Traumafession:: Reader Dirk on Astrid Lindgren’s “Rupp Rupel”

Hello, dear traumapeople!

I don`t know, how popular the other works of Astrid Lindgren, the author of “Pippi Longstockings” are in the english speaking world, but here in Germany they are very common. So everybody likes this nice grandma and her stories about innocent times from Sveden, right? She would never traumatise anyone, right?

Well… Although her fantasy Novels are sometimes really dark, it was a pictured book, that really scared me as a child: “Rupp Rüpel – das grausigste Gespenst aus Smaland” (something like “Rupp Rude – the most horrible ghost of Smaland”) as it was called in german. Looks harmless, isn`t it?

Wrapped in a story from the author’s childhood, is the tale of the eponymous ghost: A rude troublemaker, who wants to scare the vicar, dresses as a ghost and dies from shock, when his coat is stuck in the churchdoor, because he thinks, it’s a real ghost “or even the hand of the Lord himself, who wants to punish him for his deed”. His frozen body stands on the churchyard for hundreds of years, till a tough woman makes a bet to carry him at night into a tavern. She does it and wins, but when she brings him back, he clinches his icy hands around her neck and forces her to bring him to the vicar’s grave, where he apologies and gets salvation… while the woman goes insane. Happy Ending!

Very classic mix of two famous ghost stories, we’ve often seen in “Twilight Zone” or “Hellboy”. That would’nt be the problem, even for a child. The problem were the illustrations by Ilon Wikland: Rupp’s prank as a ghost, the frozen corpse at the tavern and the gruesome grip of undead hands.

Some time ago a friend told me, that she got also traumatised by it in her childhood and still got the book. So I could get an update of his gruesomeness. – Maybe out there at the internet are more victims of Smaland’s most horrible ghost?



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9 years ago

OMG – I had this book! Here in Canada it was published as “The Ghost of Skinny Jack.” I remember my mom worrying that it might be too scary for me!