El Coco – Boogie who?

In the sunny town of Málaga, Spain, there was a lively Summer Camp that attracted young people from different corners of the world. Among the campers were three friends: Alex, Sofia, and Marco. Little did they know that their shared fascination with the supernatural would lead them on an unforgettable journey.

On a warm evening, they sat around a campfire, listening to their fascinating camp monitor, Miguel, as he shared stories from Spain, and the topic of the Boogie Man emerged. Miguel noticed the three friends’ curiosity and directed himself to them, “I see you’re fascinated by the Boogie Man,” he said with a twinkle in his eyes.

The friends nodded, urging him to share more. Miguel continued, “In Spain, the Boogie Man is known as El Coco. It’s said to be a shapeshifter, lurking in the shadows and waiting to snatch misbehaving children. Parents all over Spain talked about the legend of the Boogie Man and the little ones feared it because it’s said that it terrorizes and hides in the shadows waiting for its victims to turn up…”

Alex, with a mischievous smile, added to the conversation. “In Romania, we have a creature called Strigoi,” he said. “It’s said to be a restless spirit, lurking in the shadows, preying on the living.” His voice got deeper and deeper. The suspense was building up. “My parents warned me not to go out at night, they feared that the Strigoi would take me away.” He continued…

Sofia, her eyes wide with intrigue, chimed in. “In Belgium, we have a similar figure known as Nachtmerrie.” Her heart was pounding, could it be true? Could this mythical creature actually be real? Sofia continued her story: “It’s believed to be an evil spirit that haunts children’s dreams, causing them to wake up in cold sweats. Some even say that if you don’t finish your dinner, the Nachtmerrie will come and get you.”

As the friends delved deeper into their conversations with Miguel, they discovered that despite the different names and regional variations, the concept of the Boogie Man was remarkably similar across their countries.

Intrigued by these shared superstitions, the trio decided to embark on a quest to learn more about the Boogie Man in Spain. They spent their days exploring the enchanting streets of Málaga, soaking in the vibrant culture of Spain, and gathering information from locals who were kind enough to share their knowledge.

One sunny afternoon, while wandering through a bustling marketplace, they stumbled upon an old bookstore. Inside, they found dusty books that spoke of ancient folklore and legends. The bookstore owner, a wise old man named Rafael, noticed their curiosity and approached them.

With a twinkle in his eyes, he said, “It’s a fascinating subject, isn’t it?”

The friends nodded excitedly, eager to hear Rafael’s take on the matter. Rafael adjusted his glasses and began, “In Spain, the legend of El Coco has a long and fascinating history. While it is often associated with fear, it has also served as a cautionary figure for children. In fact, I remember a time when I got scared by El Coco myself.”

The friends leaned in, curious to hear Rafael’s personal encounter with the legendary figure. Rafael took a deep breath and continued, “When I was a young boy, my grandmother would tell me stories about El Coco, warning me of the consequences if I misbehaved. She would say that if I didn’t listen to my parents or stayed out too late, El Coco would come for me.”

His voice took on a slightly deeper and quieter tone as he recalled the memory. “One night, as I lay in bed, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that El Coco was watching me. The room grew dark, and I could hear every single sound in my room. My imagination ran wild, imagining a shadowy figure lurking in the corners.”

The friends listened intently, captivated by Rafael’s storytelling. He continued, “I pulled the covers over my head, hoping to protect myself from El Coco’s gaze. I was terrified, my heart pounding in my chest. At that moment, I promised myself that I would always listen to my parents and be on my best behavior to keep El Coco away.”

Rafael paused for a moment, smiled at the three friends and continued, “Looking back, I realize that El Coco wasn’t just a source of fear. It taught me valuable lessons about respect, obedience, and personal responsibility. As I grew older, I understood that El Coco was a symbol, a reminder to make wise choices and be aware of the consequences.”

As the friends listened closely, they realized that this mythical creature was a symbolic representation of the fears ingrained in society. It was a story that was created to protect children and strengthen social values.

Armed with this newfound knowledge, the friends returned to the Summer Camp, excited to share their discoveries with their fellow campers. They organized a storytelling night, where they recounted their adventures and the different versions of the Boogie Man they had learned about.

 As the friends sat around the campfire, reminiscing about their adventure, they couldn’t help but share their favorite anecdotes from the stories they had learned. Their laughter echoed through the warm summer night, adding a touch of magic to their gathering.

Alex, still embracing his mischievous nature, began, “You know, in Romania, some people believe that if you see a Strigoi, you can protect yourself by holding a piece of garlic in your hand. It’s like kryptonite for them!”

Sofia giggled at the thought. “That’s interesting! In Belgium, we have a tradition where parents hang a dreamcatcher above their children’s beds to ward off the Nochtmerrie. It’s like a guardian of peaceful dreams, catching all the bad ones before they reach you.”

Marco, who had a knack for finding quirky details, added, “And did you know that in Spain, some kids leave out a bowl of water near their beds to keep El Coco away? They believe that if he sees the water, he’ll think it’s a mirror and get scared of his own reflection!”

The friends laughed heartily, marveling at the diversity of customs and beliefs that had come from these tales. They realized that folklore not only entertained but also provided a sense of comfort and protection to people across the world.

As the Summer Camp came to an end, the friends said goodbye to each other. They carried the memories of their adventure, the lessons they learned, and the understanding that the Boogie Man, regardless of its name, was a testament to the human experience—a reminder that, beneath our cultural differences, we are all connected by the shared emotions that define us.



Strigoi is a term from Romanian folklore for supernatural creatures, living or undead, associated with restless spirits of the dead who return to haunt the living. They drain vitality and harm families, with many superstitions surrounding them.

Nochtmerrie, or Nachtmerrie, is a Belgian folklore figure linked to nightmares. It’s believed to be an evil spirit haunting children’s dreams, encouraging good behavior and caution.

El Coco, also known as El Cuco or Cucuy, is a legendary figure in Spanish folklore. It’s a boogeyman-like creature that hides, scaring misbehaving children to ensure obedience and proper sleep.

The Boogie Man is a mythical creature found in English-speaking folklore, often used to scare children into good behavior. Depicted as lurking in shadows, under beds, or in closets, it’s a popular subject in children’s stories and nursery rhymes worldwide.

Recent Posts

  • All Post
  • (Hi)Stories
  • Online Meetings
  • TPMs
    •   Back
    • Food and Drink
    • Historical events
    • Cultural events
    • Superstitions/Customs
    • Language
    • Folklore
    • Historical people

The Project

The Shared (Hi)stories project seeks to broaden the minds of secondary students in the EU by encouraging critical thinking and a multi-perspective approach to cultural and historical heritage. Through the exploration of (hi)stories traditionally told from a one-sided national perspective, the project aims to foster a strong sense of EU awareness and citizenship among students while improving their English skills.

Shared (Hi)Stories© 2023