When I came across the question about “The Boogie Man”, http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_288.html, I was shocked by your euro-centric story that seemed (to me) far fetched.
I grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia, the part of the world where the Boogie Man ACTUALLY came from. The Bugis (pronounced “boogees”) sailors (read: pirates) have throught history sailed the Java Sea and Sulawesi. They were notorious throughout the area for being barbaric sea wanderers on the prowl in their large schooners for vessels passing through waters without permission. Even today when travelling through that area you are told to beware of the Bugis man.
Maids of western families during the big European colonialization of the “Spice Islands” told tales of these sailors to the children as bedtime stories, presumably to get them to behave ( I would assume that these ghost stories were highly exaggerated to to keep little Johnny from “running amok” all night). “Beware of the Bugis Man” transformed, quite easily, to “Beware of the Boogie Man”.
Today the Bugis and thier large schooners mainly do cargo shipping from Sulawesi to other islands but thier legend is still alive. Walking the ports in Jakarta and seeing the massive Bugis Schooners was amazing.
Although the Boogie Man may not be hiding in your closet, he is, in fact, real…and not Bulgarian, or black, but Indonesian.