The Boogieman

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Image credit: Tristan Jones

The Boogieman is creature that many think to be only a scare tactic by irritated and tired parents to get children to behave or to do what they are told. What few realize is that the Boogieman is in fact, a demonic non-human entity that stalks children to feed on their fear, much like a vampire.

His appearence is one of wild contrasts; his body is relatively small, covered in light blue fur, a mix-up of human and animal features. His head is the most distinguishing feature, much to his own dismay in some cases, as people tend to fixate on its overly large size in comparison with the rest of his body. However, the deformed shape is also what makes him so terrying with blood red lips, yellowed and broken teeth, sharp red claws (the color of dried blood) and a sneering beckoning grin.

With his unshaven chin, backwards bent legs,high pitched gravely voice, crouched posture and huge nose, the Boogieman is in fact a sight to behold, similar to a sinister version of the Greek nature god, Pan. The Boogieman does wear clothing, usually a dark black-blue dress coat with trailing tails. His high cheeks and pointed ears make for a demented image, but one that is highly effective in soliciting his hearts desire: sheer terror.

The Boogieman resides in his own pocket dimension of the Ghost World, a twisting turning warped world where right and wrong, black and white, rules of the normal world and even the ghost world do not seem to apply.

The Boogieman's dimension is truly his domain, a place where he has absolute dominion, where reality itself is at his whim. He has a network of connections to the human realm, mostly through specifically chosen closets into the bedrooms of children he intends to victimize around the world. It is not known how or why he chooses specific children and closets, only that not all closets are a portal for the Boogieman.

At his disposal are a range of dark powers; the most familiar of those powers is the ability to entice and then psychically feed off of the fear of those he terrifies, most notably the fear of children. He seems to have developed a taste for certain fears which implies that the fears of each person provide a unique "taste" for the Boogieman. The more fear he has consumed or has available, the more powerful he becomes.

While his full power remains a shadowy mystery, the powers he has demonstrated over several encounters with the Ghostbusters include altering physical matter, dimensional portal creation and destruction, super-human agility, strength and dexterity, as well as a powerful sonic scream that acts as a concussive force wave that he can direct to knock his opponents back. He has the ability to sense the level of fear in a person and his size appears to change with the amount of fear he has consumed, though this may be an illusion in the mind of the victim.

While he is at his most deadly in his own realm, he does have the ability to feed on enough fear to create micro pockets of his own dimension in the living world. He is immortal and indestructible as most psychic entities are. His one weakness is to be starved of fear; if he does not feed for an extended period, he comes a simple, almost formless muttering helpless entity that whispers of dark things.

His chief advantage against Proton based equipment, such as the Proton Pack, is that he is a corporeal entity, a physical presence, not an non-corporeal entity, such as a ghost. The Blast Streams do little against him besides annoy him however they do seem to at least hurt him or disrupt his power enough that he tries to avoid contact with them after first contact. Being a corporeal entity, the Capture Stream cannot lock onto him and the Ecto-Traps cannot contain or capture him.

A PKE meter can detect his presence, a unqiue reading of minus nine, because he seems to give out psychokinetic energy like all ectoplasmically based entities. Despite his resistance to the Blast and Capture stream, enough concentrated firepower from a series of full stream proton beams can at least temporarily drive him back.

It is possible to use a disruptor ray to distablize his corporeal form and revert him back to his non-corporeal form at which point he does become fully vulnerable to the blast and capture streams and can in fact, be captured which is precisely how he finally met his end.

The Boogieman has remained in the Ecto-Containment Unit since his last escape when the Halloween demon-god Samhain broke out of the ECU, and has not made any further escape attempts. It seems that his reign of terror that has lasted thousands of years and terrorized untold numbers of children, has finally came to an end.

The Boogieman is a Class 7 corporeal repeating entity.

The Real Ghostbusters

The Boogieman Cometh

The Boogieman first appeared in the "The Real Ghostbusters" episode, "The Boogieman Cometh", in which it is discovered that the Boogieman used to prey on Egon's fears as a child and Egon's experiences with that terror shaped him into the Ghostbuster that he is today, making him seek out to understand the paranormal and fight it.

