 06-14-1972

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PENTACLE IS A CHARM USED BY PENNSYLVANIA PEOPLE WHO ARE
DESCENDED FROM THE DUTCH, TO WARD OFF EVIL.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; COLUMBIA

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration

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BREAD CRUST WILL PUT HAIR ON YOUR CHEST.

Submitter comment: MY FATHER USED THIS BELIEF TO CONVINCE MY SMALL

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; COLUMBIA

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

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BREAD CRUST WILL MAKE YOU HAVE CURLY HAIR

Submitter comment: MY FATHER TAUGHT ME THIS BELIEF WHEN I WAS FOUR

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; COLUMBIA

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

Date learned: 06-01-1972

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IF A MAID SLEEPS ON A SLICE OF WEDDING CAKE, SHE'LL VIEW
HER FUTURE HUSBAND IN HER DREAMS.

Submitter comment: I WAS TOLD THIS BELIEF BY MY MOTHER WHO SOUGHT TO PACIFY

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; COLUMBIA

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration
862 Use of object for determining future spouse

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FINDING A FOUR LEAF CLOVER WILL BRING THE DISCOVERER GOOD
LUCK.

Submitter comment: MY FATHER TAUGHT ME THIS BELIEF WHEN I WAS ABOUT SIX

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; COLUMBIA

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration
BELIEF -- Good luck Plants

Date learned: 06-11-1972

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CATCHING A BRIDAL BOUQUET MEANS A GIRL WILL BE MARRIED
WITHIN ONE YEAR

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; COLUMBIA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Marriage Bouquet toss

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A FALLING STAR MEANS A WITCH HAS DIED.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; COLUMBIA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Sign Color
BELIEF -- Weather sign or control P890.6

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