The Fright Before Christmas: Surviving Krampus and Other Yuletide Monsters, Witches, and Ghosts

Dreamscape Media. Sept. 2023. 3:02 hrs. ISBN 9781666646467. $17.99. FOLKLORE
Before Christmas became known as the most wonderful time of the year, it was considered a most terrifying season—filled with monsters, evil spirits, and other mischievous beings out to punish wrongdoers. Belanger (Who’s Haunting the White House??), a ghosthunter and author who focuses on the paranormal, narrates his fun and festive traipse through Christmas’s secular and religious history. His focus is not on beliefs but on the folklore and celebrations—Yule, Winter solstice, and Saturnalia—during this time of year. Belanger highlights creatures from many cultures, including Krampus, Belsnickel, Grýla, and the Yule Cat. He even delves into how ghost stories have shaped the modern Christmas season, exploring, for instance, how A Christmas Carol set the stage for Christmas celebrations in both England and the U.S. Additionally, he describes how the Great Depression led to the creation of the modern-day Santa Claus, who commercialized Christmas and kick-started the economy.
VERDICT This quick listen is a delight for anyone seeking more horror than Hallmark. A well-researched and fun look at holiday traditions around the world.
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