Saturday, August 20, 2011

In Search of the Alp


One of my Finnish readers, Tapio Mäkinen, alerted me to an expedition to the Waldviertel region of Austria in search of the Alp. He is looking for interested parties to join him once he arrives on location. His website is The Finnish Hunter. He states: "We're leaving Saturday August, 27th and staying two weeks. First we're going to spend two-three days in Vienna to assemble local resourses, but then we're (as soon as possible) going to Zwettl and on out into the woods." Tapio can be contacted through his website.

His description of this cryptid (edited for comprehension): "For you who not are familiar with the Alp it's an ancient creature. It's described in old books and art like "Nachtmahr" (“Night-mare”) by Johann Heinrich Füssli (1802). It was first mentioned in the 16th century and most of the myths about this creature were made up during the 19th century.

The Alp is a sort of huge bat with humanoid features with longer legs and arms. Since there are no clear pictures of this creature one has to rely on eyewitnesses when it comes to it's appearance.

It's covered in fur and is believed to be closely related to flying foxes. The humanoid features are hard to explain but it might be a misunderstanding (it has arms). Most likely it's a thicker part of the humerus and radius bone that might look like arms.

The size of the Alp is disputed and there is a misconception that they are the same size as a full grown man. There is no evidence that this would be the case, quite the opposite. The proportion between the body and the wings are 1:5 or 1:6. An Alp the same size as a full grown man would need a wingspan of about 10 meters to fly. This has never been recorded. The wingspan is more likely 4-5 meters and this would give it a length of about one meter.

There are many differences between a flying fox and an Alp but this is the closest relative. The wingspan of a flying fox is just under 2 meters, so the Alp is bigger.


Pteropus or Flying Fox

The myth about the Alp being a vampyre originates from the myths about vampyre bats. There are bloodsucking bats but they are very rare. It was during the 19th century the myths about the Alp as a vampire began. There were no records of the Alp being a bloodsucker before 1817. The myths about vampyres from the 18th century through the beginning of the 19th century incorporate other creatures and present them as vampires. The stories that the Alp is a blood sucking vampyre has never been proved. There are also myths about the Alp being a shapeshifter and haunt it's victims by entering their mind and giving them nightmares (the appearance of the Alp is enough to give you nightmares, I'll admit that).

My extensive research shows that the Alp is a distant relative to the flying fox. It's extremely shy and has a very long lifespan. There are creatures that can reach almost 200 years. The explanation that the remains of a dead Alp have never been found is that it's a very small population, they live long and in isolated areas. There are probably only 6-8 individuals left and they are spread out over central and eastern Europe. Where they breed, how they nest and other question remains unknown."


A recent sighting

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THE ALP - DEMON OF NIGHTMARES

The Alp, from German lore, is a vampiric spirit, or demon, who can shape-shift. They are often described in german legends as appearing in nightmares as a bogeyman or an incubus.

Alps are considered to be a butterfly vampire and a released by the horerczy demon. (A horerczy is a German demon that releases vampiric butterflies out of his mouth.) Alps suck the breath out of humans. Not only do they appear as butterflies, they can also take the form of cats, pigs, birds, and sickly dogs. They also always wears a magical hat that gives the alp supernatural power and invisibility.

The alp are said to wait until people are asleep and will cause awful dreams. It enters the sleepers mouth as a form of mist or a snake and attacks with its evil eye. They also can sexually molests both males and females, drinking blood through the nipple of men and women. They also drink milk from women’s breasts as well as from cows. If you are a woman and want protection against the alp, it is said if you place your shoes next to your bed pointing them towards the door. It is also said that if a child’s mother used a horse collar to help with the difficulties of childbirth while that child was born, that child is at a high of becoming an alp. - bloodylexicon.com

AN ALP IS CAPTURED

"A cabinetmaker in Bühl slept in a bed in his workshop. Several nights in a row something laid itself onto his chest and pressed against him until he could hardly breathe. After talking the matter over with a friend, the next night he lay awake in bed. At the stroke of twelve a cat slipped in through a hole. The cabinetmaker quickly stopped up the hole, caught the cat, and nailed down one of its paws. Then he went to sleep.

The next morning he found a beautiful naked woman in the cat's place. One of her hands was nailed down. She pleased him so much that he married her.

One day, after she had borne him three children, she was with him in his workshop, when he said to her, "Look, that is where you came in!" and he opened the hole that had been stopped up until now.

The woman suddenly turned into a cat, ran out through the opening, and she was never seen again." - Bernhard Baader, "Alp," Volkssagen aus dem Lande Baden und den angrenzenden Gegenden - 1851

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