The Boogieman whose name is derived from Buganese pirates who use to plague English and Dutch trade ships has been used by parents to control or discipline their children.
Tonight my wife told me a rather odd and funny story about her own mother and her experience with the Boogieman. It might add to the story to point out that there is some history of mental illness within the family. Personally, I like crazy people as long as they are nonviolent, they offer different perspectives into everyday life and beyond.
My mother in law and her brother Jack were given up to their grandmother due to the mental illness of their own mother. The Grandmother, nicknamed Tooti was a widow confined to a wheelchair. She took custody of the children just before they became toddlers.
Tooti, knowing that she couldn't chase the youngsters up and down the stairs all day created a tall tale complete with a life size doll that she placed at the top of the stairs each morning before sliding down the stairs. At that time and place there was no electricity so gas lamps were used extensively. The bath tub was also a hazard Tooti feared for the youngsters.
Tooti would start the morning warning the children that the Boogieman was coming out of his hiding place and that they better get down stairs lickity split, ( I love that phrase!). After they were safely downstairs she would drag the life size doll out of her closet and sit him up on a chair at the top of the stairwell. Tooti would then slide down the stairs for the rest of the day.
The children were too frightened to go upstairs and the Grandmother kept a steady eye on them.
In the evening, Tooti would crawl up the stairs, put away the Boogieman and instruct the children to quickly get into bed.