Tag Archives: Fool Killer lore

FOOL KILLER THIRTY-SEVEN: JULY 1910

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 timelessLORE ADDITION: For the first time the Fool Killer added a hand-cranked chainsaw to his arsenal of weapons. The Fool Killer’s targets in James Larkin Pearson’s July of 1910 issue:

*** Preachers who smoked. Pearson and his version of the Fool Killer held smoking in such low regard that they felt people who indulged in it should not be trusted with ministering to people’s souls. Shooting the cigarettes, cigars and pipes out of the mouths of smoking preachers was going too far in my opinion, but what can you do?

*** Sid Beckwith of New York, who insisted that the best cure for insomnia was to buy a passenger balloon and take a trip through the skies. He said this would make an insomniac sleep like a baby after that. The clueless Beckwith also warned against spending more than FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS for such an airship. Well, okay, then.

*** Nebraskans who – incensed at the Fool Killer’s criticism of William Jennings Bryan – had taken to bashing and agitating against Pearson’s publication. The Fool Killer dubbed them the Independent Order of Self-Made Fools and proclaimed that their “double-barreled Devil-guns” would kick backward upon firing with more force than would propel their pellets forward. 

*** Writer and philosopher Elbert Hubbard.

*** Ferdinand von Zeppelin, who was considering flying one of his eponymous airships to the North Pole. After the Cook debacle Larson and his Fool Killer were fed up with what they called North Pole Yarns. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER FOR APRIL FOOL’S DAY

Fool Killer illustrationIt’s April Fool’s Day! This time around Balladeer’s Blog will forego its usual Aleister Crowley item and holiday-themed slasher reviews for a breakdown on the assorted depictions of the neglected American folk figure called the Fool Killer.

A. THE MILTON CHRONICLE YEARS – Late 1840s (?) to 1880 (?) – In the earliest WRITTEN versions of American Fool Killer lore the homicidal vigilante wrote letters to Milton Chronicle Editor Charles Napoleon Bonaparte Evans regarding his victims and why he chose them. (Evans was the real author of the letters.)

              Fool Killer picSurviving Letter One (February 1857): The Fool Killer used his trusty club/ walking stick/ cudgel to slay trigger-happy slave hunting patrols, some “foolish” University of North Carolina students and faculty, a would-be lynch mob, a ruthless land speculator, a vain Southern Belle and her panting suitors plus political figures abusing their positions for partisan purposes. CLICK HERE 

              Surviving Letter Two (March, 1859): The Fool Killer whacked a turkey thief, some Don Quixote Invincibles, a fortune-hunting conman, partisan newspaper “journalists” and corrupt politicians in the North Carolina State Legislature. CLICK HERE 

              Surviving Letter Three (June 1861): In this last surviving Fool Killer Letter PRIOR to his Civil War hibernation period, the wandering killer bumps off slave-owning Democrats who avoided military service, war profiteers, General Benjamin Butler plus a phony “witch” and her clients who were trying to railroad some innocent victims. CLICK HERE   Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER THIRTY-SIX: JUNE OF 1910

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 timelessPART THIRTY-SIX: Here’s a look at the Fool Killer’s targets in the June of 1910 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s Fool-Killer publication:

*** Women who chewed snuff, whom Pearson and his Fool Killer called “snuff-dipping girls.” (Snuff-dipping girls, they make the rockin’ world go ’round! … Had to be said.)

*** Human traffickers. 

*** People who drank, since Pearson was oddly stuffy about alcohol consumption.

*** In a tongue-in-cheek bit he targeted Bronchitis itself, since stories were in the news about ex-President Theodore Roosevelt battling the illness. The Fool Killer implied that Bronchitis was a “fool” for daring to tangle with Teddy. He also made a joke about Teddy’s personality being so huge it took attention away from Halley’s Comet.

*** People who had predicted that the comet would hit the Earth, wreaking immense damage.

*** Scholars who thought they had discovered the Missing Link in Illinois.

*** Religious hypocrites who wore pointlessly expensive clothes to church just to show off their wealth. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER THIRTY-FIVE: MAY OF 1910

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 timelessPART THIRTY-FIVE: Taking a look at James Larkin Pearson’s version of the Fool Killer and the mythic figure’s targets in the May of 1910 Fool-Killer four-pager. (There was no April issue that year.)

