Category Archives: Mythology

ARIZONA’S RED GHOST (1883-1893)

red gh of arizonaARIZONA’S RED GHOST – From 1883 to 1893 Arizona was the home to multiple sightings of a monstrous four-legged creature with red fur ridden by a skeletal man or ghost. Unlike most legends that center around ghosts or cryptids, this one ends with physical remains and a rational explanation grounded in history.

Let’s start with the first documented encounter with the Red Ghost aka Fantasia Colorado in the spring of 1883. Near Eagle’s Ridge, AZ a pair of men left their ranch house to check on their cattle. Their wives and children were together in one house for safety while they were gone.

One of the wives went out to get water from a nearby spring and soon a blood-curdling scream was heard as well as sounds of physical violence. The second wife looked out a window and saw “a huge, reddish colored beast” ridden by “a devilish looking creature.” She ran outside and found the first wife’s body dead, trampled nearly flat and surrounded by several prints left by what seemed to be cloven hooves.

masc graveyard smallerWhen the two husbands returned, they saw the woman’s remains and followed the tracks until they petered out, finding red fur in bushes and tree branches along the path of whatever had killed the unfortunate wife. The Mohave County Miner newspaper stated that the coroner’s report found that the death had happened by “some manner unknown”.

Mere days later, the beast and its ghastly rider were responsible for rampaging through a miner’s camp late one night. Once again, odd footprints that were too large for a horse and tufts of red fur were left behind. Already, the human tendency toward embellishment was creeping in, as the miners claimed the Red Ghost was thirty feet tall. Continue reading

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CHARLEMAGNE: BRADAMANTE VS ATLANTES

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

FOR MY FIRST CHAPTER ON CHARLEMAGNE’S PALADINS CLICK HERE.

Bradamante BETTERBRADAMANTE VS ATLANTES – We left off in the previous installment with Bradamante, the female Paladin in white armor, waiting at an inn in Bordeaux for her foretold encounter with the clever dwarf Brunello. Presently the day had come when Brunello arrived, but before she could approach him, both of them were swept up in a crowd of bystanders in a panic, pointing to the sky as the enchanter astride the winged horse once again flew overhead.

Bradamante took advantage of this development to pretend to casually inquire of Brunello about the astounding sight. The clever dwarf, whom Bradamante had been warned was an accomplice of the flying enchanter, informed her that it was Atlantes and that he had abducted several men and women recently and imprisoned them in his mountaintop castle.

Charlemagne's empireBrunello pretended not to know what happened to the abductees, but the female Paladin had been told by the priestess Melissa that they were used as companions for her missing beloved, Ruggiero. Atlantes had trained and raised Ruggiero since the latter’s childhood and feared the prophecies that the warrior would one day be led away from Islam by his love for Bradamante.

Playing along as if she was not suspicious of the clever dwarf, the White Paladin raged about how she longed to find the mountaintop refuge of Atlantes and free his prisoners. Brunello had by now realized that this woman warrior was the famous Bradamante herself, and planned to lure her into the clutches of Atlantes as he had done with so many others. Continue reading

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CHARLEMAGNE: BRADAMANTE IN THE WIZARD’S TOMB

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

FOR MY FIRST CHAPTER ON CHARLEMAGNE’S PALADINS CLICK HERE.

bradamante another picBRADAMANTE IN THE WIZARD’S TOMB – We left off last time around with Mandricardo searching for the Paladin Roland so he could try to kill him and steal from him the sword Durindana, thus completing the armor of Hector. The female Paladin in white armor, Bradamante, was searching for Ruggiero the Moor, from whom she had gotten separated a few installments back. Ruggiero was likewise searching for her.

The clever dwarf Brunello, a figure who might have inspired GOT‘s Tyrion Lannister just as Bradamante might have inspired Brienne, was meanwhile roaming the same region of Europe. Brunello had been sent from northern Africa by the enchanter Atlantes to lure Atlantes’ departed protege Ruggiero into captivity to prevent him from being lured away from Islam by his love for Bradamante. 

Brunello encountered Ruggiero and convinced him to follow him to save a beautiful maiden who had supposedly been abducted by an enchanter astride a winged horse. Ruggiero, in true chivalric style, agreed to accompany the dwarf to save the maiden. At length Brunello secretly summoned the winged enchanter to capture and make off with Ruggiero.

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Atlantes the Enchanter had resolved to keep Ruggiero in the castle forever, so additional men and women were abducted and taken to the castle to provide Ruggiero with companionship and keep him too occupied to want to leave. The captured Moor and his fellow prisoners lost themselves in drinking and feasting. Meanwhile, the battles of the Saracen invasion of Charlemagne’s empire raged on.   

Back with Bradamante, she encountered an armored warrior called Pinabel. His true love was among the women abducted by the enchanter on the flying horse and he recruited Bradamante into helping him try to get her back from the enchanter’s castle. Continue reading

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CHARLEMAGNE: MANDRICARDO AND THE ARMOR OF HECTOR

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

FOR MY FIRST CHAPTER ON CHARLEMAGNE’S PALADINS CLICK HERE.

mandricardoMANDRICARDO AND THE ARMOR OF HECTOR – Last time around in the Tales of Charlemagne and His Paladins we left off with Ruggiero searching the Forest of Arden for Bradamante, the female Paladin in white armor, with whom he had fallen in love. They had become separated while fighting some of the Saracen soldiers invading Charlemagne’s realm at the time.

