Bestiary Entry #35- Butzemann

Territory & Habitat: Farms and Fields of Pennsylvania, Germany and nearby areas (As well as other areas where summoned), though to what extent is unknown.


Among the Pennsylvania Dutch AKA Deitsch there is a tradition of the “Butzemann” the Butzemann is a scarecrow and protective totem, that around Groundhog day is activated (Often by a witch) embodying a kind of nature spirit, neither the scarecrow nor the spirit alone is necessarily the Butzemann, occasionally a female version of this spirit a “Butzefrau” also exists but is less common. The Butzemann will take care of a farmers land, performing many chores and protecting against spirits of cold and rot, and receiving gifts of Molasses and Milk as thanks. Around Halloween the Butzemann’s body will be burned and its spirit released to the Parade of the Dead led by Holle. There is a risk if the body is not burned that the Wild Hunt will claim the spirit, but leave the body open to more hostile or misanthropic spirits. Each generation of Butzemann receives the names of the previous creations with the first one being known as (Name) + der nei (Or “The new”) before becoming the surname or clan name of this specific series of Butzemann/Butzefrau (Name)+sen/docha. The spirits themselves are benevolent and typically more than a little friendly to those they serve as caretakers to, though their left over scarecrow bodies serve as easy physical manifestation for any number of spirits, akin to spiritual hermit crabs in a way….

Eyewitness Accounts

  1. One well known account among the heathens of Urglaawe tribal tradition tells of “Delbel the Butzemann” who was built with a rickety leg, unclear if historical instance or if used as a warning against not following traditions regarding the physical body. The creator of Delbel died and the resulting chaos wrought carnage across the town, as Delbel’s spirit was taken by “The White Lady” but his body was left unburnt, resulting in a Boogeyman who was more than happy to set fires, let loose numerous animals, and just cause general issues before a local Braucheri (Good Witch) aided Delbel in completing the latter half of his release.
  2. Several instances of Butzemann burnings being described as “oddly beautiful” or dancing. I have yet to observe any moving scarecrows, though am not one to doubt regarding the Wild Hunt or Goblin like nature spirits.

Conclusion: The Butzemann is a generally helpful borderline domesticated spirit, far more congenial than the more temperamental Brownie or Kobold. Requiring little more than physical upkeep and some minor gifts as thank you, it is unclear given its state of being a clothed scarecrow if it dislikes gifts of clothes similar to many domestic spirits. I am forced to conclude the Butzemann is a helpful spirit, though its form should be burned to avoid rampant arson from scarecrows, we get enough of that from the humans on Halloween.

S C A R E C R O W by Sebastian Gryszpanowicz (
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