Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Scottish Shellycoat and Other Bogymen

Bogie, or bogyman, is an overall term used for a host of goblins who can be dangerous or mischievous, and others with shape-shifting ability.

When I was a wee child, I thought a bogyman lived under the bed. Part of the belief came from tales my siblings terrified me with of the Purple People Eater. The novelty song, The Purple People Eater, inspired their stories. Check out Kidsongs.com for lyrics.

Of course, my brother and sister expanded on the alien's dietary preference and convinced me the creature came to earth to eat children and was more than likely living under my bed.

While doing research recently, delving into my faerie reference books, hunting for a fae creature to incorporate into one of my Highland Gardens, Scottish time-travel stories, I came across a Scottish bogie known to live within sluggish, fresh water streams. The shellycoat matched my search criteria—a homely yet cute creature that causes mischief by leading travelers astray.

At least that's how I felt about the depiction of the creature found in Faeries by Brian Froud and Alan Lee. I imagine my heroine taking the shellycoat's advice and getting twisted and turned around and completely lost, needing rescue.

The name shellycoat comes from the way he covers his body with shells that rattle when he moves. I picture snails and muscles, and other such crustaceans covering a clammy body. Just imagine the smell—dank, stagnant, pond scum.

His facial skin—usually all a person can see—is pale green in color. His nose flat and broad. His eyes bulging. Reminds me of a frog. A few strands of thin, black hair hangs around his face, but the shells cover most of his head like a hood.

Although considered relatively harmless as far as fae creatures go, and less deadly than the Purple People Eater of my childhood, the shellycoat takes pleasure in bewildering travelers by misleading them and getting them lost.

What type of bogeymen kept you awake at night?

~Dawn Marie


  1. Monsters in general kept me awake as a kid. I had nightmares of them chasing me, catching me, hurting me. I hated the dark. Guess I was a chicken.

  2. I hated the dark too, Darcy. I made my mother leave on a nightlight until I fell asleep. Thanks for dropping in.

  3. I wasn't sure what was under my bed, but I knew something was under there. Although I would check before going to bed to make sure there were no monster, when the lights went off, I knew it had materialized under my bed. :)

  4. Hi, Gerri. Isn't it funny what our minds come up with? Thanks for visiting.

  5. I didn't have monsters under my bed. Maybe my imagination hadn't developed yet. I was robbed.............

    Very interesting about the shells covering his green body. Sounds like somebody had an imagination even if I didn't. :)

  6. Hi, Paisley.

    I had an imaginary playmate as a child too. :) The depiction of the shellycoat in the book Faeries is homely-cute. The artist has a fab imagination and gift.

    Thanks for checking out my post.