Human psychology: Why do we have equivalents of bogeyman in so many countries around the world?

Bogeyman (also spelled bogieman, boogeyman, or boogie man) is a common allusion to a mythical creature in many cultures used by adults to frighten children into good behavior. This monster has no specific appearance, and conceptions about it can vary drastically from household to household within the same community. Parents may tell their children that if they misbehave, the bogeyman will get them. Bogeymen may target a specific mischief—for instance, a bogeyman that punishes children who suck their thumbs—or general misbehavior, depending on what purpose needs serving. Source: Wikipedia.

Examples - by country - listed in alphabetical order:

Afghanistan – Bala or Newanay Mama, which means "The Monster or Crazy person", is used to scare 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.

Algeria – A monster made up of various animal parts called H'awouahoua. It has eyes that are blobs of flaming spit,horns,snakes entwined in its hair and a coat made of the clothes of the children it eats.

Azerbaijan – A bogeyman-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 itself and picks up any child seen outside after sundown, the term "rollin' cart" was used to scare children who misbehaved. 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 who stayed up past their bedtime.

Belize – Tata Duende is a mythical goblin described as being of small stature, has a beard, is wrinkled, lacks thumbs, has his feet backwards, and wears a large brimmed hat. It is a protector of the forests and animals and was used to scare children from going out to play at night or going into the jungle.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia, the Bogeyman is called Babaroga, baba meaning old woman and rogovi meaning horns, literally meaning old woman 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.

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 daytime menace and "Bicho Papão" is a night-time 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-folklore creature called Torbalan (the Bag-man) who raids during the night kidnapping children that have misbehaved.

Quebec – in this 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.

Newfoundland and Labrador - The "Old Hag" is a demonic entity from Newfoundland folklore. According to legend, the Old Hag appears in the bedrooms of naughty children late at night and suffocates them by sitting on their stomachs. The Old Hag then takes the children to her lair in the woods where she eats their bodies. Supposedly, the myth of the Old Hag was inspired by experiences caused by Sleep Paralysis, in which an individual would awake to the hallucination of an old woman sitting on them, cutting off their breathing.

Yukon - "Quankus" is a bogeyman-like creature that places naughty children in a large sock and carries them away, particularly at night. Children are typically threatened with the Quankus to encourage them to go to bed.

In Inuit mythology, there is a shapeshifting creature called the Ijiraq, that kidnaps children, to hide them away and abandon them. If the children can convince the Ijiraq to let them go, they can use inukshuk of stone, to find their way home. Also from Inuit Mythology there is the Qalupalik, that are human-like creatures with long fingernails, green skin and long hair,that live in the sea. They carry babies and children away in their Amauti, who disobey their parents and wander off alone. The Qalupalik adopts the children and brings them to live with them underwater.

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 (Κκουλλάς).

Czech Republic – The equivalent of the Bogeyman in the Czech Republic is bubák or strašidlo.

England–In Yorkshire, young children were warned that if they stole from orchards, they might be eaten by a fairy in the form of a giant caterpillar called Awd Goggie. A similar creature called The Gooseberry Wife was said to guard gooseberries on The Isle of Wight.
Children in Yorkshire were also warned that if they were naughty the Great Black Bird would come and carry them off.[10]

Egypt – The "Abu Rigl Maslukha", which translates to the "Man With Burnt/Skinned 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. - The children's game "Kuka pelkaa Mustaa Pekkaa?" ("Who's Afraid of Black Peter?") was also commonly played among children still in the 1960s and '70s, especially in urban settings, as a backyard game (see Germany's "Wer hat Angst vorm schwarzen Mann?").
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).[11]

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 candies now — Bua took it". There may be an etymological link to "bu" — Georgian word for owl, which makes night sounds scary for children.

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).

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 two floors high, 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" English "midnight", hence meaning the "master of midnight").

Hejaz, Saudi Arabia, which means "Our mother the Monster", is used to scare children when they misbehave or walk alone outside.

Hungary – The Hungarian equivalent of the Bogeyman is the Mumus, which is a monster-like creature, and the Zsákos Ember, a man with a sack, and this is the literal meaning of his name. A third creature is the Rézfaszú bagoly ("Copperpenis Owl").

Iceland – The Icelandic equivalent of the Bogeyman is Grýla, a female troll who would take misbehaving children and eat them during 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.
Bihar Parents use the demon name Bhakolwa for the same purpose.
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 (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 Boochodu. In central Kerala, Bogeyman is referred to as 'Kokkachi' 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 Kokkachi. In South Kerala, it is called 'Oochandi'. Among Konkani speaking people of the Western Coast of India, 'Gongo' is the Bogeyman equivalent.
Among Marathi language speaking people (predominantly of Maharashtra), parents threaten the misbehaving children with a male ghost called 'Bāgul Buā' (बागुल बुवा). In general, the 'Buā' 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.

Indonesia – In Indonesia, Wewe Gombel is a ghost that kidnaps children mistreated by their parents. She keeps the children in her nest atop an Arenga pinnata palm tree and does not harm them. She takes care of the children as a grandmother until the parents become aware of what they had done. If the parents decide to mend their ways and truly want their children back, Wewe Gombel will return them unharmed. This ghost is named Wewe Gombel because it originated in and event that took place in Bukit Gombel, Semarang.[13]

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.

Iraq's ancient folklore has the saalua, a half-witch half-demon ghoul that "is used by parents to scare naughty children". She is briefly mentioned in a tale of the 1001 Nights, and is known in some other Gulf countries as well.

