B – BANSHEE, BOGEYMAN
The banshee is traced back to Irish origins, but can also be found in Scottish, American, and Welsh folklore. It is usually perceived to be a woman in form. A messenger, usually foretelling death, or other messages from the Underworld, people who claimed to have had an experience with a banshee report intense feelings of fear and oppression. The sound of the banshee, perhaps its most memorable feature, is heard in conjunction with an imminent death and can be connected to wooded areas.
The descriptions range from them as human women dressed in white with long hair to taking on different animal forms. For the Welsh it would be known as the Hag of the Mist.
Don’t go out in the woods at night, the Bogeyman will get you! I heard things similar to this growing up in the mountains of east Tennessee by my grandmother who was of Irish heritage. My best friend’s grandmother, who lived with her, would tell us not to do many things because the Bogeyman was apparently waiting on us to slip up just so he could have a midnight snack, I suppose. It was all adult trickery to keep us children in line, wasn’t it?
Well, it turns out the Bogeyman’s roots go farther back than I realized. In Scotland, it may be called a boggart, or bugaboo. Curiously, it can scratch on windows, or manifest in a green fog, all depending on what part of the United States you live in. Furthermore, each household can have it’s own version of where it hides and waits, what it does, and what it looks like. My personal Bogeyman lived in my closet, and I believe he still does.
In Spain, this creature carries a sack that he puts the bad children in and takes them from their parents. Yikes! In the Honduras, there was a real man in the 16th and 17th centuries called the Hombre del Saco, whose lot in life was to collect orphan babies in bags or baskets to take to the orphanage. By the time he would reach the orphanage, many of them would have died due to the conditions during transport.
In Armenia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Turkey, and the Netherlands, there are all stories of a man with a sack who takes naughty children in some form.
I personally cannot justify telling my children that if they do not behave or do not go to sleep that something will come and take them away forever, or that they will be eaten by a monster, but maybe it’s just me. Some of these myths had me looking over my shoulder. The power of the tales.
I always make sure my closet door is shut. I suppose I always will.
The above information was taken from Wikipedia as well as the Bogeyman image. More information concerning other myths can be found there. I encourage you to read them as they are fascinating.
The Banshee image is from here.