At the beginning of the 21st Century monsters still roam the remote, and sometimes not so remote, corners of our planet. It is our job to search for them. The Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ] is - we believe - the largest professional, scientific and full-time organisation in the world dedicated to cryptozoology - the study of unknown animals. Since 1992 the CFZ has carried out an unparalleled programme of research and investigation all over the world. Since 2009 we have been running the increasingly popular CFZ Blog Network, and although there has been an American branch of the CFZ for over ten years now, it is only now that it has a dedicated blog.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

KNECHT RUPRECHT

German  lore gives St Nicholas a companion in the form of Knecht Rupert.  His function is to punish bad children.  He initially seems to have been there as a bogeyman.  It has been suggested that Knecht Ruprecht has his origin in the Wildman of European folklore and cryptozoological interest. Mythologists have argued that the figure of Woden/Wotan/Odin lies behind him.  Jacob Grimm thought he was in origin a homesprite, one who looked after a family in their home.  However, the first direct information we have about him is his appearance in a German play of 1668.

Ruprecht dresses in black or brown and has a face blackened with soot. Sometimes he wears goatskin. In Catholic areas, he may carry a Rosary. He may sometimes be portrayed as limping.  The term knecht means a farm laborer and another argument is that he is simply meant to represent a member of the laboring class.

Ruprecht really attained fame in a poem called Knecht Ruprecht
(1862) by Theodor Storm.  These days, instead of meting out punishment, he instead gives apples, nuts and gingerbread to children.  He is sometimes shown riding a white horse.  He may have attendants of the elf and fairy kind.


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