Episode 64: Workers of Death: Aufhocker
The folklore of aufhocker in a nutshell, how I reimagined them for my writing.
Written and narrated by Ronel Janse van Vuuren.
Copyright 2023 Ronel Janse van Vuuren — All rights reserved.
Learn more about aufhocker in folklore here.
Get the transcript here.
As featured on the Top 50 Folklore Podcasts.
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Music: Secrets by David Fesliyan (FesliyanStudios.com) and Dramatic Heartbeat by FesliyanStudios.com
You’re listening to the Faeries and Folklore podcast by Ronel.
I’m dark fantasy author Ronel Janse van Vuuren. With nearly a decade of digging around in dusty folklore books, researching creatures of imagination that ignited my curiosity, I’m here to share the folklore in a nutshell and how I reimagined it for my writing in an origin of the fae.
This is the Faeries and Folklore podcast.
Hi, I’m your host Ronel Janse van Vuuren. You can just call me Ronel. In today’s episode, we’re continuing our exploration of the fae realm.
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We’re continuing our exploration of the workers of death.
Today’s Faery: Aufhocker
Folklore in a Nutshell by Ronel
The Aufhocker is a giant black dog from German folklore. It is said to attack lone travellers at night, either ripping out their throats or leaping upon them and staying put until the person suffocates from its weight. It is especially active at crossroads.
Some believe the Aufhocker is a vampiric creature that rises up on its hind legs before ripping out their throat and drinking the blood of their victim, and fleeing with the rise of the sun or the sound of church bells.
There are even whispers that this black dog can change shape – usually into that of a horse. Though here it acts similarly to phoukas and kelpies, deviating from everything else known about the Aufhocker.
A lot of the time, the Aufhocker finds a lone traveller on a dark road and walks with them for some time before suddenly attacking. And though this stalking behaviour of this black dog is similar to that of British black dogs, there isn’t much more to find about the folklore behind it unlike most others of its kind.
So just stay away from crossroads at night and don’t travel alone if you want to stay safe.
And now for my interpretation of the fae in an Origin of the Fae: Aufhocker
Singular: Aufhocker. Plural: Aufhöcker.
Aufhöcker are black dogs that guard crossroads. They sometimes wander off and patrol nearby roads. As crossroads are places where faery bargains can be struck and where, on occasion, mortals can move through realms, the Aufhocker needs to make sure that the balance of the realms are kept – no-one wants a repeat of the Rumpelstiltskin disaster.
This black dog usually appears as a Giant Schnauzer as to not terrify anyone until needed. It does rip out throats and drinks blood, but it is only to fuel its glamour and the protections around the crossroads, not out of gluttony. It usually hunts criminals of all sorts, leaving the innocent unharmed. Unlike what folklore suggests, sunlight doesn’t harm Aufhöcker.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode of the faeries and folklore podcast and that you’ve learned something new about faeries.
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