Tag Archives: Fool Killer

FOOL KILLER PART TWENTY-SIX: MORE FROM KLARENC WADE MAK

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore.

FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT, CLICK HERE

Banjo Player by Maynard Dixon

Banjo Player by Maynard Dixon

PART TWENTY-SIX: THE FOOL KILLER (1918) – Last time around I posted plenty of quotes from Mak’s incarnation of the Fool Killer, quotes that would upset both the political left AND the political right here in the 21st Century. FOR THOSE QUOTES CLICK HERE

This time I’ll look at the uniquely stylized America that Mak depicted his Fool Killer traveling through, delivering poetry recitations and lectures plus sharing recipes during down time between slaying fools. Mak’s America seems like a Frank Baum-influenced alternate reality filled with beautiful scenery but marred by politicized religion plus the tyranny of callous tycoons and the elected officials they have in their pockets.

The Fool Killer is followed on his meanderings around the country following the harsh winter of 1916 into 1917 and up through late 1917. Our title figure takes on quasi-chivalric airs and his escapades an urbanized Faerie Queen feel. He spouts original poetry at the drop of a hat but retains the jarring element of violent judgmentalism that afflicts every incarnation of the Fool Killer.    

The Klarenc Wade Mak version of the figure seems to regard his mission in a Darwinian way, like he’s a natural force cleansing the land of fools the way that harsh, unforgiving nature inevitably weeds out those too weak to survive. As ever, the delusions of a serial killer taint the high-minded objectives that the Fool Killer pays lip service to.

Fool Killer by Klarenc Wade MakNot that our folk figure’s targets don’t deserve to be opposed. This Fool Killer battles the abomination of Child Labor, the profit-mongers who sponsor it AND the Judges who perpetuate it through their decisions striking down attempts to eliminate the ugly practice.

He also champions women’s suffrage and fights for the working class against both the bloated rich pigs who exploit them AND the sleazy Union Leaders who sell out the workers in exchange for privileges that only management can hand out.

Here’s a fuller examination of this Fool Killer’s adventures as he wanders Mak’s Surreal States of America: Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER PART TWENTY-FIVE: KLARENC WADE MAK

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore.

FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT, CLICK HERE

PART TWENTY-FIVE: The 1918 one-shot publication called The Fool Killer was written by Dr Klarenc Wade Mak, poet, author and socialist political candidate for mayoral office in Kansas City, MO around 1918. Mak had also written Ekkoes (sic) from the Hart (sic) and Mental Dinamite (sic).

Mak’s 1918 work is sometimes confused with James Larkin Pearson’s 1910-1917 and 1919-1929 publication called The Fool-Killer. Both Mak and Pearson wrote poetry, both published works using the Fool Killer name and both were open about their sympathy with socialist politics of the time period.

Fool Killer condensedPer the surviving correspondence of Eugene V Debs, Dr Mak once invited Debs to speak in Kansas City, MO at an event where Mak and other socialist candidates would be appearing.

Despite the “socialist” label, Klarenc Mak’s Fool Killer had that quality I have appreciated about nearly all the Fool Killer items I’ve come across: Attitudes which would outrage BOTH the political left AND right here in the 21st Century. Even the socialist label as Mak’s writings define it refers to workers, NOT “people who want something for nothing” as he calls them. (He also calls them parasites.) So even that brand of “socialism” would offend both right-wingers and left-wingers of today. For different reasons, of course. 

Mak’s Fool Killer expressed disapproval of capitalism AND disapproval of abortion, so again we see that both the Left and the Right of today would be hard pressed to force a quick and easy label on this Fool Killer. Pretty refreshing!

Before returning to Pearson’s monthly publication I wanted to post some examples of Mak’s incarnation of the Fool Killer expressing sentiments tweaking both ends of the political spectrum by today’s standards:   

Fool Killer by Klarenc Wade Mak“When a man has lived long enough to have tried all the bad things in this world he generally wants to hang on a little longer just to see if the Republicans and Democrats won’t invent some NEW evils.”

“The highest part of an education is finding out how much of it isn’t so.” (In the distant past this would have applied to right-wing domination of the educational system, but for decades now it has applied to left-wing domination of the educational system.)

“Wrong ideas are not an education, they are mental weeds, the base materials that prejudice is made out of.”

