When I first started writing romance novels in the mid-1980’s, the “rules” were so restrictive an author couldn’t write about women in traditionally male professions, much less about a heroine in the entertainment business or sports. “Readers can’t relate,” Harlequin told my agent.
Phooey. I was an architect and urban planner, and I didn’t want to read about nannies.
At the time, I never would have believed someday we’d be writing romances including vampires, but now they’re crawling all over the shelves in the book stores [if Amazon has allowed any brick and mortar bookstores to survive]. Along with vampire romances there are romances about werewolves, zombies, shape shifters, demons, angels, dragons, aliens, witches, ad infinitum.
So, what will be the next big thing? We need something new and fresh, your editor will tell you. I was at a loss for ideas until I remembered the bogeyman [also spelled bogyman, boogeyman, bogieman, and boogieman].
“IF YOU DON’T BEHAVE, THE BOGEYMAN WILL GET YOU!”
Did you ever hear your parents use those words when you were a kid? I’m not sure whether I learned about the bogeyman at home or somewhere else, but I grew up knowing this monster meant business.
Today’s parenting doesn’t buy into the concept of frightening children into good behavior, but for thousands of years it has been a main stay. After all, throughout history parents around the world have wanted good behavior from their children although, I’m sure, what constituted good behavior varied a lot.
According to Melissa Breyer*, “Creating compliance in children is surely a universal desire, and there’s no easier way than to scare the bejesus out of them. Although it seems somewhat cruel to intensify the fears that are already part and parcel of childhood, as long as there are benevolent Santa figures used to affect behavior, the malevolent counterpart will remain alive and well. Because when the promise of presents and candy doesn't work, the threat of being eaten by a monster can be rather persuasive.”
WHAT DOES HE/SHE/IT LOOK LIKE?
What I didn’t learn growing up is what this Bogeyman monster looked like. It was a non-specific incarnation of terror which leapt out of nowhere on the days when a child had been particularly difficult, ornery, mischievous, or just plain “bad.” It usually lived under the child’s bed or in the closet, and preferred to appear at night after the child was alone in the dark. Not knowing the appearance of the monster makes it even more frightening. You don’t know what to expect. You don’t have any clue what to look for. Eh, eh, eh!
Although the bogeyman is usually thought of as masculine, he/she/it can be anything. “The bogeyman himself varies in appearance. It’s common belief he will embody the fears of the person he has targeted. If you’re afraid of spiders, he could appear as a giant arachnid. If you’re afraid of a specific person in your life, he could appear as that person. The possibilities are endless.” https://9thcircleofhorror.com/2015/11/01/the-legend-of-the-boogeyman/
O.M.G. WE’RE SURROUNDED!
It’s no surprise, then, that nearly every culture in the world developed its own equivalent of the Bogeyman. If you want to know more, go to Wikipedia and search under Bogeyman.
Here are just a few of the ones I found interesting.
In Spain , Portugal, Brazil, and other Spanish American countries, Sack Man [Hombre del Saco] carries away naughty children.
The inspiration likely comes from a very real person who, during the 16th and 17th centuries , was in charge of collecting orphan babies to take to the orphanages. He put them in bags or wicker baskets and carried them through the province. Most of them died before reaching the orphanages.
El Coco is also known in folklore as Cuco, Coca, Cuca, Cucuy. It is a mythical dragon or a ghost monster which is said to appear in many different shapes and forms. So, there is no description of the beast which can be applied to all the places where it appears.
The origins of Coco are in Portugal and Spanish Galicia, and it then appeared as a monster with a pumpkin head, two eyes, and a mouth. In medieval times in the same area, it transformed into a female dragon, which used to take part in different celebrations. In Portugal it has remained popular until today.
Photo: https://aminoapps.com [El CuCuy by C.A.Christensen March 2016]
El Cuco is the more common name in most of South and Central America, and among Mexican-Americans, El Cucuy is portrayed as a monster that hides under children's beds at night and kidnaps or eats the child who does not obey his/her parents or go to sleep when it is bedtime. However, the Spanish American bogeyman does not resemble the shapeless or hairy monster of Spain: social sciences professor Manuel Medrano says popular legend describes El cucuy as a small humanoid with glowing red eyes that hides in closets or under the bed.
● Babau or L’uomo Nero [The Black Man]
This Mediterranean monster is depicted as a tall man wearing a heavy black coat and a black hood or hat. Sometimes parents knock loudly under the dining table [like someone knocking at the door] and say “Here comes the Black Man. He knows a child who doesn’t want to drink his soup.”
