The Oogli Boogli Man

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Zimbabwean-American
Age: 20
Occupation: Student
Residence: United States
Date of Performance/Collection: April 10th
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main Piece:

This is the transcription of a story told by the informant.

There is an old old woman and she lives all alone in the hills and every single night when she goes to be she takes her boots off and puts them on the ground and tries to go to sleep in the middle of the night the boots wedge themselves on her feet making her do chores all night long and then right as the sun starts to rise the walk her back to her bed and slip back off her feet. So she is becoming really really exhausted and doesn’t know what to do. So she finally takes a trip to the Oogli Boogli Man. He lives even deeper in the hills than the old woman. So when she has to go and walk over to him she takes her time and as she approaches his house a stench comes into the air. She stands far from the porch and screams “Oogli Boogli man” and there’s nothing. She screams again and then out comes the most stinky, farty, old crusty man that you have ever seen. He has icicle boogers coming from his nose and rat poop in his hair because the Oogli Boogli man does not like to clean himself. But he is magic. So the old lady says that her boots are exhausting her until the day breaks then she can go to sleep. The man says all right I will help you. Tonight when you go to sleep the boots won’t hurt you anymore. That night the boots jump back on her feet only this time the boots are taking her all over the town. She is absolutely exhausted and she knows a trick has been played on her. This next time the old lady decides she is going to take matters into her own hands. She makes jam for the Oogli Boogli man and puts some choice ingredients like cat turds, snot, whatever she can find. The concoction is a deep icky brown. She pours it into a jar and seals it shut. Then when she walks over to the man this time there is no reply, but she says all she wanted to do was thank him. That night when she is walking back to her house she hears a scream from the Oogli Boogli man’s house. “Damn you old lady, I’m gonna come get you” that night she is scared shitless, obviously. She hears a knock on her door and she does not know what to do so she stays nice and quiet. The man says “old lady I know you are in there, I just wanted to thank you for that jam that you gave me” and she stays nice and quiet. Then all of the sudden there is a creak and the door opens, so she is freaked out. Then the boots start walking towards the door that’s just opened and the Oogli Boogli man pops right into the boots and walks out the door cursing the old lady’s name. And that’s it, she gets to sleep after that. 

Background:

This story was told to the informant by their father and he learned it from his grandmother. The informant’s great-grandmother was from a tough-as-nails farming family that moved from Nebraska to the desert outside of Joshua Tree. The informant is very close with their family so stories are constantly shared as a way to feel close to their relatives.

Context:

The informant explained that this story was told to them by their father as a spooky tale before bed or around a campfire. When I asked the informant to share some of their family’s folklore, this was the first example that jumped to their mind. They were able to recite it completely from memory and with critical detail and description that showed how much this story had impacted them.

Thoughts:

This folktale is very representative of the blue-collar background of the informant’s great-grandmother. The isolation of the mountain town makes this story more scary for those who live in that environment. It also has magic involved but a very dark kind of magic that can control you in a painful way. This again shows the beliefs of people living in isolation. It could perhaps allude to the idea that outsiders could try to control communities they did not understand, just like the shoes control the old woman. Also the shoes never allowed for this woman to rest and in a farming community, rest is one of the few sacred things that you are given to survive. There aren’t luxuries that wealthier communities get access to, but rest is something guaranteed. The woman gets her rest back by standing up to the Oogli Boogli man which highlights the values of tough communities. You have to act for what you want and not expect things to get better without work.