“In my grandma’s neighborhood, whenever kids were being bad, they would get someone from the neighborhood to dress up as the boogie man and hide in the kid’s room. When the kid went to sleep the person would scare them to try and make them act better.”


Aaron first heard from his grandmother when he was a young boy. His grandmother was Native American. He does not know very much about her culture or native traditions. The idea of a stranger showing up in the middle of the night to scare him for some reason stayed with him. Every time he was going to do something he knew was wrong, the idea of this real-life boogie man would pop into his head and prevent him from doing the deed.

The boogie man was also rumored to appear at night. Night, a time when most children are scares of shadows or random creaks in the floor. They are at that age where they believe in almost anything and can be easily fooled. This is probably why the story worked on Aaron.


More information on the Ogre Kachinas can be found on JSTOR under Myth, Performance, and Politics by Masakuni Kitazawa in TDR (1988-) magazine, Vol. 36, No. 3 (Autumn, 1992), pages. 160-173. It was published by MIT press.

After learning more about the mythical monstrous monster that scares children into compliance, I found that this boogie man is a woman. They call her Ogre Woman Kachina. Her role is to teach discipline to the children. She makes various appearances in tribal performances in the punishment scenes (page 161). I find this interesting because it goes along with the idea that women make more cunning villains than men. Nonetheless, the perceived notion of causing physical pain and suffering in present society is attributed to men due to their violent behavior and built up sexual aggression. This leads to a misconception on the gender of the monster. Aaron thought the monster was a man. This is common since he grew up in an American culture that amplifies male aggression. Boys growing up are given an ideal image of what a man should be, and he should be tough. They are the ones associated with strength, while the women are associated with household duties. It is only logical for children to be more frightened of men.

This monster is similar to El Cuco. A monster used in Spain and Latin American countries to frighten children into going to bed. The children are said to be taken away from their homes for not listening to their parents and going to sleep. In both beliefs, they create a monster to frighten children into doing what they’re told. These stories pray on childhood fears.