The Legend of Krampus

Olivia Bettorf


A quick warning for this article, as it contains graphic content and description later in the article. I apologize in advance for the horrifying images and writing.

There isn’t a single person who doesn’t know the holly jolly Christmas figure Santa Claus, but did you know Jolly Saint Nick has a counterpart?

A being who is proof that Santa making his naughty list and checking it twice is the least of one’s worries. A being who strikes fear into the hearts of those who know his name. 


Krampus is a frightening creature who is one part beast, one part goat, known as the Christmas devil. Embellished with chains and bells, Krampus’ appearance is depicted with sharp fangs, long horns, dark hair, bloodshot eyes and a horrifying face. 

Much like Santa Claus, Krampus punishes children, but not with black coal. Instead, Krampus punishes misbehaved children by hitting them with birch sticks and stuffing them into a sack to drag them to the underworld. 

Krampus has many different roots. In Norse Mythology, Krampus is the son of Hel, the goddess of death, whose kingdom, Niflheim, also known as the world of darkness included with a shore of corpses, a dragon named Neathog who sucks blood from murders, perjurers and adulterers.

In German traditions, Krampus appears the day before Saint Nicholas Day to kidnap misbehaving children, shoving them into his shack and eating them later in his lair.

Centuries ago, Krampus was celebrated with a Pagan tradition called Krampuslauf, or otherwise a Krampus parade. This tradition still applies today where it now consists of drunken men wearing devil costumes, chasing people through the streets.

So everyone, remember to behave because it is not just Santa Claus and his black coal you will have to worry about, but a hellish devil creature with far worse plans for you.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

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