Tag Archives: Fool Killer lore

FOOL KILLER FORTY: OCTOBER 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 1910-1929PART FORTY: The October of 1910 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s Fool-Killer. LORE CHANGE – For the first time the Fool Killer is depicted using a Bomb of Truth against his targets, making these explosives the latest addition to his arsenal of weapons. Even today we often use the figurative expression “Truth Bombs.”

Best imagery invoked by Pearson and his Fool Killer this month: Congress as a collection of corrupt fools safely fighting the citizenry from behind high walls made of piles of taxpayer money. Some things never change. 

Targets for this issue:

*** People who were hurriedly exploiting the still-new invention the airplane for wartime uses.

*** Those members of the wig industry who were harvesting most of the hair for their wigs from the heads of corpses.

Fool Killer pic*** John J Astor and his wife, who were going through an ugly and costly public divorce.

*** “Doctor” George W Carey, who was pushing the theory that the Sun was “the father” of all the planets in our solar system except for the Earth, which was “the mother” of those planets. Carey further stated that the South Pole was the womb of the Earth and that sunlight hitting the region eventually impregnated the Earth, which gave birth via Antarctica.

              George also explained that the Moon was the Sun and Earth’s youngest child and that if the true South Pole was ever reached an umbilical cord running all the way up to the Moon would be discovered.

              If that’s not enough “science” for you, Carey stated that the umbilical cord would detach from Antarctica around the year 1945, following which the Earth would get pregnant again by the Sun and give birth to another celestial body as a child. Any questions? Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Mythology, Neglected History

FOOL KILLER THIRTY-NINE: SEPTEMBER 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-NINE – Some of the Fool Killer’s targets in the September of 1910 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s Fool-Killer

*** The scholar and philosopher William James, brother of Henry and Alice James, for his speculation that after death a soul could communicate or even return to the world of the living. (This was an exaggeration of James’ beliefs for comedic effect.) A fictional cult of William James was proposed, waiting to hear from the late philosopher or for his actual return from the dead. James had died in late August. 

Fool Killer 1920s*** “Republocrats,” as Pearson and his Fool Killer called the corrupt fraternity of career politicians/ career criminals who belonged to the two gangs called Democrats and Republicans. Today the term is spelled “Republicrats.”

*** American colleges and universities, for what Pearson and his Fool Killer ALREADY saw as their over-emphasis on football instead of academics. That trend intensified in the coming decades. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Mythology, Neglected History

FOOL KILLER THIRTY-EIGHT: AUGUST 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-EIGHT – Some of the Fool Killer’s targets in the August of 1910 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s Fool-Killer:

*** The owners of mills and sweatshops in which children age 10 and under worked under grueling conditions. (Child labor was not yet against the law.) Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog will recall that child labor was one of the MAJOR beefs of Klarenc Wade Mak’s 1917 depiction of the Fool Killer.

*** Lobbyist Jake L Hamon Sr, who was accused by Senator Thomas Gore (author Gore Vidal’s maternal grandfather) of offering him a $25,000.00 bribe. The alleged bribe was for Gore to vote in favor of a land purchase that attorney J.M. McMurray was trying to make from the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes. Hamon allegedly stood to earn 10 percent of the Thirty Million Dollar deal.

Fool Killer condensed*** Senator Gore himself, for muddying the waters of his own accusations by accusing Vice President James S Sherman of an illicit interest in the land deal. Gore wound up having to admit that his accusation was based on hearsay.

*** “Frenzied Financiers” – the name for shady Wall Street dealers who exploited loopholes to fleece their clients and endanger the economy. (See my review of the 1907 novel Friday the Thirteenth for more details on Frenzied Finance.)

*** President William Howard Taft, whom Pearson and his Fool Killer accurately predicted would NOT get reelected in 1912. Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under Mythology, Neglected History

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

8 Comments

Filed under Mythology, Neglected History

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

14 Comments

Filed under Mythology, Neglected History

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

6 Comments

Filed under Mythology, Neglected History

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

4 Comments

Filed under Mythology, Neglected History

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

14 Comments

Filed under Mythology, Neglected History

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

4 Comments

Filed under Mythology, Neglected History

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

8 Comments

Filed under Mythology