“If your religion can’t stand being criticized it is in the same class with the gold ring that’s afraid of acids. Such a ring is not gold at all – only a base pretender; and the same with the religion that can’t stand the acid test of criticism – it’s just as spurious and should be rejected.” (Left-wing zealots try to censor all criticism of Islam, right-wing zealots try to censor all criticism of Christianity and Judaism. At present, however, the left-wing book-burners have the help of the Silicon Valley Robber Barons/ Techno Fascists to help them in their censorship jihad.)

“The misdeeds of Democrats are about as plentiful as the drops of water in all the oceans, while the crimes of Republicans are as numerous as the seconds in Eternity.” Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER PART TWENTY-FOUR: OCTOBER 1900 – FOOL KILLER VS THE MAFIA

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 cop USEPART TWENTY-FOUR: October, 1900. I just received another emailed Fool Killer Letter from the actual supernatural figure himself.

Eddie or Mr Wozniak or Balladeer or whatever you go by:

At present I’m here in Oregon smacking around Antifa scumbags. I fought the Democrat KKK thugs in the 1870s and I’ll be damned if I’ll let these masked Democrats prey on people. What is it with Democrats and hiding behind masks? Antifa’s name is nonsense. Like the old saying goes “The fascists of the future will call themselves anti-fascists.”

Steampunk Fool Killer copAnyway, since you and I are agreed that both Democrats and Republicans are criminals and worse I got to thinking about my last missive to you. That communication ended with me entering another period of hibernation on New Year’s Day 1900 after dealing with the town of Folly, Texas.

Like I mentioned then, my supernatural inheritance on my Daddy’s side causes me and my belongings to somehow transport back to my hidden cave til it’s time to wake up again. This time I woke up in early October of 1900 wearing that blue, buttoned outfit that lets me pass as anything from a boat pilot to a policeman – like in Facts for the Fool-Killer, that book from my time in and around Buffalo, New York.

I emerged from my cave, yawned, stretched and relished the crisp autumn air and then set out for Buffalo, NY. I mentioned last time that while I hibernate, events in the real world come to me like dreams, so I’m always up to date on the national zeitgeist. I also know where I’m meant to go when I wake up. 

Peter NissenBy mid-October, mostly using trains, my favorite means of travel, I arrived at Niagara Falls just as that Peter Nissen character made his final voyage in the custom boat he had named The Fool Killer. He and his First Mate were forced to abandon it in the dark and neither they nor any search parties ever found it.

That was because I stepped in after they had fled that night and hauled the boat free to commandeer it for my own use since Nissen had commandeered my name without my permission. With my more than human strength it was no real problem, of course.

I had brought along some of my Daddy’s eldritch tools from the days of his blacksmith business in the early 1800s and by daybreak I had improved on Nissen’s custom craft to make it suitable for my purposes. I could even pilot that boat up or down or behind the falls – though I usually waited until there were no prying eyes about for those particular maneuvers.

Anyway, I spent almost ten years dispensing justice to fools all along the Niagara River and Lake Erie. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER PART TWENTY-THREE: FEBRUARY, 1920

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 1920sPART TWENTY-THREE: Here is a look at some of the Fool Killer’s targets from James L Pearson’s February of 1920 issue.

*** People supporting Prohibition.

*** The Fool Killer crashed and slammed a Protestant conference in Boston. The Protestant Preachers were discussing the time period’s shortage of young men willing to become Preachers, a shortage the Fool Killer often took “credit” for since he claimed it was fear of meeting his (the Fool Killer’s) wrath that helped scare a lot of men away from the pulpit. (The fictional vigilante went after Elmer Gantry-like corrupt Preachers long before Sinclair Lewis’ novel Elmer Gantry had been published.)

              This conference was endorsing the use of phonograph records as “canned” sermons and – since J.L. Pearson’s version of the Fool Killer had an unfortunate preoccupation with religion – this use of such canned sermons found the homicidal fellow unleashing some non-fatal wrath on congregations around the country IF they lazily used the pre-recorded sermons. (Remember, in the 1800s part of the Fool Killer’s Bogey Man aspect was that he would supposedly kill fools who fell asleep during mass.)

*** Supporters of the Red Scare being pushed by Democrat Woodrow Wilson’s Attorney General A Mitchell Palmer (as in the Palmer Raids).

