Walpurgis Night in popular culture

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Walpurgis Night has appeared many times in works of popular culture.

Theatre and ballet[edit]

Literature[edit]

  • In Jurgen, A Comedy of Justice a 1919 fantasy book by James Branch Cabell, in return for standing up for the devil in a previous days conversation the main character, Jurgen, is given a gift from the devil. He enters into a cave on Walpurgisnacht, where his journey begins.
  • In The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley, the main Sabbat of the satanists takes place on Walpurgis Night on Salisbury Plain from which the Duc de Richleau and Rex van Ryn rescue their friend Simon Aron from a devil-worshipping cult.
  • In The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs, Lewis Barnavelt unwittingly raises from the dead a long-dead witch with megalomaniac designs on Walpurgis Night.
  • The last chapter of book five of Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain is named "Walpurgis Night."
  • Gustav Meyrink wrote a novel called Walpurgis Night in 1917, about a carnivalesque popular uprising in Prague against the city's longtime Germanic monarchs.
  • In Mikhail Bulgakov's book The Master and Margarita, Satan hosts a Grand Ball on Walpurgis Night.
  • Thomas Pynchon's novel, Gravity's Rainbow, has several scenes set during Walpurgis Night 1945, and also makes references to such matters as the Brocken Spectre.
  • In Ogden Nash's poem entitled A Tale of the Thirteenth Floor , where the ghostly thirteenth floor of a New York hotel only becomes accessible to mortals on Walpurgis Night.
  • The Bram Stoker short story "Dracula's Guest" takes place on Walpurgisnacht: "Walpurgis Night was when, according to the belief of millions of people, the devil was abroad – when the graves were opened and the dead came forth and walked. When all evil things of earth and air and water held revel."
  • In the H. P. Lovecraft story "The Dreams in the Witch House", Walpurgis Night is referred to as "the Witches' Sabbath", when Hell's blackest evil roamed the earth and all the slaves of Satan gathered for nameless rites and deeds.
  • The last major work of the Viennese satirist Karl Kraus was an anti-Nazi polemic titled Die dritte Walpurgisnacht ("The Third Walpurgis Night").
  • The Death Eaters from the Harry Potter series were once known as the Knights of Walpurgis.
  • In her short story "The Waltz", Dorothy Parker refers to the gentleman's dancing as "something you do on St. Walpurgis Night."
  • A scene in Goethe's Faust Part One is called "Walpurgisnacht", and one in Faust Part Two is called "Classical Walpurgisnacht".
  • In Anton Szandor LaVey's The Satanic Bible, Walpurgisnacht is listed as an important Satanic holiday
  • In Mark Chadbourn's novel Always Forever there is a creature known as 'the walpurgus'
  • The protagonist in Vladimir Nabokov's "The Enchanter" (novella) questions of his two contradicting passions "whether one is a rare flowering of the other on the Walpurgis Night of my murky soul."
  • A short story by Delia Sherman is named Walpurgis Afternoon.
  • In the Neal Stephenson novel "Quicksilver", protagonist Jack Shaftoe inadvertently happens upon the Walpurgisnacht celebration while lost in the Harz Mountains.
  • In the Etienne Leroux novel Seven days at the Silbersteins a symbolical version of Walpurgisnacht is carried out on the sixth day of Henry van Eeden's visit to Welgevonden. The symbolic value of this ritual pays close attention to the idea of individuation as proposed by Carl Jung.
  • The climax of Robert Anton Wilson's "The Illuminatus! Trilogy" takes place on Walpurgisnacht.
  • The manga series "King of Cards" by Tateno Makoto features a shop called Walpurgis Night, which is a hangout for underhanded Chaos card players.
  • The Swedish novel "The White Lioness" by Henning Mankell refers to Walpurgis Eve in chapter six when a thief is forced to work on that night. The book is translated to English by Laurie Thompson.
  • The character Lisbeth Salander in the novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has her birthday on Walpurgis night.
  • Roger Zelazny wrote a short story called Walpurgisnacht.
  • Jonathan L. Howard's novel "Johannes Cabal the Necromancer" begins on "Walpurgisnacht" with Cabal traveling to Hell.

