Frau Perchta: The Christmas Witch Who Will Take Your Insides

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…for sales. Registers and online checkouts ring louder than the nonstop Christmas music as shoppers fulfill wishlists far and wide. Of course, it’s not just Christmas presents that are putting retailers in the black. The business of keeping kids on their best behavior is booming, with Elf on The Shelf leading the pack.


This may (or may not) work for us here in America. But in the Alpine regions of Germany and Austria, they don’t mess around. In fact, their chilling Christmas legend doesn’t discriminate. Her name is Frau Perchta, and no matter your age, if she deems you’ve been a less-than-stellar human being throughout the year, it’s curtains for you this Christmas…and not the floral kind.

Frau Perchta, The Christmas Witch

Frau Perchta is known by many names and comes in many forms depending on who’s telling her tale. Some claims report that she’s known as Berchta, Bertha, or “Spinnstubenfrau,” which translates to the Spinning Room Lady. In these Disney-like versions, the Christmas Witch is painted as a domestic princess who resembles the Scandinavian goddess, Frigga, who will do nothing more but trample on your unfinished Christmas weaving projects.


In the more unsettling versions of this demonic creature, the creepy Christmas witch is dressed head to toe in rags, with only her long, beak-like nose peaking out and wielding a long knife at the ready. Legends state that at the start of the 12 Days of Christmas, Perchta begins her hunt for the lazy, the slovenly, and anyone who’s spent the last year being a bad human.

So, how does Frau Perchat retaliate for being subpar?

On Christmas morning, coal would be a welcomed stocking stuffer for those on Frau Perchta’s naughty list. But that’s not how this witch operates. Instead, unsavory humans become the stocking, in a sense. It’s said that upon entering an unkept home, she cuts open her victims, rips out their insides, and fills their hallowed-out tummies with garbage. The kids don’t fair any better. 


For the kids who’ve been nightmarish for the year, they can expect to be carried off in a sack, taken to an undisclosed location, never to be seen again. For the kids who lie, she very politely cuts out their tongues. It’s not all doom and gloom with the Christmas queen of horror. 


As opposed to the other Yuletide ghouls she’s often compared to, such as Krampus, Perchta actually rewards those who’ve been upstanding citizens and show pride in themselves and their homes. On January 6th, the day of the Epiphany, people on Perchta’s “Good” list awoke to find a piece of shiny silver in their shoes. And those who finished their spinning work before the end of the year were blessed with good luck.

The Making of a Christmas Witch

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As is the case with most legends, the story of Frau Perchta includes several variations complete with different degrees of terrifying. One of the more horrific versions describes Perchta as the leader of her self-made demon gang, with her followers being the evil spirits of unbaptized children. Another version claims she flies around with devil-looking creatures that mirror her male counterpart, Krampus.

And then, there are the tales of her origins. She may be idolized by horror fans from all around the world, but it seems her evolution may have been the work of religious leaders trying to scare children into being good. In some tellings, Frau Perchta was born a Germanic goddess whose job was to protect children and women, as opposed to cutting them open. But this doesn’t fit with the creepy Christmas theme, so we’ll stick to the vengeful being she’s more commonly known for.

Frau Prechta is Coming to Town

This creepy Christmas, we’ve introduced parents to a variety of creatures that are ready to scare their kids into good behavior if nothing else seems to be working. But sometimes, adults need a little reminder to be courteous and kind, and if Frau Prechta has anything to say about it, clean. So keep up your Christmas spirit, or “the belly sitter” will make your new year an empty one.


Ready to discover the spirits and beings that haunt your town? Embrace this unique journey by venturing with us here at US Ghost Adventures on one of our many ghost tours throughout the US!


Continue with “25 Days of Christmas” and US Ghost Adventures to learn more about the spirits that walk among us on Christmas!