One fantastic and wonderful origin theory of Santa Claus involves psychedelic mushrooms and shamanic rituals of the indigenous Sámi people who live in northern Finland. Paul Devereux wrote about this incredible hidden history in his fascinating 2008 book The Long Trip: A Prehistory of Psychedelia. Then, Brooklyn filmmaker Matthew Salton blew mainstream minds with this fantastic New York Times “Op-Doc” short video on the topic.
For more on psychedelic Santa, check out the following pieces by Greg Taylor at the Daily Grail:
“Santa is a Psychedelic Mushroom: Were Modern Christmas Traditions Influenced by Shamanic Folklore?”
Santa’s Long Trip
In Japanese folklore, Ijuu is a strange beast that lives in the forests. If you are hiking and run into Ijuu, don’t be scared. Just offer to split your lunch with it and the beast will most likely repay you by carrying your heavy backpack.
Rambo has been adopted into the folklore of the Kamula people. They believe he will fight to defend Papua New Guinea in the Third World War.
J.R.R. Tolkien taught himself Finnish at 18, just so he could read one book, the Kalevala–which he used as a basis for Middle Earth legendarium.
According to folklore, people looking into the eyes of Eternal Silence sculpture will see a vision of their own death.
In France and Belgium there is a folk character called “The Whipping Father” who accompanies St. Nicholas. He beats naughty children with sticks and carries them away in a bag.
A nightmare refers to a literal night mare: a “mare” is a demon which gives you bad dreams.
In Japanese folklore, Otters were considered very dangerous as they would shapeshift into beautiful women or little children and kill men.
Japanese folklore contains a creature known as Ashiarai Yashiki, a giant foot that crashes through the roof in the middle of the night, demanding the terrified homeowner wash it.
The folklore of the indigenous people of Flores, Indonesia tells of short, hairy humanoids who spoke their own language. In 2003, archaeologists found fossils of dwarf humanoids on Flores — which were 13,000 years old.
In Indian folklore, the Chedipe (which literally means “prostitute”) is a vampire prostitute. She is believed to enter a man’s house naked in the night and suck his blood through his toes.
In India, many people believe that women who die in childbirth or pregnancy can return as undead vampires and suck blood of their male relatives.