The 27 Club
B first heard about this urban legend when she was in high school during her forensics class. They had done projects on celebrity deaths and the urban legend became a discussion topic.
The context of this piece was during a movie when one of the well-known “members” of the 27 club had a song used in the film.
B: “The 27 club creeped me out at first when we first started talking about it during forensics. I mean I don’t really like English songs like that so I never really knew about the club at first until they brought it up in the presentation. I would of thought it was just a coincidence you know? But I feel like its weird that so many celebrities joined the club. I remember it being like a mysterious death type of thing. I know it was a bunch of famous people that died from stuff like OD’ing or alcohol poisoning, but they all died at 27. I remember being shocked that they died so young, I think that’s why I remembered about the club. It was people like Cobain and that one Wine something girl.
Me: “You mean Amy Whinehouse?”
B: “Yeah that’s her name. I think I remember some people saying they thought they made some kind of devil pact or something to get famous so that’s why they all died at 27.”
I found this interview really interesting because the urban legend of the 27 club had become a cultural phenomenon with a big following in recent times. I think it was interesting to see how someone like B, who by her own admission recognizes her lack of experience with English-speaking musicians or members of the club, would know about this urban legend. It’s also interesting to see how fast an urban legend can gain traction in the media. I think B’s knowledge of the urban legend goes to show how lore is constantly being spread to different types of people. I also think its interesting how the cultural phenomenon evolved into this urban legend as more and more celebrities are joining the list of 27 club members.
B is one of my close friends and has connections and friendships with all kinds of people. Shes heard of many practices and stories from friends that have performed these practices themselves or through others. She heard of this practice through her cousin who had a friend that actually performed this.
The context of this piece was when we were talking about some superstitions we had heard of or practices and B mentioned her cousin had recently told her this one.
B: “Uh this one is a little gross like nasty kind of but hey, you asked. So my cousin told me that she has a friend who did this on her husband. She’s just weird like that but whatever. So its said that if a woman gives a man some of her blood, like her….period blood, then he’d be in love with her forever and not fall for anyone else. And that’s what my cousin said her friend did because he used to be such a flirt with all the girls but now he’s like a puppy on a leash.
Me: “Wait, the guy just willingly drank something like that?”
B: “I’m sure some guys are into weird stuff like that but nah my cousin’s friend was sneaky with it. She put her own period blood into some spaghetti she made for him. Her you know, stuff mixed in with the sauce so he couldn’t taste it. But apparently it worked for her because she says she feels like he’s bonded to her or something like that, I don’t know”
This interview really surprised me because I had never heard of something like this existing or even being done to a person. This folk content also piqued my interest because I found it to be an example of Homeopathic magic. In this piece, the desired outcome is for the person receiving the blood to change their external temptations and become devoted to the giver of the blood. In order to do that, my informant’s cousin’s friend put their bodily fluid into an edible substance, which is supposed to symbolize the receiver’s connection to the giver. I think this could also possibly be contagious magic as the practice requires a physical secretion from the giver’s body in order for it to be completed
J is a first generation Salvadorian-American and has made friends with different kinds of people from different cultures. She heard this one from a close friend of hers and tries to employ it now in her everyday life.
The context of this piece was during a shift at work after attending some customers. These customers had a baby with them.”
J: “Oh gosh I was so scared I looked at that baby for too long! She was just too cute you know. Like I told myself not too but I just like babies too much”
Me: “Why were you trying to not stare? I don’t think the mom would’ve minded, she seemed nice during the transaction.”
J: “I didn’t want to give the baby mal de ojo. I don’t know if you heard about what that is but my friend told me about it. Apparently, its like a illness you can give to cute little babies. But its not like coughing on them or anything like that. She told me that if you look at a baby for too long it’ll make them fussy and like sick. I guess its like, like your stare is too strong or something and it ends up making the baby cry. Even if you don’t try to give them like a strong start it can still give them ma de ojo so I just try to look a little but not for too long. Or you can just touch like their hand and it’ll go away, or that’s what my friend told me about it.”
