Tag Archives: Myths and Folktales

FOOL KILLER PART 66: JULY 1913

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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FOOL KILLER 64: MAY 1913

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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FOOL KILLER SIXTY ONE: JANUARY 1913

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

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FIVE MONSTER LEGENDS OF AMERICA

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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FOOL KILLER SIXTY: OCTOBER 1912

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

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6 MEMORABLE FOOL KILLER TALES FROM AMERICAN FOLKLORE

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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TWELVE DEITIES FROM INUIT MYTHOLOGY

 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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FOOL KILLER FIFTY-SIX: MAY 1912

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 picPART 56 – Some of the Fool Killer’s targets in the May of 1912 edition of James Larkin Pearson’s version: 

*** Columnist Al Fairbrother, who wrote so many columns pandering to different groups of readers that he would often get caught having published hard-hitting editorials on both sides of a particular issue. The latest instance that irked Pearson and his Fool Killer was a pair of columns Fairbrother wrote, one bashing Theodore Roosevelt for thinking about running for president again and one praising him for it.

*** The Meat Trust, for, as usual “somehow” (wink) obtaining favorable court rulings okaying its dilution of beef products with unlabeled amounts of dog-meat and horse-meat.

*** The latest inane fashion fad: women’s hats with batteries in them to supply power to electric lights which decorated said hats. 

*** The Taft Administration and other federal bodies responsible for trying every trick in the book to harass The Appeal To Reason, a Girard, KS newspaper which courageously took on Big Business and Wall Street. The paper was always being dragged into court over the slightest pretext with even the post office being used to harass it and its subscribers (like the way the Biden Administration is trying to wipe out dissenting opinions by tagging them as “domestic terrorism”). Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER FIFTY-FIVE: APRIL 1912

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 knifePART FIFTY-FIVE – Here is a look at some of the Fool Killer’s targets in the April of 1912 edition of James Larkin Pearson’s version of the character:

*** The Steel Trust – Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, John Rockefeller and other “Big Ikes of the Steel Trust”, as Pearson and his Fool Killer called them. The bloated rich pigs were in the news again because – just like today’s corporate rich pigs at Google, Facebook, Twitter and others they were being called out on their prejudiced behavior and their contempt for the notion that Congress or the Stanley Committee or anyone else could hold them accountable.

              They had recently boasted that they were above nations because without their steel the U.S. and some other countries could not wage war or engage in engineering & construction projects or build cargo ships, railroads, etc. Whistleblowers at the steel companies had recently made public statements about the ways the Steel Trust collaborated to control steel prices, EXCLUDE COMPETITION and undertake other acts in violation of Anti-Trust laws at what they called “Gary Dinners.” Testimony from 55 figures had already been heard.

              Another way they were just as disgusting as today’s Big Tech/ Technofascists was the way that untold numbers of SUBPOENAED DOCUMENTS HAD BEEN DESTROYED BY THE CORPORATIONS INVOLVED (like privileged white one-percenter Hillary Clinton flagrantly destroyed so much of the evidence against her). Those documents allegedly contained proof that Steel Trust figures had not only violated the law but had committed perjury in their courtroom testimony. Corporate fascists like Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg and others seem to slither the same way no matter the time period.

Fool Killer Red*** Judges and other high officials who betrayed their public trusts. He favored the recall process for judges as well as others. 

*** Tobacco companies plus tobacco users like smokers and snuff-chewers. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER FIFTY-FOUR: MARCH 1912

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 FIFTY-FOUR – There was no February issue of James Larkin Pearson’s version of The Fool-Killer in 1912, so we resume with the March issue, put together with Pearson’s new printing machinery. The Fool Killer’s targets this time around included:

*** Lawyers and politicians who felt constrained by legal precedents. Pearson and his Fool Killer called for dismantling the current system and starting fresh. Yet, once again, we will see below that he also had astonishingly regressive attitudes. The contradictions are part of the fascination. 

*** North Carolina politicians and law enforcement personnel who, despite the state having Prohibition, secretly indulged in drinking alcohol and/or turned a blind eye to speakeasies and bootlegging. NOTE: Prohibition was not a nationwide policy yet. “Dry” states forbade the sell of booze while “Wet” states still had legal drinking.

*** People who chewed tobacco. Pearson had a big thing against chewers and smokers.

*** Lawyers and the legal system, which he wanted overhauled. 

*** Meat packers and meat retailers, who were blaming each other for the inflated prices of meat products. Continue reading

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