The Irish 'Boogie Man'

The "phooka" (singular form and plural) were phantoms which were believed to cause injury to or carry off belated travellers, wayward children and other unlucky citizens. The myth of this particular phantom was active in Southern Ireland up to as recently as the late 19th century.

The Irish phooka would most often take the shape of a horse, which would then induce children or lost travellers to mount him. After sucessfully luring his prey, the phooka would then dart off into the horizon, or plunge over a precipice, dissipating during the fall causing great injury to the unlucky passenger alone.

The phooka were very numerous in times long ago. The peasantry of Southern Ireland would usually ascribe accidental falls and late guests to the agency of the phooka. Often otherwise innocent dark coloured horses riding at dusk near a small hamlet or village would be chased after by the locals, as to warn the phooka that the villagers would not be fooled by the its evil overtures.