The Wild Feast Of Sylvester

Profound and powerful magical charm that gets us drunk
in the present on the restored past!

Baudelaire - The Flowers Of Evil

A day originally named for pagan Sun-God or Forest Father, Silvanus and like so many other things, was usurped by Christians and stamped with the name of St. Sylvester, is celebrated on December 31st.

The word, sylvan comes from the Latin meaning "wood" or "wooded." Sylvester is also known as the Keeper Of The Woods. It is in his honor that a feast is celebrated with wild partying, drunkeness and the more magical aspects of protection and fertility rituals.

Branches are cut and woven into large circles to be placed on homes to protect the structure from fires in the coming year. Differing varieties of corn are mixed together with wild clover and fed to the animals to ward off witches. Stolen cabbages are fed to horses to ensure their good health in the new year. Finally, in hopes of making the fruit trees fertile, little sacks of peas are made to beat the trees with.

To maintain your own family's heath or predict it, numerous things can be done. Precisely at midnight if you put a broth made of wild pears on the threshold, death cannot enter your home. Plant oracles could reveal what the year will hold as well -"During Sylvester night, you put an evergreen leaf on a plate filled with water. If it remained green the following night, health could be expected the following year. But stains prophesied illness - and blackness - death itself." - Hiller 1989

Even in these modern times, all over the world with the first stroke of midnight, bringing in the new year, the air is filled with a cacaphony of noise from fireworks, to pot banging to gun shots. This is all done in order to frighten away the bad spirits, ghosts, demons and witches away. The noise was also expected to "wake up" the sleeping seeds below the earth.

I found this charming video created by some German youths, celebrating the "resurrection of the sylvan god!" in rituals, feasting (are those furry apples?!), and it even includes some stop motion animation - enjoy!

Die Auferstehung des Silvanus from Illusionen on Vimeo.

Photo by Andreas Praefcke

The Curio Emporium

There is a place I know of, where you can time travel.

Located in a lovely suburb of Los Angeles, in a little portion of a beautiful, old house is The Curio Emporium.

Purveyors of curiosities, antiques, oddities, steampunk accessories, taxidermy and militaria, the Curio Emporium is small, but thoughtfully and lovingly curated by it's proprietors, Jenna Macabre and David Constantine. The couple run the shop themselves and contribute to the overall atmosphere by dressing in various period costumes and could not be kinder hosts.

I went to the store expecting not to be able to afford much of anything however, I found the prices so reasonable I was able to bring home a number of bones, photos and a new Jar Pal - a darling little mouse.

The Emporium has branched out and is rapidly becoming a community fixture by hosting a variety of events including picnics, a hearse car show, steampunk themed days and this coming weekend, a special Christmas event featuring a puppet show, vintage clothing as well as booths with other artisans.

1020 Fair Oaks Ave,
South Pasadena, CA 91030


Wed - Fri: 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Sat - Sun: 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Christmas Windows

Another well loved American Christmas tradition are the incredible window displays for the holidays in New York. This year, Bergdorf Goodman has created a Carnivale Of The Animals display and has made beautiful use of many taxidermy-like pieces.

Be sure to click on the photos to enlarge them.

Photos 1 and 2 were taken by Ricky Zehavi, 3, 4 and 5 by Julia Chesky at , 6 and 7 by Heather Clawson at

Beans Are Banned For Christmas!

"I want a feast...I want a bean feast!" Veruca Salt

No doubt, American fans of Willy Wonka recall Veruca Salt's outgrageous demands and have asked themselves, what exactly is a bean feast?

The Bean Feast, like so many other Christmastime traditions had it's roots in ancient magic and spells.

