Whether it's the Boogeyman, Krampus, or El Coco, most of us have grown up with mysterious and creepy figures lurking in the shadows. Our parents brought this up to get us to behave or to get us to sleep at night. Depending on where you grew up, this character can take many different forms. Sometimes they're evil witches, sometimes they're zombies, and sometimes they're just real monsters. Although it is now known that scaring children is not the best psychological technique, there are still good reasons to talk about these legendary characters in a pinch. In some cultures, the use of allegories and stories is the main way parents teach children emotional control.
To coincide with the peak of the spooky season, TheToyZone has put together a fun map featuring iconic characters from around the world. This includes the English boogeyman, who started out as a bogeyman in the 15th century. Many of the "boogeymen" around the world have similarities in that they aim to teach children a lesson about why they shouldn't listen to their parents. Some impose mild "punishments" for disobedience, while others are more threatening, such as eating or kidnapping misbehaving children.
El Hombre del Saco from Spain, is an old man who eats the children he collects. Variations of "Sackman" exist in different countries in Latin America. In Egypt, this person is called Abu Rigul Masulka, which means "the man who burned his feet." Legend has it that he was burned by his parents as a child for disobedience, and now takes revenge on other naughty children.
Many numbers also relate to the local environment and the specific risks children face in a particular country. For example, Tata Duende is a mythical goblin from Belize. This little creature wears a wide-brimmed hat and is the guardian of animals and the jungle. Tata duende is therefore used to scare children and deter them from running away at night or going to the jungle.
But not all creatures are trying to harm children. Indonesia's Wewe Gombel is more compassionate. This female spirit actually separates abused children from their parents and keeps them safe in her nest until the parents change their behaviour.