Author Archives: Nicole Winston


“In my grandma’s neighborhood, whenever kids were being bad, they would get someone from the neighborhood to dress up as the boogie man and hide in the kid’s room. When the kid went to sleep the person would scare them to try and make them act better.”


Aaron first heard from his grandmother when he was a young boy. His grandmother was Native American. He does not know very much about her culture or native traditions. The idea of a stranger showing up in the middle of the night to scare him for some reason stayed with him. Every time he was going to do something he knew was wrong, the idea of this real-life boogie man would pop into his head and prevent him from doing the deed.

The boogie man was also rumored to appear at night. Night, a time when most children are scares of shadows or random creaks in the floor. They are at that age where they believe in almost anything and can be easily fooled. This is probably why the story worked on Aaron.


More information on the Ogre Kachinas can be found on JSTOR under Myth, Performance, and Politics by Masakuni Kitazawa in TDR (1988-) magazine, Vol. 36, No. 3 (Autumn, 1992), pages. 160-173. It was published by MIT press.

After learning more about the mythical monstrous monster that scares children into compliance, I found that this boogie man is a woman. They call her Ogre Woman Kachina. Her role is to teach discipline to the children. She makes various appearances in tribal performances in the punishment scenes (page 161). I find this interesting because it goes along with the idea that women make more cunning villains than men. Nonetheless, the perceived notion of causing physical pain and suffering in present society is attributed to men due to their violent behavior and built up sexual aggression. This leads to a misconception on the gender of the monster. Aaron thought the monster was a man. This is common since he grew up in an American culture that amplifies male aggression. Boys growing up are given an ideal image of what a man should be, and he should be tough. They are the ones associated with strength, while the women are associated with household duties. It is only logical for children to be more frightened of men.

This monster is similar to El Cuco. A monster used in Spain and Latin American countries to frighten children into going to bed. The children are said to be taken away from their homes for not listening to their parents and going to sleep. In both beliefs, they create a monster to frighten children into doing what they’re told. These stories pray on childhood fears.

Food Tradition

“Every New Years day, my dad always makes sure that everyone in the family and all of our family friends have lentils at some point in the day. He says that it will bring wealth and good luck in the year to come.”


Joey Orton was born on July 12 1989. His father is an entrepreneur and his mother works as his right-hand woman. He is Jewish, but he only practices on major holidays. He is currently a student at the University of Southern California.

Joey has been participating in this traditional New Years dinner ever since he was big enough to eat lentils. He feels guilty if he ever misses a year and does not get to eat the lentils. The lentils are served in the form of lentil soup. Either his father or mother makes the dish. He is uncertain about how long it takes to make or if any technique is needed to make the soup. Joey’s family follows this tradition because they believe the round lentils represent coins. Therefore, eating the lentils is like gaining wealth for the next year.

New Years is a time when people celebrate the coming year. There are many different traditions people partake in during this period that deal with obtaining money for the year to come. Italians, in particularly, are known for beginning the new year, il capodanno, with  La Festa di San Silvestro, celebrated on December 31. As with most Italian festivals, food plays a key role. The main attraction of the dinner is lentils, as it represents money and good fortune for the coming year. Traditionally in Italy the meal is served with a cotechino, a large spiced sausage, or a zampone, stuffed pig’s trotter that symbolizes the richness of life in the coming year.  It is interesting Joey’s family just eats a bowl of soup and no pork. It may be that his family is more integrated into the American way of life. Eating a bowl of green lentils appears to parallel the American attitudes about the accumulation of wealth, rather than in Italy where the having an additional food to share the wealth with. The combinations of the food indicate richness in more than just wealth, but rather in life. This demonstrates the effects of living in a forward-thinking, capitalistic country.

Moreover, I agree with Joey that the lentils represent coins. Plus, they are green. In the American South, black eye peas are the counterpart of the lentils and pig is only eaten if the previous year had been unlucky. It is remarkable how two different cultures have the same notions about specific foods.


“You’re running through the forest and you’re running and you hear someone is chasing you…so you run faster and faster and then…. there’s in a hole…AND YOU FALL….and you’re falling and falling.

One girl is standing still and two other girls are moving her arms and legs while she is sinning through the forest. And then when she falls, they suddenly stop moving her limbs. “


Joanna attended many sleepovers growing up, especially during grade school. There she would watch movies, do hair and makeup, and play hand motion story games. It involved two or three girls and the motions cause you to feel a certain way. The narrator or the girl who is telling the story gets to decide when the girl falls. She tries really hard to do it at an unexpected time. This was one of the more popular things to do at sleepover parties.

Using a paradigmatic analysis for this piece we question why this specific folklore is passed down? Why do the girls like doing this? The answer is simple. During a sleepover, girls usually stay in the house. It is different than baking cookies or watching movies. This type of play is a manner in which they can experience the sensations of doing something dangerous without really being in danger. It relates back to the idea that children have an innate urge to rebel. It produces different feeling and sensation in the body, which the girls find curious. It goes along the same principle for why children spin around in a circle really fast over and over until they’re dizzy. When they stop, everything is blurry and unclear. This new sensation makes them want to do it over and over again. Similarly, the hand motion story goes along the same lines.

