About the creature “Der Großmann” isn’t much known besides of this one text:
There are woodcuts dated back to the 16th century in Germany featuring a tall, disfigured man with only
white spheres where his eyes should be. They called him “Der Großmann”[Sic], the tall man. He was a fairy
who lived in the Black Forest. Bad children who crept into the woods at night would be chased by the
slender man, and he wouldn’t leave them alone until he caught them, or the child told the parents what
he or she had done. Even then, there is this chilling account from an old journal, dating around 1702:
(Translated from German, some words may be innaccurate)
“My child, my Lars…He is gone. Taken, from his bed. The only thing that we found was a scrap of black
clothing. It feels like cotton, but it is softer…thicker. Lars came into my bedroom yesterday, screaming
at the top of his lungs that “The angel is outside!”, I asked him what he was talking about, and he told me
some nonsense fairy story about Der Großmann. He said he went into the groves by our village and found one
of my cows dead, hanging from a tree. I thought nothing of it at first…But now, he is gone. We must find
Lars, and my family must leave before we are killed. I am sorry my son…I should have listened. May God
Those mentioned woodcuts are said to be these ones:
The last two woodcuts are said to be made by the german woodcutter Hans Freckenberg during the mid-sixteenth century and are said to feature a character named “Der Ritter” (The Knight). They were discovered in the Hastlberg castle in 1883.
I tried to look up further information about Hans Freckenberg, but didn’t find anything of interest.
Instead, i found out that the last two woodcuts are actual from another german woodcutter: Hans Holbein der Jüngere (Hans Holbein the younger).
They are both part of a bigger collection of woodcuts, which are named “Danse macabre” or “Dance Of The Dead”.
During the fifteenth and sixteenth century the “Dance of the death” was popular thing to draw because of the highly visible nature of death during that time, even increasing after the appearance of the “Black Death”.
Yet, I haven’t found any information about the first woodcut so far…..