Krampus is a pagan Alpine god from Switzerland (though found elsewhere, too) who accompanied St. Nicholas on his travels and served as his counterpoint: that is, he punished naughty children (appropriate in Wisconsin, no?). Krampus is one of many of St. Nicholas’ companions, who join him all over the world.
It seems that some of the Germanic peoples of Wisconsin have decided it was time to resurrect Krampus for neo-pagan political effect. It is great, symbolic theater, and I for one wish we could tap into the now virtually forgotten parts of our mythological heritage. It’s been a particular preoccupation of mine for quite some time, especially the prankster gods.