Krampus is variously depicted as horned,
shaggy, bestial, or demonic. In many depictions the Krampus
looks like popular images of the Devil, complete with red
skin, cloven hooves, and short horns.
Children are commonly scared into
sleeping during the time St. Nicolas brings gifts by being
told that if they are awake, Krampus will think they have
been bad, and will take them away in his sack.
Everyone knows that Santa keeps lists of
good and bad children. If you are good you get a visit from
Santa and he leaves toys. However, in turn-of-the-century
Europe, if you were bad you got a visit from KRAMPUS!
Originating in Germany and the Teutonic
countries, KRAMPUS acted as Santa's servant. As time passed
KRAMPUS developed a rather malicious disposition and became
almost an Anti-Santa.
jolly St. Nick delivered gifts to the good, KRAMPUS gave
coal and rocks to the naughty, beat the bad with switches,
and if a child was especially naughty, he would shackle them
in chains, stuff them in a bucket and throw them into the
fiery pits of hell!
Beginning in the 1880's KRAMPUS appeared
on cards that were sent on the Eve Of St. Nick and was
depicted as a black dwarf dressed in a fur vest, Moorish
clothes and a devil mask or horns.
As time passed his feet were replaced
with claws or hooves (sometimes one of each) and his body
itself became covered in fur and he wore little or no
clothing. Sometimes a common "devil" type tail is also
added. Eventually his tongue became obscenely long as did
some occasions cards were sent not with a picture of KRAMPUS
but with a simple picture of his switch or chains and the
phrase "Gruss Vom Krampus" (Greetings From Krampus) or "Brav
Sein!" (Be Good).
By the 1960's KRAMPUS became more
associated with adults and sex (much like a St. Valentine's
Day devil) and postcards of that time often portray him
leering at, and sometimes carrying away, nubile young women.
Do YOU believe in Krampus?