Tag Archives: Myths and Folktales


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


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


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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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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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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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 with staff and Bowie knifeSome of the Fool Killer’s targets from the January of 1913 edition of James Larkin Pearson’s Fool-Killer

*** Democrat Senator Joe Bailey, who left the Senate after missing 499 of 976 roll call votes during his term. That 51.1% was much higher than the average missed roll call votes by other Senators of the time – 29.5%. 

*** Republican Senator Henry Dupont, whom Pearson and his Fool Killer suspected of using his Senate position to advance the gunpowder trust and therefore his family’s wealth. In 1916, the first year of popularly elected Senators, Dupont was among the appointed Senators who were voted out of office. He lost to Josiah Wolcott.  

*** Express Monopolists who had been opposed to America establishing the United States Parcel Post, which took on responsibility for transporting heavy parcels which previously had to be sent for much higher costs by private concerns. The parcel post was launched on January 1st, 1913. Continue reading


Filed under Mythology, Neglected History, opinion


masc graveyard smallerBalladeer’s Blog covers a lot of mythology and folklore, so here’s a look at five monster legends of the U.S. (Non-Bigfoot categories).

I don’t believe that there was anything truly supernatural in any of these tales, but life is less fun without legends like these. All of them are ripe for embellishment and screen adaptations. 

van meter visitorTHE VAN METER VISITOR

First Appearance: 1903

Lore: From September 29th to October 3rd of 1903 the Iowa town of Van Meter was supposedly plagued by at least two 8-9 feet tall batlike creatures who could fly, stand upright, climb up and down telephone poles and shoot a noxious odor as a defense mechanism. The three-toed creatures also had a blunt horn on their heads and said horns could supposedly cast light beams via bioluminescence.

Over the course of the visitation multiple shots were fired at the beings as they flew around town, perched on rooftops and telephone wires and roamed around a nearby brick and tile factory as well as an abandoned mine. By October 3rd an armed crowd of Van Meter citizens investigated the factory and the mine. They spotted two of the batlike creatures emerging from the mine and opened fire on them again to no effect.

Eventually the two winged beings retreated into the mine and the crowd quickly blocked off the mine entrance for good, thus ending the rash of sightings.

butterfly peopleTHE BUTTERFLY PEOPLE

First Appearance: 2011

Lore: On May 22nd, 2011 Joplin, Missouri was hit by an F5 tornado which killed 160 people, destroyed 900 homes and injured hundreds. Among those injured were multiple children and early teens who attributed their survival to the intervention and/or protection of winged butterfly people. Continue reading


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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 grayPART 60 – As always, this installment of The Fool-Killer included sentiments that would tick off people from both the left and the right. Some of the Fool Killer’s targets in the October of 1912 edition of James Larkin Pearson’s publication:

*** MILLIONAIRES, because after all the expense and trouble it takes to clothe, feed and educate a millionaire “as a rule he isn’t worth a damn to the country after it gets him.”

*** POLITICIANS who spend more time talking about property instead of human beings.

*** WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT, incumbent U.S. President. Pearson and his Fool Killer had preferred Theodore Roosevelt and thought Taft was a weak successor. (For my take on the election of 1912 click HERE.) Continue reading


Filed under Mythology, Neglected History, opinion


Fool Killer with staff and Bowie knifeAN ORIGIN FOR THE FOOL KILLER – In the 1830s a Devil mated with assorted women of East Tennessee’s “Hill Portughee (Portuguese)” and one of them bore him a son. The son grew up to drive that Devil out of the Tennessee hills after tricking his infernal father into forging an iron staff that he used as a weapon against him.

               That son then became the Fool Killer, using his iron staff/ walking stick/ club to prey on outsiders “foolish” enough to come looking for the hidden gold of the Melungeons in the eldritch Tennessee woodlands. He also battled federal agents trying to stop the Melungeons from printing their own gold coins.

Fool Killer wardrobeOPPOSING THE KU KLUX KLAN – In the Spring and Summer of 1870 the Fool Killer battled the KKK, whose violence in a few North Carolina counties had grown so extreme that the governor declared Martial Law. The folk figure opposed Klan influence in North Carolina politics as well as their brutal acts of maiming and killing people who opposed them. 

A FOOL KILLER CHRISTMAS – The Fool Killer spent the Christmas and New Year’s holiday of 1878 into 1879 roaming North Carolina. He struck down violent Millerite-style apocalypticists, recovered Christmas candy stolen from some Free Negro children, thwarted a serial rapist and dealt with a gang of outlaws who had served in North Carolina’s “Company Aytch” during the Civil War.    Continue reading


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 Inuit mythology is almost criminally neglected. Personally I find it  fascinating and there is a  wealth of underappreciated information to be passed along. Inuit is the term used now, largely replacing  ”eskimo”  which was a pejorative term coined by the Algonquin Indians long ago. The geographical area of the Inuit myths ranges from Siberia across the Bering Strait through Alaska, Canada and Greenland. Names used for the following deities vary across that vast area. Some Inuit settlements like Ayaatayat (near present- day Cape Denbigh) date back 10,000 years. The Inuit were often at war with various Native American tribes and, as a testament to the  fighting  ability of the ancient Inuits they drove the Vikings themselves out of part of Greenland. The Inuit deities are as fascinating as the figures in any other pantheon.

12. NARSSUK – The god of the west wind and a son of the god Sila. Narssuk was depicted as an enormous infant whose winds were generated by the flapping of his caribou- skin diaper. In some versions the goddess Pukimna made the diaper for him. Narssuk supposedly would Continue reading


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