Elsewhere, Mandricardo, son of Agrican, King of the Tartars, and a man whose destiny was linked with Ruggiero’s, was on a quest of his own. Mandricardo sought to kill the Paladin Roland as revenge for Roland having killed his father in our previous installments.

Mandricardo had spent his life in drinking, gambling and mercenary work, never attending to his father’s kingdom. Upon hearing of King Agrican’s death at the hands of Roland, the wayward young man was sobered into seriousness. He armored up, grabbed a sword and shield, then set out for revenge on his father’s killer.

In his travels, he came across a splendid tent pitched beside a fountain. Upon entering the tent, Mandricardo met a beautiful (of course) young woman, who told him that when he set out on his revenge quest, it meant that he was ready to fight for his heritage – the fabled armor of Hector of Troy.
Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER PART 66: JULY 1913

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 wardrobePART 66 – Some of the Fool Killer’s targets on both sides of the aisle in the July of 1913 edition of James Larkin Pearson’s version of the folk figure:

*** Democrat Walter Hines Page, President Woodrow Wilson’s Ambassador to Great Britain. Page was part of the plutocrat or “plute” class that Pearson and his Fool Killer despised. Page had provoked Pearson’s ire through his public claims of simple living, all while he was renting a $20,000 per year mansion in England for himself, an enormous amount for the time.

*** Modern day gun owners. Pearson and his depiction of the Fool Killer defy categorization, since the attitudes expressed would annoy people on both the political right and the political left. Going back to 1910, Pearson’s Fool Killer openly disdained gun ownership in the 20th Century, yet many of his other positions would be placed on the political right.

*** Pearson’s fellow Christians, whom he thought bestowed most of their affection to the devil with their lifestyles, rather than to God. Here we see a position usually attributed to the political right. One of the intriguing things in every installment is the way Pearson and his Fool Killer cannot be pigeon-holed as left-wing or right-wing. Continue reading

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SAMSON MYTHS FROM “THE LEGENDS OF THE JEWS” (1909)

Previously, Balladeer’s Blog examined Samson myths depicting the figure as a sun god and Islamic variations of the Samson saga. In this third installment, I will look at Samson as depicted in The Legends of the Jews by Louis Ginzberg in 1909. For the first post in this series click HERE.

samson after the killingSAMSON IN THE LEGENDS OF THE JEWS – Samson was born the son of Manoah, a man of the Dan tribe and his wife Zelalponit aka Hazelalponit of the tribe of Judah.

NOTE: Though the Bible and many non-Biblical versions of the Samson tale reveal no name for Samson’s mother, the Babylonian Talmud and other sources provide the names mentioned above.

Typical of so many myths from around the world, Manoah and Zelalponit/ Hazelalponit had never had any children and had given up hope of having any. The Legends of the Jews does not deal with the angelic visits informing Samson’s parents of his impending birth so I will save that aspect of the story for a future installment. Continue reading

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SAMSON MYTHS IN ISLAMIC LITERATURE

Previously, Balladeer’s Blog examined non-Biblical Samson myths depicting the figure as a sun god. Here in this second installment, I will look at some of the traditions regarding Samson in Islamic literature. For the first post in this series click HERE.

samson strongSAMSON IN ISLAM – Right at the start, I’ll make it clear that there is no specific reference to Samson in the Koran. Period. In some of the other scholarly writings by Muslim authorities of the distant past they included Samson aka Shamsun by speculating that he was among the many unnamed prophets of their faith.

However, some of those sources simply list Samson as one of the Judges in the Children of Israel chapters and tend to keep him in the same time period as Biblical tales of the long-haired strong man. Other Islamic sources specifically name Samson/ Shamsun and place the period of his life anywhere from the 1st Century B.C.E. to the time of the Christian Saint George.

samson and lionNOTE: Yes, that still puts Samson’s existence before Muhammad was even born, but the academic and religious debates about this are outside the material I am covering in this post.

For brevity’s sake I will avoid the in-depth arguments regarding exactly when Islam’s version of Samson supposedly lived. Suffice it to say that the Muslim literature in question states that Samson was born in a “Roman” city, placing his lifetime during the Roman occupation of the Middle East. This is much later than Biblical accounts of Samson.  Continue reading

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SAMSON MYTHS: VARIATIONS

Just as the Orphic variations of the Homeric Hymns offer alternate versions of some of the ancient Greek myths, there are sources that provide alternate versions of the middle eastern Samson story.

samson and lionSAMSON AS A NON-BIBLICAL SUN GOD – Before getting into the Biblical and Talmudic Samson tales, let’s take a look at the tradition of Samson being an ancient sun deity. In this context his “seven locks/ braids of hair” were seven solar rays emanating from his head like in ancient artwork of other solar figures.

            A few examples would be the idol of Helios with seven rays from his head, Apollo with the same seven rays and even Phaethon having his father the sun god wind the “seven rays like strings upon his hair.”

            In this version of the Samson story, it becomes a seasonal myth in which the sun god’s wife Delilah (or just Lilah in some versions) is a winter goddess. She causes the loss of Samson’s strength by cutting his seven locks/ braids/ solar rays, symbolizing the weakening of the sun and the shortening of the days throughout fall and winter. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER 64: MAY 1913

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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FOOL KILLER 63: APRIL 1913

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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