Folk Beliefs
Legends

Nose Picking & The Fire Department

“When I was little, my grandfather told me if I picked my nose, I don’t know if this counts. He told me that if I picked my nose, that my finger would get stuck, and the only way I could get it out is if I called the fire department, and they would have to cut my hand off. I was totally afraid of him when I was little.”

The informant recalls her grandfather telling her stories to ‘spook her’ when she was little. She believes he was trying to be funny, since he wasn’t very good with kids. She says he also used to tell her mother the same story when she was little, and continued to pass the trauma down to future generations. This story is different from the average folk belief or superstition because the informant’s grandfather did not necessarily believe the story, but came up with it as a way to trick her. However, since she believed it when she first heard it, it became ‘real’ for her. This instance is slightly reminiscent of fakelore, where one party generates fake folklore (e.g. Paul Bunion) for gain, but the fakelore becomes accepted as true folklore. Obviously, this example is on a much smaller scale.

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