Category Archives: Mythology

GUNMEN OF MYSTERY FROM THE OLD WEST

masc chair and bottleForget Mysterious Dave Mather, most of whose real-life escapades are well-chronicled. THESE gunslingers are little more than names which popped up in occasional newspaper accounts or journal entries. So tantalizingly little is known about them that they’d make great RPG material for those so inclined. 

Dodge City Front StreetARKANSAS BILL – A gunfighter who made Dodge City, KS his home base in the late 1870s. Arkansas Bill was sometimes referred to in indignant articles about Western violence written in Washington DC’s Evening Star and other Eastern newspapers. The gunman claimed to be a Bounty Hunter who had slain twenty-two men thus far in his career.

Bill, who said he was nicknamed after the Arkansas RIVER, not the state, avoided having his picture taken, claiming that success at Bounty Hunting was reliant upon a certain degree of anonymity. Like many other gunslingers, Arkansas Bill was said to have served in the U.S. Civil War but on which side is not known. By the early 1880s this mysterious hombre disappeared from written accounts.

Potential Happy Ending: One could assume he eventually collected enough bounties to retire or to set up a legitimate business for himself under his real name, whatever that may have been.

Potential Unhappy Ending: Blown away by one or more of the desperadoes he was trying to bring in.

LONG-HAIRED SAM – Easily the most well-known of the neglected figures on this list, Long-Haired Sam Brown had a beard and long red hair, and was an outlaw active during the California and Nevada Gold Rushes. Long-Haired Sam and his boys robbed gold and payrolls in both locations. 

In 1855, at a cabin in Calaveras County, California, Brown and one of his gang members were gambling at cards with some gold prospectors from Chile. The Chileans supposedly tried claiming a pot that wasn’t theirs and Long-Haired Sam shot three of them to death in the following gunfight.     Continue reading

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FIJIAN DEMIGOD TUILAKEMBA

Balladeer’s Blog’s look at The Gods of Fiji has been a hit! For another deity from Fiji here is Tuilakemba, whom I also went ahead and added to the main article. For more than 20 other gods from Fiji see my blog post HERE

Fiji 4TUILAKEMBA – This figure was the son of Tuilangi, the god who ruled over the Skyland, and a mortal woman. When Tuilakemba was a little boy he was often ridiculed by the other children for not having a father on hand like they did. One day the young demigod had had enough and threatened to kill his mother unless she told him who his father was.

She did so and Tuilakemba was spitefully satisfied. He took to carrying around an ironwood war-club wherever he went. He would use it to strike the heads off flowers, gleefully anticipating one day knocking off the heads of his enemies in wartime just as easily, given his massive strength.

On one occasion he took a nap, planting the ironwood war-club upright in the ground next to him while he slept. When he awoke he saw that the war-club had grown into an enormous tree which reached all the way up to the Skyland realm of his father. Tuilakemba took advantage of the situation and climbed up the newly-formed tree to the land above. 

The little boy walked through the jungle of Skyland until he reached the village ruled by his father Tuilangi. That lord of the land above was in the middle of a council of war regarding his armies’ recent losses in their ages-old conflict with the evil gods of the sky. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER PART TWENTY-SIX: MORE FROM KLARENC WADE MAK

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore.

FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT, CLICK HERE

Banjo Player by Maynard Dixon

Banjo Player by Maynard Dixon

PART TWENTY-SIX: THE FOOL KILLER (1918) – Last time around I posted plenty of quotes from Mak’s incarnation of the Fool Killer, quotes that would upset both the political left AND the political right here in the 21st Century. FOR THOSE QUOTES CLICK HERE

This time I’ll look at the uniquely stylized America that Mak depicted his Fool Killer traveling through, delivering poetry recitations and lectures plus sharing recipes during down time between slaying fools. Mak’s America seems like a Frank Baum-influenced alternate reality filled with beautiful scenery but marred by politicized religion plus the tyranny of callous tycoons and the elected officials they have in their pockets.

The Fool Killer is followed on his meanderings around the country following the harsh winter of 1916 into 1917 and up through late 1917. Our title figure takes on quasi-chivalric airs and his escapades an urbanized Faerie Queen feel. He spouts original poetry at the drop of a hat but retains the jarring element of violent judgmentalism that afflicts every incarnation of the Fool Killer.    

