A to Z Challenge Folklore

Beware the Bogeyman #folklore #AtoZChallenge

B for Bogeyman

Learn more about the challenge here.

I’m doing folklore and book review posts to reach and please a larger audience. Previous years have shown select interest in both and to minimise blogging throughout the year, I’m focusing my efforts on April.

If you’d rather check out my book review for today, go here.

Learn more about the A to Z Challenge here.

Who hasn’t been afraid of the monster in the closet or under the bed…?

No monster under the bed. Image credit.



But our ogres are nothing to the bogies which make not only night but day terrible to the studious infants of Japan and China.

Bogeyman. Image credit.


Bugges, 288. Frightful and unnatural appearances, as in bugbears, a now equivalent word.
Bulbeggers, B 2. Terrifying goblins. I see no difficulty in the derivation from Bul, a bull, or bull’s face, it being terrifying enough, especially when, enraged or mad, it is directly opposed to you; and a bulbegger is an over-bold beggar, etc.

Bogeyman. Image credit.

Element Encyclopedia of Fairies by Lucy Cooper


Tales of the Bag-man, or Man with the Sack, are told in many cultures to frighten children into good behaviour. They generally portray him as a nebulous, threatening spirit carrying a bag or sack on his back in which he puts children who misbehave.

Awd Goggie

In Yorkshire, England, children were warned to keep away from orchards for fear that Awd Goggie, a wicked sprite who protected woods and orchards, would “get them”.


In The Discoverie of Witchcraft by R. Scot, first published in 1584, bullbeggars are described as “terrifying goblins”. Elsewhere in old texts the bullbeggar is depicted as a cautionary bugbear; an ugly or deformed man useful as a threat with which to control misbehaving children.

Clap Cans

Lancashire bogie that can be heard but not seen, so-called because of the sound it makes, like that of banging together cans or pots. It is one of the less frightening of the bogies.

El Coco

A bogieman in many Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries. The myth of El Coco is thought to have originated in Portugal and Galicia and spread to Latin American countries such as Mexico, Argentina, and Chile with Spanish and Portuguese colonisation. The name “Coco” is related to the Portuguese and Spanish for “skull” and the bogieman is sometimes represented as a coconut or a carved pumpkin. Like a dark counterpart to a guardian angel, he is said to take the form of a dark, shadowy figure, often sitting on the roof, where he watches over a child, ready to pounce at any sign of disobedience or bad behaviour and spirit them away.


French bogeyman, literally, the “cruncher of mittens”. When French children misbehave, their parents threaten to send them to the croquemitaine, who will gobble them up.

Jack in Irons

Yorkshire bogie. Travellers, beware when walking lonely Yorkshire roads at night, for this giant figure clad in clanking chains is said to lie in wait to pounce on unsuspecting victims. Some say he wears the heads of his victims and wields a big spiked club.


Nursery bogie of the Isle of Wight who was listed by Elizabeth Mary Wright in Rustic Speech and Folklore (1913) as a figure used to frighten children into good behaviour. ‘I’ll send the mumpoker after ye!” was a threat used by parent to quiet noisy children. “Mum” referred to the silent, stealthy approach of this nursery fairy.

Bogeyman. Image credit.

Nursery Bogies

Spirits that perform the function of warning children away from dangerous places or cautioning them not to misbehave.

Nututaja, Night Wailer

Old Estonian folk tales recount the distress of a child under the influence of the Nututaja, an evil spirit who causes children to weep and wail excessively during the night and refuse to be comforted. Various cures describe somewhat brutal methods of restoring peace, such as setting fire to an item of clothing from an ill-wisher and holding the smoking cloth over the child, reciting incantations, placing herbs on the navel, and lightly striking the child with a wetted rope, coiling it and passing the child’s body through the loops. This had to be performed on a Thursday evening.

Rawhead and Bloody Bones

A nursery bogie in English folklore, said to live in the cupboard under the stairs. Those brave or foolhardy enough to sneak a peek through the keyhole might catch a glimpse of the dreadful creature squatting on a pile of bones of naughty children, blood running down his face. He punished children who lied and said bad words – or peeped into his cupboard.

*More can be read in the book.

Bogeyman. Image credit.

Encyclopedia of Beasts and Monsters in Myth, Legend and Folklore by Theresa Bane

Tsukomogami (TSU-koo-moh GAH-mee)

Variations: Artifact Spirits, Thing-Wraiths, Tsukumogami, Tsukumo-Gami, Tsukumogamo

The YŌKAI of Japanese folklore are collectively known as the tsukomogami (“ninety-nine year gods”); these beings were once household items. If intact enough after one hundred years of use (or abandonment) they may develop a soul and consciousness and become animate out of a sense of disattachment and misery, acting of their own accord. There are many different types of household items which may develop into YŌKAI and each one is different; in general, the tsukomogami do enjoy playing pranks or terrorizing humans for all of their years of abandonment, abuse, or usage.


Variations: Boggelman, Bogieman, Boogerman, Boogermonster, Boogeyman, Boogie Man, Boogyman, Bumann, NURSERY BOGIE

A creature in many cultures from all historical periods, the bogeyman is basically a type of horrific and terrifying NURSERY BOGIE, a being used to prevent the members of society from committing an act considered socially unacceptable; the indiscretion which can trigger an assault from this being can range from something as simple as walking into the woods alone, venturing too near the edge of a lake or pond, having premarital relations, or wandering the roads alone at night. Dangerous and evil, the bogeyman is not a mischief-maker or a troublesome spirit but rather a malignant and murderous creature which exists on the cultural boundaries between what is perceived as socially right and what is seen as unacceptable, evil, and wrong; it is the epitome of the chaos which can exist when a cultural boundary is crossed. Many tales of the bogeyman have to do with unruly children.

