Mythical "person/monster" used by parents to scare their children into obedience.
eg - "Now Johnny, if you don't clean your room, the Boogeyman is gonna get ya!"

Like Santa Claus is used for positive reinforcement for young children, The Boogeyman is used for negative reinforcement.

Note - much more common in the first half of the 20th-century, rarely used now. Sometimes used by adults when attempting to describe an unknown force of mayhem, like Gremlins.
eg2 - "What happened to your car Mike? Looks like the Boogeyman beat it with an ugly-stick!"

The Boogie Man is a myth that parents use to keep children from going places they're not meant to be. In the same way that Santa Clause is used to manipulate children into being good, the Boogie Man is used to get children to be safe. "Be careful," a parent might say, "Don't go into that dark alley or the Boogie Man will get you."

But I wasn't ever afraid of the boogie man because he only stole butter. Who would ever be afraid of a butter thief? What kind of a whacko goes around stealing butter anyhow?

Okay, so maybe that doesn't make sense. But here's what happened... When I was around seven years old, I had my own way of getting out a new stick of butter from the pack of four. I would open the box that held the cubes of butter carefully, making sure not to rip any of the packaging. I would slide the fasteners out through their slots and remove a stick of butter, and then slide them back in.

One morning, I was sitting in our breakfast nook next to the refrigerator. My mom opened the fridge, and went to get out a new stick of butter. She ripped open the package of four (now three) cubes and stood there looking at it, confused. "That's odd," she said. "This is the second time I've come back from the grocery store with only three sticks of butter."

I had never intended to fool anybody with my clandestine butter-getting, and I quickly filled my mom in on the reason for her missing butter.

"Oh!" said my mom, laughing. "I was beginning to think it was the Boogie Man!"

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