Beware the Bogeyman

“If you don’t behave, the Bogeyman will get you…”

It’s perhaps one of the most effective phrases a parent uses to keep small children in line.  A creature of the night who takes away or punishes misbehaving children, the Bogeyman has a thousand names and methods the world over.

Of course as adults, we shake our heads and smile.  There’s no such thing as the Bogeyman…


Take a look at some of these terrifying stories from around the world, and decide for yourself.

Abu Rigl Maslukha:  Egypt

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Abu Rigl Maslukha translates to “Man with burned/skinned legs” and it’s a story that’s been told to naughty children in Egypt for generations.  Abu Rigl Maslukha misbehaved when he was a child and because he did not listen to his parents he was badly burned on the lower part of his body.  Perhaps he learned his lesson too well, for now he stalks the night seeking out naughty children.  If he captures them, he will take them back to his lair to cook and eat them…



The Old Hag: Newfoundland

A bogeywoman who stalks the night, the Old Hag is said to creep into the bedrooms of naughty children and suffocate them in their sleep by sitting on their chest.  Once dead, the Old Hag will take their bodies back to her home where she devours them.  Today, we believe that the Old Hag story was born from the experience of sleep paralysis in which a person is caught between sleep and wakefulness.  The condition causes a feeling of paralysis and those who experience the phenomena often report the feeling of being watched or seeing a creature move in the periphery of their vision.

Bloody Bones:  Great Britain, Southern USA

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The earliest known mention of Bloody Bones came in 1548, and his story has been effective ever since.  Appearing as a short, squat man with blood running down his face, Bloody Bones sits atop a pile of bones taken from children who tell lies or use foul language.  In the version I heard as a child, Bloody Bones had removed his eyelids so that, even should he be sleeping, he could remain watchful for misbehaving children.  I’ll admit the story gives me chills to this very day.

El Cucuy: Mexico/Mexican Americans

A frightful ghost that hides under children’s beds, Cucuy is always watching and waiting for a naughty child to leave their beds when they should be asleep.  He is small with glowing red eyes, and some say he was once a misbehaving child himself.  Now, he bides his time until he can get his hands on a naughty child dragging them under their bed or into their closets to disappear.  Some say he eats them, while others maintain he merely keeps them to torture them.  Either way, it’s best to stay in bed once your parents have tucked you in at night!

Wewe Gombel: Indonesia

In an interesting variation, Wewe Gombel from Indonesia is a ghost like creature who kidnaps children who are being mistreated by their parents.  She takes them away until the parents promise change their ways.  Wewe Gombel treats the children as a kindly grandmother, never harming them in any way.

So, what was the Bogeyman called where you’re from?

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