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
On December 16, 1965, NASA received a prank transmission from two astronauts: “We have an object, probably in polar orbit… I see a command Module and and eight smaller modules in front. The pilot of the command module is wearing a red suit.” They then started playing, “Jingle Bells”.
During a 1989 Christmas television broadcast, Santa Claus encouraged all children to hold the phone to the TV, tricking them into dialing a 1-900 number that automatically charged several dollars to their parents’ phone bill.
In 2009 a man dressed as Santa robbed a Tennessee bank claiming he needed the money to “pay his elves”.
The US ZIP Code 12345 belongs to the main corporate campus of General Electric. GE receives thousands of Santa letters each year from kids believing it would make most sense for Santa’s workshop to have 12345 as his ZIP code.
The reason that NORAD annually tracks Santa Claus’ journey from the North Pole is because Sears printed an ad to talk to Santa on his private line, with a wrong phone number that was actually CONAD’s top secret hotline that would only ring if there was a national crisis.
On December 24, 1955 a newspaper ad told kids they could call Santa & listed the number. The number was incorrect & went to the US Air Defense Command. The colonel on duty told his team to give all kids Santa’s “current location“. This tradition now handles calls from over 200 countries.
The Dutch Santa Claus (Sinterklaas) delivers presents on a gray horse accompanied by black men and kidnaps children to bring to Spain if they’re naughty.
St.Nicholas, aka. Santa Claus, is buried in Ireland.