*** Supporters of Republican General Leonard Wood.

*** “Spiritualist” con artists who took money from people for pretending to put them in contact with their dead loved ones in the Afterlife. Sometimes the Fool Killer also preyed upon the foolish victims of the con artists, depending on his ever-changing moods.  Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER: PART TWENTY-TWO – JANUARY 1920

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 1920sPART TWENTY-TWO: After a two-part examination of the newest Fool Killer Letter (CLICK HERE ) and the revelation of the vigilante’s activities in Texas in December of 1899 it’s back to looking at the 1919-1929 Fool-Killer presented by THE James Larkin Pearson.

The targets of the Fool Killer (I prefer no hyphen) in the January, 1920 issue:

*** Major newspapers which chided American Labor for bringing attention to the unscrupulous activities of the bloated rich pigs who ran the management side of America’s industries.

              It’s reminiscent of today’s battles with the Robber Barons of Silicon Valley, like Mark “Skippy” Zuckerberg, Jack “White Male Privilege” Dorsey and their fellow corporate fascists at Google and elsewhere. (And check out the documentary The Creepy Line which exposes Silicon Valley fascists at their worst.)

*** Ever since aircraft were proven to be workable the fictional Fool Killer seemed to have moderated his instinctive assumptions that people trumpeting scientific breakthroughs were fools and/or liars. By 1920 if an inventor or tinkerer boasted about their amazing discoveries or devices the homicidal vigilante had shifted to a policy of investigating the claimant and their scientific breakthrough.

              If the claims held up to the Fool Killer’s scrutiny he took no action. But if the claims seemed ridiculously wrong OR like a con or scam to trick people out of their money the folk figure unleashed his weaponry on the “fool” …

*** The Fool Killer investigated a recent claim from “a young feller up north in New York” (no name given) that he invented a “gas vaporizer” to replace carburetors. The young inventor claimed that his device would let your car get “ninety miles per gallon.” Since no such device ever hit the market it would seem the claimant was a con artist and was subjected to the Fool Killer’s usual brand of summary “justice.”

*** In Kansas City the roaming vigilante looked into another inventor’s claim that he had invented “an all-new type of engine” that was “sixty percent more efficient” than the engines currently in use. This, too, seems to have been a scam and the self-proclaimed inventor was dealt with.    Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER: PART TWENTY-ONE: FOLLY, TEXAS – DECEMBER 31st, 1899

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 picPART TWENTY-ONE: I’ll return to my look at the 1910-1917 and 1919-1929 version of the Fool Killer next time around. For this segment I’ll conclude the new Fool Killer Letter received here at Balladeer’s Blog from THE actual, supernatural entity himself. (SEE HERE ) This second part of that letter clarifies some of the Fool Killer’s hibernation periods AND details a heretofore UNKNOWN 1899 escapade of the supernatural vigilante.

(cont’d) Anyway, Mr Wozniak or Eddie or Balladeer or whatever you prefer to go by, that was how I came to be. And like I said, you’re no Charles Napoleon Bonaparte Evans or James Larkin Pearson but I’ve been a mighty long time without a confidant so you’ll do.

As you guessed, my ability to hibernate for years in my hidden cavern home, then emerge dressed in up to date men’s fashions is another unearthly characteristic I inherited from my Daddy, whatever he may really have been, damn him. While I sleep it’s like the changes in the world come to me as dreams, so I’m always aware of the alterations in the zeitgeist.

You probably noticed I never need to eat and the only thing I ever drink is alcohol. I don’t NEED to drink, but maybe my Mama’s heritage shines through with that, because one thing I truly love to slam down is good old American liquor. Preferably bourbon.

I had to smile at your feeble speculations regarding when exactly I returned to my cave to hibernate over the decades. Since you’re so all-fired obsessed with whens and wheres and hows, I’ll throw you a few crumbs here.

Sartana as Fool Killer 5After I drove my Daddy out of the Tennessee Hills I spent the rest of the 1830s and the early 1840s killing off any fools who tried mining or stealing the hidden gold of the Melungeons. During that same period the fools in Washington, DC started sending men into the mountains of Tennsessee, Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina to stop the Melungeons from minting their own gold coins, so I took to exterminating those federal agents, too. “Counterfeiting” my ass!

