Lifestyle

Who is Krampus and Where to Get Up Close and Personal With Him

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Got coal in your stocking? Is your name on the ”naughty” list? Imagine a slightly worse Christmas nightmare: A half-goat, half-demon who swats at bad children and drags them away to his lair. This is the legend of Krampus; a mythical counterpart to St. Nicholas in the regions of Austria, Bavaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, South Tyrol and parts of Northern Italy. Talk about “The Nightmare Before Christmas”…

Krampus Is the Yin to St. Nick’s Yang

Krampus

Photo: Flickr/media.digest

According to Smithsonian.com, Jeremy Seghers, organizer of a Krampusnacht festival, tells us that Krampus himself historically comes around the night of December 5, tagging along Europe with St. Nicholas. He visits houses all night with his saintly pal. While St. Nick is on hand to put candy in the shoes of good kids and birch twigs in the shoes of the bad, Krampus’ particular specialty is punishing naughty children. Legend has it that throughout the Christmas season, misbehaved kids are beaten with birch branches or can disappear, stuffed into Krampus’ sack and hauled off to his lair to be tortured or eaten.

“The Krampus is the yin to St. Nick’s yang,” Seghers tells Smithsonian.com. “You have the saint, you have the devil. It taps into a subconscious macabre desire that a lot of people have that is the opposite of the saccharine Christmas a lot of us grew up with.”

Meet Krampus in Austin

Krampus Austin
Photo: Facebook/Krampus: A Haunted Christmas

The good news is that you can have your own, personal run-in with Krampus stateside this holiday season. At Austin’s House of Torment, what is typically a Halloween haunted house, has been, “…transformed to tell a twisted tale of terror where Krampus has kidnapped not only the bad, but also the good children at Christmas. Beloved yuletide characters of yesteryear, now macabre and maniacal, will terrorize guests in this distorted holiday nightmare – with all of the gut-wrenching twists, turns and special effects guests have come to expect.”

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