Monday, December 19, 2022

Hans Trapp and Krampus - Christmas Boogey Men

 Credit to Tony Lagarto for the story of Hans Trapp

This is Hans Trapp, a legendary boogeyman from the Alsace and Lorraine regions of France. He accompanies Santa Claus to punish naughty children at Christmas. While Santa delivers presents and gifts, Hans Trapp delivers beatings.
The Christmas legend of Hans Trapp is based on a real German knight, and begins with a wealthy man stealing people’s money and partying so hard that the Pope ex-communicates him. The story goes that Trapp then sells his soul to the devil to pursue a life of sin, which naturally forces him into a hobby of eating human flesh, as such a one is wont to do. Banished from society for being a skeevy creep, he lived alone in the woods and dressed as a scarecrow, stuffing straw into his clothes and at times wearing a black cloak. He spends his time trying to lure children into the woods so he can eat them.
One day after roasting a shepherd boy over a fire (or just getting ready to, the legend goes back and forth on this one), God decided enough was enough and struck Trapp down with a lightning bolt that split his head open.
But that didn’t stop this cannibal – he got a new gig helping Saint Nicholas out by keeping naughty kids in line.
Some accounts of Hans Trapp paint him in a rosier light (could there be any that are darker?), saying that he regrets his life of sin. In these versions, he visits misbehaving children dressed as a scarecrow and tries to persuade them to be more virtuous than he was, usually by scaring them into it.
But other stories, in classic creepy Christmas fashion, say he goes around marking the children he wants to eat on Christmas Eve.
The German knight this legend is based on was named Hans Von Trotha and was born in 1450. Apparently, he didn’t really do any of the stuff mentioned in the legend, except get into a war against an abbey, which led to him being ex-communicated by the Pope. But who really cares about those pesky factual details when you can just scare the crap out of your kids on Christmas instead?


Of course, we all love Santa Claus (or Santa Claws from "Nightmare Before Christmas"), but leave us not forget the adorable Krampus. After all, without Krampus, bad children wouldn't just get coal in their stocking, but they'd also be kidnapped, thrown into a sack, and eaten by the lovely Krampus. The Grinch ain't got nothin' on Krampus.

Here's some stuff from Wikipedia:

In folklore, Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure described as "half-goat, half-demon", who, during the Christmas season, punishes children who have misbehaved, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards the well-behaved with gifts.

Krampus is one of the companions of Saint Nicholas in several countries including Austria, Bavaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, South Tyrol and parts of Northern Italy. The origin of the figure is unclear; some folklorists and anthropologists have postulated its pre-Christian origin.

In traditional parades and in such events as the Krampuslauf (English: Krampus run), young men dressed as Krampus participate; such events occur annually in most
As evil as jolly Saint Krampus is, his role of getting naughty children to behave has worked wonders in the Slavic areas of Europe.

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