Festive Fears: Frau Perchta

Merry Christmas, Creeps!

In honour of the holidays, I have compiled a countdown of five festive freaks who pose as Anti-Santas in various different cultures, with a miniature daily profile for each. I hope you find the information useful in your Christmas preparations.

Expect more frequent activity from me in the new year and, if we all survive the holiday season, I’ll see you on the other side.

– Tyler 👻

#5 – Frau Perchta 

The legend of Frau Perchta (alternatively known as Berchta or Bertha in English) is featured in German and Austrian tales, particularly during the festive season, as a way of encouraging children to behave.

Perchta is said to be the upholder of cultural taboos, including the prohibition of spinning on holidays. Because of this, she is sometimes described as having one large foot (or goose/swan foot) that represents a spinning woman’s splayfoot that worked the treadle (or, as Jacob Grimm suggested, to symbolize her ability to shape-shift into an animal). As well as this, she is said to possess either a form that is as beautiful and as white as snow, or elderly and haggard.

According to the tales, she is said to visit homes the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany (January 6), judging whether or not the children of the household have behaved all year round. If, by her judgement, they had behaved, she would deliver a silver coin to them the following day. If they had misbehaved, she would slit their bellies open, remove the organs and replace them with rubbish.

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