What is Bogyphobia?

Bogyphobia is the intense, irrational and persistent fear of the “bogeyman”. The word “bogey” refers to a chassis for a wheeled vehicle, like a cart, wagon, etc., so the “bogeyman” is the driver of a cart or wagon, and the association is that of being chased by such a driver. This is also the origin of “bogey” in aerial combat, the “bogey on your six” meaning the “the enemy is chasing you in the six o’clock position directly behind you.”

The bogeyman in folklore has no specific features or face, and is associated with the paranormal, spectres, monsters and horror movies. The bogeyman (as “boogeyman”) has also become the childhood creature of nightmares, the “boogeyman under the bed” (or in the closet, etc.)

The root word “bogge” or “bugge” is English meaning “a frightening spectre”.

Symptoms of Bogyphobia

  • extreme anxiety, dread
  • shortness of breath
  • rapid breathing
  • heart palpitation
  • excessive sweating
  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • confusion / inability to articulate clearly
  • lack of focus
  • irritability
  • diarrhea
  • shaking
  • feelings of powerlessness
  • obsession with the subject of the phobia
  • fear or feelings of losing control
  • avoidance behavior
  • headaches

Learn more about phobia symptoms

Causes of Bogyphobia

Fear of the night as a child is often a root cause, as children having trouble sleeping may fear the unknown in the dark, etc. The “boogeyman” is the personification of the fear.

Fears of the unknown, the dark, being alone, etc., continue well into adulthood and can be made worse by news of attacks, break-ins, kidnappings and so forth.

Bogyphobia is a specific (or “isolated”) phobia, centered on non-social key factors. Isolated phobias tend to have some previous trauma (often in childhood and often physically injurious) as a root cause; a fear of bees may stem from an injury in childhood, for instance.

Upbringing can also play a role, such as parental warnings about a direct threat (such as “snakes can bite and kill you”) which is especially notable in cases where a threat is more imminent. (An allergy to bees or peanut butter, for instance, would naturally reinforce a real medical concern.)

It is thought that genetics and hereditary factors may play a role in specific phobias, especially those related to a danger of injury. (A primal “fight or flight” reflex may be more easily triggered in those with a genetic predisposition, for instance.)

By contrast, social phobias (like a fear of body odor or touch) are less well understood, are driven by social anxiety and are broadly labeled as “social anxiety disorder”.

In all kinds of phobias, external experiences and / or reports can further reinforce or develop the fear, such as seeing a family member or friend who is affected. In extreme cases, indirect exposures can be as remote as overhearing a reference in conversation or seeing something on the news or on TV and movies.

Bogyphobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.

Learn more about the causes of phobias

Treatment for Bogyphobia

  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
  • Habit strategies to relax
  • Cognitive therapy (CT)
  • In vivo exposure
  • Response prevention
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Group therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Energy Psychology
  • Medication
  • Meditation

Learn more about phobia treatments


Book Shelf

The list of books below are hand picked by the staff at Massive Phobia. It's a mixture of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Habit Strategies, Trauma Healing, Mindfulness, Meditation, Buddhist Knowledge and Somatic Study. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.