The Woman Referenced in “That’s What She Said”

Image by Vector, quotes and edit by author

Origin: One surprising genre under “folklore” that gives insight into different cultures is… jokes! This particular style is called a “double entendre,” where a word or phrase is open to two interpretations, one of which is usually sexual. It’s had previous interpretations in the past (i.e. “said the actress to…


John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt

Images by Passiflora70, torontoaes, and Passatic; edit and text by author

Origin Story: Children’s songs fit under the umbrella of “folklore,” and this Vaudevillian-based tune is an example of “indefinite repetition” — meaning it can loop forever and ever…

“John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
His name is my name too.
Whenever we go out
The people always shout,
‘There goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.’
Da da da…


Krampus, the Evil Twin of Santa Claus

Image by Corrine Alexander, edited by author

Original Story: In Austrian-German folklore, Krampus is a half-goat, half-demon and evil twin of Saint Nicholas (aka Santa Claus) who disciplines bad children on Christmas by either beating them with a switch or carrying them away in a satchel to eat them.

Dear Dr. Folklore,

My professional life is perfect…


Belsnickel — Germany’s Dirty Santa (& Dwight Schrute’s Idol)

Illustration by Tessa Peterson, edit and text (“Oh, Judgment is Nigh, But the Belsnickel ist I!”) by author

Origin Story: Belsnickel is a crotchety, fur-clad gift giver related to other companions like St. Nicholas in the folklore of southwestern Germany. His partner, Zwarte Piet, or “Black Peter” (a slave boy), often portrayed in colorful pantaloons and blackface. …

Kegan Witzki

Actor. Writer. Musician.

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