Tag Archives: neglected folklore

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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THE RED GNOME: HALLOWEEN SEASON CONTINUES

Another neglected American horror legend from Balladeer’s Blog to help celebrate Halloween Month.

THE RED GNOME

Red GnomeThis red-hued hobgoblin has plagued Detroit for over 300 years. The Red Gnome was one of the supernatural entities created by the Native American deity Glooskap to protect his people. When European  settlers began to populate the area the figure did what he could to protect the native inhabitants but when that proved futile he turned his attention exclusively to tormenting the newcomers. 

The Red Gnome was short in stature and often mistaken for a child when glimpsed from behind. The hobgoblin has rotten teeth and breath that can kill if the creature so chooses. Anyone tricked into kissing the Red Gnome is said to die immediately. In addition this ageless being has ruby-red eyes that can shoot fiery rays. 

In 1701 Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac (yes, as in THAT Cadillac) battled the Red Gnome, which plagued him until he had lost all his fortune. The hobgoblin’s fiery eye-beams would cause frozen ice on the Detroit River to melt under skaters or racers, plunging them to their deaths in the icy waters below. In warmer weather he would cause small boats to capsize and then drown the passengers.  Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER FIFTY: 1980s SLASHER VERSION

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 Day of JudgmentThe previous 49 installments of Fool Killer lore have seen the neglected folk figure in a variety of roles: Political and cultural vigilante, slayer of lynch mobs, battler of war profiteers, foe of the Ku Klux Klan in the Reconstruction South, bastard son of a supernatural entity, guardian of Melungeon Gold, old west gunslinger, steam-punk policeman and so much more.

In honor of the Halloween season this post will look at the Fool Killer as a 1980s slasher. And I don’t mean the Fool Killer/ Angel of Death figure from the horror film A Day of Judgment (1981). I mean a true 1980s slasher in the mold of Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and others. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER FORTY-SEVEN: JUNE 1911

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 FORTY-SEVEN – Among the Fool Killer’s targets in the June of 1911 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s publication:

*** “The Four Hundred,” the contemporary term used for the moneyed and privileged of New York City. (Coined by Ward McAllister) Pearson and his version of the Fool Killer detested them and viewed them the same way we of today view the corrupt Democrat and Republican career politicians plus the corporate and Silicon Valley robber barons.  

*** Dancing schools. As I often point out, Pearson’s Fool Killer had qualities that would annoy BOTH the political left AND the political right of today. Many right-wingers would disapprove of their hostility toward the robber barons, while many left-wingers would disapprove of the strange religious zeal which lay behind Pearson’s hostility toward dancing and dancing schools, which he found “sinful.”

*** Husbands who did nothing but drink booze, play cards, smoke, swear and chew tobacco. Drowning was his preferred method of killing such men.

*** High Society women of New York, for their latest folly. It had become (very briefly) fashionable to walk the streets with a small calf (yes, a small calf) on a leash instead of the fru-fru poodles they had been walking with til the present. Today on Social Media we see that there are still imbeciles who will do ANYTHING just because they’re told other people are doing it.

*** Frederick Forest Berry, for authoring The Torch of Reason, because of the way Berry used reason to criticize religion and belief in God.

*** Danville, VA Police Chief R.E. Morris, who, after serving for 6 years, turned out to really be an escaped fugitive named Edgar Stribling (Pearson accidentally spelled it “Stripling”), a convicted murderer who had been on the run for 13 years. Continue reading

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