The Klarenc Wade Mak version of the figure seems to regard his mission in a Darwinian way, like he’s a natural force cleansing the land of fools the way that harsh, unforgiving nature inevitably weeds out those too weak to survive. As ever, the delusions of a serial killer taint the high-minded objectives that the Fool Killer pays lip service to.

Fool Killer by Klarenc Wade MakNot that our folk figure’s targets don’t deserve to be opposed. This Fool Killer battles the abomination of Child Labor, the profit-mongers who sponsor it AND the Judges who perpetuate it through their decisions striking down attempts to eliminate the ugly practice.

He also champions women’s suffrage and fights for the working class against both the bloated rich pigs who exploit them AND the sleazy Union Leaders who sell out the workers in exchange for privileges that only management can hand out.

Here’s a fuller examination of this Fool Killer’s adventures as he wanders Mak’s Surreal States of America: Continue reading

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HAPPY BLOOM’S DAY 2019!

jamesjoyceYes, it’s the 16th of June, better known to James Joyce geeks like me as Bloom’s Day. The day is named in honor of Leopold Bloom, the Jewish advertising sales rep and Freemason who is one of the major characters in Joyce’s novel Ulysses. The novel also brings along Stephen Dedalus, the protagonist of his earlier novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

For those unfamiliar with this work, Ulysses is Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness novel in which he metaphorically features the events from the Odyssey in a single day – June 16th, 1904, in Dublin. (The day he met Nora Barnacle, the woman he would eventually marry after living together for decades)

Bloom represents Ulysses/Odysseus, Stephen represents Telemachus and Leopold’s wife, Molly Bloom, represents Penelope. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER PART TWENTY-FIVE: KLARENC WADE MAK

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore.

FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT, CLICK HERE

PART TWENTY-FIVE: The 1918 one-shot publication called The Fool Killer was written by Dr Klarenc Wade Mak, poet, author and socialist political candidate for mayoral office in Kansas City, MO around 1918. Mak had also written Ekkoes (sic) from the Hart (sic) and Mental Dinamite (sic).

Mak’s 1918 work is sometimes confused with James Larkin Pearson’s 1910-1917 and 1919-1929 publication called The Fool-Killer. Both Mak and Pearson wrote poetry, both published works using the Fool Killer name and both were open about their sympathy with socialist politics of the time period.

Fool Killer condensedPer the surviving correspondence of Eugene V Debs, Dr Mak once invited Debs to speak in Kansas City, MO at an event where Mak and other socialist candidates would be appearing.

Despite the “socialist” label, Klarenc Mak’s Fool Killer had that quality I have appreciated about nearly all the Fool Killer items I’ve come across: Attitudes which would outrage BOTH the political left AND right here in the 21st Century. Even the socialist label as Mak’s writings define it refers to workers, NOT “people who want something for nothing” as he calls them. (He also calls them parasites.) So even that brand of “socialism” would offend both right-wingers and left-wingers of today. For different reasons, of course. 

Mak’s Fool Killer expressed disapproval of capitalism AND disapproval of abortion, so again we see that both the Left and the Right of today would be hard pressed to force a quick and easy label on this Fool Killer. Pretty refreshing!

Before returning to Pearson’s monthly publication I wanted to post some examples of Mak’s incarnation of the Fool Killer expressing sentiments tweaking both ends of the political spectrum by today’s standards:   

Fool Killer by Klarenc Wade Mak“When a man has lived long enough to have tried all the bad things in this world he generally wants to hang on a little longer just to see if the Republicans and Democrats won’t invent some NEW evils.”

“The highest part of an education is finding out how much of it isn’t so.” (In the distant past this would have applied to right-wing domination of the educational system, but for decades now it has applied to left-wing domination of the educational system.)

“Wrong ideas are not an education, they are mental weeds, the base materials that prejudice is made out of.”

“If your religion can’t stand being criticized it is in the same class with the gold ring that’s afraid of acids. Such a ring is not gold at all – only a base pretender; and the same with the religion that can’t stand the acid test of criticism – it’s just as spurious and should be rejected.” (Left-wing zealots try to censor all criticism of Islam, right-wing zealots try to censor all criticism of Christianity and Judaism. At present, however, the left-wing book-burners have the help of the Silicon Valley Robber Barons/ Techno Fascists to help them in their censorship jihad.)

