Author Archives: Kelsey Kelliher

Bad Spirits in Ice Cold Air

Okay so, my great grandma’s home in Chicago was an old historical mansion.  For whatever reason, when the electrical work was put in the light switch in the foyer was not right when you walked in the door.  You had to walk to the end of the hallway to turn the light on.  

And no one was home.  And my dad got home.  He was like 17-ish.  He walked in the door.  And the room he felt was ice cold.  A cold he had never felt in his life.  And my great grandma used to see spirits all the time.  And she would also describe a bad spirit as being ice cold.  And it’s a cold that shouldn’t be there.  So he told my great grandma about it right away.  And she had someone come and do something.  

But her mom, Mama Price, our great great grandmother had like a book. Not a book on witchcraft, but some sort of spell-ish book with like homeopathic remedies.  There is a very spiritual side the that side of the family.  

Ring Around the Rosie

Ring around the rosie,

A pocket full of posies,  

Ashes, Ashes,

We all fall down  [the kids collapsed to the ground and rolled around]

We all get up and run around [the kids go up and ran around]


I thought this was an interesting rendition of Ring Around the Rosie because I had never heard the last stanza of the rhyme that the children performed.  Perhaps this is a common rendition in Los Angeles and I am just not aware of it because I did not grow up here.

La Llorona

My informant LK told me the La Llorona legend that he grew up hearing.  He heard this story from his mother when he was around 10 years old.  He grew up in a Mexican American home in Chicago.

“The story is that she drowned her children in a stream while she was washing clothes.  And as her punishment whenever her spirit roams through that little town in Mexico, whenever she comes across water, she cries.  And people can hear her at night crying because she is looking for her children.”

This legend

go into the La Llorona article that we read for class

Big Sis Night: 1

We’ve been doing this since I was a freshman.  So, my family is very cool. Really cool people.  So when the little bro comes in, the guys say “your big since isn’t here but she’ll be here soon.  Will you go get…” some random object in their closet.  And then all the girls will be hiding in the closet. And we jump out with handles and force them to drink immediately! And then we dress the up in a costume and draw all over them.  And make them drink more.  

No one in my family really wants to go to the party. We just want to hang out with each other. 


Ariel: all the boys get a piercing.  All the girls go with them.  We don’t like it, but we go.  It’s a thing.

Don’t Whistle Away Your Money

My informant, KM, explained that Russians believe it is bad luck to whistle under a roof because you are whistling your money away.  This is a very strong belief in Russia.  KM learned this superstition from her Russian American friend and roommate.  Thus, no whistling occurs in KM’s home.

KM saw this superstition in the motherland when traveling in Russia in the summer of 2012.  KM was was on a USC trip with eighteen American students.  KM and her travel companions were walking outside on a street that was under construction.  The sidewalk on which they were walking had overhead scaffolding–basically a roof outdoors.  One of KM’s friends began to whistle when walking beneath the scaffolding and immediately received dirty looks from the Russian passersby.  KM later realized that her friend was receiving stares from the Russians because he was whistling under a roof.  My informant then told her friend and the whole group that whistling under a roof is bad luck.

This belief demonstrates that money is important to Russians and not to be whistled away.  It suggests that Russians do not have a care-free attitude towards their money.  It also demonstrates that Russians have a strong belief in their superstitions.