Monster Monday: Klabautermann

We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about the Klabautermann.

Illustration of a Klabautermann from Buch Zur See (1885)
Illustration of a Klabautermann from Buch Zur See (1885)

The Klabautermann is a fairy-like creature from the folklore of northern Germany and the Baltic region. He lives on boats and assists sailors when they are out to sea. He is a diligent worker and an expert at repairing watercraft as well as navigation and sailing. He also rescues sailors who fall overboard. Thought generally benevolent, he is not above playing tricks from time to time and can sometimes act similarly to a gremlin.

The Klabautermann is depicted as a small man wearing a yelow sailor suit, smoking a pipe and carrying a caulking hammer. However, no one aboard a ship with a Klabautermann ever sees him as he performs his duties. He only becomes visible to the crew of a ship that is doomed.



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