The Krampus, a folkloric devil associated with St. Nicholas in Alpine Austria and Germany, has lately been embraced outside his homeland as a sort of icon of a countercultural Christmas. While jarringly out of place with the modern English holiday, in the old world from which he comes, the Krampus fit right in. The Alpine Christmas was a season haunted by ghosts, witches, devilish horsemen, and even murderous incarnations of Catholic saints. Central to this folklore are the Perchten, Alpine demons on which the Krampus is based. In Austria, these creatures were connected to Frau Perchta, a witch-like being who threatened naughty children with disemboweling. In Germany, her peer was Frau Holle, ruler of a fabulous realm hidden beneath a mountain deep within the Thuringian Forest.
Al Ridenour, author of The Krampus and the Old Dark Christmas, returns to The Last Tuesday Society for a virtual presentation jam-packed with rarely seen photographs and archival film clips. His book, the only in-depth English-language study of the Krampus and has been praised by LA Times critic Elizabeth Hart as “gleefully erudite,” a work that “deserves to become a classic.” Ridenour also writes and produces the popular folk- horror/history podcast Bone and Sickle, has crafted Krampus masks and suits for purchase and organized Krampus plays and parades in his hometown of Los Angeles.