The Bogeyman (also spelled boogyman, bogyman, boogieman, boogey monster, or boogeyman) is a folkloric or legendary ghost-like monster. The bogeyman has no specific appearance, and conceptions of the monster can vary drastically even from household to household within the same community; in many cases he simply has no set appearance in the mind of a child, but is just an amorphous embodiment of terror. Bogeyman can be used metaphorically to denote a person or thing of which someone has an irrational fear. Parents often say that if their child is naughty, the bogeyman will get them, in an effort to make them behave. The bogeyman legend may originate from Scotland, where such creatures are sometimes called bogles, boggarts, or bogies.
Bogeyman tales vary by region. In some places the bogeyman is male; in others, female, and in others, both. In some Midwestern states of the United States, the bogeyman scratches at the window. In the Pacific Northwest he may manifest in "green fog." In other places he hides under the bed or in the closet and tickles children when they go to sleep at night. It is said that a wart can be transmitted to someone by the bogeyman. Bogeymen may be said to target a specific mischief – for instance, a bogeyman that punishes children who suck their thumbs – or general misbehavior.
The word bogey is most likely derived from the Middle English bogge/bugge (also the origin of the word bug), and thus is generally thought to be a cognate of the German bögge, böggel-mann (English "Bogeyman"). The word could also be linked to many similar words in other European languages; Buse (Nynorsk), bòcan, púca, pooka or pookha (Irish Gaelic), pwca, bwga or bwgan (Welsh), puki (Old Norse), pixie or piskie (Cornish), puck (English), bogu (Slavonic).
In Southeast Asia the term is commonly accepted to refer to Bugis or Buganese pirates, ruthless seafarers of southern Sulawesi, Indonesia's third largest island. These pirates often plagued early English or Dutch trading ships, namely those of the British East India Company or Dutch East India Company. It is popularly believed that this resulted in the European sailors bringing their fear of the "bugi men" back to their home countries. However, etymologists disagree with this because words relating to bogeyman were in common use centuries before European colonisation of Southeast Asia and it is therefore unlikely that the Bugis would have been commonly known to westerners during that time. Another theory is that the term came from 17th century England, which at the time was plagued by slave traders raiding the coasts of Devon and Cornwall by Barbary pirates: one of the pirates' home ports was Boujaya (French Bougie) in present-day Algeria. Hence the phrase 'The Boogey man will get you'.
Azerbaijan - A boogeyman-like creature parents refer to make children behave is called khokhan ( "xoxan"). Bahamas "Small man" is the name given to a man who rides in a cart drawn by it self and picks up any child seen outside after sun down, the term "rollin cart" was use to scare children who didn't behave. If the small man was to take you, you would became a small person and have to ride on the back of his cart with him forever.
Brazil and Portugal - A similar creature with the same function (to scare misbehaving children) exists as the "Bag Man" (Portuguese: "homem do saco"). It is portrayed as an adult male, usually in the form of a bum, or a hobo, who carries a sack on his back (much like Santa Claus would), and collects mean disobedient children to sell. Parents may tell their kids that they will call the "Sack man" to collect them if they do not behave. A monster more akin to the Bogeyman is called "Bicho Papão" (Eating Beast). A notable difference is 'homem do saco' is a diurnal menace and "Bicho Papão" is a bed-time nocturnal menace.
Bulgaria - In Bulgaria children are sometimes told that a dark scary monster-like person called Torbalan (Bulgarian : "Торбалан" , which comes from "торба" , meaning a sack , so his name means "Man with a sack") will come and kidnap them with his large sack if they misbehave. In some villages people used to believe that a hairy, dark, ghost-like creature called a talasam (Tal-ah-SUHM) lived in the shadows of the barn or in the attic and came out at night to scare little children.
Catalonia - Children were told that the "Home dels sac" was a man that took away the children in his sack. Also that he used the fat of the children he killed to grease the rails of the Barcelona railways.
Croatia - The Croatian Bogeyman is called Babaroga, baba meaning old lady and rogovi meaning horns. Literally meaning old lady with horns. The differences vary from one household to another. In one household babaroga takes children, puts them in a sack and then, when it comes to its cave, eats them. In another household it takes children and pulls them up through tiny holes in the ceiling.
Czech Republic and Poland - Bubak or hastrman (Bugbear, scarecrow, respectively) is the Czech boogeyman; he is like Torbalan in being a man with a sack who takes children. He also, however, takes adults, and is known for hiding by riverbanks and making a sound like a lost baby, in order to lure the unwary. He weaves on nights of the full moon, making clothes for his stolen souls, and has a cart drawn by cats. In some regions of Poland, like Silesia or Great Poland, children are mock threatened with bebok (babok, bobok).