Beans, which were considered to be heavily influenced by Saturn, played a large role in Saturnalia celebrations and various ancient mystery cults in ancient Rome. These traditions were carried to other countries and cultures around Europe throughout the centuries. Practices reached their height during the Medieval era on the 12th day of Christmas, Epiphany - January 6th. During rituals to recognize the coming reawakening of nature, "Erotic Bean Feasts" were held, where there was an abundance of drinking, partying and sexing. Beans were considered so erotic and so strong an aphrodisiac they were outlawed in some places during the seventeenth century:

"Bean soup had a reputation for being so erotic that it was forbidden in the convent of San Jeronimo in order to prevent conditions that might result in indecent arousal. But that order no longer stands, since the nuns gave up that habit." - Allende, 1988

In the book, Beans, A History, (yes, seriously), author Ken Albala relates how beans were regarded as just big troublemakers all around and that Aristotle himself spoke out frequently against The Evils Of Beans. Aristotle wrote that beans are just like testicles and that they are, a gateway to Hades. The proof? It is the only plant that has no joints.

It didn't help matters when Porphyry went around telling everyone about that time Pythagoras did that magic trick where he planted some beans in a pot and ninety days later they looked exactly like a ladies' downstairs mixup....which then transformed into a human head that was for sure someone's poor soul caught in transit.

There are so many crazy claims attached the the poor bean - such as, if you bite a bean and leave it in the sun it will smell exactly like the blood of a murdered person, (there's a difference?) Or the belief in it's magical powers of warding off ghosts - in some places around the time of the winter solstice the male head of household would emerge from the home, barefoot and toss beans around the house while repeating nine times, "Shades of my ancestors, depart," while they rest of the family banged on pots and pans and stomped on the ground. This was all done to protect the family from ghosts who were there to snatch the souls of the living. The beans were believed to hold souls and were thrown out as a decoy in hopes the soul hungry ghosts would be satisfied with the beans and leave the family alone.

The modern day bean feast has transformed quite a bit. Although plenty of drinking and revelry is a hallmark, the bean really only plays into the feast by way of being baked into a cake. A cake is made for the feast containing a single bean. Whoever in the party gets the piece of cake containing the bean is awarded the title of "Bean King" and must preside over the evenings festivities.

This painting by Jakob Jordaens created around 1645 shows a bean feast in full swing - note the exposed chesticle of one guest and the guy vomiting on the left. Clearly, the bean feat was a good time.

Merricat's Creepmas Wish List II - Haunted Air

While looking up something on Amazon, a book called Haunted Air showed up. A collection of anonymous Halloween photographs from 1875 to 1955 collected from flea markets, thrift stores and garage sales. The collection is described as follows:

The photographs in Haunted Air provide an extraordinary glimpse into the traditions of this macabre festival from ages past, and form an important document of photographic history. These are the pictures of the dead: family portraits, mementos of the treasured, now unrecognizable, and others. The roots of Halloween lie in the ancient pre–Christian Celtic festival of Samhain, a feast to mark the death of the old year and the birth of the new. It was believed that on this night the veil separating the worlds of the living and the dead grew thin and ruptured, allowing spirits to pass through and walk unseen but not unheard amongst men. The advent of Christianity saw the pagan festival subsumed in All Souls' Day, when across Europe the dead were mourned and venerated. Children and the poor, often masked or in outlandish costume, wandered the night begging "soul cakes" in exchange for prayers, and fires burned to keep malevolent phantoms at bay. From Europe, the haunted tradition would quickly take root and flourish in the fertile soil of the New World. Feeding hungrily on fresh lore, consuming half–remembered tales of its own shadowy origins and rituals, Halloween was reborn in America. The pumpkin supplanted the carved turnip; costumes grew ever stranger, and celebrants both rural and urban seized gleefully on the festival's intoxicating, lawless spirit. For one wild night, the dead stared into the faces of the living, and the living, ghoulishly masked and clad in tattered backwoods baroque, stared back.

