THE BOOGEYMAN! IS IT JUST A CHILDHOOD FEAR? All around the world, just about every country has it’s own version and particular monster that folklore contends inhabits that area. To name just a few… In the Southern U.S. there is the Sack Man, “this old, ugly, bent over man that carried a big sack on his back and he would catch kids not napping, grab them and put them in that sack and take them off!” The Sack Man is also a popular story in Latin America. I’m not so sure the Sack Man isn’t more for the benefit of the adults needing a break than for the kids to take a nap! In Croatia there is the legend of the Babaroga. It looks like an old woman with horns on her head. Here’s the delicious slant is where Babaroga hides waiting for you…. it pulls children through holes in the ceiling and……. eats them! How are your ceilings looking? In the area of the Mediterranean, the Babau is the object of fear among children. He is described as a tall man wearing a hooded black coat, hiding under the bed and taking away children who misbehave. In the Phillipines, the Pugot Mamu eats people, flesh and bone through an opening where it’s head should be. Throughout the world, demons, creatures among others are noted by one distinguishing feature, that being ‘red eyes.’ They’re seen in hauntings both indoors and outdoors. There are countless other cryptids, too numerous to mention. This leads us into one of the most famous and enduring monsters dominating our chilhood fears….. the boogeyman! Why is the boogeyman the consumate terror? You don’t think so? What do you think of when someone mentions some popular scarey figure like a werewolf? You have a definite image in your mind that is common among most people. However, mention the boogeyman, and it is something unique to most of us. It is an image we come up with in our own mind, something that is tailored to our own fears. Among others, this clever little monster hides in the closet, under the bed or just about anywhere that exists where the lights are turned off, powerless without the darkness and banished to its dark netherworld upon the return of the morning sun. As children, we learned quickly how safe & powerful our beds were in the fight against this creature! In France, there is the legend of the boogeyman known as “hand cruncher,” a self-described term for what it does if you should dangle your hand over the side of your bed. I’ll bet some adults still adhere to this rule. Of course, as threatening as any imagined monster of the dark may be, there is something that no creature of the night can get past to attack a child in bed. That would be our trusty blanket! Nature provides so many clues for answers to questions in our lives if we just take time to observe them. Taking a tip from our tortoise family friends, if you can duck under the blanket in the nick of time, “it” cannot get you. Sure, it makes breathing a little tough, but after all, “you’re still breathing!” At that point it becomes a waiting game. Who can outlast the other. Will I need to come up for air before the boogeyman goes away? The thought goes through your head, why didn’t I ever learn that ‘breathe air through a straw’ trick? Maybe if I just stick my mouth out and suck in some good air quickly with my eyes closed it won’t notice. Where does the boogeyman go when daytime comes and it cannot hide in the closet anymore? It hides in your basement, of course! What are your protections from the boogeyman there? You need among others, two things, light and speed. It’s funny how this lesson in physics isn’t realized at so young an age. One: if you have the lights on, it cannot get you. This can be a complicated one because your sibling might want to take advantage of that situation and stand at the top of the stairs and turn the light switch off! Two: like the original movie zombies, the boogeyman cannot move fast. If you can race up the steps of your dark or dimly lit basement, it cannot catch you. I am wondering if credit here can be given to contradicting one of Einstein’s famous theories? He hypothesized that the closer one came to the speed of light the less the person aged. My own experiences of running terrified up the stairs at what seemed to approach the speed of light, made me feel that years were actually taken away from me! Finally, we emerge from childhood into adulthood unscathed by this dweller in darkness. I think we can all admit to ourselves, even as adults though, that there are times even in our own homes, where we pull our hand or foot from off the edge of our bed, not affording any opportunities to what may be lying in wait beneath. Other times we may get out of bed in the middle of the night and we have that thought still lingering in our minds of a sense of vulnerability of the unknown in the darkness, which prompts us to turn on a light not out of concerns for injuring ourselves on some undetected object but rather what may be lurking in the shadows!!! The great threat of the boogeyman for adults is exemplified by the metamorphosis that it takes as we go from child to adult, enduring as a customized summation of our individual, personal fears. The “boogeyman” lives on in all of us, whether we like it or not!