Vampire holiday
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Halloween is a time to embrace the spookier side of life. Both adults and children indulge in the stories of creatures that horrify, excite and inspire the use of a nightlight.

While stories of vampires, witches and zombies are known world-wide, Germany has a few monsters from myths of its own.

While most are terrifying and gruesome, others are more mischievous pests.


There's no sparkling and handsome brooding here. A Nachzehrer, which translates to "afterwards devourer/sapper of energy," is a cross between a vampire and a ghoul. As the lore goes, after someone commits suicide or dies an accidental death, their body transforms into a flesh-hungry undead monster in the grave.

The Nachzehrer lacks the suave charm and blood-sucking of the pop-culture vampire. Instead, this monster feasts on his own dead flesh and that of other corpses. Not satisfied with a graveyard meal, the Nachzehrer then hunts down its own family and eats their energy, bodies or both.


The Nachtkrapp, or Night Raven, is a giant bird that leaves its nest at night to hunt. In the more gruesome versions of the story, if a child sees the Nachtkrapp while it's hunting, the creature will abduct the poor child and eat him.

In more benevolent tales, the Nachtkrapp will simply abduct children or squawk aggressively at the noisy ones until they remain silent.


If nightmares plague your sleeping hours, an Alp might be to blame. Alps -- the word is a variation on "elf" -- are small, shape-shifting creatures that sit on a sleeper's chest. The Alp becomes gradually heavier until cutting off the person's air supply, causing nightmares and night terrors.

Alps play slightly sinister tricks on a household in the middle of night as well. They sour milk, re-diaper babies in soiled nappies and tangle hair into "elfknots."


This monster is the German manifestation of a nightmare before Christmas. The Krampus, a giant half-goat, half-man, torture-loving demon acts as St. Nicholas' evil other half.

Where St. Nicholas rewards good children with candy, Krampus, wielding a whip, birch branch or chains, drag the naughty children to his lair to be punished.

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