Quick Facts: Knecht Ruprecht, Krampus, Bullerklaas

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by Týra Alrune Sahsnotasvriunt

The Northern German Knecht Ruprecht (Slave Ruprecht/Farmhand Ruprecht) also referred to as Bur Klaas or Bullerklas is “Santa’s little helper”, a grim assistant clad in a brown who isn’t shy about using his rod on naughty children. He is referred to as a “tamed devil”, utterly obedient to “Wiehnachtsmann” though not by personal choice.
The name Ruprecht possibly derives from the word “Hruodperaht” meaning “glouriously shining one” – a byname of Wotan. This might be another way of Christians having attempted to assert their dominance over the Pagan population by stealing one of their Gods and turning him into a Christian slave.
However, many scholars also believe the name comes from the word “Ruhperht”, “rough Perchte”. Perchta or Berchta herself is Frija-Holle, her companions are the Perchten, both male and female figures who remind a lot of the Southern Krampus.

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Krampus in turn is just another Alpine figure who – on Saint Nicholas’ order – punishes bad children with the rod. On the contrary to Knecht Ruprecht he looks like a sterotypical “devil” complete with horns and cloven hoofs a big crooked nose.
In the North Ruprecht was often depicted from the side and some say this is indeed a hint at the “one-eyed God”, Wotan;

Knecht_Ruprecht_und_das_Christkindknecht-ruprecht04dae7916900fdddcc7600f6164069a3and taking into consideration the hooded cloak and hat, the rod that often looked like a (walking) staff or spear one can easily make this connection.

ruprecht wotan

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Quick Facts: The Stüpp of the German Rhineland Area

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by Týra Alrune Sahsnotasvriunt

The Stüpp is a kind of werewolf from the Rhineland area. He lies in wait for his victims at a crossroads, near a river, lake or at a cemetery and preferably attacks around midnight, jumping his victims’ backs, digging his claws deeply into them, so they can’t shake him off. (In Rhinish dialect this procedure is called “pöözen” or “hackeln”).
Once attached to his victim the parasitic Stüpp grows heavier and larger with each step the victim takes and also grows in size the more fear his victim feels, until he or she will go mad before dying from physical and mental overexhaustion and panic.
The Stüpp appears to be more of a blend between a werewolf and aptrgangr; he does not physically but mentally “deflesh” his victims and lies in wait for them in places traditionally inhabited by aptrgangr.
A tale from the Eifel confirms this: It tells of a man who committed suicide and who returned in the shape of a giant wolf who began tormenting those who he felt had wronged them when he was still alive/human.
Traditionally one could only limitedly fight a Stüpp. Some folk tales speak of people having fought off a Stüpp successfully by ramming an iron knife into his paw or snout while others say that if you knew the Stüpp’s once human name and called it out loud he would immediately let go and vanish completely.

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