Category Archives: Mythology


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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CharlemagneAs regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog know, December through Twelfth Night (January 6th) is the time of year in which I look at versions of the tales of Charlemagne and his Paladins. These are the legends about Charlemagne, not the actual history, so there will be dragons, monsters and magic. 


Charlemagne's empireROLAND VS MORGANA – We pick up where we left off, with the Paladin Roland, nephew of Emperor Charlemagne, having captured the sorceress Falerin. She informed Roland that she was merely a subordinate to Morgana, the Lady of the Lake, and it was Morgana who really imprisoned the many warriors that Princess Angelica wanted Roland to set free.

To save her own life, Falerina had told the Paladin everything he needed to do to reach Morgana in her castle in the middle of the lake. To prevent the treacherous Falerina from having a change of heart and warning Morgana, Roland tied her to a beech tree, to be set free upon the completion of his quest.

As Charlemagne’s nephew approached the shore of the lake in question, he followed Falerina’s instructions to block up his ears with flowers to blot out the singing of the Siren that lived in the lake. He sat down on the shoreline and waited until at last the Siren rose from the water and began singing her song. Continue reading


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PaladinAs always, from December 1st through Twelfth Night (January 6th) Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at some of the old legends surrounding Charlemagne and his Paladins. These are the fictional tales about Charlemagne, so there will be magic and monsters included.

RolandTHE ENCHANTED GARDENS OF FALERINA – We pick up from last time as the Paladins Roland and Reinold are separately heading for the Gardens of Falerina to free all the warriors imprisoned there. Reinold (at last reunited with his faithful steed Bayard) was on this quest on behalf of the beautiful Flordelis, whose true love Florismart is among the prisoners.   

The gardens were inside the Castle of Falerina, which stood in the middle of a lake. The lone bridge leading to the castle was protected by Arridano, a mystically powered brute of a man who had to be overcome if one were to gain access to the bridge.

So far no one had been able to defeat him, and the captured arms and armor of all the men he had vanquished lay piled high on the lake shore as trophies. Reinold reached the bridge first and wasted no time in dismounting and attacking the ruffian, who wielded an iron mace against the Paladin.

Eventually the pair fell to grappling with one another and the bridge guardian held tight to Reinold and leaped with him into the lake. Once submerged the guard held an insurmountable advantage since he was able to breathe underwater and soon Reinold joined the other prisoners in the Gardens of Falerina. Continue reading


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CharlemagneAs regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog know, December through Twelfth Night (January 6th) is the time of year in which I look at versions of the tales of Charlemagne and his Paladins. These are the legends about Charlemagne, not the actual history, so there will be dragons, monsters and magic. 


paladins fightingREINOLD BATTLES ROLAND – Regular readers will remember that when we left the Paladin named Reinold he was making his way on foot back to the Court of Charlemagne after escaping from Princess Angelica’s enchanted island.

Reinold crossed paths with a beautiful weeping woman named Flordelis, who begged the Paladin to help free her beloved Florismart from the clutches of Morgana, the Lady of the Lake. Reinold agreed, and Flordelis offered him her horse to ride. With the young woman seated behind him on the horse, Reinold rode off.

After a few hours’ ride, the pair came upon a cavern guarded by a 12 foot tall, club-wielding giant. Chained nearby was a griffin, who aided the giant in guarding the precious horse Rabican. Continue reading


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