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Continental Germanic mythology

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Continental Germanic mythology is a subtype of Germanic paganism as practiced in parts of Central Europe during the 6th to 8th centuries, a period of Christianization. It continued in the legends, and Middle High German epics of the Middle Ages. Traces of these stories, with the sacred elements largely removed, may be found throughout European folklore and fairy tales.

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  • ✪ 5 Germanic Mythological Creatures
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5. Alp The word "alp" is a variation of the word "elf". The Alps are creatures that appear in nightmares in the middle of the night. These creatures would appear in the dreams of men and women but prefers to disturb women more. They could manipulate dreams to their liking and would create horrible nightmares. This is probably why Alptraum is the word for nightmare in German which if translated literally would mean Elf dream. Other than manipulating dreams, they like to sit on the people that they are disturbing. The pressure from them sitting would become heavier until the crushing weight wakes the victim up thus they were said to be the reason of sleep apnea, sleep paralysis and even night terrors. They also like to drink blood. They would suck the blood through the breasts of humans and again prefers women to get the extra taste of breast milk, apparently they do that with cows as well, because they like milk. The alps are known to shape-shift. They can change into cats, pigs, dogs or even butterflies but to know that the animal is a shape-shifting Alp is by looking at the hat it always wears. The hat is known as a Tarnkappe which means magic or camouflage hat that gives them the power to turn invisible and maybe even shape-shift. The hat is always visible no matter what shape the alp takes. 4. Nachzehrer They are a hybrid between vampires and ghouls and their name could mean "after living". The Nachzehrer is prominent in old folklore around most of the northern regions of Germany. They are creatures that come to life after being dead. A nachzehrer are usually created when the dead person died because of unnatural causes such as suicide or accidental deaths or even plagues and the curse making them into one is not transferable like the werewolves or modern vampires that we know. Apparently, the Nachzehrer does not really suck blood but they do devour the bodies of their family members, people near them and even their own bodies. The Nachzehrer can also kill you by ringing church bells that bring death to all that hears them and by making you come in contact with its shadow. Now, since they are ghoul like, they are really hard to kill and can't be killed by normal methods. You would need to have a coin and get ready to chop off their head. The coin were said to paralyse the Nachzehrer just like how Chinese vampires are with talismans. So you have to put the coin in their mouth and then make the final blow by chopping the head clean off its shoulders. So to find a Nachzehrer that are inactive, you would find them lying in its grave with its thumb in its opposite hand and has its left eye opened, apparently they have the same habit when they are just walking about aimlessly. 3. Nachtkrapp This creature was definitely inspired to strike fear into children to make them go to sleep. The folklore came from South Germany and similar legends exists in Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland and even Russia. The Nachtkrapp is usually described as a giant and nocturnal raven-like bird. They would go out of their nest during nighttime to hunt. They hunt little children for food. Probably because children are smaller and easier to carry, they would abduct the children to their nest and would start devouring them brutally, ripping their limbs and pecking at the body to pick out the children's heart. Some say the Nachtkrapp actually has a special bag it likes to carry around to abduct the children away with. Though, how they hold the bag while being a bird is a bit of a mystery and just adds to its creepiness. There's a tamer version of the scary Nachtkrapp called Wütender Nachtkrapp which literally means Angry Night Raven. Though there's the addition of Angry in its name, they don't kill like the normal Nachtkrapp would. They would just make loud noises by crowing out loud and flapping its wings to terrorise children into being silent. Then, there is another version which depicts a benevolent version of the Nachtkrapp which is called the Guter Nachtkrapp which means Good Night Raven. This bird would enter the children's room and gently sing them to sleep. For all we know, it was instilling fear amongst the children by singing scary children's rhymes with them being eaten at the end. 2. Erdhenne The Erdhene is a spirit mostly found in the houses in the Alp region and Bavaria. They are almost like the Banshees that I have explained in my Irish Mythological Creatures video in that they act as a prophecy that death is coming. Their appearance is very different from a banshee. The Erdhenne would usually be invisible being a spirit that roams the house but if they do appear in front of the human, they would appear as a shaggy, old and ash grey hen-like figure with a short neck. So rather than wailing like a banshee, you would hear clucking sounds out of no where. The Erdhenne foretells death within a year and its usually the death of the person it shows itself to. However, according to another legend, if it cluck and flutter its wings nine times, the head of the house would fall deadly ill and another different legend claimed that the spirit will answer questions about the danger if asked directly. 1. Krampus Since Christmas is around the corner, this creature is a must to be mentioned. A Krampus is a horned and scary looking anthropomorphic creature, its quite hairy which is either black or brown and has cloven hooves. So its a bit like a big, scary goat that walks on its two legs you know a bit like a faun but much more scarier. The Krampus would carry chains with him which he would thrash about for intimidation. He would carry a bundle of birch branches or a whip to spank the children that were naughty and would sometimes have a sack strapped on his back for him to kidnap the children and drag them with him to the underworld. Now, the Krampus is the opposite of St Nicholas, they would be together during Christmas to give children either a reward or punishment. So if you were given coal as the gift be aware that you have been naughty.



The mythologies of the following tribes are included in this category:


Compared to North Germanic and, to a lesser extent, Anglo-Saxon mythology, examples of Continental Germanic paganism are extremely fragmentary. Besides a handful of brief Elder Futhark inscriptions the lone, genuinely pagan Continental Germanic documents are the short Old High German Merseburg Incantations. However, pagan mythological elements were preserved in later literature, notably in Middle High German epic poetry, but also in German, Swiss, and Dutch folklore.


Old High German

Middle High German

See also


  • Jacob Grimm: Deutsche Mythologie. 1835.
  • Wolfgang Golther: Handbuch der Germanischen Mythologie. Stuttgart 1908.
  • Jan de Vries: Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte. Berlin 1956.
  • Åke V. Ström: Germanische Religion. Stuttgart 1975.
  • M. Axboe; U. Clavadetscher; K. Düwel; K. Hauck; L. v. Padberg: Die Goldbrakteaten der Völkerwanderungszeit. Ikonographischer Katalog. München 1985-1989.
  • Rudolf Simek: Lexikon der germanischen Mythologie. Stuttgart 2. Aufl. 1995. ISBN 3-520-36802-1
  • Rudolf Simek: Religion und Mythologie der Germanen. Darmstadt 2003. ISBN 3-534-16910-7
This page was last edited on 17 March 2019, at 14:05
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