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Old customs and myths

The wild scarecrows - or „Wilde Mändle“ as the natives call them - can be seen every five years.

13 men in fearful disguises drive away the evil mountain spirits while they perform their special dance.

Only members of the old Oberstdorf family generations are allowed to take part in this ritual, and each one must collect the fir sprigs for the costume from the forest himself. Then they rehearse the traditional dancing figures for months on end.

When, at last, the time has come, the men start to sway to the ever-recurring melody and then, after a while they stamp their feet louder and louder until the chills run up and down the spines of even the spectators in the back rows. Old myths become very much alive again, and the odd one or two can’t help risking a stolen look to see whether one the spirits happens to be lurking behind him!