Traumafessions :: Spooky Sean on Stephen King’s The Boogeyman

When I was around twelve years old, I first read the STEPHEN KING short story collection NIGHT SHIFT. In the collection, there is a tale entitled, The Boogeyman, which had a literary device in it which has since scarred me well past the point it should.

The story deals with a man who tells some sort of mental health professional (I’m assuming psychologist), an account of how his three young children died. Officially, the young ones all died from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), but the father knows the truth. It was The Boogeyman that killed them all. I won’t spoil the rest for you, except to discuss the part of the tale which traumatized me so utterly. For, you see, every time one of his children died, the father would find the closet door open…just a crack. Just a tiny bit. And that’s the hate joke; STEPHEN KING knew that when closets are left open, it’s always just an inch or so!

Since the age of twelve, I have not been able to deal with a closet in my bedroom open. Especially not open…just a crack. I associate the open closet door with death, and while I’m way past the point of dying from SIDS, I can’t help but feel like it’s still dangerous to keep the closet open. The fear lost a lot of its power when I left home to go to college around eighteen, but I’d be lying if I said it had gone away completely.

UNK SEZ: Thanks for the traumafession Spooky Sean and thanks for building the wonderful blog SPOOKY BLOGGERY which everyone should stop by and visit often HERE!

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Nathan Arms
9 years ago

This was actually made into a short in 1982 and also in 2010. I have linked the 82 version below.

Part 1

Part 2

Sean Thompson
9 years ago

Thanks for allowing me a place to share my many traumatic childhood memories based on pop culture!

stevil1981
stevil1981
9 years ago

vtsejam, The 2010 version was an Irish production. Unfortunately it wasn’t great, the director was at the screening and even he didn’t seem too excited about it. But it’s always good to see people taking Stephen King up on his one dollar adaptation fee.

stevil1981
stevil1981
9 years ago

Yeah, it’s pretty great for young film makers. It really goes to show how much SK cares about the industry that he’s pretty much conquered.

Sean Thompson
9 years ago

I didn’t know about the dollar deal. That makes me love him even more.

Sean Thompson
9 years ago

Haha. Do, I hear ya. I have a dream of one day meeting him. It probably won’t happen, but I can dream.
I would be a mess if i met him. It’d be cool if like, it was just in a random way; like stopped for a soda off the highway, and he’s there buying a coke or something.

SlasherChick
SlasherChick
9 years ago

That story scared the hell out of me when I first read it at age fourteen and has left a large and very permanent section of scar tissue on my psyche. Open closets freaked me out when I was a child and after reading The Boogeyman it became impossible for me to sleep in any room with a closet unless the door is closed. My kids sleep with theirs open all the time and just seeing it gives me the shudders. The Closet Monster is alive and well in my imagination, waiting.

You’d think I’d be pretty much over that now that I’m closing in on 43…but, no.

Alan Howell
9 years ago

Night Shift is full of scary moments, but the one that gets me most is a subtle one, from the story “Strawberry Spring,” about a Jack-the-Ripper-like serial killer roaming a college campus. During an investigation after one of the murders in which the body was left in a field, one of the cops state that there are no footprints leading to or from the body. Since the story is not supernatural, King never explains how this happened. It still gives me chills.

In fact, that’s reminiscent of another story from the collection, “One for the Road,” in which the vampires leave no tracks in the snow.

Sam Brilhart
9 years ago

Check out the trailer for a new Boogeyman adaptation.