This creature was definitely inspired to strike fear into children to make them go to sleep. The folklore came from South Germany and similar legends exists in Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland and even Russia.
The Nachtkrapp is usually described as a giant and nocturnal raven-like bird. They would go out of their nest during nighttime to hunt. What do they hunt you might ask? They hunt little children for food.
Probably because children are smaller and easier to carry, they would abduct the children to their nest and would start devouring them brutally ripping their limbs and pecking at the body to pick out the children’s heart.
Some say the Nachtkrapp actually has a special bag it likes to carry around to abduct the children away with. Though, how they hold the bag while being a bird is a bit of a mystery and just adds to its creepiness. It just depends on how crazy the child’s imagination to bring life to how a Nachtkrapp would look like.
This is an example of a child with little imagination trying to depict how a Nachtkrapp would look like.
Tamer Version of the Nachtkrapp
The tamer version of the scary Nachtkrapp is called the Wütender Nachtkrapp. It literally means Angry (Nagging) Night Raven. Though there’s the addition of Angry in its name, they don’t kill like the normal Nachtkrapp would. They would just make loud noises by crowing out loud and flapping its wings to terrorize children into being silent.
There is another version which depicts a benevolent version of the Nachtkrapp. It is called the Guter Nachtkrapp which means Good Night Raven. This bird would enter the children’s room and gently sing them to sleep. For all we know, it was instilling fear amongst the children by singing scary children’s rhymes with them being eaten at the end while passing it off as sweet. (haha)