The mal de ojo is a folk illness and its translation into English is “evil eye.” This folk illness primarily affects children and babies are usually the most vulnerable. This belief is that a simple look or a stare can cause symptoms of bad luck, sickness and even death. As J said, infliction of mal de ojo does not have to be intentional for it to be given to a child. Treatment and prevention vary in different regions. For example, in Mexico it is thought that the person admiring the child can prevent the malady by touching the child while in the Caribbean touching the child is thought to exacerbate the problem. A folk remedy to this illness is the performance of an egg cleaning. I found this interesting because I had heard of this folk illness before, so it was interesting to hear it from J’s perspective and see in person how she handled avoiding it.
J first heard about this from her Honduran brother-in-law that spoke about it during a get together. She enjoys talking about the legend because she believes it would bring others good.
The context of this piece was over a work shift when a song named “La Difunta” come over the music playlist.
J:” Wait what’s the name of this song? It sounds like I know it”
Me: “Uh its called ‘La Difunta,’ my boyfriend showed me it since hes into these types of songs”
J: “You know there’s a legend with that name, but its called La Difunta Correa. My brother-in-law told me about it the other day. I guess it’s a legend he had heard but it’s like a sad story. You sure you want to hear it? “
Me “Yeah I don’t mind”
J: “ So there was a lady called Correa, that’s her last name but I don’t remember her actual name. It was like Tiodolinda or something linda. But anyways she lived with her husband and their little baby son but one day her husband was forced to be a soldier. Correa was like so young and pretty and so once her husband left she was like so vulnerable. So she ends up following the way her husband had left and she even took her small little baby with her. After walking for like so long int the desert she ended up sitting next to some random tree. The thing is she never gets up! She died there.
Me: And what happened to the son?
J: He was still alive and was found by some people. But this is why she became like a really big legend, few years after she died, a farmer lost his cattle right where she had died and asked her for help and the very next day he got all of them back. So, people basically like think it was her answering his cries for help so now people like call to her when they need something. I thought that was pretty cool to hear”
I found this interview really interesting just because this lore itself was based upon an actual person. After doing some research, I discovered that it was created after a Deolinda Correa and that she actually lived in Argentina and passed away during the mid-1800s. This was especially interesting just because I got to hear and see how the lore was formed after an actual person and how it spread to different countries and regions with time. I also found it really interesting that it’s connected with folk Catholicism because people dub her a popular saint for the needy, so I thought it interesting to see how lower and religion connected in this sort of aspect.
J is a 23-year-old first generation Salvadorian-American and resides in Southern California. Her dad would travel throughout Latin America when he was young, and she recalls the stories he would tell her as a child. Many of these stories were ones that her father had heard from others during his travels, so she enjoys spreading the stories to others.
The context of this piece was during a shift at a community center where the employees were asked about stories they had heard from their cultures or other for an upcoming cultural heritage event.
J: “So from what I know they’re like small little creatures. Kinda like gnome look-alikes.”
Me: “Are they bad creatures or are they a good omen?”
J: “Okay this is from like stories what my dad would tell us, like stories that they’re actually like bad creatures and like they live in Latin America because I haven’t heard of them here in the U.S. Like for example they would try to steal babies or a little kid’s soul. They’ll like snatch it and they’ll take it to like some river”
Me: “What happens after that?”
J: “You’d have to go to the river to claim it back. That’s what I know about them. They’re small and like a lot of little kids have said that ‘oh I’m playing with so and so’ and then the parents will be like ‘well who’s so and so?’ and the kid will be like ‘oh my little friend.’ Like little kids are the ones that can see them. For example, when a baby is crying like a lot a lot its because like the soul got snatched by the duende and the parents has to go to the like, to a river and like reclaim it. I don’t know how they reclaim it or what they have to say but that’s pretty much how they get it back.”
Duendes are cryptids that are said to inhabit places such as Spain, Portugal, the Philippines, Iberia, and Latin America. These mythical creatures are characterized differently with each culture that talks about them. Some describe Duendes as kind, helpful creatures that guide lost children while stories such as the one J gave depict them as mischievous and evil creatures that harm children. Although the characteristics of the Duendes change, their general description is consistent through ought as they are described as small, swift creatures with exaggerated facial features. I also found it interesting how J heard about the lore of the Duendes. Although she nor her father had “first-hand experiences” with the Duendes, they heard it through other people. The spread of lore in this case was through storytelling, this is so important because it continues to spread lore from one or multiple regions and distributes them across the globe