Bogeyman  

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  1. A menacing, ghost-like monster in children's stories.
  2. Any make-believe threat, especially one used to intimidate or distract.
    The alleged link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda turned out to be a bogeyman.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Bogeyman (also spelled bogieman, boogeyman, or boogie man) is a common allusion to a mythical creature in many cultures used by adults or older children to frighten bad children into good behavior. This monster has no specific appearance, and conceptions about it can vary drastically from household to household within the same community; in many cases, he has no set appearance in the mind of an adult or child, but is simply a non-specific embodiment of terror. Parents may tell their children that if they misbehave, the bogeyman will get them. Bogeymen may target a specific mischief—for instance, a bogeyman that punishes children who suck their thumbs—or general misbehaviour, depending on what purpose needs serving. In some cases, the bogeyman is a nickname for the devil. Bogeyman tales vary by region. The bogeyman is usually a masculine entity but can be any gender or simply androgynous.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Bogeyman" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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