Stunning images show enduring Pagan rituals of Europe

Still having trouble coming up with an idea for a Halloween costume? You could always go dressed as a Krampus.

The Krampus, a two-horned, hairy creature, is the first folkloric beast photographer Charles Fréger encountered during his two-year journey through 18 European countries documenting still-practiced pagan festivals.

The Krampus, a legend in Alpine countries, is said to punish misbehaving children during the winter Yule season. In contrast, Saint Nicholas, rewards well-behaved children with gifts. Fréger first saw a man dressed as a Krampus in Salzburg, Austria. The result of that interaction led to years of work for Fréger, documenting the enduring pagan celebrations of rural Europe.

“I found myself in front of something very radical, no face,” Fréger told Slate. “It was more of a character with a mask and a focus where the body is more important than the face itself.”

Fréger’s resulting series, “Wilder Mann” is available in book form, titled “Wilder Mann: The Image of the Savage,” published by Dewi Lewis Publishing.

Click through the slideshow above to view his stunning images.

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