Author Archives: John Broderick

Brazilian Door Superstition

The following Brazilian superstition was performed over coffee on April 23rd, 2019.  In Brazil, it’s considered bad luck to unlock or open the door to someone else’s home. If you do, it’s said you’ll “never be invited back because your friendship will end”. The door must be opened or unlocked by the owner of the home. Growing up, children are told to “never unlock the door to someone else’s house if you like them”, because if you do you’ll become “enemies”.

The informant heard this from her father growing up, who heard it from his father. The superstition is used to stop children from getting into mischief and to instill a sense of boundaries.

Underwater Body at Oakwood Beach

The following urban legend was performed in the USC Village on April 12th, 2019. The informant grew up in Rocky River, Ohio, which is nearby Oakwood beach. At the end of the pier lays a large, sunken metal tube.  The legend was that earlier generations “used to swim through the tube and the someone got stuck and died inside. Kids would try and see but nobody wanted to swim through [the tube] because you wouldn’t make it without getting attacked by the dead person inside.”

The informant first heard of the tube-lore in fifth grade. “Everyone comes back to Rocky River so there was this 5th grade teacher who went to Rocky River High School. The teacher Mrs. Quigley told us “yeah there’s this tube and when we were younger people used to swim through all the time”. Somewhere in the middle of Mrs. Quigley growing up and the informant reaching 5th grade, someone supposedly died inside.

“The pier was very dangerous because there had been many piers that were built and then sunk. People would jump off but there was sunken cement surrounding the area”

The legend of the dead body underwater was probably a mix of scare tactics from adults to prevent their kids from jumping into the area full of sunken cement and the willingness of young kids to share scary stories.

Czechoslovakian Christmas Chimney

The following Czechoslovakian Christmas tradition was performed in the USC Village on April 12th, 2019. Every Christmas eve, while the informant’s family eats dinner “there’s like this little wooden box that’s open at the top and decorated to look like a chimney, and we call it ‘the chimney.'”  Everyone has a ribbon with their name on it and “you pull your little gift out of the open chimney and it’s your first Christmas present of the year.” Gifts include items like notebooks, pencils, and “little treats to get excited for Christmas”. 

The chimney came from their Czechoslovakian neighbors (the Kysela family) who are “our best family friends and that started with their great grandma. They had done the chimney forever, was always a tradition of theirs and because we’re so close they made us a chimney.” This Christmas tradition combines the tradition of opening one gift the night before and the lore of Santa coming down from the chimney.

A Loira do Banheiro

The following Brazilian urban legend was performed over coffee on April 23rd, 2019. In Brazil, “we have the legend of A Loira do Banheiro, or Bathroom Blonde”. If you leave hair in the sink drain and say her name three times, “you summon a blonde that died a long time ago and she kills you.” The informant described her as “Bloody Mary but blonder.”

The legend is heard by children in school and from their parents, who use the legend to make their kids “clean up after themselves.” The informant was told by her mother that “her mom loved the legend because the sinks were always clean.”

It’s a fun spin on Bloody Mary and the use of fear to instill principals into children has been practiced for generations. “Anything to get kids to clean up after themselves!” 

For further writings on the adjacent Bloody Mary lore, please visit:

Dundes, Alan. “Bloody Mary in the Mirror: A Ritual Reflection of Pre-Pubescent Anxiety.” Western Folklore 57.2/3 (1998): 119-35. JSTOR. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <>.


Son of a Pink Dolphin

The following Brazilian urban legend was performed over coffee on April 23rd, 2019. According to the informant, in Brazil if you don’t know who the dad of a child is, “you say the dad is a pink dolphin, like the amazon pink dolphin.” The urban legend states that “every full moon the pink dolphin would hop out of the water and turn into a handsome man in an all white suit,” complete with a hat to “hide his blowhole.” He would then seduce women, impregnate them, and disappear back into the water “cuz he’s a dolphin.”

When asked where the informant first heard of this tale, she replied that it’s a very common legend in Brazil. “You hear it everywhere: children’s books and music are big ones.It was also a way for parents to gossip about “bastard” children in front of their own children. “That’s a pink dolphin kid”, meaning no one knows who the dad is. “I’ve always remembered it because it’s just so funny and random. It makes me laugh that my dad still uses it.”

This urban legend could exist as a way to explain absent fathers to children. The childlike details allow for widespread use in entertainment AND let parents speak in code about adult topics around children.

For more information on Brazilian Pink Dolphin beliefs, please visit:

Cravalho, Mark A. “Shameless Creatures: An Ethnozoology of the Amazon River Dolphin.” Ethnology, vol. 38, no. 1, 1999, pp. 47–58. JSTOR,