He’s In The Closet
July 24, 2014
The curtain is drawn, the stage is dark, there will be no encore this night. The audience gathers themselves and prepares to leave the theatre...but wait! There is movement behind the curtain. Well actually more of a lump in the curtain. It is my grandson a.k.a. Tot, hiding behind the curtain in the Saw Theatre a.k.a. the living room. Easily identified by a poochy little belly and his definitive hiding catch-phrase, “Where’d I go?” The rest of us are ready to embark on one of his least favorite parts of the day and he’s ready to play. Yes, ‘tis that time most toddlers despise...bedtime.
Aside from a lucky few most parents and guardians will, at one point or another deal with a child that simply refuses slumber, in effect denying the household in general of a needed good night’s sleep. Either they won’t stay in the bed or they will and just refuse to succumb to the sandman once they’re in it.
Sometimes it’s because their little internal clocks are off due to napping too long or having a snack or meal too late. Other times they’re simply having fun, enjoying your company and just too happy to let it end. However, on occasion, it’s something else entirely that has them fighting, seemingly for their lives, to stay conscious. Because sometimes it’s fear.
In the darkest recesses of psychology it is believed that the reason some children fear sleep is they have trouble discerning it from death. That a loss of consciousness equals a loss of oneself. In short: will I wake up? When and if I do will I still be who I think I am?
It’s easy to see how this train of thought can inspire fear of bedtime. But let’s leave the morbidity of that for another day and look rather at a more consciously acknowledged and universally known bedtime fear of children and adults alike—the BOOGEYMAN!
Who is this Boogeyman? Where did he come from? How did he find his way into our closets and under our beds? Why is he out to get us? In truth the history and origin of the Boogeyman makes this purveyor of night terrors all the more frightening. Frightening because he has none. Believe it or not, unlike most urban legends, folklore or myths there is no known origin of the Boogeyman. Nor is there any history of any persons living or dead who became known as the Boogeyman. Even more terrifying is that he is universal and almost every culture has their own version and variation of the Boogeyman.
This means that the Boogeyman has spontaneously been spawned by parents and created in the minds of children for centuries without any provocation from reality. Does this mean he has always been, and forever more will be?
Now, it would be nice to believe that he is nothing more than the amorphous and monstrous ace in the pocket for harried parents desperate to make their children behave.
But if that’s the case then how do you explain when children identify him without an adult inducing the imagery? In most incarnations, he is mysterious and ill-defined, letting each individual child’s vivid imagination fill in the missing pieces with the most frightening scenarios they can conceive. So if there’s not actually something there then where does the entity’s identity come from? What’s more, if he’s nothing more than a tool used by parents to frighten children into behaving then why do so many adults fear him?
Now this is not to say you cower under the covers and call your own parents to come over and check the closet (or maybe you do; we try not to judge). It is also not to assume you tell your buddies, “Man, I had a rough night...friggin’ Boogeyman was all up in my s***!”
But honestly, how many of you take a quick peek under the bed before getting in or can’t sleep if the closet door is open? Or maybe when you awake in the night you have to make a quick “room check” before abandoning the safety of the covers to go pee.
What are you looking for? What are you afraid of? What’s out there in the dark that’s going to get you? Is it the Boogeyman?
I welcome almost all questions and comments either through the Focus, or just E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can FRIEND me on Facebook under Saw’s Brood!
Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya!