Tag Archives: neglected folklore

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 63: APRIL 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 

1913 man63. Some of the Fool Killer’s targets in the April of 1913 edition of James Larkin Pearson’s Fool-Killer:

*** Historians who sensationalized war and newspaper publishers who sensationalized crime. 

*** The late tycoon J.P. Morgan, who had recently passed away. Pearson and his Fool-Killer tried being a bit respectful of the dead but ultimately hurled snark, observing “… the times and conditions that produced him will produce others like him, and the heel of the oppressor will continue to grind the necks of the poor.” 

              fool killer miniThose were the days when not even the elected officials owned by wealthy families like the Morgans accumulated anywhere near as much money as those who owned them. Think of today’s abusive and repulsive families like the Bidens, Cheneys, Pelosis, Bushes, Clintons, Romneys and so many others from both political parties who have COMBINED obscene wealth with political influence to be sold. They plunder the public treasury while making shady money on the side and breaking laws that the rest of us are expected to abide by.

sunglasses 1913*** Forever chaotic Mexico. The Revolution of 1910 led to the final downfall of decades-long dictator Porfirio Diaz in 1911. Diaz’s reform replacement, Francisco Madero, was overthrown and arrested by Victoriano Huerta, who had just had Madero killed in 1913. The Fool-Killer bitingly observed “They sure don’t waste any time in Mexico deliberating over what to do with their ex-presidents.” Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER SIXTY TWO: MARCH 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 graySome of the Fool Killer’s targets from the March of 1913 edition of James Larkin Pearson’s Fool-Killer –

*** The ceremonies and participants involved in the March 4th inauguration. NOTE: It was not until the Franklin Roosevelt years that inaugurations changed to January. The Fool Killer attended in person, another difference from Charles Napoleon Bonaparte Evans’ original Fool Killer in the 1800s, who religiously avoided Washington DC for fear of being corrupted by setting foot there.

              In another turn of phrase that seemed almost modern day – like his coining of the term “Truth Bombs” in 1910 – Pearson’s Fool Killer titled his tale of Inauguration Day I Went, I Saw, I Spewed. Because Pearson and his Fool Killer despised both the outgoing William Howard Taft and the incoming Woodrow Wilson he described the swearing-in as Uncle Sam taking off a pair of dirty clothes, then putting them back on.

              He described the fools lining up for hours just to catch a glimpse of political figures as they paraded by, and sneered at the unseemly imperiousness of the inaugural ceremonies for a supposed democratic republic. (I agree.)

                           The Fool Killer also labeled the military band a “Murderer’s Union.” After additional insults regarding the pomp and circumstance and the “glittering generalities” of Wilson’s inaugural address, he moved on to other topics.   

Some of his other targets this month:

*** The toadying astrologer who prepared a horoscope of the “present and past lives” of the soon to be wed high society Helen Gould and Finley Shepard. In the kind of idiotic obsequiousness shown to celebrity couples of today, like the repulsive Harry and Meghan, the astrologer depicted the pair as soul-mates during the days of ancient Babylon, then Egypt, then the Roman Empire and so on to 1700s France and finally the present day. The Fool Killer wryly pointed out that money can even buy aggrandizing gibberish like this.    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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FOOL KILLER FIFTY-NINE: SEPTEMBER 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 

PART 59 – Some of the Fool Killer’s targets in the September of 1912 edition of James Larkin Pearson’s publication:

Fool Killer gray*** Child labor, which the U.S. Supreme Court kept upholding in yet another of its series of disgraceful sagas. These attacks were noble, but it has to be said that Pearson’s Fool Killer came nowhere close to Klarenc Wade Mak’s version of the folk figure when it came to attacking the atrocity of child labor. (In America in 1912 over two million children were working in mines, mills and factories.) 

*** People who opposed nationwide voting rights for women.  

*** An unnamed High Society family which held an invitation-only meal for themselves and ninety-nine other bloated rich pigs. The ASS-ociated Press (As Pearson and his Fool Killer always called the AP) breathlessly reported on it the same way the media of today gives groveling coverage to such monumentally vain celebrity affairs.

              The meal cost ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS in 1912, the equivalent of $2,775,000.00 here in 2021. The Fool Killer pointed out how many meals the $100,000.00 could have bought for the starving poor. I’m a bit torn, though, because at least back then bloated rich pigs weren’t constantly talking down to the rest of us about their “causes” while wasting that much money. Hundreds of butterflies and birds were released into the air as part of the festivities.

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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FOOL KILLER FIFTY-EIGHT: AUGUST 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 58 – Here are some of the targets of James Larkin Pearson’s version of The Fool-Killer from August of 1912.

*** Ex-Senator William Lorimer of Illinois. The previous month the Senate expelled Lorimer for ELECTORAL CORRUPTION, then as now a glaring problem in America. Investigations into the Lorimer scandal had been dragging on since 1910.

*** Republican President William Howard Taft, whom former President Theodore Roosevelt had come out of retirement to challenge as a Third Party candidate because of Taft being just a front man and stooge for Big Money interests and the Monopolies. In this 3-way race Democrat Woodrow Wilson wound up as the winner. FOR MY LOOK AT THIS BATTLE OF THE THREE PRESIDENTS CLICK HERE.

              Pearson and his Fool Killer supported Roosevelt but recognized that with the anti-Wilson vote divided between Taft and Roosevelt that Wilson would likely win.

*** The Associated Press, which, as usual, he referred to as “the ASS-ociated Press,” for its groveling coverage of the pregnancy of bloated rich pig Vivian Gould, a celebrity descendant of the Goulds who once helped wreck the U.S. economy in the 1800s. Sort of like how the repulsive Bush Family was tied to the Savings & Loan disaster of decades ago via Neil Bush. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER FIFTY-SEVEN: JULY OF 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 garbPART 57 – Some of the Fool Killer’s targets in the July 1912 edition of James Larkin Pearson’s version of The Fool-Killer. As I always point out, Pearson was difficult to categorize, which makes things interesting because he combines what we think of as left-wing and right-wing attitudes.

*** As an example of what might be labeled a left-wing viewpoint, Pearson and his Fool Killer targeted One Percenters like today’s Bush Family, Biden Family, Big Tech Fascists, etc. His 1912 way of putting it was to point out the difference between the Ninety-Nine Percent, or “the ninety and nine” among the working class and the poor, and “the one” or One Percenters who exploit the ninety and nine.

*** As an example of what might be labeled a right-wing viewpoint, Pearson and his Fool Killer pushed the virtues of religion and sticking to the teachings of Jesus.

*** The Fool Killer targeted traveling snake-oil salesmen, who in 1912 still roamed the country with their rip-off “medicines” of dubious content. Continue reading

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WEREWOLVES OF DETROIT

Mascot FOUR original pics

Balladeer’s Blog

Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues with this look at two neglected werewolf legends from Detroit. 

werewolf-of-detroitI. Jacques Morand – Roughly 300 years ago Jacques Morand was in love with Genevieve Parent. Unfortunately for him Genevieve decided to join a convent. When Morand could not change her mind through pleading he turned to threats, which drew warnings from Genevieve’s father and brothers.

In desperation Jacques sold his soul through one of the White Witches of the Woods. In return he gained the unholy power to turn himself into a werewolf after dark. After preying on Genevieve’s father one night he followed that up the next by picking off one of her brothers. Continue reading

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THE GALLOWS MAN: NEGLECTED HORROR LEGEND

Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues with this slice of pure Americana.

gallows-manTHE GALLOWS MAN – This is another neglected American horror legend which has been presented in many different versions over the years. Ralph Sutherland was born in 1702 in either New York City or a town near the Catskills, depending on the version.

Sutherland was born into the New York gentry but in his adult years his drinking and gambling eventually embarrassed the family enough that they stopped associating with him. After boozing, whoring and gambling away a large part of his money Ralph was left with just one reasonably-sized home surrounded by a stone wall. He had enough funds left to maintain that house and took in an indentured servant – a beautiful teen girl from Scotland.

Sutherland’s foul and obnoxious nature soon led the girl to flee. In a rage Ralph mounted a horse and tracked her down before she got far. The black-hearted man tied the terrified girl to his horse and rode back to his home, but was either so furious or so drunk that he inadvertently dragged the poor female to her death. Continue reading

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