Obey or Beware: the Legend of the Nachtkrapp


Photo courtesy of VS Battles Wiki

Deep within the dark and twisted Black Forest of Germany, a creature stirs. It’s a legend as old as time and its lore is as expansive as the great land which it stalks. This year it hunts upon the land of Old World Wisconsin.

The Nachtkrapp is the German version of a well-known legend in central Europe and Scandinavia. Most legends say that the creature is nocturnal, only coming out at night, punishing disobedient children by either eating or kidnapping them. The Hungarians, however, depict the Nachtkrapp as a more docile version that would sing children to sleep. The Nachtkrapp, as well as most crow legends, is thought to originate from the rook infestation during the Middle Ages.

A rook is a member of the crow family, spreading its wings from Scandinavia and Western Europe to Eastern Siberia. One of the most distinctive features of the rook is the white, featherless area around its beak.

According to Wikipedia, the Nachtkrapp found its way to North America through the massive amount of German, Norwegian, and Austrian immigrants. Germans had a hand in most of America’s founding and have for the most part been here since the very beginning, tracing all the way back to the first English settlers being accompanied by the first German-American, Johannes Fleischer, in 1607. Many Norwegians immigrated during 1825 in a religious exodus, but the first Norwegians immigrated in 1633. Most Austrians arrived during World War II, escaping the Anschluss and Jewish persecution from the Nazis. The rest is very difficult to track since prior to that Austria was a multicultural empire. But from all of these cultures, the legend of the Nachtkrapp survived.

The Nachtkrapp is described as a gigantic black humanoid raven. It had the white beak of a rook and soulless eyes that could consume the spirits of mortals. In certain depictions, the Nachtkrapp is said to have no eyes at all. The creature has also been described as rotting, with areas of exposed flesh and wounds.

The Nachtkrapp awaits you! Come to Legends and Lore and Explore Old World Wisconsin! Experience the tale that has been around since men have had tongues to speak. See the old buildings of early Norwegian and German immigrants, the very people who have brought this tale to America. Look upon the Nachtkrapp’s horrific visage and despair!