Yet, why does the girl feel like she’s falling? When someone is moving really fast or is in constant motion, the body gains some momentum. When it suddenly stops, it’s like your body crashes into a wall. All the organs in your body react to this rapid deceleration. Moreover, A person’s muscles are limp when others are moving them, so when they stop, her arms and legs need time to readjust to equilibrium. These brief few seconds of reestablishment create the impression of falling down a hole.

Song – San Diego, California

“Miss Susie had a steam boat,

the steam boat had a bell, ding-ding

Miss Susie went to heaven,

The Steamboat went to Hell…

Ooo Operator,

Please give me number nine,

And if you disconnect me,

I’ll cut off your Beee—-

HIND the frigerator,

There was a piece of glass,

Miss Susie sat upon it,

And broker her little ASS

SK…me no more questions,

I’ll tell you no more lies,

The boys are in the bathroom,

Zipping up their Flys—

Are in the meadows,

The bees are in their park,

Miss Susie and her boyfriend,

Are kissing in the D-A-R-K, D-A-R-K, D-A-R-K DARK!

The dark is like the movies,

The movie’s like the show,

The show is like the the-a-tre,

And that is all I know

I know my mom,

I know I know my pa,

I know I know my si-as-ster

With the 40 acre BRA! BRA! BRA!”


Natalie was born in San Diego, California, where she first heard the song “Miss Susie”. She learned this song in first grade from her playmates during recess. Recess was the time that all the girls would get together to sing songs, jump rope, and play hand games. She thought this song was funnier than the other songs because she got the opportunity to say bad words.

This piece of folklore epitomizes the idea that children can be little angels and little monsters at the same time. According to Marina Warner’s Six Myths of our Time, children are perceived innocent, but have an innate need to rebel. For example, the words hell, ass, behind, fly, kissing, dark and bra are used in the song. Yet they are used in such a way to cover up all the negative connotations. Hell is strung with the letter O. Although hell may be emphasized, the word itself is hello. This song is a way for children to rebel in a passive manner. Notice that the children know that kissing in the dark is forbidden by them not saying the word dark, but rather spelling it out. This is similar to when parents spell a word out instead of saying it in front of their children. This song not only highlights inappropriate behavior, but touches on sexual undertones as shown by being in the park, with her boyfriend and a 40 acre BRA.

In a Freudian comparison of the situation, when children play, it is not taken seriously or as real, so it allows them to explore such topics that are considered inappropriate or prohibited by society. These modes in which children play violate the adult’s romantic notion of a child and his innocence. In this case, this piece of folklore in which the song aims to mask the forbidden topic is known as nonsense play (Oring). Most adult would consider the song as a bunch of rhymes, with a catchy tune.

However, the melody is a slight adaptation of the Looney tune theme “That’s all folks” played at the end of each episode. This tune is one heard by almost every child growing up. The incorporation of it in Miss Susie demonstrates how commercial advertisement can integrate into folklore. It also helps in dating this piece of folklore, for one can determine when the song first came out. Since the first Looney Tunes episode premiered over seventy years ago, we can say that the terminus post quem is April of 1930. We know that this piece of folklore could not have been before this date.




“El patio de mi casa es particular, cuando llueve se moja, como los demas, chocolate, morenita, corre corre,estirar estirar que la coja va pasar”.

Hacer una ronda agarrandose las manos (6 chicas o mas, puede ser hasta 20 ), una de las chicas en el medio de la ronda y cantar la cancion, al terminar de cantar , separarse y aplaudir y la chica del centro salta en un pie hasta que se canse , finalnmente cuando para, la chica proxima a la que salto es la siguiente y asi sucesivamente.



“The patio of my house is particular, when rains gets wet like the other ones, chocolate, morenita, run run,

make room for the limp”

Make a circle holding hands ( 6 girls or more, could be even 20 ), one of the girls is in the center of the circle. Everybody sings the song. When you finish the song separate to make room, and clap your hands and the girl in the center star jumping on one leg till gets tired and give up. The girl in front of her will be the next in the center and start all over again.


Norma sang this song during recess with the other girls during grade school. It was one of her favorite games. Although it may not appear difficult to hop on one foot, after a while one gets tiring. She did not see any significance meaning to this game. It was just any ordinary game to her.

This is a prime example of children making fun of the handicapped or disabled. This is not like a common paraplegic joke told in the United States. The children outright say “run, run” there’s a “limp”. They even go father by hopping on one foot. This game although appears innocent enough to the eyes of adults, its an act of rebellion. Children are told at a young age to respect the disabled with expression such as: Do not point, Do not stare, Do not ask how they came to be that way. There are so many restrictions, games and jokes are ways for children to get around the rules.