Backlash against Krampus, a demonic goat-like creature who goes around punishing allegedly “bad” children this time of year, hit a peak last week when protestors took to the streets to speak out about atrocities committed by the supernatural being.
“I was terrorized by fears of Krampus as a child,” said one protestor in Salzburg, Austria, Amy Godelass. “My parents would tell me that if I wasn’t a good girl, Krampus would come and take me away. I would lie awake at night, watching out my window, waiting to hear the sound of goat hooves on the walkway to our door.”
Godelass joined several dozen other protestors on the evening of December 5, known in many parts of the world as Krampusnacht, or the Night of Krampus. On this night, Krampus visits the homes of bad children in order to punish them for their wickedness. Punishments range from beatings with switches or chains, drowning, or kidnapping.
Krampus was once known as the demonic companion of Saint Nicholas. However, as awareness has grown about Krampus’s barbarous customs, the Saint has tried to distance himself from his one-time associate.
“I will always love Krampus,” wrote Saint Nicholas in a Facebook post from 2016. “But I can no longer condone his barbaric methods of trying to scare children straight. With all we know today about mental health problems and the counterproductiveness of corporal punishment, I urge Krampus to reconsider his approach and find a more charitable method of encouraging good behavior.”
While resistance against Krampus has grown in recent years, there are nonetheless those who have continued to support the goat-horned demon, giving rise to the slogan “Make Yuletide Great Again.”
According to Krampus supporter Josh Miller, children need a healthy dose of fear in order to walk the straight and narrow. “Krampus wrapped a bunch of chains around me, hitched ‘em to a cinder block, and tossed me in a lake when I were a kid,” he said. “And I made out fine. Ain’t nuthin’ wrong wit’ me now.”
As for Krampus himself, with his night of beatings and psychological torture over for the season, it is unlikely he will respond to the complaints anytime soon. Whether he comes back again next year is anyone’s guess.