The collector, Ossian Brown speaks of his collection, "For almost ten years I worked on Haunted Air, and as each new photograph appeared I wondered just how many more there could be. One after another they came, cold on each others tails, like an endless phantom carriage of skeletons and spectres, all of them shaking their death rattles at me. And in their monstrous and demented number there's a deep melancholy, each photograph ripped from a family album, sometimes with no care at all. Torn and crumpled, long-forgotten, sold in house clearances after the owners had died. Or sold in markets, discarded in junk shops by unsentimental family members, ending up thousands of miles away. All of them lost now, stranded, severed from anything that could connect them to home, to the faces behind the masks. In these photographs, normality has been dissolved. No longer a human being hiding behind a mask, but a phantasmagorical manifestation, mutated in the moment, seen through a torn veil... faces peering out from a kindergarten Qliphoth."

Krampus' Revenge?

Greetings Gentle Readers,

Apologies for blackwood's appearance. I found the site "broken" this morning and cannot fathom how to fix it or revert it back. Nevertheless, the content is still here and although this is, indeed the 13th day of Creepmas - the macabre observance of the winter holiday will continue here - in fact we've just gotten started...

Creepmas Gifting

Since most of you gentle readers have an avid interest in "the paranormal," the following documentary on DVD, may make an ideal gift for a number of people on your list..or even you.

NIGHT STALKERS - Southern California Paranormal Investigators

Filmmaker, Wayne Poe harbored a childhood interest in the paranormal cultivated during the heyday of shows like Unsolved Mysteries and In Search Of. As he grew up he says, “I pretty much thought it was all nuttiness,” that is until a childhood friend began to have his own paranormal experiences. Unable to dismiss his friend’s typically grounded and rational views, Poe then spent the next year immersing himself in the culture of Southern California paranormal investigation.

Poe got a lot more than he bargained for. “I was intrigued by their methods and philosophies on ghost hunting,” he says. “I was escorted to well known haunted locations in Southern California, as well as residences the ghost hunters attempted to rid of their own spirits.”

The first residential investigation is documentary gold, akin to something out of American Movie. The first team arrives at the home of a client, where the two lead investigators inform her that the spirits are watching them. Poe cuts to an interview with the team post investigation where the lead investigator informs us she “Knew exactly what to do,” since she and her colleague astral projected to the house prior to their physical arrival. Cutting back to the investigation, the encounter gets more and more incredible with tales of a dead woman in the closet, a ruthless killer in the basement, vortexes, a disembodied attack and the requisite demons. As if that weren’t enough, Poe is pulled aside and asked to turn off his camera so they can reveal this shocker – one of them is not entirely human! “I thought I was being pranked,” he says. Through it all, everything is caught deftly on camera, evoking the feeling that you are right there - in the center ring of this circus.

Of course, not all of the film is populated by “investigators” or psychics of this ilk. If you watch any of the para shows on TV regularly, you will surely see a number of familiar faces. In the many interviews that appear throughout the film there is an undercurrent of sincerity and longing for understanding. One investigator even goes so far as to state “People need to be ready to accept that what we are doing is not proof of anything.” Others passionately state they know paranormal occurrences “are real.” Poe’s chosen subjects thoughtfully address the topics of frauds, fakery and admit to a lack of understanding.

The viewer is given the opportunity to go inside real investigations in historical locales, businesses and private residences with teams and individuals that display a wide variety of techniques and philosophies, from high tech to low teach. Maybe most importantly, Night Stalkers provides far more interesting and compelling occurrences and possible paranormal accounts than you’ll ever see on TV. Of course, there’s a paranormal themed conference or two, one of which ends up being the foundation for a story arc within Night Stalkers, when the local team of skeptics from the Center For Inquiry infiltrate an event called So Cal Para Con. Mark Edward, a performing mentalist and skeptic says, “Let’s say you could talk to a dead spirit – which is ridiculous…it would rend the fabric of reality in two and its just not happening.”

Its not only interesting to watch these small stories unfold during the course of the film but, for me the most compelling is that of Poe’s, who as I mentioned began this venture with the opinion that “ was all nuttiness.” Yet, toward the close of the film things begin to pull him into the investigations he’s filming…even when he’s not there.

Thought provoking, funny, poignant and entertaining, Night Stalkers gives you what the TV shows won’t.