Music[edit]

  • Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn composed a dramatic choral oratorio, Die erste Walpurgisnacht, in 1831, based on the Goethe poem.
  • In the third of his set of six piano sketches, "From the Bohemian Forest", Czech composer Antonín Dvořák portrays the rituals of Walpurgis Night.
  • British band Procol Harum recorded their classical-inspired song "Repent Walpurgis" in 1967, one of the earliest and best known prog epics.
  • Heavy metal pioneers, Black Sabbath had a song called "Walpurgis". It was the original version of their song "War Pigs" with lyrics involving the events at a Black Mass, likely based on some of the popular fiction novels of Dennis Wheatley (whose famous book The Devil Rides Out dealt with a group of friends battling Satanists in and around the black mass on Walpurgis night) which Geezer Butler had read. It was only ever recorded once with those lyrics on John Peel's Radio show in 1970. According to several sources, both the band and the record label were concerned with the recent events of the Manson killings. Not wishing to be associated with Satanists or dark cults, Geezer chose to rewrite the song into an anti-war statement instead.
  • The American noise rock band Liars released a concept album, "They Were Wrong, So We Drowned" which is loosely based on Walpurgisnacht.
  • Night on Bröcken, the title track from the debut album by American progressive metal band Fates Warning, is based on Walpurgis night.
  • German metal band Running Wild released a song entitled Walpurgis Night on their 1984 debut album Gates to Purgatory.
  • The Russian punk rock band Sektor Gaza (Сектор Газа) has a song called Valpurgiyeva Noch' (Вальпургиева Ночь), meaning Walpurgis Night.
  • Beginning with Badmotorfinger, Matt Cameron's work with Soundgarden is credited to the ASCAP publishing body "Walpurgis Night Music".
  • Austrian blackened death metal band Belphegor released an album in 2009 entitled Walpurgis Rites - Hexenwahn which contains a song called Walpurgis Rites.
  • Chicago-based composer Joe Clark's "Asterism" for Choir (2009), recipient of the 2009 Kleinman Award and based on text by H.P. Lovecraft, is to be performed on Walpurgis Night "when the stars are right..."
  • Spanish band Fangoria has a song on their 2009 album Absolutamente called "Las Walpurgis te van a Llamar" (The Walpurgis are going to Call You).
  • German thrash metal band Holy Moses released the cut "Walpurgisnight" on their 1986 album, Queen of Siam.

Film and television[edit]

  • The closing sequence (Night on Bald Mountain / Ave Maria) of Fantasia (1940) is intended to portray Walpurgisnacht, not Halloween, as is popularly supposed.
  • In the 1931 film Dracula, a Romanian peasant describes the night on which the film begins as Walpurgis Night.
  • La Noche de Walpurgis (translated as Walpurgis Night but also given several other titles) is a 1971 Spanish horror movie, the fourth in a series about the werewolf Count Waldemar Daninsky.
  • In the Japanese Hentai Bible Black series, Walpurgis Night is mentioned in both the game and OVAs, used in the titles and serves as a key date in the plot.
  • In the anime series, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Walpurgis Night is personified and is depicted as an intensely powerful entity known as a 'witch,' portrayed as one of the primary antagonists of the story.
  • In the anime series, Sugar Sugar Rune, a Walpurgis Night festival is held every year by the witches of the Magical World.
  • In the anime series, Betrayal Knows My Name, an episode called Walpurgis Night is featured as a day when demons referred as Duras become stronger.
  • In the anime series, Dance in the Vampire Bund, an episode is called "Walpurgis Night".
  • An episode of the TV programme Lexx was titled "Walpurgis Night".