Christmas’ Motivating Monsters: a.k.a., Santa’s Rogue Gallery
By Lance Hickerson, Reference Department
WARNING! Dangerous, do not approach. If seen, call Santa immediately.
**The Rogues Gallery is the cast of colorful and numerous Recurring Characters that show up to torment the heroes week after week.**
Zwarte Piet, (aka. Black Pete)
Active Areas: Belgium, Netherlands
Bio: He was formerly a Moorish servant from Spain, or a Turkish orphan, or Ethiopian Slave rescued by Saint Nick and now attending Saint Nick as a helper
M.O.: A Prankster who might whip naughty children with birch wood rods or put coal in their shoes. However, those especially naughty he could stuff in his sack and carry them off to Spain.
Père Fouettard, (aka. “Father Whipper”)
Active Areas: France
Bio: This rouge’s chilling past involves his killing and cooking three wealthy children who stayed at his inn. Saint Nicolas ended up resurrecting the three children and bringing Fouettard to repentance. Fouettard then became St. Nick’s helper.
M.O.: For those untouched by the good will of St. Nicolas, Fouettard doles out whippings to children who misbehave.
Active Areas: Austria, Germany
Bio: Thought to be from a nature goddess who affects humans only during Christmas. She rewards good behavior and punishes bad behavior.
M.O.: Good children might receive a silver piece in their shoes, while naughty children would receive something much, much worse. She would take out their insides by slitting open their bellies, and replace their entrails with garbage, straw and rocks which are sewn up to cause grievous pain. Oh for a mere lump of coal!
Active Areas: Alsace; Lorraine France
Bio: Trapp was supposedly a real man who was exiled into the forest where he would disguise himself as a straw-stuffed scarecrow and cannibalize children. He was struck down with lightening by the Lord.
M.O.: Trapp accompanies Santa to punish naughty children with beatings.
Active Areas: Iceland
Bio: She is a giant ogress who has powers that let her detect children who misbehave. Her favorite food is a stew of rebellious children.
M.O.: She is full of mischief and trouble, and likes to eat children who disobey their parents.
The Yule Cat
Active Areas: Iceland
Bio: The Yule Cat is ogress Gryla’s pet. And she is likewise dangerous and threatening.
M.O.: The Yule Cat encourages hard work. Children who do not work hard and are lazy will be eaten by the Yule Cat.
Active Areas: Germany
Bio: Belsnickel is from the word belzen meaning “to wallop,” along with nickel referring to St. Nicholas.
M.O.: He is a wandering man dressed in tattered furs wearing a mask and carrying a switch to frighten children into good behavior. He rewards good behavior with candy.
Active Areas: Found especially throughout the Alpine region and including Austria, Bavaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia
Bio: The half goat, half demon appearance of Krampus seems most likely to have grown out of early Alpine traditions related to the Horned God of the Witches of the region. Krampus eventually becomes a “side kick” of St. Nicholas in a rogue sort of way.
M.O.: He especially punishes unruly children with birch switches. But for really bad children Krampus might put them in a basket, drown them in a stream, and then devour them.
- Zwarte Piet: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ASintenpiet.jpg
- PèreFouettard.jpg: http://pdsh.wikia.com/wiki/File:P%C3%A8reFouettard.jpg
- Perchta: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AMasopust_dr%C5%BE%C3%ADme_10.jpg
- By Čeněk Zibrt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
- Hans Trapp: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AHans_Trapp.jpeg
- Belsnicklel: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ABelsnickel_in_Modern_Day_Travel_Attire.JPG
- By Peptobismolman1 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Gryla: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AGr%C3%BDla.jpg
- By David Stanley from Nanaimo, Canada (Folklore Figures, Akureyri) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- The yule cat: https://pixabay.com/en/tiger-abstract-animal-wild-cat-2028215/
- Krampus: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/22/Krampus_at_Perchtenlauf_Klagenfurt.jpg
- By Anita Martinz (Perchtenlauf Klagenfurt) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses
Posted on December 22, 2017, in History, Holidays and tagged anti-santas, Belsnickel, Black Pete, Christmas, Father Whipper, Frau Perchta, Gryla, Hans Trapp, Krampus, Lance Hickerson, Rogue Gallery, Santa Claus, Yule Cat. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.