Send your shipping name and address to:

Night Of 1,0000 Krampus

Apologies for the absence of Creepmas posts over the weekend - Krampus brought the flu virus to my house.

Admittedly, the title of this post is a bit inflammatory however, I am sure you will greatly enjoy this video of a Krampus parade in Austria.

Creepmas Cartoon Break

Wintry fun and cuteness reign, until he comes to life.

This 1932 cartoon is like a version of Frankenstein On Ice.

A review of the piece by James Francis Crow in a Hollywood Citizen News entertainment column appeared on August 24, 1933:

Ted Eshbaugh, touted as the first worthy competitor to Walt Disney, has completed the first color cartoon of The Wizard of Oz series, and it will be released soon by a major studio, this column hears.

Another of Eshbaugh's creations, called The Snow Man, in an Arctic locale, applies the Frankenstein theme to cartoon comics. The snow man builded by the little Eskimo hero and his animal pals comes to life and spreads havoc in the north country. But our hero runs to the North Pole Power Plant, turns on the Aurora Borealis, and melts Mr. Snow Man.

A fish the icy Frankenstein has swallowed is found swimming in the placid lake formed at his demise.

The Christmas Spectre of Clarence Street

Humphrey Brooke, a fifty year old, well respected physician and life long bachelor was not what most would find physically appealing. He was shorter than average and his extremely stooped shoulders didn't help. At the end of his long, crooked nose sat a pair of spectacles and to add to these he was asthmatic and quite socially awkward.

Dr. Brooke was the opposite of twenty year old Felicia Clayton. Felicia was the belle of Liverpool - a stunningly beautiful, kind and charming young daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate. It could be said that Felicia was the Scarlett O'Hara of Liverpool - she could have the heart of any man and was inundated with love letters, gentlemen suitors and proposals of marriage.

The pair first met at a funeral, when Dr. Brooke was introduced to Felicia. He was overwhelmed by her beauty and kissed her hand. He stared at her during the rest of the funeral and she responded by smiling at him a couple times.

Dr. Brooke caught sight of Felicia around town a couple times after this, once when she was coming out of a carriage and again as she walked down the street with a suitor. This second time, while in a suitor's company, she saw Dr. Brooke and waved to him, but not only did she wave but looked back over her shoulder twice to smile at him. The suitor became jealous and reprimanded her.

Dr. Brooke's infatuation with Felicia was now at it's peak. He hurried home and began to keep a journal of his feelings for her and detailing in it, his plans to win her heart.

When the Christmas season came around and Dr. Brooke received an invitation to a lavish Christmas Eve ball, he took the opportunity and lovingly crafted a letter to his beloved Felicia, asking her to attend the ball with him.

She accepted.

Some days later, a friend of Dr. Brooke's, well known womanizer Charles Wilson, came to visit him. During their visit, Wilson asked if Dr. Brooke had any plans for Christmas Eve as he wanted company at a local pub for that evening. He was certain his awkward and unattractive companion would be alone, as usual. To his surprise, Dr. Brooke informed him that he did indeed have plans, ones that involved the most sought after woman in the city.

Wilson was not only shocked but also very jealous. He, too had tried his charms on Felicia - to no avail. Wilson expressed his disbelief and was trying to talk Dr. Brooke out of what he called his "fantasies" when a woman burst in informing the doctor of a medical emergency and it necessitated his immediate attention. On the way out the door, Dr. Brooke produced Felicia's letter of acceptance to the ball and handed it to Wilson.

Angry and more jealous than ever, Wilson started going through Dr. Brooke's belongings and discovered the journal wherein his "friend" had disclosed all his feelings, hopes and dreams for a future with Felicia Clayton. Vindictive and nasty Wilson went home and proceeded to author a letter to Felicia's father. In it, he disclosed their plans for the ball and made his "friend" look as bad as possible, including implications that Dr. Brooke was not only old, unhealthy and a bad catch for any woman let alone the most eligible girl in town, but that he was also mentally unstable.

Mr. Clayton received Wilson's letter, and wrote one of his own to Dr. Brooke.

