Saturday, July 5, 2008

BLOODY BONES a different Boogeyman

RAWHEAD AND BLOODY BONES seems to be a Boogeyman of Celtic descent...

It is sometimes shortened to 'Bloody Bones' or 'Old Bloody Bones', and sometimes to 'Tommy Rawhead'. Samuel Johnson in his dictionary defines it as 'the name of a spectre, mentioned to fright children', and quotes instances from Dryden and Locke. In Lancashire and Yorkshire, 'Tommy Rawhead' or 'Rawhead and Bloody Bones' is a water demon haunting old marl-pits or deep ponds to drag children down into their depths, like the other Nursery Bogies, Peg Powler and Nelly Longarms. Mrs Wright, in RUSTIC SPEECH AND FOLK LORE, quotes a typical warning: 'Keep away from the marl-pit or rawhead and bloody bones will have you.

Description from Bloody Bones by Anita Blake

"A hand came out of the darkness, large enough to palm my head. The fingernails were long and dirty, almost clawlike...huge, square least ten feet tall...huge, oversized head had no skin. The flesh was raw and open like a wound. The veins pushed and throbbed with blood flowing through them, but it didn't bleed...mouth full of broken yellow teeth."

"Rawhead and Bloody Bones": The Oxford English Dictionary dates the name(s) as far back as c.1550, in Wyll of Deuyll (by Gascoigne?): "Written by our faithful Secretaryes, Hobgoblin, Rawhed, & Bloody-bone." The earliest reference the OED gives which mentions the phrase in relation to a nursery bogeyman is in 1659: "Most People are agast at them, like children at Raw-head and Bloody-bones"

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