London Santa Claus Child Snatcher
15th December 2014

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Santa Claus shares many commonalities with clowns: he is a bringer of joy to children, but hidden behind a disguise - a thick white beard and colourful costume. Unlike clowns, he is seen almost uniquely as a benign figure. But n some parts of Europe he is seen as kin to to a figure of an earlier, darker folklore: Krampus.

Krampus is a demonic, horned figure who haunts the remote villages of the Alps - dragging naughty children into the black forests that crowd the mountain slopes. Krampus is not a direct analogue to Santa Claus, but has been linked by some folklorists, who note similarities in appearance and modus operandi. Some go so far as to suggest a direct lineage between Krampus and Saint Nicholas that creates the current figure of Santa Claus.

But in Britain, very little trace of this link - perhaps none at all - is known.

However, the climate of fear surrounding children and strangers (which has now lasted several decades) has created perhaps the first 'Santa Panic'. A rumour on Facebook that a man dressed in Santa Claus regalia had acted in concert with a woman to attempt to snatch a child from a pushchair. Within hours, the story had been shared over 1000 times - indicating just how quickly an unsubtantiated story can be spread via social media.

The police issued a statement that no incident had actually been reported to them, suggesting that the story is simple fabrication.

"At this time, there has been no reported abduction or attempted abduction allegations in Havering by anyone dressed in a Santa outfit. Inquiries are continuing and we would invite anyone with information to contact Havering Police by dialling 101."

Interestingly, the reports share several motifs common to other child snatching scares - including those involving Bogus Social Workers, who also often appear to be working as a 'team' of a man and a woman.

See also: folklore

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 16th December 2014 | © Weird Island 2010-2019
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