Italy – In Italy, "L'uomo nero" (meaning 'the black man') is a demon that can appear as a black man or black ghost without legs, often used by adults for scaring their children when they don't want to sleep. In different places of the country, it's known also as "babau".

Marabbecca is a malevolent water monster from the mythology of Sicily that lived in wells and reservoirs and was said to come up and drag children that played to close, down into the water to drown.

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 – Dokkaebi is understood as a monster that appears to get misbehaving children[citation needed]. Other variations include mangtae yeonggam an oldman (yeonggam) who carries a mesh sack (mangtae) to put his kidnapped children in. In some regions, mangtae yeonggam is replaced by mangtae halmeom, an old woman with a mesh sack.

Lebanon - Children are told stories about Abu l Kees, meaning Father Sack (similar to Sack Man), who puts misbehaving children in his sack and takes them away.

Macedonia – Apart from babaroga, Macedonian people have a bogeyman called Strasilo ( translated means something like "frightener" because "strav" means fear/scare ) which only comes out at night, hides under beds, in forests, caves, basements ... It is said to grab and eat children ( usually bad ).

Malta – Kaw Kaw or Gaw Gaw, was a grey, slimy creature, that roamed the streets at night. It could smell a person's guilt and enter their homes, through cracks and fissures, by extending and contracting its snail like body. Once it was inside their rooms, it would flash them a ghastly grin, with its huge, toothless mouth, scaring them witless.

Mexico – There is the Robaniños ("kidnapper of kids"), a person with whom a child is warned about going out without supervision.

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,[18] 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. Itum Bahal 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, which mean ghost and Djinn respectively. In some places it is also known as "Kathu Ki maa",

Panama— In Panama children are warned that if they were naughty La Tulivieja would come and get them. She was a spirit, who was cursed by God for drowning her child and transformed into a hideous monster with a pockmarked face, long and bristly hair,clawed hands, a cats body and hooved feet. She was also cursed to forever look for her drowned child.[20]

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.

Poland — Czarny Lud (Black Man or Black Apeman) is a monster that kidnaps badly behaving children and presumably eats them. It is referenced in a children's game of the same name, which involves one child being blindfolded, and other children trying to avoid being caught.

Russia – Children are warned that Babayka (or Baba Yaga) will come for them at nights if they behave badly.

Saudi Arabia - Abu Shalawlaw is a Bogeyman-like creature said by parents to come and eat children who are disobedient, e.g., by not going to sleep on time or completing their homework.

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 onomatopoeia is bau (Serbian pronunciation: [bau]).

Singapore – The locals have a similar reference to the Bogeyman, typically told to young children as "Ah Bu Neh Neh", or in some cases, "Matah", catching them when they are guilty of naughty acts. Although "Matah" actually stands for "Mata-Mata" in Malay, which means a spy or spies but is generally used by the locals as a nickname for the police.

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. El Sacamantecas ("Fat extractor" in Spanish) is a kind of bogeyman or criminal characterized by killing for human fat and has been used to scare children into behaving.
South Africa - The Tokoloshe. " At its least harmful a tokoloshe can be used to scare children, but its power extends . . . "

Sri Lanka – Among the Sinhalese people, the Gonibilla (Sinhala, translates roughly to 'sack-kidnapper') is a figure that is described as carrying away unruly children in a sack, day or night.

Sweden – in Sweden, there is no counterpart to the Bogeyman. The common reference to Monstret under sängen, which essentially means "the monster under the bed" refers to children's own excuses for not being able to go to sleep. Näcken and Brunnsgubben were previously used to scare children away from wells and dangerous water.

Switzerland – in Switzerland, the Bogeyman is called Böllima or Böögg (pron.ˈbøk) 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".

Turkey – Gulyabani is a gigantic, strange creature that frightens children and adults alike.

Ukraine - Babay, a monster who is believed to punish naughty children.

United Arab Emirates – Children were scared with which means (Mother of green and leef "bark"), which takes the appearance of a tall woman with very long hair that flows in the wind, and this name is used in the UAE and some neighboring countries like Bahrain, this Mythical creature is usually used by parents to make their children stay inside after sun set and go to sleep (scaring them with her) she was used depending on what was demanded usually after sunset/dark, This name was simply inspired by (the Palm tree) because of the scary sounds and noises that come out of it when the wind blows, also because it's high and its leaves are so long that it resembles a woman.

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.[21] Bloody Bones tales originated in Britain.[22] 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 caricature masks would make fun of politicians, frighten children into being good, and moreover shake their masks at young women and chase them around. Male participants in this Booger Dance were referred to as the Booger Man.[23] 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 or appears from under the bed or in the closet and tickles children when they go to sleep at night, while in others, he is a tall figure in a black hooded cloak who puts children in a sack. It is said that a wart can be transmitted to someone by the bogeyman.

Cipelahq (or Chebelakw) is a dangerous bird spirit of Wabanaki folklore, used in stories told to scare children into obeying their parents. Chebelakw has an unearthly cry and resembles a large diving owl, with only its head and talons visible. Similar monsters called Stinkini and Big Owl, were found in Seminole and Apache mythologies respectively.[26]

Vietnam – "Ông Ba Bị" - which means "Boogeyman" in Vietnamese

Zimbabwe – "tokolosh" which means short boogeyman in Shona


Bogeyman - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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