In the episode, noted for its dark tone and genuinely eerie visuals, Megan and Kenny Carter are being terrorized by the Boogieman. Their parents do not believe them so they run away from home and try to hire the Ghostbusters. The Ghostbusters check out the apartment at Egon's insistence and find little to indicate a true paranormal disturbance until the Boogieman makes his appearence, and Egon is once again face to face with his childhood tormentor. A fierce but short battle ensues with the Ghostbusters taking a beating and the Boogieman getting away. The Carter's wake up due to the noise and toss the Ghostbusters out, not believing in the Boogieman.

Winston later goes back out anyway and stakes out the Carter residence. The Boogieman reappears, this time seeking vengence on the Carter children for alerting the is implied he is going to do far more than scare them when Winston stops him, scaring him back into his own realm.

The Ghostbusters realize they have to stop the Boogieman and Egon has developed the perfect tool: The Ghost Bomb, a piece of prototype hardware designed not to capture but to destroy any spirits within a 50 yard radius. The problem is that it lacks sufficient power to function. Egon comes up with a radical idea; take the fight to the Boogieman himself in his own realm.

Setting up a sting operation, the Ghostbusters lure the Boogieman into a trap and chase him into his own dimension where they find they are at his mercy. As a last ditch effort, Egon suggests rigging up their proton packs as a power source for the bomb, to shut the Boogieman's realm for good. They know if they do this, they are defenseless but it is the only option they have.

From: The Boogieman Cometh

They manage to elude the monster and set the Ghost Bomb at his very throne, rigging it to all four Proton Packs set to overload. Just as they are about to make their escape, the Boogieman corners them on the bridge back to the human world. Seemingly trapped, the Ghostbusters are saved by the timely and somewhat ill advised intervention of the Carter children, who followed the Ghostbusters through the portal in their closet that the Boogieman opened so he could show them that he was unbeatable and could destroy their heros.

Face to face with the Boogieman, Egon made sure he knew that his time was up, that no more children would suffer because of him. Boogieman moved to destroy Egon and, armed only with guts and some marbles, the children successfully angered the Boogieman enough that he turned on them and almost fell into a chasm thanks to timely marble throwing by Kenny.

As the Proton Packs began to whail an alarm, the clock was almost run down. Egon grabbed the kids and the others followed, running out through the portal back to the Carter home, leaving the Boogieman to discover the trap they had laid. The Boogieman tried to stop the explosion but was caught in it as the Proton Packs went nuclear, detonating the Ghost Bomb.

The Ghostbusters and the Carter children survived the encounter and ended up in a somewhat charred bedroom and the Carters now had to believe their children and were grateful for their rescue. It was believed that the Boogieman was finally gone.

The Bogeyman Is Back‎

During a job atop the World Trade Center towers, the Ghostbusters attempt to capture a one-eyed ghost only to have it knock Egon from the top of the building seemingly to his death but thanks to some fancy flying by Winston, Egon is saved to fight another day.

The experience is not without its toll however. Egon's terror has shaken him badly, leaving him with post traumatic stress. That night as he tosses in bed in the throes of fear, the Boogieman, long trapped in his realm, uses Egon's fear to finally break loose. He appears in the firehouse and attempts to destroy the Ghostbusters but is driven off and flees into the night. The Ghostbusters give chase and corner the Boogeyman in an alley. Egon is in the perfect position for a shot but the Boogieman, feeding on Egon's anxiety and fear, uses it against him and disables him with a simple "BOO!"

Egon develops a way to capture the Boogieman, a modified particle thrower that he calls an atomic destablizer, a weapon with the ability to turn corporeal entities into their ectoplasmic counterparts, allowing them to be captured and contained.

