Tag Archives: Myths and Folktales


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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Filed under Mythology, Neglected History


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


Filed under Mythology, Neglected History


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


Filed under Mythology, Neglected History


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


Filed under Mythology


The year 2020 will see plenty of Top Twenty lists here at Balladeer’s Blog. Here’s a look at 20 Bunyoro Gods. Bunyoro was located in and around present-day Uganda. The people had an elaborate pantheon of deities. For the top gods of the Nyanga people instead, click HERE

UgandaRUHANGAThe supreme god of the Bunyoro pantheon. The creator and initiator of the world after he separated the Earth from the sky and adorned the sky with stars. Ruhanga stayed remote and, though omnipotent, was seldom invoked or prayed to. He provided the Banyoro people (Bunyoro for the place, Banyoro for the people) with children, animals and the harvest, but also was the author of disease, sickness and death.  

On the freshly-created Earth Ruhanga put three seeds into the ground and in 1 day 3 calabashes had grown. all on one stem. He took a man/woman couple out of the first 2 calabashes but found just a lone man in the third.  Ruhanga named the men KAKAMA, KAHIMA and KAIRU.  

After subjecting the men to tests to determine their worth, Kakama was judged the most worthy and Ruhanga decreed his descendants would be the ruling class. He further decreed that Kahima’s descendants would be the cattlemen class and Kairu’s descendants would be the farmer class. (No the myth doesn’t say who Kairu has the children with.) 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, CLICK HERE 

Fool Killer picPART THIRTY-ONE: Moving on to the July 1921 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s monthly Fool-Killer publication. The Fool Killer’s (I prefer no hyphen) targets this time around were: 

*** Politicians and pundits who were still pushing the notion that the World War which ended in November of 1918 really was “The War to End All War” and that the world was poised for an era of peace and tranquility with no more bloodshed.

*** Nations which were still trying to develop ever-deadlier chemical weapons, despite the uproar over the long-term consequences of such weapons in the war from 1914-1918.

*** In particular the Fool Killer targeted jingoistic U.S. War Department scientists and /or officials who spoke of a deadly gas that our country had just developed – a gas which could supposedly “depopulate a whole city in a few minutes.” 

              Mascot new lookPearson and his Fool Killer wondered if, despite official claims that the government was trying to prevent other nations from getting hold of the formula, the U.S. might wind up using the gas ourselves at some future time and therefore become “the Huns” of a new war. 

              Here in 2020 we are accustomed to the notion that our own elected officials – from both parties – may be as totalitarian and destructive as any others. That realization came after decades of real-life scandals plus fictional espionage and science fiction stories using (eventually overusing) the “Are we are own worst enemy? theme. 

              I find it incredibly intriguing to see a contemporary 1921 example of that justifiable suspicion. The image of the Fool Killer – homicidal vigilante though he’s always been – taking down scientists, military men or politicians gambling with such poisonous gasses is wildly ahead of its time.  

*** In a REALLY prescient bit, he targeted people who felt that Germany should be forced harder and harder to try to pay war reparations no matter what damage it did to that nation’s economy. We all know where that wound up taking the world. Continue reading


Filed under Mythology, Neglected History


Here’s a bonus Charlemagne post in honor of Twelfth Night. FOR THE FIRST CHAPTER ON CHARLEMAGNE’S PALADINS CLICK HERE

Reinold and BayardREINOLD, MAUGRIS THE MAGICIAN AND THE ENCHANTED HORSE BAYARD – Reinold was another of Charlemagne’s nephews, like the Paladin Roland. Reinold, also called Rinaldo, was the son of the Emperor’s sister Aya and her husband, Duke Aymon of Ardennes. Reinold’s sister Bradamante, covered previously at Balladeer’s Blog, was the white-armored Paladin in Charlemagne’s court, making her literally a “white knight.”

Reinold, like his three older brothers and his sister distinguished himself in battle and was knighted by the Emperor. Reinold, already showing the maverick streak that he would become famous for, declined a sword at the knighting ceremony, vowing that as one of Charlemagne’s Paladins he would carry a sword taken from the next adversary he bested in combat.

MaugrisOnce, while riding outside Paris, Reinold was presented with a magnificent suit of armor by Maugris the magician, the younger, more active counterpart to Merlin from Arthurian lore. (In some versions Maugris – aka Malagigi – also gives Reinold a horse, but since this tale centers around Reinold’s taming of the mount Bayard I’m omitting that to keep the story stream-lined.)

Not long after, Maugris the enchanter again appeared before Reinold, this time in the forest of Arden. Maugris told the young Paladin that a mightier steed than the one he currently rode was on the loose in the forest, killing everyone who tried to tame him.

Maugris went on to explain to Reinold that the horse, named Bayard, once belonged to Amadis of Gaul. After Amadis’ death, Maugris had cast a spell on the horse that granted it supernatural powers, making it impossible for the beast to be subdued by anyone except another Paladin as brave and capable as Amadis himself.

All the other Paladins that Maugris had sent to try taming Bayard had been killed by the horse. Reinold was undeterred by that knowledge and rode off toward the cavern lair of Bayard.  Continue reading


Filed under Mythology