The Boogeyman (short story)

"The Boogeyman" is a short story by Stephen King, first published in the March 1973 issue of the magazine Cavalier, and later collected in King's 1978 collection Night Shift.

"The Boogeyman"
AuthorStephen King
CountryUnited States
Genre(s)Horror, short story
Published inNight Shift
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
Publication date1978

Plot summaryEdit

The story takes place in the office of Dr. Harper, a psychiatrist, where a man named Lester Billings talks to the doctor about the "murders" of his three young children, describing the events of the past several years. His first two children died mysteriously of apparently unrelated causes (diagnosed as crib death and convulsions, respectively) when left alone in their bedrooms. The only commonalities were that the children cried "Boogeyman!" before being left alone, and the closet door ajar after discovering their corpses, even though Billings is certain the door was shut.

Approximately a year after their second child's death, Billings' wife Rita became pregnant with their son Andy and subsequently moved to a different neighborhood far from the old one. A year passes without incident with Andy sleeping in the master bedroom with Billings and Rita. Billings believes that the monster eventually tracked his family down, intruding the house and slithering around at night. Not long after, Rita leaves to take care of her ill mother, leaving Billings and Andy alone.

Feeling the malevolent presence growing bolder in his wife's absence, Billings began to panic, and decided to move Andy to a separate bedroom, knowing that it would go for him. That night, Andy cried "Boogeyman!" while being put to bed and, an hour later, is attacked and killed by the Boogeyman. Billings, upon seeing the creature throttling Andy, fled to a local 24-hour diner. He later returned home at dawn, called the police, and discovered Andy's corpse on the floor with the closet door ajar. Billings convinced the police that Andy had attempted to climb out of his crib during the night and broken his neck.

As Billings finishes his story and starts to leave, Dr. Harper recommends making future appointments with the nurse. Billings goes to meet the nurse but she is gone. Billings returns to Harper's office, finding it empty as well, with the closet door ajar. The Boogeyman emerges from the closet, casting off its disguise of Dr. Harper.


It was adapted into a movie by Jeff C. Schiro in 1982. It has also been performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as a full length theatrical play, directed by television actor David Oakes. In 2010, Irish film-maker Gerard Lough adapted it into a 27-minute movie.

In 2018, writers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods announced that they would be adapting the story. In September 2019, Beck and Woods revealed that they were still working on the project at 20th Century Fox despite its purchase by Disney.[1]

In May of 2020, when asked if the adaptation was still happening, Beck and Woods said that they were unsure at the moment if the project was still going to move forward.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Scott, Ryan (September 13, 2019). "Stephen King's The Boogeyman Still on at Disney, Writers Discuss Their Take [Exclusive]". Movie Web.

External linksEdit