The Boogieman then turns on those the Ghostbusters hold close, the Junior Ghostbusters, a group of child fans of the team. The Ghostbusters track him down and stop him just in time from kidnapping them for bait. Seeing an opportunity, the Boogieman enters a closed amusement park and unleashes his powers to warp the park into a hellish version of itself. The Ghostbusters track him down and he takes them and Slimer hostage, binding them in his demonic realm, promising a terrifying end by scaring the Ghostbusters....scaring them to death.

Image Credit: Jose Luis Rodriguez

Slimer escapes and alerts the Junior Ghostbusters who bring the Proton Packs that were lost when the Ghostbusters were kidnapped. Arriving just as the Boogieman was about to kill the Ghostbusters, the kids throw them their proton packs and the destabilizer. The Boogieman turns on the kids and this infuriates Egon enough that he is able to overcome the paralyzing fear and with a few deft moves, he breaks his bonds and snags the Destablizer, pulling the trigger, destablizing the Boogieman. Within moments, the Boogieman is trapped once and for all and things return to normal at last.

NOW Comics: Vol. #26

The Boogieman returns one final time, this time to seek revenge against Egon directly. When the Halloween demon lord Samhain escapes from the Ecto Containment Unit, the Boogieman uses this as his opportunity to make bail.

Using the fear caused when Samhain attacks the city, the Boogieman returns to his realm to reak havoc on children, targeting a boy named Tommy Newkirk in a bid to take down Egon once and for all by kidnapping the boy.

Egon notices that one ghost was not contained when the Samhain incident was over and deduces it was the Boogieman. When they find themselves in the realm of the Boogieman, its discovered that the Boogieman is still locked into his non-corporeal form and he is captured again, this time permenantly, freeing Tommy and all other children from ever being victimized by this monster ever again. Without his nourishment of fear in the Containment Unit, the Boogieman is reduced to a formless whispering entity, powerless and harmless.

The Ghostbusters Franchise

Image Credit: DrFaustusAU

The Boogieman marks one of the few recurring villians of the Ghostbusters franchise and one of the creepiest, outdone perhaps only by the Grundel, who was also a child predator, feeding on the children's wrong-doing.

He is one of the most popular with the fan-base and his episodes are some of the most revered of the series itself as well as one of the handful of darker villians the show and comics ever produced.

The Real World

In the history of the occult and folklore, the boogieman (also spelled bogeyman, bogieman, boogeyman) is an imaginary being with no true form used by adults to frighten children into behaving. The monster's appearence can vary by the telling and varies from region to region. In truth, the monster has no form taking the form of whatever would be most effective in terrifying the person being told the story or whatever a culture deems scary.

The monster story is also used to tell children they will be punished by the Boogieman for specific behaviors. The term bogeyman is also a nickname for the Devil. In the mid-west of the United States, the boogieman manifests by scratching at the window, wanting to be let in. In the Pacific Northwest, he shows up in a green fog. In other places, he hides or appears from under the bed or in the closet and tickles children when they go to sleep at night. Folklore says a wart can be transmitted by or is the mark of an encounter with the boogieman.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 colonization 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 of the bog-man, meaning someone hiding in the English peat bogs, something criminals might do when avoiding the police. This type of person would be someone you would want to avoid.

The Boogieman goes by as many names as he does appearences; in the South of the United States he is called Sack Man, Bloody Bones, Bag Man (he is rumored to take away naughty children and eat them), buka, babayka, Zwarte Piet, Tonton Macoute (In Haiti, the Tonton Macoute (Haitian creole for "Uncle Gunnysack") is a giant, and a counterpart of Father Christmas, renowned for abducting bad children by putting them in his knapsack. During the dictatorship of Papa Doc Duvalier, certain Haitian secret policemen were given the name Tontons Macoutes ("Uncle-Gunnysacks") because they were said also to make people disappear), Bori Baba, cuco, and endless others.

Other examples: (source, Wikipedia):

Afghanistan - They Call it Bala or Newanay Mama which means "The Monster or Crazy person." They use it for scaring their children when they don't want to sleep or when they don't want to take their medicine.

