Monster of the Week: The Krampus

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KrampusCutoutThe Krampus is a yuletide monster of Alpine lore. He is one of the helpers of St. Nicholas, seeking out naughty children on Krampusnacht, the eve of St. Nicholas’ Day (December 6). He acts as the anti-St. Nick, frightening, and sometimes punishing—or even abducting—badly behaved children.

The Krampus, whose name likely derives from krampen, the Old High German word for claw, is of mostly humanoid form, though exceptionally furry, similar to a satyr. He has large, pointy ears, a bull’s tail, and big goaty horns. The Krampus has one normal foot and one cloven hoof, but his most distinguishing characteristic may be his huge red tongue, which perpetually lolls out of his mouth. Krampus will often carry a large sack in which to haul away bad children, though sometimes a washtub, basket or other conveyance is used. Along with a sack, his accoutrements often include chains, bells, and a ruten (a birch-twig switch) or whip. Continue reading

Monster of the Week: The Woman in White

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White Lady Teresa Fidalgo

White Lady: The ghost of Teresa Fidalgo in the Portugese short film A Curva (2004)

The Woman in White is a ghostly apparition who most commonly haunts roadways and thoroughfares, seeking the attention of travelers. She is a tortured spirit who has often in life been betrayed by a lover, has lost her children, or both.

Dames Blanche in France, White Ladies in the Philippines, Mulheres de Branco in Brazil, Weisse Frauen in Germany, and Witte Wieven in the Netherlands are all varieties of Women in White, as is Mexico’s La Llorona (the Weeping Woman). Continue reading

Monster of the Week: Giant Spiders

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giant_spider_1_by_jantiff_stocksLegends and lore of spiders are numerous and widespread, and many of these involve giant spiders, and human-spider hybrids. Spiders are spinners and weavers, and therefore often associated with the spinning of tales as well as webs. Here are a few of the trickster deities, monsters and cryptids from the fascinating world of arachnids. Continue reading