But times changed, and the feds persevered in claiming the government in Washington were the only ones who could mint coins. I saw I’d only be bringing a war down on the heads of my Mama’s people the Melungeons if I kept killing federales so I let up on that. 

By the late 1840s I had decided to make a home out of the remote, now-abandoned cave where my Daddy used to ply his blacksmithing and other mystic trades. I moved in and settled down for my very first period of hibernation. I woke up just a bit short of 1850 and befriended Mr Charles Napoleon Bonaparte Evans at the Milton Chronicle in North Carolina.

After corresponding with him about my fool-killing vocation for over a decade I took my second nap in the summer of 1861 after telling Evans that I damned the fools of both the North and the South for bringing on that Civil War. As you know from the surviving letters I sent to Mr Evans I emerged from that hibernation in the late 1860s.

For several years I kept busy slaying, among others, Ku Klux Klan fools AND the Carpetbaggers from the North during Reconstruction. My walking stick – forged in my Daddy’s eldritch smithy and with its grinning skull headpiece made of fine Melungeon gold – killed plenty and my set of Bowie Knives drank the blood of many a fool as well.

cowboy gunsAnyway, you don’t need every damn detail, boy. Suffice it to say that around 1880 or ’81 I hibernated again, then pursued my new mission among the Melungeons, this time adding guns and rifles to my arsenal. After several years of that I slept again, then upon awakening I was drawn westward.

One day I’ll tell you all about the many fools I snuffed out in the old west. It’s a wonder I didn’t depopulate the entire region. For right now, however, I’ll recount an adventure that happened right before my next period of slumber.

Sartana as Fool KillerIn late December of 1899 I was traveling through west Texas, riding along in that wagon I had taken to using during my 1880s activities back among the Melungeons. In the summer of ’99 I had taken a brief return trip to the East and on my way back out west I had that run-in with the sinister, Infernal fair along the Old Pike Road in Alabama. The tale that George Ade wrote about.         

My destination was Folly, Texas. You can’t find it or what’s left of it now but back then it was southwest of Lubbock and almost right at the border of Texas and New Mexico. Texans of the time said nothing thrived in that part of the Lone Star State except cacti. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER: PART TWENTY – A NEW FOOL KILLER LETTER

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 garbPART TWENTY: I need to interrupt my look at the 1910-1917 and 1919-1929 Fool Killer items for this time around. In a surprising development Balladeer’s Blog was contacted by THE actual Fool Killer. Using Jimmy Neutron-level science I determined that this correspondent was indeed the actual supernatural figure who had been at large in America since the 1830s.

After some introductory email exchanges the Fool Killer confirmed for me that Jesse Holmes was not his real name but he often used it as his alias going back to Charles Napoleon Bonaparte Evans’ original publication of The Fool Killer Letters from roughly 1850 to around 1880.

The roaming vigilante stated that since there was absolutely nothing that I or any other mortals could do to stop him from slaying whenever and wherever he pleased he was happy to answer assorted questions for me. He did so in the following email:

Fool Killer condensedEddie, or Mr Wozniak or Balladeer or however you prefer to be addressed, I noticed from your queries that you have that modern-day obsession with wanting definitive answers. I’m not able to provide them regarding my exact nature nor would I if I WAS able.

Your tracing of my origins to the Tennessee Hills of the 1830s was part of the reason I contacted you. I figured your perseverance and your perceptive comments about the Hill Portughee or Melungeons importing tales of Longstaff from Portugal showed you deserved to be my new correspondent. You’re no Charles Evans or James L Pearson but I’ve been a mighty long time without a confidant so you’ll do.

My birth around 1830 was roughly as recounted in Mountain Legends. I can correct the record on one particular item, though. My Daddy, whatever he really was, was not the Devil. Not even I could have overcome Satan himself like I did and driven him from the Tennessee Hills. He may have been “A” devil or demon or maybe something from another world. Maybe he was just a relic from Earth’s distant past or some unknown thing that walked up from the very bottom of the ocean.

Whatever he was he wasn’t human, that’s for certain, but he sure had a taste for the ladies of the mountains. Whenever any of the Hill Portughee or folks like them needed some of my Daddy’s otherworldly metalworking or medicinal cures or any other products of his arcane arts and sciences the men and the uncomely women always had better come across with some Melungeon gold to pay for it. Continue reading

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