Come that Christmas Eve of 1910, Dr. Brooke dressed in an expensive and elegant long, purple velvet coat and embroidered waistcoat and fashionably long, narrow trousers. He smoked a pipe and waited until the time finally came to see his dearest when a knock came at the door with a boy delivering the letter from Mr. Clayton. In it, Clayton lied and said Felicia had accepted his invitation out of pity and that she wanted nothing to do with Brooke. The letter closed with the following:
"It is of utmost impropriety for a man of fifty to be indulging in romantic delusions about a girl thirty years his junior. I warn you to cease annoying my daughter and act with the dignity befitting your age and station. If you persist in trying to win her attentions, it will be at great social and professional cost to you."

Following the reading of the letter Dr. Brooke, devastated and completely distraught died of a heart attack hours later. As he fell to the floor, he took down a clock on the mantelpiece with him. When the clock crashed to the floor it broke and stopped at Dr. Brooke's time of death - 10:50 P.M. I guess you could say he quite literally died of a broken heart.

It is said that Felicia ignored her father's commands and went to the ball to look for Dr. Brooke anyway. It seems she was quite touched by his letter. When she could not find him, she left the ball - much to the dismay of the males in attendance.

Since then, it is believed that the spirit of Humphrey Brooke haunts the house on Clarence Street each Christmas Eve. There are strange rappings, an angry voice that curses and cries out from within. Many a passerby has claimed to have seen a man, around fifty years old dressed in Victorian era clothing wandering on the street outside the house.

Mari Lwyd - The Zombie Christmas Horse

Mari Lwyd, Horse of Frost, Star-horse, and White Horse of the Sea, is carried to us.

The Dead return.

They strain against the door.
They strain towards the fire which fosters and warms the Living.

The Living, who have cast them out, from their own fear, from their own fear of themselves, into the outer loneliness of death, rejected them, and cast them out for ever:
The Living cringe and warm themselves at the fire, shrinking from that loneliness, that singleness of heart.

The Living are defended by the rich warmth of the flames which keeps that loneliness out.
Terrified, they hear the Dead tapping at the panes; then they rise up, armed with the warmth of firelight, and the condition of scorn.

Midnight is burning like a taper. In an hour, in less than an hour, it will be blown out.

It is the moment of conscience.

The living moment.

The dead moment.


~ Vernon Watkins

No Christmas tradition bears more resemblance to Halloween than that of the Welsh celebration of Mari Lwyd. There are costumes, trick or treating and a macabre skeleton mare that has risen from the dead and wanders the streets with her attendants with one goal in mind - to get into your house. To keep them out, you must engage in a battle of rhyme no less.

An ancient practice, Mari Lwyd or Grey Mare/Holy Mary is typically celebrated on New Year's Eve. Since these ancient times, people have celebrated festivals of light - signifying rebirth and hope in times of darkness. In the festival of Mari Lwyd, we have the rebirth of a dead horse. A horse skull is affixed to a pole with a white cloth to hide the puppeteer. Mari Lwyd is sometimes decorated with festive ribbons and bells or winter greens and accompanied by costumed, wassailing revelers, who are representative of the dead who have risen to remind the living of their existence.

Mari Lwyd and her group, knock on doors asking, in song, to be let in. The song is sung in Welsh and is pretty much the same with a few variations. You can listen to it here:

Once the traditional opening verses are sung, Mari Lwyd and company are answered by those inside with challenges and insults. A battle of wits known as a pwnco ensues, where riddles, challenges and insults must be exchanged in rhyme. If Mari's party wins the pwnco, which can be as long as the creativity of the two parties endures, the Mari party enters with another song and is given drinks and treats.

* Mari Lwyd piece by Laurence G. Tilley

* Mari Lwyd artwork by Paul Woodford

Merricat's Creepmas Gifting List - Item No. 1

A Conjoined Gingerbread Men Cookie Cutter from the Mutter Museum.

