Profs and Pints Nashville presents: “They See You When You’re Sleeping,” a crash course on Krampus, Yule trolls, and other frights of the holiday season, with Cory Thomas Hutcheson, folklorist, lecturer at Middle Tennessee State University, and author of New World Witchery: A Trove of North American Folk Magic.
If all you have gotten for being naughty was a lump of coal in your stocking, count yourself very, very lucky.
Modern American families generally associate the winter holidays with gift-giving and cozy family moments, for but centuries there have been far grimmer traditions connected to the yuletide season, involving folkloric beliefs in beings that left kids cowering beneath their covers.
Come and explore the wicked side of the holidays with Dr. Cory Thomas Hutcheson, who teaches courses on folklore and fairy tales and has extensively researched the sources of fright that roam cold dark nights.
Professor Hutcheson will introduce you to the roving Christmas witch La Befana, the belly-slitting beaked women known as schnabelperchten, and, of course, the terrifying devil-creature known as the Krampus. He’ll also summon up lesser demons of the season, including the grumpy Belsnickel of Pennsylvania, a wide assortment of Scandinavian holiday imps, and Iceland’s Jólakötturinnhe, or Christmas Cat, which grows chonk from the consumption of unlucky people.
He’ll discuss where these figures and the stories associated with them come from and talk about why they have become more popular and relevant in recent years, being featured in popular films, television shows, books, and more.
So come prepare to have yourself a scary little Christmas. You’ll have plenty of time to beg the elf on the shelf not to snitch. (Advance tickets: $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. Doors: $17, or $15 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later.)
Image: A Victorian Christmas card depicts Krampus collecting the naughty.