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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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When the Devil Beats his Wife

It is said that when you see a whirlwind it usually means that
the devil is beating his wife.

Submitter comment: The informant was giggling when she told this to me.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Keyword(s): Small Storms

James Callow Keyword(s): ANTHROPOMORPHISM

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Wind Whirlwind Hurricane Cyclone Tornado

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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Fish And Milk

Before having a catfish dinner, I asked my mother if I could
have some milk to go with it. But my father interrupted and said
that if you've never had milk with fish before then it will kill
you.

Submitter comment: My father had a very serious look on his face. I knew he was
wrong because they had served milk along with our lunches which
sometimes include fish as a main course.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Keyword(s): FOOD POISONING

Subject headings: Food Drink -- Typical menus for the various meals For meal hours, see F574.84.
Food Drink -- Meat Fish and other animal life related to water
Food Drink -- Drink from animal product Milk
BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Fish

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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My mother told me that when any of my teeth came out I should
put them under my pillow so that the tooth fairy would leave me
some money. My mother also said I had to be a good boy in order to
receive any money.

Submitter comment: My mother sounded very convincing.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Keyword(s): Little magical people

James Callow Keyword(s): Fairy

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Fairy Elf Goblin Gnome
BELIEF -- Body part Senses

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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My mother always told me that when your hand itches it means
you will receive some money soon.

Submitter comment: This was a hopeful superstition but not a very believable
one.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hands, palms, fingernails
BELIEF -- Measure of quality Monetary systemMoneyWealth

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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I was told that when you can smell watermelon and there's none
around it usually means a snake is near.

Submitter comment: My mother had this scary look on her face.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Keyword(s): Fragrances

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Animal
BELIEF -- Plant

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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My mother believes that when a baby is born with a
veil(placenta) still covering its face that it will be able to see
spirits.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Keyword(s): Gypsies

Subject headings: Prophet / Seer / Soothsayer
Spirit / Mind / Body
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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Unshelled Peanuts

One day my father and my oldest brother were in the car coming
from the store. My father had previously bought my brother some
peanuts at the store and told him not to eat them until they were
home. My brother began to shell the peanuts and eat them in the
car simultaneously the steering column of the car came disconnected
and my father lost control of the car and almost had an accident.
Ever since that day my father had said that it's bad luck to eat
unshelled peanuts in the car.

Submitter comment: This was a very funny story but my father seemed convinced that
its true.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Keyword(s): FOOD

James Callow Keyword(s): Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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Working on Sundays

Whenever I asked my mother if I could go fishing on a Sunday
afternoon she would say no because she believed that
Sundays were suppose to be restful days and not to be worked on and
that included fishing. She had this belief because God created the
world in six days and rested on the seventh. So her reasoning was
that if God can make a world in six days and rest on the seventh,
therefore any man should be able to do what he wants in six days
and rest on the seventh.

Submitter comment: My mother never let me go fishing on Sundays.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Subject headings: 686 Sixths / Six
686 Seven / Sevenths / Several
BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour
BELIEF -- Magic Book

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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Mary Wells

During the 1950's or 60's, Mary Wells was supposedly a witch
that burned down half a small southern town called Yazoo City.
Chains were placed around her grave to keep her spirit from
returning from the dead. Children during the 1970's and 80's had
a superstition that her spirit could be called from the dead. The
procedure for doing this was to go into the restroom, turn off the
lights, look into the mirror and say Mary Wells' name ten times and
her face would appear in the mirror.

Submitter comment: I'm not sure whether this is true or not because I've been
always too afraid to try it; even up to this date.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Keyword(s): SPIRITS

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration
686 First / Once / One / Newness
Favorites
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Witch Shaman

Date learned: 01-01-1978

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Baby's First Teeth

It's been said that if you let a baby look into the mirror
before he/she grows his/her first teeth then he/she will never grow
any teeth at all.

Submitter comment: My mother had this big grin on her face when she told me this
but it took me a few years to realize she was lying.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Number Emptiness, nothingness, zero

Date learned: 00-00-1980

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Old Mary Mack

There's a children's song entitled 'Old Mary Mack' and it goes
like this:
Old Mary Mack Mack Mack
All dressed in black black black
With silver buttons buttons buttons
All down her back back back
She went to the store store store
With fifteen cents cents cents.

Submitter comment: This was sort of one of those patty cake chants.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Keyword(s): Children's songs

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

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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Red Light Green Light

This was a children's game in which one chosen person would
close his/her eyes and say "Red light green light" several times
while simultaneously spinning around. While the chosen person
would spin and say this the other participants would run around in
circles around the chosen person. And when the chosen person
opened his/her eyes, whoever was still moving would be put out of
the game.

Submitter comment: This seemed to be a very fun game at the time.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Keyword(s): GAMES

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Singing Dancing Marching

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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It has been said that if you urinate in the middle of the
highway, you'll get a star (pimple) under you eye.

Submitter comment: Everytime I saw someone with a pimple under his/her eye I would
think about this old saying.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Keyword(s): Pimple

James Callow Keyword(s): Stye

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Eyes, evil eye
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Specific distinguishing characteristic Dimple, wart, mole, scar, freckle, birthmark, strawberry mark, bruise, spot (on any part of body)
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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Genius

It's been said that if a child never meets his/her father then
that child will be very intelligent.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Keyword(s): High IQ

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Secular hero
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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Itchy Nose

It's been said that if your nose itches, it usually means
you're gonna kiss a fool.

Submitter comment: My nose itches all the time and I never kiss anyone.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Physically handicapped Deformed
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Nose
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 00-00-1980

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I've been told by my mother that hope, without faith, is like
beefsteak without gravy.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

James Callow Keyword(s): FOOD

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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When I was in gradeschool I always heard that if you step on a
crack, in the sidewalk, you'll break your mother's back.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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When I would eat oranges as a child, I would be afraid to
swallow the seeds because I had always been told that if I did an
orange tree would grow inside me and kill me.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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When I was growing up, my father would tell me a story about a
man who got his head cut off. He would say that every time after
it rained you would be able to see the puddle of blood where it
happened and the night after it rained you would be able to see the
man standing over the puddle of blood.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Cloud Fog Mist Rain Hail Ice Snow Frost Dew

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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In school I would always hear the guys say that when a girl had
a wide gap in her crotch, it meant she was very sexually active.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI ; Louise

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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