“The misdeeds of Democrats are about as plentiful as the drops of water in all the oceans, while the crimes of Republicans are as numerous as the seconds in Eternity.” Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER PART TWENTY-FOUR: OCTOBER 1900 – FOOL KILLER VS THE MAFIA

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

Fool Killer cop USEPART TWENTY-FOUR: October, 1900. I just received another emailed Fool Killer Letter from the actual supernatural figure himself.

Eddie or Mr Wozniak or Balladeer or whatever you go by:

At present I’m here in Oregon smacking around Antifa scumbags. I fought the Democrat KKK thugs in the 1870s and I’ll be damned if I’ll let these masked Democrats prey on people. What is it with Democrats and hiding behind masks? Antifa’s name is nonsense. Like the old saying goes “The fascists of the future will call themselves anti-fascists.”

Steampunk Fool Killer copAnyway, since you and I are agreed that both Democrats and Republicans are criminals and worse I got to thinking about my last missive to you. That communication ended with me entering another period of hibernation on New Year’s Day 1900 after dealing with the town of Folly, Texas.

Like I mentioned then, my supernatural inheritance on my Daddy’s side causes me and my belongings to somehow transport back to my hidden cave til it’s time to wake up again. This time I woke up in early October of 1900 wearing that blue, buttoned outfit that lets me pass as anything from a boat pilot to a policeman – like in Facts for the Fool-Killer, that book from my time in and around Buffalo, New York.

I emerged from my cave, yawned, stretched and relished the crisp autumn air and then set out for Buffalo, NY. I mentioned last time that while I hibernate, events in the real world come to me like dreams, so I’m always up to date on the national zeitgeist. I also know where I’m meant to go when I wake up. 

Peter NissenBy mid-October, mostly using trains, my favorite means of travel, I arrived at Niagara Falls just as that Peter Nissen character made his final voyage in the custom boat he had named The Fool Killer. He and his First Mate were forced to abandon it in the dark and neither they nor any search parties ever found it.

That was because I stepped in after they had fled that night and hauled the boat free to commandeer it for my own use since Nissen had commandeered my name without my permission. With my more than human strength it was no real problem, of course.

I had brought along some of my Daddy’s eldritch tools from the days of his blacksmith business in the early 1800s and by daybreak I had improved on Nissen’s custom craft to make it suitable for my purposes. I could even pilot that boat up or down or behind the falls – though I usually waited until there were no prying eyes about for those particular maneuvers.

Anyway, I spent almost ten years dispensing justice to fools all along the Niagara River and Lake Erie. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER PART TWENTY-THREE: FEBRUARY, 1920

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

Fool Killer 1920sPART TWENTY-THREE: Here is a look at some of the Fool Killer’s targets from James L Pearson’s February of 1920 issue.

*** People supporting Prohibition.

*** The Fool Killer crashed and slammed a Protestant conference in Boston. The Protestant Preachers were discussing the time period’s shortage of young men willing to become Preachers, a shortage the Fool Killer often took “credit” for since he claimed it was fear of meeting his (the Fool Killer’s) wrath that helped scare a lot of men away from the pulpit. (The fictional vigilante went after Elmer Gantry-like corrupt Preachers long before Sinclair Lewis’ novel Elmer Gantry had been published.)

              This conference was endorsing the use of phonograph records as “canned” sermons and – since J.L. Pearson’s version of the Fool Killer had an unfortunate preoccupation with religion – this use of such canned sermons found the homicidal fellow unleashing some non-fatal wrath on congregations around the country IF they lazily used the pre-recorded sermons. (Remember, in the 1800s part of the Fool Killer’s Bogey Man aspect was that he would supposedly kill fools who fell asleep during mass.)

*** Supporters of the Red Scare being pushed by Democrat Woodrow Wilson’s Attorney General A Mitchell Palmer (as in the Palmer Raids).

*** Supporters of Republican General Leonard Wood.

*** “Spiritualist” con artists who took money from people for pretending to put them in contact with their dead loved ones in the Afterlife. Sometimes the Fool Killer also preyed upon the foolish victims of the con artists, depending on his ever-changing moods.  Continue reading

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