- Ghosts, Ghouls and Demons

- Origin: Germanic folklore. Krampus is from the German word ‘krampen’ meaning claw.

Description: A horned creature with dark hair and fangs. He holds a chain of bells and a hand full of birch sticks to beat children on the naughty list. Better known as - The Christmas Devil.

The Krampus is said to haul all the bad children down to the underworld. This is one sure way to fear children into being nice. There are many variations of Krampus but most share the horned devil characteristics, often with dark brown or black hair, hooves and goat horns. He has a long pointed tongue that sprawls out to make him extra creepy looking.

He is the complete opposite of a joyful bubbly ho ho ho Santa.

Pagan origins state the use of bundles of birch to swat unruly children. The belled chains he bears are said to be a symbol of the binding of the Devil in Christianity. He is also said to, at times, carry a whip and a sack. There are images of him with a wash tub strapped to his back as well.

If by chance you were a child in the Alpine countries and had misbehaved, you were threatened by the thought of being eaten, dragged to hell, beaten with birch, whipped within an inch of your life or drowned. If you were lucky, your only punishment would be a lump of coal in your stocking. Very contrast to Saint Nick.

Traditionally during the first week of December, young men in European countries bordering Germany would dress as the Krampus and wander the streets, scaring the bejesus out of children. Jingle bells of the sordid kind, rusty chains clanging along the streets embedding fear into children to be ‘nice’. This so called celebration is called Krampusnacht (Krampus Run).

Written by Nic Hume of APPI - Australian Paranormal Phenomenon Investigators
Put together by Ashley Hall

Photos: Krampus from greeting cards.

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