Beware the Krampus!


Who and or what is the Krampus you ask? Well, let me share the legend with you. It is ancient, obscure, and terrifying. Kind of like the world of Sid & Marty Krofft, but without the acid trips.

According to the legends in parts of Central Europe the Krampus is an evil demon that accompanies Saint Nicholas on his round, to punish the naughty children, and scare them into being good.

Seriously! I am not making this up!

The evil Krampus is meant to scare the little brats into behaving, so that they can receive treats from St. Nicholas. Like lumps of coal in the stocking, the Krampus is a Christmas-time “scared straight” program for kids.

Even today in Austria, Switzerland and other Alpine countries, young men will honor the tradition of the Krampus by dressing up like demons, and wandering the streets with rusty chains, and bells, chasing women and terrifying small children. Thankfully they wear devil masks so we can distinguish the Krampus from a typical Saturday night in Vienna, or Zurich.

Just another night out in Salzburg

According to Wikipedia, in some rural areas the tradition also involves the “birching” of women. I’m sure Freud would have a field day with that one. Who knows? Maybe he used to put on a devils mask, and go out spanking women too. He always did strike me as a kinky old perv.

Don’t ask me how I know this stuff. It is already well established that my brain is chock full of useless information. Being descended from a long line of passive aggressive Germans, Austrians, and Croatians, I am somewhat amazed that my parents never threatened us with the terror of the Krampus to keep us from being naughty. I am also thankful. Apparently, drinking water will not prevent the Krampus (Ba-Dum-Bum!) and just seeing these photos is enough to scare the bejeebers out of me.

This will haunt your dreams. Merry Effin Christmas!

Like most Christian traditions, there is a pre-Christian pagan ritual at it’s root. Unfortunately, in my years of researching the interwebz most of the info I have found about the Krampus is on German language websites. About all I have been able to uncover is what I have already told you.

In my opinion, the legend of the Krampus just seems to confirm one thing. German’s are scary when they get drunk. Seriously, let them have a little too much Schnapps, and Lager and before you know it they are invading the Sudetenland. They are like Gizmo & Water that way.

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28 thoughts on “Beware the Krampus!

    • Yeah, if guys roaming the streets dressed like that had been a part of my childhood Christmas memories, I would have had a whole different perspective on the holiday.

      No, I prefer my Christmas time mythological creatures to be flying reindeer, and happy Keebler Elves. Heck, I used to crawl behind the couch to hide when the Abominable Snow Monster appeared in Rudolph.

  1. That’s probably just David Hasselhoff dressed up in a costume and on a bender.
    Germans LOVE David Hasselhoff.
    At least this thing is out in the open making the kids shit their pants. You should have tried living with the hidden “shrubbery elves” who watched you year round for behavioral infractions taking notes and reporting to Santa.
    “oh look!” my mother would say gesturing toward the neighbors hedge “I think I see an elf, and he looks upset. He must be writing down what you just did”.
    Tears, terror, end scene.

    • Hah! The shrubbery elves! My Grandma used to tell me that the wind chimes we heard walking to the corner store at night were the bells on the shoes of Santa’s Elves that were watching us from the bushes. I think I was a teenager before I figured that one out.

      Of course, I told my kids the same thing when they were little, but I also took it one step further. After a snowfall I would take them outside to look for elf prints in the snow. (Bunny foot prints look surprisingly, just like the little booties that elves wear). Maybe I should be worried, but these elf hunting expeditions never seemed to scare them, and now my son asks for firearms every year at Christmas.

  2. i was going to make a comment that the first krampus looks like tina turner after a good beating from ike. but then i saw dumanno’s comment and damn that was good.

    are you saying i looked scary last night? there may have been some overindulgence? tis the season, right?

  3. That’s pretty impressive. A Krampus, huh? My parents always got us by my dad calling a buddy of his and the guy pretending to be Santa Claus.

    I think the Krampus might have been more effective.

  4. Is it odd that I’m starting to find the Krampus attractive in a mountain man type of way? I think I might start calling my husband Krampus tonight and see how that goes for me.

    • Hmm… now that you mention it, if you bought that first one a flannel shirt from Duluth Trading Company, he would sort of look like Grizzly Adams.

  5. Now I am logged in as someone else. Very interesting. Still me, but… I digress…

    Is it just me and all this Elvis reminiscing, or does that last Krampus dude have a Vegas-Elvis-eque quality to his stance and pants? Just me?

  6. Krampus. Cramp and pus. Awesome. This will be part of my latest insult fodder.

    Total digression: somehow this post is making me want some of them Goldschläger…

  7. I can’t begin to express how deeply sickening this is to me. That being said, I will most definitely be printing one of these pictures up as part of my arsenal against the evil young ‘uns that roam my neck of the woods. In the same breath that I shout, “Yuck,” I also coo, “Thank you.”

  8. Okay, we are going to a “wine thing” at a colonel’s house Saturday, they made a point of explaining it is a German traditional thing, where you gather one week before Christmas and have this German wine, which is served heated (????). Several of the attendees have lived in Germany. I am totally getting the down and dirty on the Krampus!!!

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