Denmark and Norway - The equivalent of the Bogeyman in Danish is bussemanden. It hides under the bed and grabs children who will not sleep. Like the English, it is also a slang term for nasal mucus. In Norway, he is referred to as Busemannen Egypt - The "Abo Ragl Ma Slokha" (ابو رجل مسلوخة), which translates to the "burnt man". It is a very scary story that parents tell their children, when they misbehave. The "Abo Ragl Ma Slokha" is a monster that got burnt when he was a child because he did not listen to his parents. He grabs naughty children to cook and eat them. Finland - The equivalent of the Bogeyman in Finland is mörkö. The most famous usage of the word these days takes place in Moomin-stories (originally written in Swedish) in which mörkö (the Groke) is a frightening, dark blue, big, ghost-looking creature. France - The French equivalent of the Bogeyman is le croque-mitaine ("the mitten-biter").
Germany - in Germany the Bogeyman is known as Der schwarze Mann (the black man), the "Buhmann" or the Butzemann. "Schwarz" does not refer to the color of skin but to his preference for hiding in dark places, like the closet, under the bed of children or in forests at night. There is also an active game for little children which is called Wer hat Angst vorm schwarzen Mann? (Who is afraid of the black man?). Greece - in Greece the equivalent of the Bogeyman is known as Baboulas (Μπαμπούλας). Most of the times he is said to be hiding under the bed, although it is used by the parents in a variety of ways.
Haiti - in Haiti, the Bogeyman is a giant, and a counterpart of Father Christmas, renowned for abducting bad children by putting them in his knapsack. His name in the Haitian creole patois is Tonton Macoute, or "Uncle Gunnysack". This name, The Tontons Macoute ("The Uncle Gunnysacks"] was given to certain Haitian secret policemen, who were said also to make people disappear, as a bogeyman.
Hungary - "Mumus" , the expression is often used to frighten kids when they do something wrong or just to have them fear something, usually the expression is used in the following context "the Mumus will take you away".
India - In India, the entity is known by different names. North India - Children are sometimes threatened with the Bori Baba, who carries a sack (bori) in which he places children he captures. A similar character is the Chownki Daar, a night shift security guard who takes children who refuse to go to sleep.
South India - In the state of Tamil Nadu, children are often mock threatened with the Rettai Kannan (the two-eyed one) or Poochaandi (பூச்சாண்டி), a monster or fearsome man that children are sometimes threatened with if they are not obedient or refuse to eat. In the state of Andhra Pradesh, the equivalent of bogeyman is Buddaa or Shaitaan.
Iran - In Persian culture children who misbehave may be told by their parents to be afraid of lulu (لولو) who eats up the naughty children. Lulu is usually called lulu-khorkhore (bogeyman who eats everything up). The threat is generally used to make small children eat their meals.
Italy - The Italian equivalent of the Bogeyman is l'uomo nero ("the black man")or Babau, portrayed as a tall man wearing a heavy black coat, with a black hood or hat which hides his face. Sometimes, parents will knock loudly under the table, pretending that someone is knocking at the door, and saying: "Here comes l'uomo nero! He must know that there's a child here who doesn't want to drink his soup!" L'uomo nero is not supposed to eat or harm children, just take them away to a mysterious and frightening place. A popular lullaby says that he would keep a child with him "for a whole month".
Japan - Namahage are demons that warn children not to be lazy or cry, during the Namahage Sedo Matsuri, or "Demon Mask Festival", when villagers don demon masks and pretend to be these spirits.
Korea - In Gyungsang province, Dokebi (도깨비) is understood as a monster that appears to get misbehaving children. The word kokemi, however, is derived from a word Kotgahm (곶감), dried persimmon. According to Korean folklore, a woman, in an attempt to soothe her crying child, said "Here comes a tiger to come and get you. I'll let him in unless you stop crying." Accidentally, a tiger passed by, overheard her and decided to wait for his free meal. Instead of opening the door of the house, to the tiger's disappointment, the mother offered her child a dried persimon saying "Here's a kotgahm." Of course, the child, busy eating, stopped crying. The tiger, not knowing what a Kotgahm is, ran away thinking "this must be a scary monster for whom even I am no match." (Tigers are revered by Koreans as most powerful and fearsome creatures.) Other variations include mangtae younggam (망태 영감) an oldman (younggam) who carries a mesh sack (mahngtae) to put his kidnapped children in. In some regions, mangtae younggam is replaced by mangtae halmum (망태 할멈), an old woman with a mesh sack. Norway* - "nøkken", the norwaegian bogeyman is portrayed as a monster in the lake, he was said to come and take children which did not come in when they were told so. Netherlands - Boeman, The Dutch Bogeyman is portrayed as a creature that resembles the appearance of a male adult, dressed completely black, with sharp claws and fangs. The Bogeyman takes bad children or those who refuse to sleep and locks them in his basement for a period of time.