My little black heart is longing for this. I could leave an appropriate cookie out for Krampus now, who will surely be delighted. A Mütter Museum exclusive that comes complete with a gingerbread cookie recipe.

Christmas Cannibalism

What would Christmas be without chocolate? I, for one, like to begin my Christmas morning seeking out my favorite chocolates from the numerous Sees Candy boxes lying around my parents' house, for breakfast. Don't tell my parents.

The word chocolate originates from the Aztec cacahuatl, "black nut." The species name, cacao, from the Mayan language, is a reference to the tree, fruit and drink that was made from it. The Mayans regarded the cacao as a holy tree, both life sustaining but also as a portal to death.

The Aztecs often called cocolate yollotl, eztil - "heart, blood." In turn they called the still beating hearts ripped from the chests of their live human sacrifices cacahuatl - "cocoa fruit" or "Gods' food."

Just before a victim was actually sacrificed they were given a drink called itzpacaltl, "water with which obsidian blades are washed." It was used to intoxicate the victim into an ecstatic state.

Shamans or sacrificial priests took the sacrificial knives and washed off the blood from the last victim in water. They then combined it with chocolate and pumpkin. It is said that the drink had the following effect: "He became nearly unconscious and forgot what was said to him. Then his good mood came back and he started to dance agaain. It is believed that, bewitched by the drink, he gave himself, full of joy and happiness before death." - Diego de Duran

Our first Christmas-centric chocolates were produced in the guise of Father Christmas. Even if its only symbolic one could argue this practice still amounts to a sort of ritualistic cannibalism.

Keep all this in mind next time you gleefully decapitate and devour your chocolate Santa.

As long as we are on the subject of chocolate and after all, it is the Creepmas season - let's take a look at chocolate gifts with a creepy twist.

Famed parapsychologist, Loyd Auerbach has recently taken up another title - chocolatier. His new venture named appropriately enough, Haunted By Chocolate, features Ghost Drops. They come in various familiar flavors but also gourmet ones like dark chocolate with saigon cinnamon and dark chocolate with black sesame.

Also, don't forget our friends at Cryptocurium who I posted about ealier this year - They've promised a debut of a new candy today, December 5th. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a chocolate Krampus!

Creepmas Carols

A hallmark of Christmas is the music of the season. We are all too familiar with the thematic elements of the overly cute, romantic, sentimental and of course, sacred songs of the holiday season.

When you think about it, it isn't terribly difficult to find curiously macabre songs and carols among the pack. After all, even by Christian standards, this is the celebration of a figure who was always been linked to death, beginning with a king provoked to slaughter every infant male in his realm. All of this then crowned with magical and mysterious pagan rites.

1) Down In Yon Forest

Down under that bed there runs a flood
Bells of heaven I hear them ring
Half run in water
Half run in blood

There are a number of different versions of this song, passed down through various cultures through the years. Like so many songs an early version was carried over to the US from Europe and for the most part, passed on and preserved by the people of the Appalachians, where a particularly disturbing version was collected, believed to reference the ancient custom of every few years draining the blood out of one's king onto the soil to ensure its continuing fertility.

2) Death Might Be Your Santa Claus

A recording that begins with a sermon from Reverend J.M Gates, informing adults who tell children the legend of Santa Claus are bringing Death into their homes, some nonsense about car maitenance is in there, too. Not sure what that has to do with death or Santa but according to the Reverend, it surely will seal your fate. The sermon segues into a sort of gospel type rant.

3) The Santa Claus Crave

Originally crafted by bluesman Elzadie Robinson in 1927. It contains threats of murder - to both either a Mother or Wife/Girlfriend and Santa.

You know I loved you baby, that is why we could not get along
But someday you gon' be sorry that you ever done me wrong

Oh Lord it's near Christmas time and I want to see Santa Claus
If you don't bring my baby, swear I'll break all the laws

You can hear an original version here:

4) The Coventry Carol

This carol was originally contained within a mystery play, retelling the Christmas story. This song is sung by the mothers of the little boys under the age of two, who are destined to be brutally murdered by King Herod's men. In the last lines, they say goodbye to their children.

