Here's another Christmas monster: Sweden's terror sow.
Most commonly referred to as the gloso (other names for it include the galoppso and the gluppso, all translating as ‘galloping sow’), this dire beast is grim in every sense of the word. This is because the gloso is a church grim (or kyrkogrim in Sweden), i.e. a supernatural creature derived from the spirit of an animal or person supposedly sacrificed when the foundation of a church was built, and which now protects the church and its grounds for all eternity, and cannot be killed by any normal weapon.
What exactly does it look like?
Those unfortunate enough to have encountered this terrifying entity liken it in basic appearance to an enormous female domestic pig, usually jet-black in colour (though sometimes ghostly white), but with a ridge of razor-sharp spines or bristles running down the centre of its back, a pair of huge tusks curving out from its jaws, eyes that glow a fiery red, and the fearful yet very real ability to breathe fire.
There are some more horror-style detials:
Other tangible, physical abilities attributed to the gloso, and which thereby distinguish it from insubstantial ghosts or spectres, include its predilection for devouring fresh corpses in the churchyard and for sharpening its tusks upon gravestones. It also leaves visible tracks in its wake.
But do not worry, frenzied Infocult reader. The gloso isn't all bad.
According to Swedish legend, on the evening of Christmas Day (and also on New Year's Eve) anyone can discover everything that will happen to them during the incoming New Year if they are brave enough to withstand an assault by the gloso. The ritual stipulates that after the sun has set, you must visit four different churches in four different parishes, walk around each church in an anti-clockwise direction, and then blow through the keyhole of each church's door. After blowing through the keyhole of the fourth church's door, if you then peer through it you will witness all of the most notable events that await you in the New Year, rushing before your eyes in a rapid stream of images like a speeded-up movie film.
Gloso goes nicely with Iceland's scary Christmas cat.
(thanks to D'Arcy Norman on the Twitters)