In my opinion, Christmas time is the best time for scary stories. If you think about it, what’s scarier than Santa? An old man who stalks people and puts them on lists and then creeps down the chimney on a particular night – it’s classic serial killer behavior. Most people don’t know Christmas originally revolved around terror in Europe before Coca Cola commercialized and bastardized the holiday and turned Saint Nick into a jolly, rosy-cheeked hero.
In Germanic culture Krampus is a horned, hairy demonic figure with sharp claws who, during Christmas, punishes naughty children in German-speaking countries.
Legend goes that on Christmas eve, children put their shoes on the window sill or outside their bedroom door. While they sleep, Santa Claus and Krampus visit their home. The good children get candy and treats in their shoes from Santa. The naughty kids get beaten with a stick by Krampus. The really bad kids are put in a burlap sack and tossed into the river.
Every year in Lienz Austria, there’s a parade called Perchtenlauf or Klaubaufe in which the young men in town dress up as the cuddly creature and parade through the streets in an ancient pagan ceremony meant to scatter winter’s ghosts. According to the Smithsonian, “They march dressed in fur suits and carved wooden masks and carrying cowbells. The tradition—also known as the Krampuslauf, or Krampus Run—is having a resurgence throughout Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Hungary and the Czech Republic, and has gained recognition in the United States.”
Germans sure know how to have fun!
In the Futurama universe, Santa is an evil, rocket-launching, killer robot who seeks revenge on the general populace for the commercialization of Christmas. Every year, the residents of New New York hide from the violent robot, lest they be blown to smithereens. The best part is that Santa-Bot is voiced by John Goodman.
Every year, Doctor Who tackles the holiday season with some of the most imaginative and creepy Christmas stories. Viewers have been treated with killer Santa robots (much like Futurama), spinning Christmas trees of death, a giant snowflake-like warship driven by a humongous spider woman, alien pine tree eggs disguising themselves as Christmas ornaments, an evil conscious snowman plagued with human perception and numerous other monsters and ghouls. If you love humor and horror, watch some old Doctor Who Christmas specials.
If old-world pagan mythology or sci-fi stories aren’t real enough for you, here are some purportedly true Christmas ghost stories, courtesy of our friends at The Paranormal:
“My parents and I lived in a small home that was around 90 years old. The year would have been 1996. We lived there from the time I was seven years old to the time I was 19. From the very day that we moved in, I felt that I was not alone. One year around Christmas time, I was having a friend spend the night. The heat had just shut off briefly and she and I were sitting in the living room watching television when the temperature dropped substantially. As I rose to turn up the heat, the Christmas tree began to shake violently. Ornaments were falling off right and left and she and I were terrified! We ran upstairs and lay down on my bed. My white cat curled up with us and my door was open slightly. When I gazed out at the dark hallway, I was horrified to see a tall white figure run down the hall. I turned to my friend and she acknowledged that she had seen the exact same thing. She never spent the night ever again.”
“On Christmas Eve night, 1978 at about 3:00 a.m. in Klamath Falls, Oregon, I was suddenly awakened by a choir singing. The house was new construction, miles from the nearest church. I strained to hear any words that I could understand or a tune that I could identify, but I could not understand the language or tune. I did get a feeling of “angelic” exaltation, reverence, and gladness of heart. This was truly a heavenly choir lifting their voices on high, singing hosanna in the highest, in an unknown tongue, without accompaniment of instruments.
I examined the television, but it was turned off, as was the radio. I explored outside, but the singing was not heard outdoors. The way the countless male, female and children’s voices entwined together, the tonals going from operatic highs to the deepest bass voices in perfect harmony. It must have lasted about 10 minutes, but it was touching for an eternity.”
“I had an unusual visitor on Christmas Day, 2008 and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Santa Claus passing by my house in Bloomington, Indiana. The day started in typical fashion with the opening of gifts around the Christmas tree. I served an early Christmas dinner for family and friends, and everybody departed by 5 p.m., except my sister and brother-in-law who live with me. They were sleeping in a bedroom at the end of the hall with the door open.
I went into my bedroom with my dog, Toby, and shut the door securely. I was just dozing off when I heard the latch on my bedroom door open. I waited several seconds for my sister or brother-in-law to ask me whatever they came to say, but there was no other sound. It was almost 7 p.m., so my bedroom was pitch black. I had left lights on in the kitchen and the bathroom, and there were lots of Christmas lights in the living room, so the hallway would have been well lit. I would be able to see whoever was at the door just by lifting my head.
I pushed the blankets down and lifted my head from the pillow, but just as I would have been able to see who was in the doorway, an extremely bright light hit me right in the eyes. I shielded my eyes and yelled, ‘Turn out that @#%$ light! You’re blinding me!’ The light immediately disappeared and I heard the bedroom door latch closed. My bedside light is a touch lamp, so I tapped it on and looked around the bedroom. There was no one in the bedroom except me and Toby. Toby jumped off the bed and went to the door without showing any signs of alarm.
At first I wasn’t frightened because Toby is a Dutch shepherd — well trained to be an excellent watchdog and proven personal protection dog.
Since Toby was already up, I decided to go let him outside and see what Sis or brother-in-law needed. When I went into the hallway, I could see both of them still in bed. I took Toby to the living room to let him outside, and there was nobody there either.
So who opened my bedroom door and turned a spotlight on my face?
Like most people, the thoughts of loved ones are always close at hand during the holiday season. When I first went to lie down, I was thinking how happy I was that my small family had enjoyed a pleasant Christmas, but it would have been so much better if my mother and brother had still been alive to share it with us. I would like to think it was my brother’s spirit stopping by to say “Merry Christmas. I still think of you, too.”
I haven’t been able to debunk this strange event or find any kind of rational explanation. I’m half afraid that my heart stopped during my sleep and the light I saw was the bright light people report after near-death experiences. Leave it to me to see the Stairway to Heaven and ruin my chance at eternal paradise by saying “Turn out that #$%@ light!” I’ve made a mental note that if I ever see another bright light to clean up my language … just in case.”