A haunting and heartbreaking piece, sure to bring you close to tears if you happen to be a mother.

O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.

That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

5) The Holly and the Ivy

By far one of the most popular Christmas songs, The Holly and the Ivy, although burdened with the stamp of Christianity, maintains it's pagan fertility imagery - so obvious, there is no need to explain. We'll talk more on the significance of holly and ivy plants in the coming weeks.

Oh, the rising of the sun and the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ, sweet singing in the choir.
The holly bears a blossom as white as lily flower...

Oh, how I do love Maddy Prior.

6) I Wonder as I Wander

Composer and ethnomusicologist, John Jacob Niles, was a in attendance at fundraising meeting held by evangelicals who had been ordered out of town by the police, most likely to collect songs. In his autobiography, he writes the following:

A girl had stepped out to the edge of the little platform attached to the automobile. She began to sing. Her clothes were unbelievably dirty and ragged, and she, too, was unwashed. Her ash-blond hair hung down in long skeins.... But, best of all, she was beautiful, and in her untutored way, she could sing. She smiled as she sang, smiled rather sadly, and sang only a single line of a song.

It was from this fragment that Niles composed I Wonder As I Wander.

7) Christmas With The Devil

I cannot resist including this cover of Spinal Tap's Christmas With The Devil from Judith Owen. It's been a favorite for years. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. The lyrics are great.

The elves are dressed in leather
And the angels are in chains
The sugar plums are rancid
And the stockings are in flames
There's a demon in my belly
And a gremlin in my brain
There's someone up the chimney hole
And Satan is his name

8) Bethlehem Down

Composer Peter Warlock was experiencing financial difficulties. He had recently befriended poet and party boy Bruce Blunt. The first account of their mutual company was from a press report detailing their arrests for being "drunk and disorderly." Lack of funds to fuel the party life prompted their collaboration on Bethlehem Down, which, in turn, won them the Daily Telegraph's annual christmas carol writing contest. The prize money funded an "immoral carouse" on Christmas Eve in 1927.

When he is King they will clothe him in grave-sheets,
Myrrh for embalming, and wood for a crown,
He that lies now in the white arms of Mary,
Sleeping so lightly on Bethlehem Down.

Above image from The Frantic Meercat -

He Sees You When You're Sleeping...

He's gonna find out who's naughty or nice.

In Santa’s earlier incarnation, the jolly old elf brought something just as good as presents to your house. He brought along a demonic sidekick, Krampus.

Krampus carries with him a sack – to stuff naughty little children like you into, as well as the original rod of punishment. The rod is hazel wood and is believed to hold magical properties – it can ward off evil spirits, the Devil and protect one from lightning. There is even a legend associated with Mary and the infant Jesus taking refuge under a hazel bush during a violent thunder storm. Other legends depict witches beating lakes with a hazel rod in an effort to create thunder clouds, which materialize overhead and do their bidding.

The hazel rod was considered the great rod of life. With this phallic symbol, women and animals were beaten “with gusto” in hopes of them becoming fertile. It was also considered a wishing rod, used to find hidden treasure. Sometimes, a human countenance would be carved upon it. Indeed, it looks just as disturbing as it sounds.

In some countries, males don Krampus costumes and run wild through the streets whipping and punishing anyone and everyone they come across. While in Austraia and Bavaria he roams the streets frightening children with rusty chains and bells.

Finally, on the night of St. Nicholas Eve, it’s Junior Judgement Day! Children polish their shoes, a representation of the soul, and set them on the hearth, along with a treat for St. Nicholas’ horse, or reindeer, depending on the country’s custom. Nicholas enters and fills the shoes with small gifts – perhaps a little orange, a golden walnut and a honey cake and reads aloud from his golden book, all of the child’s good deeds from the past year. However, if you were bad, Krampus is given leave to beat you mercilessly, shove you in his sack and carry you promptly to Hell.

He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness' sake!