When Did the Boogeyman Legend Originate?

It is uncertain when the exact first usage of the boogeyman was. Some sources date it as far back as the 16th century, while other sources indicate it was first used as a term for the devil around 1836.

The etymology of the word "boogeyman" is from Middle English. It means frightening spectre. This does lend itself to being a ghost-like creature. However, the boogeyman is rarely given a firm description, as it is most often used as a vague term that takes the shape of whatever a child fears the most. This allows parents to use the boogeyman as a tool to curb misbehavior from their children by using fear as a motivating factor.