The Italians version of L’uomo Nero is a demon appearing as a man or ghost without legs. In different parts of the country, the bogeyman is known as “Babau.”
Photos: 15 Boogymen from around the World, Listverse Staff October 24, 2009
● Schwarze Mann [The Black Man] / Butzemann / Buhmann
Der schwarze Mann [the black man] is known as the most famous child’s monster in Germany, hiding in dark places, under beds and in closets, and carrying children away. Depending on the region and time, the Schwarze Mann was depicted with different features: a dark shadowy figure, a man with black clothes or a face blackened with ashes.
Photo: https://europeisnotdead.com/ Article by Helmut Kohl
But “Schwarz” doesn’t refer to the color of his 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?] or an old traditional folk song Es tanzt ein Bi-Ba-Butzemann in unserm Haus herum [A Bi-Ba-Bogeyman dances around our house].
In the Scandavian countries the Bogeyman is substantially different. She is a large, scary, dark blue, ghost-like creature. She was created as a fictional character by Tove Jansson in the Moomin stories, and is depicted with a shapeless body, two staring eyes, and a wide row of shiny teeth.
She isn’t malicious but so lonely that wherever she stands, the ground freezes and plants die. How she became known as the Scandavian Bogeyman is not explained, nor did any reference mention which came first, the bogeyman or the fictional character Groke.
In Iran, children are warned about Lulu who eats naughty children. The threat is usually to make children eat their meals.
photo:Lulu - Originally shared by zahra lotfi
In Japan the Bogeyman is a demon spirit who warns children not to be lazy or cry. He visits each house on New Year’s Eve and asks if the children have been lazy. If the parents can say “no”, then he moves on to the next house. I don’t know what he does if the parents say “yes.”
Originally hailing from the cold parts of the Oga Peninsula, the name comes from the blisters that form on one’s feet when they are close to the fire for too long, indicating the person was too lazy to move. There are many festivals where villagers don demon masks and pretend to be these spirits.
Kotgahm, the Korean bogeyman, is named after the Korean word for persimmon. The legend is that a mother told her child if he kept on crying, she would feed him to a tiger. A nearby tiger overheard the mother and decided to wait around for his dinner, since he didn’t believe the child would stop crying. Instead, the mother gave the child a persimmon, and the child stopped. The tiger was convinced the Kotgahm/persimmon was a fierce monster to be feared more than a tiger, and he left in a hurry. Today he is pictured as an old man with a mesh sack who carries off children.
Torbalan is the evil partner of Baba Yaga, the Bulgarian Anti-Santa Claus, who hides in the forest and in the shadows, waiting to carry away naughty children in a sack. [Very similar to Sack Man]
This scarecrow-like monster roams the Czech Republic and Poland, hiding on riverbanks and making sounds like a lost baby to lure both children and adults into his clutches. He drives a cart pulled by cats and weaves clothes for the souls he has stolen.
In Scotland the bogeyman is a malicious fairy who causes big and small disasters for people. If you name it, it will follow you and your family everywhere you go. I don’t know if naming it means giving it a proper individual name or just calling it a Boggart. A horseshoe over the door protects you from Boggarts.
Photo: Fandom / http://boogeymen.wikia.com/wiki/Boggart
In Greece the bogeyman is named Baboulas" [Μπαμπούλας], pronounced babulas. It is used by parents to scare their children into behaving. Baboulas is some kind of cannibal that eats children.
The Egyptian bogeyman is "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 who got burnt when he was a child because he did not listen to his parents. He grabs naughty children to cook and eat them. The same as al-Bu'bu', who is more popular and relevant to this topic. He is often depicted as a night creature dressed in black, who haunts children that misbehave.
Even though one source indicates Sack Man is the Portuguese Bogeyman, another suggests that the Portuguese brought to Brazil the bogeymen Bicho Papão [The Eating Beast] and Sarronco [Deep-voiced Man]. In Brazil they use the names interchangeably with Sack Man. The only difference between the two is that Bag Man comes during the day and The Eating Beast comes during the night.
Photo: Pinterest https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/290411875962782524/?lp=true Bicho Papao
Go ahead. Start the next big thing. I challenge you romance authors to pick one of the prototype bogeymen and make him the protagonist of a your next romance novel.□
https://aminoapps.com [The Coo Coo (El CuCuy) by C.A.Christensen March 2016]