Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT, CLICK HERE
PART FIVE: The fifth surviving Fool Killer Letter. (See Part One for an explanation.)
February 16th, 1876 – From “Pace’s Rock, NC”
The Fool Killer began this letter to Milton Chronicle Editor Charles Napoleon Bonaparte Evans by saying he had been hibernating in his hidden cave again and had just woken up and emerged in December of 1875. The references made by Jesse Holmes (the name the Fool Killer claimed was his real identity even though the letters were written by Charles Evans himself) confuse the previous timeline.
Either Evans was doing what fiction writers now call ret-conning (imposing retroactive changes to continuity, if you’re new to the term) or he may have just felt “who cares” if the Fool Killer was contradicting previous letters. Evans may have reasonably felt nobody would ever bother paying such strict attention to fictional letters from a nonexistent vigilante.
This letter has Jesse Holmes claim he is waking up from a nap begun AFTER the Civil War ended. Previous letters had the Fool Killer begin his hibernation in 1861 or 1862, motivated by disgust at the fools who brought on the Civil War. Under that initial timeline Holmes emerged from his hibernation around 1870, dressed in up to date men’s fashion, to resume his killing spree by preying on Ku Klux Klansmen and northern Carpetbaggers alike.
(A May, 1870 letter – the fourth Fool Killer Letter, previously reviewed – has the homicidal vigilante striking at a nominating convention during the imposition of martial law in Alamance County over excessive Klan violence. )
So did Jesse Holmes begin a second period of hibernation after his anti-Klan and anti-Carpetbagger activities in 1870? His reference to returning to his hidden cave AFTER the Civil War is vague. It doesn’t have to mean 1865 (during which period he was supposedly in his 1861/2-1870 sleep already).
We’ll probably never know and may be giving it more thought than Charles Evans himself did. So, on to the murders that the Fool Killer confesses to in this letter.
Holmes stated he emerged from his cave on December 22nd, 1875, and, in disgust at all the foolishness he sensed running rampant in the nation, smote the ground with his club. In fact he struck the ground SO hard with his primary fool-killing weapon – his skull-topped walking stick – that it was recorded in newspapers of the time as an earthquake. (This is a joking reference to a real-life earthquake of that date which was felt as far north as Baltimore, MD and as far south as Greensboro, NC.)
Deciding to get busy, the Fool Killer set forth with his club/ walking stick/ cudgel and his set of Bowie knives to seek fresh victims. Continue reading