By Nelson Groom
These creepy images reveal the sinister festivities at Austria’s Krampus – the dark alternative to Christmas.
Australian blogger Amy Waine, 28, ticked off a long-standing bucket list experience this month at the annual Krampus run through the cobbled lanes of Salzburg, Austria.
While Santa Claus rewards good children, Krampus is his evil companion who punishes the naughty ones and has a place for doing so in the Christmas folklore of Central Europe.
Amy’s footage from the pagan-era event shows cloven-hoofed figures with horns storming the streets in search of children to beat with whips and drag to Hell.
Amy, from Adelaide, said: “This has been on my bucket list ever since I first discovered it.
“The run was very confronting at times; there were no barricades to separate the Krampuses from the spectators.
“Despite the grim appearance of the Krampus and its dark legend, children and adults alike are drawn to this crazy festival and all seemed to enjoy.
“Children still take part in the run– some of them even dress as Krampus.”
While the tradition dates back a millennium, it has seen a revival in recent years including a Hollywood film adaption starring Adam Scott.
But there is a dark side with some genuinely frightening travellers’ telling of alcohol-fulled Krampus’ using the anonymity of their costumes to harass victims.
And Amy said while she never felt personally unsafe, there were some unsuspecting tourists who got caught in the carnage.
Amy said: “The craziest thing we saw were probably people being chased into stores and restaurants thinking they could escape.
“We also saw some tourists who were obviously in Salzburg for the famed Christmas Markets, caught unawares of the madness.”
“Don’t be deterred by the birch stick whippings, hair grabbing or chasing. The Krampuses act in jest and don’t mean any real harm.”
“You feel like you should be scared, but you never feel unsafe and I ended up with a grin on my face the whole time.”