« Grandpa | Main | Derbyshire County: Something in the Water? – Part 1 »

Wednesday, 27 February 2008


By Lia of the Yum Yum Café blog

When I was a wee thing in Venezuela, I was told stories about ghosts, witches, and bogymen*. There was, actually, a bogyman living under my bed. My bogyman was nocturnal (well, aren’t they all) and lay in wait in case I got out of bed at night. If I did leave my bed, he would reach out and grab me by my ankle and pull me under the bed.

I never was told what would happen under the bed, but my four-year-old imagination was vivid enough to know that I really didn’t want to know.

Other than pulling me under my bed if I wandered in the night, my bogyman was a rather placid being. And I had this trick to knock him out for the night. I would turn off my light, run across the room, and then leap heavily into my bed, and bounce on the bed three times. This ritual never failed to put the bogyman “to sleep” for the night.

* Adults told me these stories and not, as some friends assumed, mean-minded siblings. It was a cultural thing. This might be something a few of you will find hard to believe. Yet, I caught a Brazilian friend of mine warning her young son not to go down into the underground garage at their apartment complex because a horrible witched lived down there. When I confronted her with the inadvisability of telling her son this, she said she preferred to talk about the evil of witches and ghosts, rather then warning her young son about possible encounters with people with evil intent. I’m not saying I agreed with her, but my friend’s explanation did give me another perspective on why I was raised with ghosts, witches, and bogymen.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Thanks Lia.........yes, I hadn't looked at it in that context. How would you explain a rapest? Perhaps the bogyman is an easier way. LOL

I loved your story, Lia and it brought back memories of my and my husband's childhood.

Roy's parents had a bakery and the store was often open after his bedtime when he was about 4 or 5. He would have to go upstairs over the bakery to go to bed and he , like most young children, was afraid of the unknown.

So, he invented a bodyguard, Walter.
He would go into his room and go over to the light switch (his intercom) and speak into it for the benefit of any intruder who might be hiding under his bed." Are you there, Walter? O.K. I'm in my room now" Stay on guard out there because I'm going to bed now. Don't let anybody in here, you hear, Nobody! He says it worked; nobody ever got him.

I didn't have a bodyguard, but I had defensive tactics, too. We lived in a house with a very dark cellar. A long set of steep steps went down into it. My Mother would ask me to go down there and bring up something and as I started down the steps I would begin singing The Star Spangled Banner or God Bless America (I mixed it up). I did this because I just knew nobody could kill a patriotic girl like me. This also worked. Nobody ever got me either....

Oh how terrible to frighten a child to (supposedly) keep them safe. I remember the terror I experienced when I visited a mean older girl who had me convinced that there was a bad man in the house who was going to get me. Children are so believing.

I was also told about bogeymen as a child.

My gandfather used to recite this everytime I entered his house:

"Fee, fie, foe, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman. Be he live or be he dead, I'll grind his bones to make my bread."

Isn't that gruesome for a little child?

Mage, the bogeyman is just a name I was given to the evil I intrinsically knew existed. Thank heavens it was only a name and not a real person.

Nancy, I think Walter was a super bodyguard. It shows something wonderful about your husband. I had to laugh though at your solution. Did you think up how patriotism is a shield on your own, or did someone communicate that to you?

Darlene, I feel for you. My young son's older half-brother told him every scary story possible (e.g. biting creatures in the toilet, fighting bombers in the sky, etc.). I think every child is gullible, and every child knows there is such things as unspeakable evils.

kenju, my heavens, with a grandfather like that, who needs the Brothers Grimm? Obviously a man how lost his inner child along the way; if he ever had it.

Hello Lia,

No,I thought that stuff up all my myself. I've always had a very active imagination and honestly believed that no one would do any harm to a little kid who knew all the words to "You're a Grand Old Flag."

Nancy, may the gods bless you, as they obviously blessed the red-white-and-blue you as a child.

Yes, and that same bogeyman can also grab you by the arm if you let it dangle off the side of the bed in the night. I still sleep holding a pillow to keep from letting my arms dangle.

Plus, my dear brother and sister hid under the bed one night and as I was almost asleep, their arms came creeping up over the bed to grab me. Oh horrors!!!

Good telling of a tale of truth Lia.

The comments to this entry are closed.