OCTOBER 25th, the Boogeyman
“There is no such thing as a soul. It’s just something they made up to scare kids, like the boogeyman or Michael Jackson.”
When it comes to instilling fear in children, the boogeyman is second to none. The boogeyman traces his origin back to the source of most children’s fears; parents. For the most part, the boogeyman was made up to use fear to teach children lessons. I’ve often said that fear is the most powerful of motivators, and the boogeyman is the manifestation of this idea in practice.
For most children the boogeyman is the fear of the unknown. They are still at the age where there is magic in the world. The moon is a mystery, and the stars shine for them. Everything thing in the world exists for their benefit. The boogeyman however, is trying to destroy that world. He represents an immeasurable quantity. He’s amorphous. He has no defined shape. He could be anywhere, he could be anyone, he could be anything. He is a disruptive force in a benevolent world
Most children grow out of the fear of the boogeyman. They realize that the boogeyman is an analogue for teaching. Think about it. A child comes into the world to, presumably, a loving house. The parents show the child love and support. How do they teach it of the harsh conditions of the real world? Parent’s hearts must break when their child in in pain or suffers emotional trauma, but its needed. Can you imagine how much a person would suffer if they never knew pain or terror as a child? They would be socially broken.
Oddly enough my parents never used the boogeyman. As a child I was already afraid of the dark, and my parents had a hard enough time getting me to sleep. My mother, genius that she can be, though of a new way to use fear as a teaching tool. She created a fictitious family by the name of the Whitings. I was 4 years old and a fucking nightmare to deal with. She told me this cock and bull story about how children only stayed with their birth parents for 6 years. She told me that my brother, who is two years older than I am, was from another family, the reason we were so different. I was scheduled to head to the Whitings after my initial term was up. My mother would tell me stories of them Whitings. If I thought she was strict, the Whitings were worse. No TV, no toys, only school work. Every time I acted out, she’d pick up the phone to call the Whitings. From all accounts, the Whitings wanted to take me early so they could break me in. Some people who I’ve told that story to have recoiled in terror and claimed it was child abuse. As the supposed victim, I say it was the best teaching tool I’ve ever encountered.
For the most part children need to be broken. I’m not advocating abuse of any sort. There are some children that just naturally behave. My brother was one of those children. I believe that was part of the reason that I was such a pain to deal with. My parents had no experience with such a wicked child. Children need feedback. If they do something wrong, they need to know. Words can only do so much. There needs to be an emotional connects. Just as my parents used fear of the unknown of the Whitings, others use the boogeyman.
THE ANSWER: I like the boogeyman myth. He is a controllable entity that can be used as an instructional tool. As you grow up, he becomes less terrifying. Hollywood has helped keep it that way. Every month there seems to be a vampire, zombie, werewolf, or other monster movie. However, the boogeyman remains untouched. This is because any film involving the boogeyman would be a horror movie made for children, and who in their right mind would think that would work? Well, besides Tim Burton.