Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT, CLICK HERE
PART THIRTY-FOUR – The Fool Killer’s targets in the March, 1910 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s four-pager included:
*** John D Rockefeller and his Standard Oil monopoly. The Fool Killer fought Standard Oil and its corporate tentacles almost as much as the real-life Ida Tarbell did.
*** Former Unitarian clergyman J.C.F. Grumbine, who claimed to be in correspondence with the late Elizabeth Barrett Browning. This was one of the earliest references to the Fool Killer’s enmity toward conmen spiritualists who claimed to contact the dead.
*** The Sugar Trust established by Henry Osborne Havemeyer, which was still rolling 3 years after his death.
*** Dandified men who focused on their clothing to the exclusion of all else.
*** Scumbag Benjamin R Tillman, one of the most vile human beings who ever held office in the United States. Tillman was an actual white supremacist with blood on his hands. The Fool Killer noted Tillman’s most recent stroke and accompanying paralysis with a degree of satisfaction. (NOTE FROM BALLADEER: Charles Napoleon Bonaparte Evans’ original Fool Killer in the Milton Chronicle of the 1800s may well have clashed with Tillman in Reconstruction South Carolina given Tillman’s heinous activities there.)
*** Boxers and boxing match patrons. James Larkin Pearson’s rendition of the Fool Killer was bizarrely puritanical about a lot of things. His Fool Killer also targeted card-players & other gamblers, people who drank alcohol and women who wore pants. (Especially Dr Mary Walker) On the other hand, he also targeted civilians who carried firearms with them in public “in this day and age”.
A few earlier and later incarnations of the Fool Killer LOVED using guns. You’ll recall that Mak’s 1917 Fool Killer even wielded a gun that shot side-winding “smart” bullets that would seek out their intended prey.
*** Wife-swappers among the upper class. I had no idea that was PUBLICLY KNOWN to be going on as early as 1910. And speaking of such topics …
*** Killers who hid behind pleas of insanity or “brain-storms” to avoid the consequences of the murder(s) they commited. Who knew that was already being publicly discussed in 1910?
On a related subject, this issue was the earliest reference Pearson made to his Fool Killer using not just the usual club/ walking stick/ cudgel, but one with sharp horns on it to make it even deadlier.
As I always say, it’s fascinating to read this old publication and its odd mix of viewpoints – even the ones you disagree with.
FOR PART THIRTY-FIVE CLICK HERE.
I WILL EXAMINE MORE FOOL KILLER LORE SOON. KEEP CHECKING BACK FOR UPDATES.
FOR MY LOOK AT JOE MAGARAC, THE STEEL MILL VERSION OF JOHN HENRY AND PAUL BUNYAN, CLICK HERE
© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
18 responses to “FOOL KILLER THIRTY-FOUR: MARCH OF 1910”
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Tillman really was trash.
You know it.
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What an unpredictable collection of targets!
You know it!
Hello, I found your blog while researching O.Henry and his Fool-Killer. I got to this topic by reading the 2017 comic “Foolkiller-Psycho Therapy” from Marvel. In the comic they mention, that the original short story inspired a female writer to write a novel. There is only a panel shown as a hint with a man with an axe and someone kneeing next to him. Also a movie is supposed to be inspired by it “with the guy from Psych in it” it says. I wonder if know which movie and wich novel they mean.
*”Psycho” noch “Psych”
I figured that was what you meant. That link I mentioned to my look at the 1857 Fool Killer is this:
The movie is The Fool Killer with Anthony Perkins as an amnesiac Civil War veteran who comes to believe he IS the legendary Fool Killer, but based on the more supernatural variations of the legend in which the figure was very tall and wielded an axe. The 1930s novel by Helen Eustis is what that Perkins movie was based on. The Fool Killer stories in written form started with Charles Napoleon Bonaparte Evans’ Fool Killer Letters in the 1850s. In fact O Henry KNEW Evans in real life when he was younger and based his Fool Killer on “Jesse Holmes” – the alias that Evans used for the Fool Killer Letters. The opening to all my Fool Killer items features the link to my look at the Fool Killer beginning in 1857 with links to each subsequent version from there if you want to check it out.
Thanks a lot.
Could you move on to other Fool Killer stuff instead of these magazines? You’ve done plenty.
Maybe I will. Thank you for the feedback.
That Benjamin Tillman was a scumbag wasn’t he?
Yes he was.