The Haferbock is just another one of those classic German folklore creatures called the Feldgeist, or corn-demons. Yeah, you heard me right; a corn-demon.
It’s a spirit closely related to vegetation and the growing of seeds. To be more specific; The Haferbock, or the Habergeis, is a creature that embodies the act of regeneration, and the circle of life for plants or growing things.
The Haferbock belongs to the family of Feldgeist, as I just mentioned, much in the same way as the Kurote belong to the yokai-family. There are dozens of Feldgeist, or vegetation deities, in German folklore, but the one that did catch my eye was the Haferbock.
The Haferbock takes the form of a goat in most stories, but it is also known to take the form of a three-legged bird or a goat-bird hybrid. The Feldgeist hide in the cornfields, and usually try to flee from any trespassers or humans it encounters. However, should you catch up to the Haferbock, or worse – touch it, the best you’ll get away with is bad luck for the rest of the day.
Should you meet a specifically vicious goat-bird it might slap you on your face, kick you, bite you, or even devour you.
If that wasn’t bad enough, tell your children to never imitate the cry of the Haferbock, should they hear it while playing in the fields. As the Haferbock really dislike imitations. Bad luck is ensued, and it will do everything in its power to catch the imitator. Even if the spirit does not succeed, you’ll find the bloody coat of a dead goat-bird hanging outside your window when you get back home, and trust me – it won’t be a pleasing sight.
Actually, you should never let your children near your cornfields, as the Haferbock is very fond of children, and not in a good way.
This trait is very important to the legend, as the spirits quite likely originated from the farmers’ own desire to frighten their children from entering the cornfields in the first place. Some sources claim it might be related to invoke extra vigor and speed into the reapers back in the day so that they speed up their work. (The faster they’ll get done, the less chance of encountering a Haferbock)