The story behind ‘Krampus,’ Santa’s demonic helper who exists to scare children into being good

Krampus AustriaReuters/Dominic Ebenbichler

I have a vivid memory of my friend hanging off a door horizontally, her nails digging into the wooden frame as a giant, fur-covered beast with demonic red eyes and giant fangs pulled her outside into the cold December night.

A few feet away, a girl was sobbing while a horned monster whipped her.

Kids everywhere were screaming and crying, the Alpine house thrust into chaos as children scampered about seeking safety.

We were 8 years old, and the whole thing was arranged by our parents.

Krampusnacht, or Krampus Night, is an ancient Austrian tradition that is also celebrated in Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic. Basically, Santa, or Sankt Nikolaus (St. Nicholas), comes around with his devils (or Krampuses) in tow.

He is there to determine whether kids have been naughty or nice. In this case, being naughty has severe consequences: a run-in with his demon assistants.

Let’s take a look at this insane tradition.

This is Krampus. Santa’s little helper is a terrifying demonic beast that helps him deal with naughty kids. He literally exists to scare children straight.


Most Krampuses have thick fur, sharp horns, cloven hooves, fangs, and a long, pointy tongue. They usually wear loud bells and chains, which they thrash around for effect, and carry a whip or birch branches to beat kids with.

Reuters/Dominic Ebenbichler

They also often brandish a basket or sack of some sort, meant to transport kids to hell (or the nearest river).

Reuters/Dominic Ebenbichler

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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SEE ALSO: There’s a strange forest in Poland that’s filled with crooked trees — and no one can explain how it got that way

via Business Insider


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