Tuesday, December 18, 2012


I'm running out of month faster than I'm running out of monsters. So lets jump to one of the bigger names in Santa monsters - Krampus.

Alas, despite appearances dating back for 4000 years he doesn't have much of a story. Krampus has big curved horns, cloven hooves, a tail, a long tongue, and is covered in hair. Sometimes he's considered a pagan fertility figure.

Krampus is the bad cop to Santa's (or St Nick's) good cop. Be good and you get gifts. Be bad and the Krampus beats you with a switch, takes you away in a bag, or worse. Other punishments include ripping pigtails out, leading children off a cliff, sadistic ear-pulling, putting pre-teens in shackles, forcing children to beg for mercy, and throwing youngsters on a train to hell, or drowning children to death in ink and fishing out the corpse with a pitchfork.

Current rituals have them coming through town on December 5th. If you start to disbelieve a bunch of drunken guys in costumes may come to your house that night. They dance and yell and make horrible sounds outside your bedroom window. Then your parents invite them in for more drinking. The people in the costumes may have gone off into the woods some weeks earlier as part of a coming of age ritual. This is their return to town.

These days he's mellowed out a bit. While still playing the role of bad cop he's had to become tourist friendly. He's in cartoons, post cards, video games, and parades.

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