Bonhomme Sept-Heures

A BOGEYMAN from the folklore of Quebec, Canada, Bonhomme Sept-Heures (“mister seven o’clock”) comes around seven o’clock in the evening to gather up all the children who are not in bed. The ones he catches, he takes back to his cave and eats.

Bogeyman. Image credit.

Bussemand, plural: bussemend

A BOGEYMAN from Dutch folklore, the bussemand (“nose pick”) is said to live beneath children’s beds and snatch up the one who will not go to sleep at bedtime.

El Cucuy

A species of BOGEYMAN from Mexican folklore, el cucuy is used by parents to frighten children into good behavior; it is described as being a small creature which hides in closets and under beds. The cucuy can be spotted in the darkness by its glowing red eyes.

*More can be read in the book.

Bogeyman and girl. Image credit.

Further Reading:

Bogeyman peaking through wall… Image credit.

Folklore in a Nutshell by Ronel

In folklore, sometimes called bugbears or the bagman, the bogeyman is a terrifying goblin used to scare children (and at times, adults) into good behaviour. From a bogeyman haunting the orchards, such as Awd Goggie who would “get them” if they went into the orchards alone, to one haunting the lone roads after dark, such as Jack in Irons who wears the heads of his victims around his neck along with the clanking chains wound around him, the bogeyman is there to warn people of the consequences of not doing the safe and right thing. Awd Goggie probably “got” the children who ate too much fruit in the orchards with runny tummies… Other bogeymen include creatures such as Rawhead and Bloody Bones who supposedly lived in the cupboard under the stairs, punishing children who lied, said bad words – or peeped into the cupboard it lived in, seeing its true appearance. And, of course, el cucuy who hides under the bed or in the closet, its glowing eyes the only sign that it is there, ready to pounce on misbehaving children.

The bogeyman isn’t simply there to scare: this murderous, malignant creature will punish those who step over the social bounds of what is acceptable.

Bogeyman in Modern Culture

Monsters, Inc. Film

A classic example of the monsters hiding in the closet or under your bed…

Rise of the Guardians film

Pitch Black. Image credit.

“You didn’t expect me to stay in the dark forever… did you?” —Pitch

Pitch Black, the Nightmare King, is the Rise of the Guardians’ re-imagining of the Boogeyman, the mythical creature that haunts the closets and dark corners of childhood nightmares and the main antagonist of the film.

Learn more here.

Grimm TV series

El Cucuy hearing calls for help. Image credit.

An El Cucuy (el KOO-koo-ee; Span. El Coco “the Bogeyman”) is a bogeyman-like Wesen that appeared in “El Cucuy“.

For many years, El Cucuy have inspired legends in Spanish speaking cultures of a bogeyman-like namesake who punishes those that have done wrong. The tale is especially used as motivation for children to listen to their parents. El Cucuy rarely woge in front of others to hide their identity. They behave in a vigilante-like manner and are known to administer justice (or at least vengeance) for those who seek it. 

Learn more here.

Harry Potter book series by JK Rowling

Harry Potter series box set. Image credit.

The bogeyman was a dark magical creature that preyed on young children. Bogeymen were vulnerable to light, so a simple Wand-Lighting Charm was enough to make them “squint painfully”.[1]

Learn more here.

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa (My Review)

“Princess.” From the darkness under the bed, something latched on to my ankle, claws digging into my skin. I yelped, swinging my feet up onto the mattress, and Ethan gave a startled cry.

“Dammit, bogey!” My sore throat blazed with pain at the outburst, making me even angrier. I leaped off the bed and stalked to Ethan’s dresser, grabbing the flashlight still kept on top. Bogeys hated light, and the white beam of a flashlight could make them flee in terror. “I am so not in the mood for this,” I rasped, flicking on the beam. “You have three seconds to get out of here before I make you leave.”

“Meggie.” Ethan hopped off the bed and padded up, taking my hand. “It’s okay. It’s only Spider. He’s my friend.”

I looked at him, aghast. Since when did bogeys make friends with the kids they terrorized?

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Bogeyman in My Writing

Origin of the Fae: Bogeyman

Belief in them makes them stronger. They can move as shadows or be corporeal – or something in-between. Some intentionally hunt people through their connections with others, playing mind games before killing their prey. They feed on the fear they incite. For most, fear is enough to sustain them, but others need to kill. They live in the dark spaces in a dwelling: under the bed, beneath the sofa, in the closet, in the dark corner of a cupboard, etc. They don’t like light or laughter. They take on the appearance of that which would terrify their victim the most.

Bogeyman translated to Afrikaans: Paaiboelie.

See this fae in action in my writing:

Dark Fae (Origin of the Fae #7)

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Where did you first encounter the bogeyman? What do you think of this scary faery? Check out my Pinterest board dedicated to the subject.

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image credit https://pixabay.com/illustrations/ai-generated-fairy-wings-magic-8121013/

No-one writes about the fae like Ronel Janse van Vuuren.

6 thoughts on “Beware the Bogeyman #folklore #AtoZChallenge”

  1. I already subscribe by email to your blog, and I’ve enjoyed many of your articles though I don’t often comment. I was always afraid to look under the bed or in the closet as a child. Still can’t sleep with the closet doors open, and I still won’t look under the bed after dark. I that it has something to do with the many spooky stories I heard as a child, especially the Grimm ones.
    Good thing I didn’t read about all these monsters and bogeyman’s after dark. Thanks for the read. 🙂

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