Category Archives: Mythology


Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT IN THE 1850s, CLICK HERE

Fool Killer gray64. The May of 1913 edition of James Larkin Pearson’s Fool-Killer was lacking in urgency and satirical bite, but I found it to have a certain slice of life feel to it that captured its era yet also underlined certain tableaus that are seemingly eternal.

*** The Fool Killer reflected on how the already hopelessly corrupt Democrat and Republican Parties always set aside their fighting to close ranks against any true forces of political reform in the United States. That is especially relevant for us in 2022.

*** Dr. Friedrich F. Friedmann became a well-known figure in 1913. He had come to America from Berlin pushing his Turtle Vaccine, which supposedly treated tuberculosis. He made $125,000.00 for the American rights, but after much fanfare his vaccine was found to be ineffective and his nationwide distribution clinics folded. Skepticism regarding the claims about the vaccine proved to be well founded.

*** An unnamed Chicago surgeon called for people to automatically have their appendix removed rather than wait until they get appendicitis. This call was roundly ridiculed. 

*** Pearson and his Fool Killer advocated granting women the vote nationwide. Continue reading

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Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT IN THE 1850s, CLICK HERE 

1913 man63. Some of the Fool Killer’s targets in the April of 1913 edition of James Larkin Pearson’s Fool-Killer:

*** Historians who sensationalized war and newspaper publishers who sensationalized crime. 

*** The late tycoon J.P. Morgan, who had recently passed away. Pearson and his Fool-Killer tried being a bit respectful of the dead but ultimately hurled snark, observing “… the times and conditions that produced him will produce others like him, and the heel of the oppressor will continue to grind the necks of the poor.” 

              fool killer miniThose were the days when not even the elected officials owned by wealthy families like the Morgans accumulated anywhere near as much money as those who owned them. Think of today’s abusive and repulsive families like the Bidens, Cheneys, Pelosis, Bushes, Clintons, Romneys and so many others from both political parties who have COMBINED obscene wealth with political influence to be sold. They plunder the public treasury while making shady money on the side and breaking laws that the rest of us are expected to abide by.

sunglasses 1913*** Forever chaotic Mexico. The Revolution of 1910 led to the final downfall of decades-long dictator Porfirio Diaz in 1911. Diaz’s reform replacement, Francisco Madero, was overthrown and arrested by Victoriano Huerta, who had just had Madero killed in 1913. The Fool-Killer bitingly observed “They sure don’t waste any time in Mexico deliberating over what to do with their ex-presidents.” Continue reading


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Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog are familiar with my love of mythology. I’ve covered many gods, goddesses and epics from around the world. This blog post will examine the Kikuyu (also spelled Gikuyu) Creation Myth of the Kikuyu people of what is now Kenya.

kenyaA. Ngai, the creator god, divider of the universe, divider of the land from the sea and owner of the dazzling light, descended to the Earth shortly after making it. Mists covered the entire world because of how freshly made it was.

B. After inspecting the world, Ngai established his Earthly home atop Kirinyaga (Mount Kenya), where the deity may be prayed to but he can never be perceived by human eyes.

C. Ngai developed a swelling in his knee. He cut it open (or in some versions it burst open on its own) and out came three sons, named Kikuyu/ Gikuyu, Masai and Kamba. Those sons were to marry and produce the three tribes/ nations which would be named for the husbands.

           As this portion of the tale continued, Ngai offered his three sons the choice of a spear, a bow or a digging stick. Kikuyu chose the digging stick and established agriculture; Masai selected the spear and learned to tend herds on the plains; and Kamba took the bow and established the practice of hunting for game. Continue reading


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ed mcmahon and afpHere at Balladeer’s Blog I enjoy writing about all aspects of mythology and folklore and the way that a popular misconception can be spread. Once again the false claim that Ed McMahon (above) was affiliated with Publishers Clearing House instead of American Family Publishers is making the rounds. Every few years this story resurfaces and is often cited as an example of the Mandela Effect.

If you need a refresher on the Mandela Effect, it refers to the way that information can become jumbled in the public consciousness, resulting in a mass sharing of false memories. This name for the phenomenon comes from a 2009 story about the large numbers of people who incorrectly believed that Nelson Mandela had died in prison in the 1980s.

In large measure that misconception has been attributed to the fact that in 1987 Denzel Washington starred in the movie Cry Freedom, a film based on the real-life Steve Biko. Washington portrayed Biko, a black anti-Apartheid activist in South Africa, just like Nelson Mandela had been. Biko, like Mandela, was imprisoned for his activities, but Biko – unlike Mandela – died in prison in 1977. Continue reading


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Balladeer's Blog

Balladeer’s Blog

Balladeer’s Blog’s examinations of pantheons of deities outside of the frequently-covered Greco-Roman, Egyptian and Norse have been very popular and well-received. To make sure all mythology buffs who visit here are aware of how many belief systems I’ve looked at here’s a convenient overview.


Sampling of Deities: Shiramba the vegetation god, Hashinau-Uk the goddess of the hunt, Okikurmi the culture god and monster-slayer, Wakka-Ush the water goddess and Kando-Koro the sky god and ruler of the land of the gods.

Top Deity on List: Fuchi the fire goddess. 

Comment: This is one of the most popular of the out of the way pantheons I’ve covered.


Tupari live near the Rio BrancoTUPARI

Sampling of Deities: Mulher the Earth goddess, Arkoanyo the bird god, Karam the sun goddess, Valedjad the storm god and Aunyaina the wild boar god.

Top Deity on List: Patobkia, the god who rules over the afterlife and the series of trials each soul undergoes.

Comment: With only thousands of the Tupari people left this is a sadly neglected pantheon of deities.