Philippines - Pugot (only in most Ilocano regions), Mamu and Mumu Quebec - in this French-speaking province, the Bonhomme Sept-Heures (7 o'clock man) is said to visit houses around 7 o'clock to take misbehaving children who will not go to bed back to his cave where he feasts on them.
Romania - in Romania the equivalent of the Bogeyman is known as bau-bau (pronounced "bow-bow"). Bau-bau stories are used by parents to scare children who misbehave. The babau (babao or barabao) also appears in Italy.
Russia, Ukraine and Belarus- usually said to be hiding under the bed, babay ("бабай") or babayka ("бабайка") is used to keep children in bed or stop them from misbehaving. 'Babay' means 'old man' in Tatar. Children are told that "babay" is an old man with a bag or a monster, and that it will take them away if they misbehave. The eastern part of Ukraine has babay as well, possibly due to Russian influence. Slovenia The Slovenian Bogeyman is called Bavbav. It doesn't have a particular shape or form. Many times it isn't even defined as a man or anything human. It can be thought of as a kind of sprite or spirit although the word "spirit" also doesn't give it justice.
Spain and Spanish America- The Spanish Bogeyman is known as El Coco (also named in some parts of Spain as El Ogro, although ogro is usually the Spanish word for ogre), a shapeless figure, sometimes a hairy monster, that hides in closets or under beds and eats children that misbehave when they are told to go to bed. Parents will sing lullabies or tell rhymes to the children warning them that if they don't sleep, El Coco will come and get them. The rhyme originated in the 17th century has evolved over the years, but still retaining its original meaning. The term is also used in Spanish-speaking Latin American countries, such as Mexico, Argentina and Chile, although there it is more usually called El Cuco. In the Mexican-American community the creature is known as "El cucuy". Social sciences professor Manuel Medrano said popular legend describes cucuy as a small humanoid with glowing red eyes that hides in closets or under the bed. 'Some lore has him as a kid who was the victim of violence ... and now he’s alive, but he’s not,' Medrano said, citing Xavier Garza’s 2004 book Creepy Creatures and other Cucuys." The aforementioned Brazilian "Bag Man" also exists in Spain in the form of the Hombre del Saco or Hombre de la bolsa, who is usually depicted as a mean and impossibly ugly and skinny old man who eats the misbehaving children he collects. Curiously, the Hombre del Saco actually existed, being the man who, during the 16th and 17th centuries, was in charge of collecting orphan babies in order to take them to the orphanages: he would put them in a huge bag or in wicker baskets, and carry them all trough the province collecting more children. Most of them usually died before reaching the orphanage due to the lack of care and the obviously unsalubrious conditions in which he transported them. French writer Victor Hugo wrote about this job in his The Man Who Laughs, describing it as the starter of the Spanish bogeyman myth.
Sri Lanka - Goni Billa - A scary man carrying a sack to capture and keep children. Elders use him for kids who refused to behave well.
Sweden - in Sweden the Bogeyman is sometimes referred to as Monstret under sängen which essentially means "the monster under the bed".
Switzerland - in Switzerland the Bogeyman is called Böögg and has an important role in the springtime ceremonies. The figure is the symbol of winter and death, so in the Sechseläuten ceremony in the City of Zürich, where a figure of the Böögg is burnt. Turkey - in Turkey there is an old lullaby about a creature called Dunganga, who puts misbehaving children in its basket and takes them back to its cave to be eaten. Vietnam - ông ba bị (in the North - literally mister-three-bags) or ông kẹ (in the South) is used to make small children eat their meals or to scare children who misbehave, usually in a mock-threatening way.
The bogeyman is appears as a main character in works of children's fiction, including Raymond Briggs' book Fungus the Bogeyman, and the film Monsters Inc. in which bogeymen are portrayed as workers for power-utility company, who harvest children's screams as a source of power.
In horror, "The Bogeyman" is a short story by Stephen King, in which a man attempts to get himself committed to an asylum after his family is murdered by the Bogeyman. Boogeyman is a 2005 film about a man whose father was taken by the Boogeyman before his eyes. A second Boogeyman film was released in 2008.