*** Democrat Duncan Brown Cooper and his son Robin. Cooper, who had served in the Confederate States Army during the Civil War, shot Edward W Carmack to death on the streets of Nashville over editorials Carmack had written criticizing Cooper’s preferred politician – Democrat Governor Malcolm R Patterson.

               So even THEN Democrats apparently grew violent with people who disagreed with their political opinions. Robin was granted a second trial and released. Duncan Brown Cooper was found guilty of 2nd Degree Murder … Then pardoned by Democrat Governor Patterson. Some things never change!

*** People who opposed the movement to grant women the vote. 

Mascot sword and pistol*** Pope Pius X. Pearson and his Fool Killer – like the folks at the iconic humor magazine Puck – adored ex-President Theodore Roosevelt and sided with him in the public feud between TR and Pope Pius X over the lack of respect the Pope felt Roosevelt had paid him. Luckily for Pius X the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea kept him safe from the Fool Killer’s wrath. 

*** In a fanciful and poignant vignette featuring a ghost he targeted unappreciative family members who allowed the graves of their forebears to become overgrown and neglected. 

*** The political bosses of Albany, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia for their notorious corruption.

*** Cotton millionaire Jim Patten for airily proclaiming that the loss of a million dollars over the past year of a down cotton market was no worse for him than the loss of a dime would be to working class people. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER THIRTY-FOUR: MARCH OF 1910

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 timelessPART THIRTY-FOUR – The Fool Killer’s targets in the March, 1910 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s four-pager included:

*** John D Rockefeller and his Standard Oil monopoly. The Fool Killer fought  Standard Oil and its corporate tentacles almost as much as the real-life Ida Tarbell did.

*** Former Unitarian clergyman J.C.F. Grumbine, who claimed to be in correspondence with the late Elizabeth Barrett Browning. This was one of the earliest references to the Fool Killer’s enmity toward conmen spiritualists who claimed to contact the dead.  

*** The Sugar Trust established by Henry Osborne Havemeyer, which was still rolling 3 years after his death.

*** Dandified men who focused on their clothing to the exclusion of all else. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER THIRTY-THREE: FEBRUARY OF 1910

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 timelessPART THIRTY-THREE: This latest look at the Fool Killer centers on the February of 1910 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s Fool-Killer. That month’s targets of the Fool Killer (I prefer no hyphen) included:

*** Crooked businessman Charles Wyman Morse, infamous for assorted financial crimes including fraud and corrupt business practices. The previous month Morse had begun his prison term in the Atlanta penitentiary, where one of his fellow prisoners was THE Charles Ponzi, originator of Ponzi Schemes.

*** Three fools in Swain County, NC who used a radiator in the courthouse building to “thaw” a stick of dynamite for blast-fishing. The dynamite “thawed” so well it exploded, destroying the courthouse.

*** News outlets in the pockets of the wealthy, who used those outlets to downplay their plutocratic abuses. (Some things never change.) 

*** People who were pushing locations in Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina as “the official birth-place of Daniel Boone.”

*** The people involved in high-stakes card games in Saint Louis. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER PART THIRTY-TWO: JANUARY OF 1910

Fool Killer 1910-1929Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT, CLICK HERE 

Balladeer’s Blog’s readers have been asking me to back up a bit and cover the 1910-1917 run of James Larkin Pearson’s Fool-Killer publication before following it any further into the Roaring Twenties. As always, I aim to please the readers, so here we go:

Fool Killer timelessPART THIRTY-TWO: The targets of Pearson’s Fool Killer (I prefer no hyphen) in this debut issue from January of 1910:

*** A flim-flam artist called Grammar who was selling bogus “eternal youth” treatments via his book Perpetual Life, or Living in the Body Forever.

*** Frederick Cook, who, the previous December, had seen his claim to have reached the North Pole ruled invalid and possibly fraudulent by the University of Copenhagen. (The Fool Killer was unable to locate Cook, however.)

*** The “Idle Rich” who had never worked a day in their gilded lives. One memorable line: “A good deal of ‘the cream of society’ ought to be churned.”

*** A Professor Pickering who wanted to raise 10 million dollars to send a message to the planet Mars. Continue reading

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