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History of the Boogeyman

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 1201 words Published: 11th Jul 2018

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Throughout Folklore worldwide there is a great diversity of monsters, but one seems to link them all; the “Boogy Man”. His stories have been passed down for generations, mainly to keep children from disobeying their parents. But this dark tale would not be forgotten easily, rather it stuck with them into their older lives. The boogeyman is a feared monster by all generations, but is so feared or prominent in today’s new age, new technological era? Discover the way in which the boogy man still has his hand in the the world of fear.

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Origins of the Boogy Man: To understand why the Boogy Man is so fearsome and has burned his mark in the world; you must know how he came to be known. Stories around the world depict him in different ways, making it hard to track his exact origin story down. The key to recognizing a true boogeyman is through the concept of children. More famously, the taking of children; or even in some cases, devouring. “In America, he is usually thought of as the scary evil that lurks beneath the bed, but in many countries–from Latin countries to Europe, the Caribbean and some areas of India and Asia– he is a man with a sack who kidnaps disobedient children, either to keep for a while or to eat them for dinner,” (Breyer 1). A common theme among all the different types of boogie men is to take bad children away. His story is varied among countries, but scholars have traced his roots the Middle English. Looking simply at the name “boogy” or “bogey” it can be traced to “bogge/bugge” middle english. From there it is derived from “German boggle, boggle-man,” (Breyer 1) This theory doesn’t exactly pinpoint the origin, however it does give a rather big clue. Germany. But no story is exactly given credit as being the origin of the Boogy Man.

New age Mr. Boogie: In this new day and age, the world seems to have moved beyond its more primitive nature of believing in stories and rather relying on science. Reasoning is held as the point of knowledge rather than religion and old wise tales. However, has this rid the world of the Boogie Mans’ hold, or has he just evolved to fit the world’s ever growing technological culture? Many would agree that he is gone, others would say differently; more that he is scarier than ever. New interpretations of The Boogeyman are everywhere, all over social media and entertainment. One field that he has dominated is film. Many movies have come out depicting a “boogy man”. One recent film would be Sinister and its sequel Sinister 2 directed by Scott Derrickson. In this new age telling of the “Boogie Man” he is seen as a tall male figure with paper white skin and black holes where his eyes and nose should be, also no mouth. The apparently a demon named “Bagul” to which he is also referred to by other characters of the film as “Mr.Boogie.” He is the embodiment of fear. Like all the tales he is said to be after the children, and in once scene the main protagonist is speaking with a professor where they discuss the demon Bagul. “It’s a symbol associated with the worship of a pagan deity. A very obscure one dating back to Babylonian times named Bughuul, the Eater of Children. The crimes that you’re dealing with, they all have the element of a missing child, correct? Well, Bughuul eats children. Now, the fragments of stories that have survived, they all revolve around him needing the souls of human children away from the physical world and traps them in his own nether world and consumes their soul over time. Now any worship of this deity would include a blood sacrifice or the wholesale eating of a child. –Professor Jonas describing Bagul,” (Derrickson) The next popular interpretation is in the very popular film A Nightmare Before Christmas written by Tim Burton and directed by Henry Selick. The antagonist of the story is a creepy bug filled creature, that is not only feared by humans but also the other halloween towns folk. In the film the children call him “Mr. Oggie Boogie”. The last well known film depicting a Boogy Man would be A Nightmare On Elm Street written by Wes Craven. This movie does not come right out with the Antagonist being a boogy man, however looking at the character himself he has the characteristics of one. He is an old, terrifying old man whose victims are kids. These movies are very popular movies that have scared the dickens out of many, over a wide range of generations.

Like in the old days, the story of the Boogeyman was to keep children from disobeying their parents. The question is; do children still know and fear the Boogeyman? In an interview with 3 year old Josslyn Lovell, she was to describe the creature and what he does. “He is tall, and scarey. With Black hair. And big Claws. And he eats little kids.” she was then asked if she believed he was real. “Yes”. The final question she was asked was what she would do if she saw him, “scream!” (Josslyn). At 3 she knows and understands the Boogeyman and is scared of him just as they use to be. The other child interviewed was Madeline Wallace age 9. She was asked the same like of questions. She said the boogy man has “Tall, like 8 feet! He has pointy teeth and red eyes. He gets bad kids and eats them up!” (Madeline). She was also asked if she had seen the Boogeyman to which she replied, ” Yes Sissy! Hes scary! I ran and hid in my bed!”. Maybe it was a figment of her imagination or maybe he is real.

This goes to show that the Bogeyman is just as alive as ever, and still has his grasp on the world; spreading his fear and terror all over, Through out the new age he has not vanished; he has evolved into an even more terrifying being. Maybe with the world’s technology, rather than him fading away, it has actually given him a very real persona. No longer is he a story that whispers through generations. But a loud dominant figure in today’s culture.

Works Cited

Sinister. Dir. Scott Derrickson. Perf. Ethan Hawke and Nicholas King. Koch Media, 2013. Film.

Tim Burton’s the Nightmare before Christmas. Dir. Henry Selick. By Caroline Thompson, Eric Leighton, Chris Sarandon, and Catherine O’Hara. Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc, 1993. DVD.

Craven, Wes. “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – Rotten Tomatoes. Senh Duong, 12 Mar. 2017. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.

Breyer, Melissa. “Where Did the Bogeyman Come from.” MNN – Mother Nature Network. Narrative Content Group, 24 Oct. 2012. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.

Staff, Listverse. “15 Bogeymen From Around The World.” Listverse. N.p., 16 June 2014. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.

“Madeline Wallace- Boogy Man.” Telephone interview. 2 Mar. 2017.

“Josslyn Lovell-Boogy Man.” Personal interview. 4 Mar. 2017.


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