FULL LIST CLICK HERE: Continue reading


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 I.WHAT’S UP WITH YI?  – Yi the Divine Archer from Chinese mythology deserves to be remembered in one breath with some of the other great heroes and monster slayers from belief systems around the world. Most people are only familiar with his feat of shooting down multiple suns that appeared in the sky one day, but this article will provide a light- hearted look at all of his fantastic adventures.  Continue reading

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Aiwel Longar

Aiwel Longar

Once again Balladeer’s Blog examines a neglected epic myth from around the world. Previously I have dealt with epics from the Navajo, Vietnamese, Iroquois, Aztec, Hawaiian, Chinese and other belief systems.

The mythic tale of Aiwel Longar comes from the Dinka pantheon. Nhialic is the supreme deity to the Dinka and the first man and woman he created were Garang and Abuk. The Dinka people live in the Upper Nile in Sudan, as they have for centuries.


I often cover the way in which cultures which come into contact borrow mythic material from each other to embellish their own respective belief systems. The story of Aiwel Longar clearly influenced (and vice versa) Egyptian, Jewish, Christian and Muslim myths. It also bears striking similarities to the Gnostic Hymn of the Pearl.

PART ONE – Born as simply Aiwel, this figure was a gift from the god of the Nile River to Aiwel’s widowed and childless mother. The infant already had a full set of teeth when his mother picked him up out of the Nile River, where the river god had set him adrift.

Like many mythic figures Aiwel could Continue reading


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Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT IN THE 1850s, CLICK HERE 

Fool Killer graySome of the Fool Killer’s targets from the March of 1913 edition of James Larkin Pearson’s Fool-Killer –

*** The ceremonies and participants involved in the March 4th inauguration. NOTE: It was not until the Franklin Roosevelt years that inaugurations changed to January. The Fool Killer attended in person, another difference from Charles Napoleon Bonaparte Evans’ original Fool Killer in the 1800s, who religiously avoided Washington DC for fear of being corrupted by setting foot there.

              In another turn of phrase that seemed almost modern day – like his coining of the term “Truth Bombs” in 1910 – Pearson’s Fool Killer titled his tale of Inauguration Day I Went, I Saw, I Spewed. Because Pearson and his Fool Killer despised both the outgoing William Howard Taft and the incoming Woodrow Wilson he described the swearing-in as Uncle Sam taking off a pair of dirty clothes, then putting them back on.

              He described the fools lining up for hours just to catch a glimpse of political figures as they paraded by, and sneered at the unseemly imperiousness of the inaugural ceremonies for a supposed democratic republic. (I agree.)

                           The Fool Killer also labeled the military band a “Murderer’s Union.” After additional insults regarding the pomp and circumstance and the “glittering generalities” of Wilson’s inaugural address, he moved on to other topics.   

Some of his other targets this month:

*** The toadying astrologer who prepared a horoscope of the “present and past lives” of the soon to be wed high society Helen Gould and Finley Shepard. In the kind of idiotic obsequiousness shown to celebrity couples of today, like the repulsive Harry and Meghan, the astrologer depicted the pair as soul-mates during the days of ancient Babylon, then Egypt, then the Roman Empire and so on to 1700s France and finally the present day. The Fool Killer wryly pointed out that money can even buy aggrandizing gibberish like this.    Continue reading


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Thank you to reader David Bovey for pointing out that I had not yet provided a list of links to every installment thus far in my look at the tales of Charlemagne and his Paladins.

charlemagne mapPALADINS OF CHARLEMAGNE – The fictional setting of the legends surrounding the real-life Charlemagne, plus the introduction of several of his Paladins (knights). Click HERE.

MORE PALADINS OF CHARLEMAGNE – Introducing a few more prominent characters from the Tales of Charlemagne. Click HERE

HOW ROLAND AND OGIER BECAME PALADINS – Answering a cry for help from the Pope, the Emperor Charlemagne leads his Frankish armies against the Muslim forces threatening Rome. During that military campaign Charlemagne’s nephew Roland and Ogier the Dane distinguish themselves and are invested as Paladins. Click HERE

CHARLOT’S VILLAINY – Charlemagne’s evil son Charlot plots to kill the Paladin named Ogier the Dane during the Emperor’s ongoing campaign against the Muslim armies that threaten the Pope and Rome. Click HERE

TWO ADVENTURES OF ROLAND – In the first adventure, the Paladin Roland faces a 14 feet tall giant. In the second adventure, during a war led by his uncle Charlemagne, Roland is reunited with his childhood friend Oliver. Click HERE.   Continue reading


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These are the legends about Charlemagne and his Paladins, not the actual history, so there will be dragons, monsters and magic. 


bradamante another picBRADAMANTE MEETS RUGGIERO – 

NOTE: This installment brings back Bradamante, the female Paladin in white armor, as well as the cunning dwarf Brunello. Those two characters are from tales that go back over a thousand years, they are NOT ripoffs of the female knight and the Dinklage guy from GOT. If anything they helped inspire Martin’s characters.

We back up in time a bit as this chapter begins during the time when Roland was on his quest to free Morgana’s prisoners in her castle on the lake. Marsilius, king of the Muslim colonialists who occupied most of Spain, led his forces in a new campaign against the Emperor Charlemagne. Rodomont, the Muslim king of what is now Algeria, launched an amphibious assault on the south of Charlemagne’s empire, and Agramant, the Muslim king of what is now Libya and Tunisia, likewise sailed with his legions to join his coreligionists.

While those invasions were still in the planning stages, the Garamantean Prophet made his final prophecy before dying. He advised his fellow Muslims that in order to prevail against Charlemagne and his Paladins this time they must recruit the legendary warrior Ruggiero. Continue reading


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