Albania - There are two similar creatures that are used to frighten children. In the South (Vlore area) there is Katallani, that means "the Catalan." This is a collective memory of the Catalan occupation many centuries ago, from South Italy. Then in the whole country there is Gogoli, that indeed means "the Mongol" and is a collective memory of the Golden horde.

Azerbaijan - A bogeyman-like creature parents refer to make children behave is called khokhan

Bahamas – "Small man" is the name given to a man who rides in a cart drawn by itself and picks up any child seen outside after sundown, the term "rollin' cart" was used to scare children who didn't behave. Anyone taken by the small man becomes a small person and has to ride on the back of his cart with him forever.

Belgium - A faceless bogeyman called "Oude Rode Ogen" (Old Red Eyes) was known throughout the Flanders region and said to originate in Mechelen. It is said to have been a cannibalistic shapeshifter that was able to change between human form to that of a black dog. It later became a children's story in the early 1900s called "The Nikker", known to devour young children that stayed up past their bedtime.

Brazil and Portugal - A monster more akin to the Bogeyman is called Bicho Papão (Eating Beast) or Sarronco (Deep-Voiced Man). A notable difference between it and the homem do saco is that the latter is a diurnal menace and "Bicho Papão" is a bed-time nocturnal menace.

Bulgaria- In some villages, people used to believe that a hairy, dark, ghost-like creature called a talasam (Ta-lah-SUMM) lived in the shadows of the barn or in the attic and came out at night to scare little children. In addition, there is a city-folklor creature called Torbalan (the Bag-man) who raids during the night kidnapping children that have misbehaved.

Congo - In the Lingala language the Dongola Miso or "Creature with Scary Eyes" is used to discourage children from staying up beyond bedtime. It is also used to warn children or even adults about the potential danger in speaking to or dealing with strangers.

China - "Ou-wu" is usually described as a witch or a scary woman who kidnaps children who misbehave. It is popular among southern regions of China and places like

Hong Kong. The origin of the term is a pronoun for "monster" and it is widely used as a synonym for "ugly" or "hideous" even until today.

Cyprus - In the Cypriot dialect Bogeyman is called Kkullas

Egypt - The "Abu Rigl Maslukha", which translates to the "Man With Burnt Leg". It is a very scary story that parents tell their children when they misbehave. The "Abu Rigl Maslukha" 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" or rather "the hand-cruncher", mitaine means mitt in an informal way).

Germany - The Bogeyman is known as Der schwarze Mann (the black man). "Schwarz" does not refer to the colour of his skin (most Germans had never met a real black person during the time these legends developed) 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?) or an old traditional folk song Es tanzt ein Bi-Ba-Butzemann in unserm Haus herum (A Bi-Ba-Bogeyman dances around in our house)

Georgia - In addition to a "Bag Man" much similar to its namesakes from other cultures, in Georgia a fictional creature called "Bua" is sometimes used by parents to (lightly) scare little children (up to preschool age) when misbehaving; e.g., "if you don't eat well now, Bua will come", or "do you hear Bua knocking? It asks why you don't want to go to bed". It's usually not specified what Bua looks like or what it does to children; Nevertheless, Bua can "bite you", or "take you away". It also can "steal" something - "You can't have more candys now - Bua took it". There may be an etymological link to "bu" - Georgian word for owl, which makes night sounds scary for children.

Guyana- In Guyana, the "Bogeyman" is known as a "Jumbi". It is a popular belief that he only lives in the dark. It is said that he lives in the closet and under the bed. It is used to scare children to eat their food, so they can defend themselves against him. "Jumbies" eat little boys and girls, starting with the leg, to the brains.

Haiti-In Haiti there is a popular belief that a tall man, with legs 2 floors high that walks around the towns at midnight to catch and eat the people that stay outside. He is called Mètminwi, which seems to be a contraction of mèt (from French "maître" English "master" and minwi from French "minuit" englsh "midnight", hence meaning the "master of midnight").

Iceland - The Icelandic equivalent of the Bogeyman is Grýla, a female troll who would take misbehaving children and eat them druing Christmas Eve. However, as the story goes, she has been dead for some time. She is also the mother of the Yule Lads, the Icelandic equivalent of Santa Claus.

India - In India, the entity is known by different names. South India -In Karnataka the demon "Goggayya"(roughly meaning 'terrible man') can be treated as counterpart of Bogeyman. In the state of Tamil Nadu, children are often mock-threatened with the Rettai Kannan (the two-eyed one) or Poochaandi,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 Boochodu. In central Kerala, Bogeyman is referred to as 'Kokkayi' who will 'take away' children for disobeying their parents or misbehave in any manner. Children are then at freedom to conjure up what terrible things might happen to them, once taken away by Kokkayi.

In South Kerala, it is called 'Oochandi'.Among Marathi language speaking people (predominantly of Maharashtra), parents threaten the misbehaving children with a male ghost called 'Buva' In general the 'Buva' is supposed to kidnap children when they misbehave or do not sleep. Assamese parents ask children to go to sleep otherwise Kaan khowa would eat their ears.

Iran - In Persian culture, children who misbehave may be told by their parents to be afraid of lulu 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.

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 is understood as a monster that appears to get misbehaving children. The word kokemi, however, is derived from a word Kotgahm. 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 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 an old woman with a mesh sack.

Myanmar - Children are threatened with Pashu Gaung Phyat, meaning Malayu Headhunter. In Burmese, Malays were called "Pashu", which may come from Bajau or Bugis. Even Peninsular Malaysia was called Pashu Peninsula. It is common knowledge that some ethnic groups in Eastern Malaysia, Iban and Dayak were notorious headhunters. Although the Wa tribe of Burma was famous previously until the 1970s, ferocious headhunters, it is a mystery why Burmese use the faraway Pashus as bogeymen.

Nepal - In Nepali, a popular bogeyman character is the 'hau-guji'. Among the Newars, the 'Gurumapa' is a mythological ape-like creature who was supposed to enjoy devouring children. The Itum-baha of inner Kathmandu and Tinkhya open space in front of Bhadrakali temple in the centre of Kathmandu are associated with the fable of Gurumapa.

Pakistan - A bogeyman-like creature parents refer to make children behave is called Bhoot or Jin Baba.

Philippines - Pugot (only in most Ilocano regions), Sipay, Mamu and Mumu. In Kapampangan culture it is known as the Mánguang Anak or the Child-Snatcher.

Quebec - in the only official French-speaking province of Canada, 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.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Macedonia the Bogeyman is called Babaroga, baba meaning old lady and rogovi meaning horns. Literally meaning old lady with horns. The details 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.

Spain- El ogro (the Spanish word for ogre) is 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.

Serbia - Bauk is an animal-like mythical creature in Serbian mythology. Bauk is described as hiding in dark places, holes or abandoned houses, waiting to grab, carry away and devour its victim; but it can be scared away by light and noise. It has clumsy gait (bauljanje), and its onomatopea is bau (Serbian pronunciation: bau).

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 Böllima or 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. In Southern Switzerland people have the same traditions as in Italy.

Trinidad and Tobago - Most Trinbagonians (rural demographic mostly) refer to folklore to scare disobedient children. The most common word that is used is Jumbie. Some jumbies" are the Soucouyant, Lagahoo, La Diabless, Papa Bois, etc. "Bogeyman" is also used in the same context as its origin but by mostly urbanised citizens, and it can also can be called "The Babooman".

United States - The Jersey Devil, which originated in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, is believed by many to be an old time Bogeyman created by residents to scare off travelers from coming into the area. Bloody Bones, also known as Rawhead or Tommy Rawhead, is a boogeyman of the U.S. South.Bloody Bones tales originated in Britain. Bogeyman may be called "Boogerman" or "Boogermonster" in rural areas of the American South, and was most often used to keep young children from playing outside past dark, or wandering off in the forest.

During the Corn Festival, young Cherokee males wearing phallic-laden masks would make fun of politicians, frighten children into being good, and moreover seduce young women by shaking their masks at them and chasing them around. Male participants in this Booger Dance were referred to as the Booger Man.