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2012, December 9 (ca.): The ’Roof Walker’ of Scandinavia

On December 9, 2012, a Danish user in the DeviantArt website called 'Humon,' who had previously shown a great interest in creatures from folklore around the world, shared an urban myth that she claimed was going around in Scandinavia; she had yet to see anything regarding it on the internet, so decided to share what she had run across.

The Roofwalker
The creature. [Larger version here]

        Humon had heard stories about a creature known variously as 'Tag Vandren' ("Roof Walker"), 'Tag Kavleren' ("Roof Crawler"), and/or 'Tag Hopper' ("Roof Jumper")... and, as you may have gathered, it is mostly seen on the rooftops of buildings. In fact, one of the creature's most notable traits is a genuine reluctance to touch the ground at all, instead jumping between rooftops, trees, cars, fences, big rocks, and so on; anything reasonably higher than ground level. This of course implies the second most notable trait of this creature: an ability to leap great distances. Past this, the Roof Walker is described as looking like a handsome human male but with glowing orange dog eyes, claws instead of hands, and wearing entirely black clothes. Some tales state the creature has ink-black skin as well.

        Humon stated that the first time the creature was seen was by a man in an apartment who was staying up late one night. This man saw what looked like a man walking on the roof of the building across from his. The figure seemed odd somehow, so the man kept watching until it suddenly became clear that the figure was now looking back. The man, embarrassed, turned away to pretend he wasn't staring; but curiosity made him glance back one more time... just as the strange figure leaped across from the opposite rooftop and landed on the border of his window with a loud bang! The creature, now just outside the window, glared at the man with its strange orange eyes, and the man ran for shelter, locking himself in the nearest room with no windows he could find. This particular person never saw the creature again.

        Other stories Human had heard of the creature claimed that it would chase people who were out alone at night, jumping from roof to street lamp, or running along fence lines. A group of teenagers who were being chased ran into the middle of a football field to escape the creature... but the Roof Walker launched itself across ten meters -- about 30 feet -- and landed on one of the teens, a boy, breaking his back. The creature immediately leaped to another teen, knocking him over, and then off him into the dark to disappear. It's also been said that the Roof Walker will grab a person if they are next to a window and pull them out; even it the window is too small. It has also been blamed for the deaths of some construction workers who fell to their deaths.

Is It a Legend?

        At the moment it's been four years since Humon first reported the Roof Walker; and though the 'Tag Vandren' can now be found in all sorts of internet websites about monsters and legends, they all only repeat what Humon first published (ignoring various fictional fan stories). So if the Tag Vandren is a real legend, then Humon is not only the first person to publish about it... she's also the only person to publish about it, which is a possible warning sign.

        Another problem that's been bothering me are the proposed names for the creature -- 'Tag Vandren' ("Roof Walker"), 'Tag Kavleren' ("Roof Crawler"), and/or 'Tag Hopper' ("Roof Jumper"). A search for just these foreign names only brings up newer, English language websites repeating Humon's legend... and a check against Google Translate makes it clear that the names don't work as is if considered Scandinavian, Dutch, or Danish. The closest approximation I could come up with was that if 'tak' was used instead of 'tag' ('tak' being the proper word for 'roof' in Scandinavian), then 'Tak Vandren' and 'Tak Hopper' can be translated as 'Roof Walk By' and 'Roof Hopper"... but the word 'kravleren' doesn't tranlate to anything in Dutch, Danish, or Scandinavian. It's possible that in trying to transcribe foreign words into her article, that Humon didn't sound them out right, or needed special characters that were not available... but the English word 'crawler' translates into Dutch, Danish, and Scandinavian as 'crawler,' so the word 'kravleren' makes no sense. And in all cases, searches for these corrected terms still brings up nothing on the legend from foreign language websites.

        Humon herself has never returned to the topic. It would seem that either she invented the legend, or it really was just a local story that never got bigger... and in both cases, it has gone on to be repeated as if it is a going story largely because of Humon's art on the creature, which displayed multiple possible appearances for the Roof Walker. This image may be the primary reason that the legend was picked up and spread by English language websites. Humon never responded to my request to display her image (hence why I produced my own for this page), but if you would like to view her original listing and image of the Roof Walker, Click Here.