10 Fun Facts About Krampus, the Christmas Demon

By Chris Ward in Daily Lists, Miscellaneous
Friday, December 23, 2011 at 8:05 am
5) Krampus Brought Nazis and Christians Together For a Common Purpose

It's true! If it's one thing both Hitler and Christian fundamentalists can agree on, it's hating Krampus. Not since Mel Gibson has there been such a confluence of anti-Semitism and religious fervor. A 1934 New York Times article headlined "Krampus Disliked in Facist Austria" declared Krampus "Strictly Verboten": police were ordered to "arrest the devil on sight." He was even labeled, I shit you not, "the work of wicked Social Democrats." It's like reading Glenn Beck's Ancestry.com page.

But the Krampus tradition survived, as it did during the Inquistion when you'd be put to death by the Catholic Church for impersonating the devil. The New York Times goes on to call Krampus "harmless," tell of his bringing "candies and delights" to children and remarks that "Krampus balls are the first sign of Christmas jollification." It's nice to see that even in 1934, The New York Times didn't check its sources and made absolutely zero fucking sense.

4) Krampus Has More Terrible, Evil Brothers

It turns out, Krampus is just the tip of the overseas holiday misery gang-bang. Iceland folklore cites "13 Santa figures, known as the Jolasveinar," each more terrible than the next. Like, there's Hurdaskellir, or "The Door Slammer." Then there are vicious elves named "The Window Peeper," "The Sausage Snatcher," and "The Doorway Sniffer." Not in my most depraved, David Lynch nightmares can I imagine what any of these entail. But Bjork's videos are starting to make a helluva lot more sense in comparison.

3) Krampus Will Sex Your Woman
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In the 1960's, Krampus briefly gave up pulling out children's fingernails to get a little mud for his turtle. For whatever reason, the imp became wildly popular as some sort of sex-demon on foreign postcards. He got into some weird BDSM and fetish stuff, which isn't too surprising given his history of chasing and spanking young virgins with whipping switches. Hey, it was a weird time and Krampus was doing a lot of Koke. Eventually he got some counseling and got back to making pre-pubescents gnash their teeth deep in the bowels of suffering.

2) A Mass-Produced Anti-Krampus Leaflet Went Nowhere

"Last week, the head of Vienna's kindergarten system warned parents that the effect of an interview with Krampus might well leave their children scarred for life," says a 1953 Time Magazine article, titled "No Shit, Vienna Kindergarten System." The magazine continues: "In a leaflet called Krampus Is an Evil Man, Dr. Ernst Kotbauer urged that his children be freed of the frightful cross-examiner. 'There is too much fear in the world already... unemployment, high taxes, not to mention the atom bomb. Let's begin by throwing out Krampus.'" Well, Hitler and the Spanish Inquisition couldn't stop Krampus, so you can imagine what good a bunch of hippie Viennese doctors did (SPOILER: Krampus continued his countrywide march of terror, unabated).

1) Krampus Merchandise is Hotter Than a Burning 4-Year-Old!

Once the internet discovered Krampus, it was like the Flying Spaghetti Monster and LOLCats rolled up into one: a brand new ironic mascot for disillusioned, holiday-wary twenty and thirty-somethings. Krampus Beer is on the market, tons of worship websites (like Krampus.com, used to research this article), tons of t-shirts, a brand new book of Krampus postcards and a shit-ton of homemade Krampus wares at Etsy.com have ensured that Krampus will live forever. So suck it, Hitler! Seasons Beatings to all, and to all a Grüss Vom Krampus!

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