Author Archives: Ian Cabeen

An Italian Cure For Warts

Background: My grandmother (and my informant) learned this folk remedy in her twenties when her mother-in-law, who was born in Italy, noticed my grandma had warts on her hand. It was something she taught me as a young child, and although I’ve never tried it, she claims she did and the warts on her hands… Continue Reading »

Halley’s Comet Superstition

Background: My informant is fond of this superstition because of his love of astronomy. It was passed to him by a friend, who received it from his mother. They lived in Denver, Colorado, at the time. Context: This superstition originated and probably only existed during the passage of Halley’s comet in 1910. The mother of… Continue Reading »

Dirty Rotten Devil

Background: My informant for this piece is my grandmother, who learned this song from her father and passed it on to her children and grandchildren. She grew up up in North Central Wisconsin and suspects that it came from one of the men’s groups, likely a fraternity, that her father was a part of there…. Continue Reading »

The Elmer Call

Background: Every summer during my informant’s childhood she went camping in Yosemite. Among the many other camping traditions that people may hold, it always seemed to her that everyone who regularly attended Yosemite was in on this piece of lore. While she didn’t understand why people did it at first, she eventually learned the story… Continue Reading »

Secret Summer Camp Chant

Background: The informant’s mother used to say this phrase as a playful thing to her children. While my informant generally liked this chant for its nostalgiac purposes, her mother used it in a variety of ways at her childhood summer camp. Though I lacked the mind to gather where her mother was from, my informant… Continue Reading »