Today I have a pretty amazing guest here on the blog! Courtney Alameda, author of one of my favorite reads of 2014 Shutter, who is here to share with you a delightful Christmas monster sure to bring you some wonderfully terrifying nightmares! (Muahahaha That was my evil laugh)
Hi! I’m Courtney Alameda, author of the soon-to-be published YA horror novel, SHUTTER. I love Christmastime and all things scary, so I wanted to celebrate by sharing some of my favorite Christmas beasties with everyone this year—twelve of them, to be exact! Join me and a few of my blogger friends every day from December 13 – 24, as we feature different holiday nightmares . . . if you dare!
So without further ado . . .
Nightmare Six: Rupert Knecht, or the Original Bad Santa
RUPERT KNECHT, or “Servant Rupert,” is a mythical German figure said to accompany Saint Nicholas in his Yuletide wanderings. He’s a bit like his monstrous Austrian cousin, Krampus, as both beasties travel from house to house with Saint Nicholas, acting as the saint’s foil and beating naughty children with birch sticks. However, in the Rupert Knecht variation, children are asked whether or not they can pray. Those who can receive sweets and gingerbread. But those who don’t . . . well, let’s just say that if I were a German child back in the 18th century, I’d know my prayers backward and forward.
Rupert Knecht is often depicted in long, greyish-black robes and carrying a long staff. Think evil Gandalf, and you’ve got the idea.
Do you see how freaked out those kids in the back are? Then again, I’m not sure this next scene’s any different:
Nothing to see here, folks. Move along!
Some stories say that Saint Nicholas found Rupert Knecht in the forests, the man’s foot caught in a steel trap. Rupert was feral, beastly even—he was covered in fur, and had nails long as claws. Saint Nicholas freed the man from the trap, took him home, bathed, fed, and clothed him . . . and then gave him a name: Rupert. Which, by the way, was a common name for devil in Germany at the time. From that time forward, Rupert accompanied Saint Nicholas when he wandered, the saint giving children candy, the devil giving them beatings.
Does anyone else see the twisted symbolism in this dynamic?
Oh, one last thing: during World War II, the Nazis supposedly favored Rupert Knecht over Santa Claus as they identified him with the pagan god Wotan, or Odin.
So, Rupert Knecht is literally the Nazi Santa. If that’s not enough to frighten you, I don’t know what would.
Thanks to the wonderful Dana for hosting this post! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for a pre-ordered copy of SHUTTER, a “Reaper” necklace, and a signed bookplate. Please note that the giveaway is US only, and we promise prizes will not be delivered by a feral man in a Santa costume.
Happiest of holidays, everyone!