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Random Terrifying Traditional Christmas Legends

  • Le Père Fouettard on Random Terrifying Traditional Christmas Legends

    (#10) Le Père Fouettard

    Pere Fouettard is seen to this day during Christmas in Belgium and France. His name means "Whipping Father," so you can already guess how he brings holiday cheer. 

    But that's not the scary part of this story, that's the happy part.

    As the story goes, Le Pere Fouettard began his life as an innkeeper, kidnapper, and murderer, in that order. One day while keeping his inn, three rich boys on their way to a religious boarding school stay at his inn. Recognizing their wealth, Le Pere, along with his wife, decides to capture and murder the children (by slitting their throats) to take their money. Because that somehow seemed like a better idea than ransoming them to their wealthier parents. While trying to make corpse stew, Saint Nick shows up and resurrects the boys. Seeing his power, the innkeeper repents and becomes St. Nick's partner by becoming the official whipping boy of bad boys and girls.

  • Thumb of Krampus video

    (#3) Krampus

    Krampus (whose name comes from the Germanic root for "claw") dates back long before the time of Christ, but in modern day is more or less the ultimate Christmas demon, the companion and antithesis of Santa Claus ("Old Nick" to "Saint Nick," as Krampus.com puts it).

    While American kids never feared a lack of shiny new presents no matter their behavioral tendencies, children of the Old World, especially Germany, knew something worse than a lump of coal was coming their way if they misbehaved. Rather, if you weren't well behaved, you were beaten and tortured before being kidnapped and taken to the Krampus' lair, where we can only assume one was beaten and tortured some more.

    In modern days, there appears to be two sides on how to handle the Krampus story.Since the 1950s, Austrians have tried to put the creature on the back burner, claiming terrorizing small children with such tales isn't healthy. While in the Germanic city of Schlanders (Silandro, Italy), young men are even encouraged to dress up as the Krampus and terrorize small children, before having some Schnapps with the heads of the house. Elsewhere still, the Krampus is given his own holiday prior to the Feast of St. Nicholas known as Krampusnacht, and he even appears on his own holiday greeting card, known as Krampuskarten.

  • Werewolves on Random Terrifying Traditional Christmas Legends

    (#8) Werewolves

    Yes, werewolves. Although we typically try to limit the lycanthropes to Halloween, B-movies, and steamy fiction, Werewolves have been a part of the Yuletide horror fest since the Middle Ages.

    In modernity, it has since been reduced, reused, and recycled to the claim that simply having the audacity to be born on Christmas Day is cause enough to make a person a werewolf, as well. The 1961 film The Curse of the Werewolf explains that being born on December 25 is mocking Jesus Christ, and so you must be punished. Yeah, that Jesus: bringing the Christmas cheer by punishing not just a baby for being born, but he's also damning any who fall into his or her wake every year.

  • Thumb of Perchten video

    (#7) Perchten

    The Perchten is a dual-gendered spirit who comes out during the 12 days of Christmas (that is, December 25-January 5). On one hand we have the female Schonperchten ("Beautiful Perchten") and on the other we have the male and aptly named Schiachperchten ("Ugly Perchten"). The former is a giver of luck and gifts, while the other is an ugly beast who looks much like the Krampus and similarly related to the Devil, whom is the most ugly of the Schiachperchten. As can be expected, Schoneperchten gives treats to the good people of the world, while the Schiachperchten punishes the bad.

    What I believe is most terrifying about this character of Christmas mythology is that if it passes you, you can never be too sure which side you'll be met with. On one hand you gave to the poor, on the other hand, you could have given more.

  • Thumb of Knecht Ruprecht video

    (#6) Knecht Ruprecht

    As you know, making sure all the children of the world get what's coming to them at the end of the year is quite an enterprise, which is no doubt why Santa has everyone from elves making toys for the good kids to demons kidnapping the mean-spirited ones helping him out. But what about those kids who were neither particularly good nor particularly bad? For them, the Germans give us Knech Ruprecht, also known as Farmhand Rupert. He more or less looks like a shepherd taken out of your neighborhood nativity who sports a long beard, brown cloak and a staff.

    Basically his schtick is that he goes around asking kids if they can pray. If they can, they get some awesome gingerbread. If they can't, he gives them some useless junk, and if they refuse, he beats them with a bag of ashes. So children better remember the "reason for the season" is the baby Jesus and not just the changes in the seasons, or else they'll either receive some unfortunate presents or get beaten with some ashes.

  • Grýla on Random Terrifying Traditional Christmas Legends

    (#9) Grýla

    One of the few non-Germanic characters on this list is the Grýla, who comes from Icelandic mythology and is a terrifying lady ogre whose preferred diet was naughty children — because nothing says "Merry Christmas!" quite like being fed to a horrifying crone.

    In 1746, a decree was issued prohibiting the use of Grýla and the Yule Lads, as they served no function other than to scare small children. This has lead to the crafting of a few songs, which claim that she has passed; however, a few of the songs suggest that she could always return to the living, should the number of naughty children increase. 

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About This Tool

Christmas is approaching, and the saddest thing for children is not receiving gifts on Christmas Eve. In fact, more terrifying traditional Christmas legends are spread in some regions of the world. Christmas is not just the bells of the reindeer sleigh and the Santa Claus, but also dark and creepy characters, who are not from the North Pole. Most of these horror characters come from Christian traditions and legends.

The random tool lists 10 terrifying traditional Christmas legends, although you may think these characters are more suitable for Halloween. Have you heard of Krampus, who is the most famous horror Christmas character?

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