Blog fiction history

daniel webster: boogeyman

Longtime readers of this here blog will remember that John McLoughlin, Father of Oregon, was an infamous boogeyman. McLoughlin was not the only man of historical note to be a boogeyman.

Daniel Webster served in both the US Congress and Senate. He was Secretary of State. He was known by political allies and opponents alike as being the best speaker to ever grace the hallowed Capitol halls. Daniel Webster was also a boogeyman.
daniel websterWebster would finish a long day in the House with a quick trip to the pub, where he’d rehash the news of the day with his colleagues. Then he would discreetly adjourn, citing husbandly obligations, sneak to the nearest orphanage, and devour a few children.

Daniel Webster, boogeyman, did not need rest. Boogeymen get their energy from the blood of the young. They snatch children from their beds -straight from their beds! – and tear them apart in the bushes outside the family’s house. The parents have no idea that their precious little angel is becoming the next meal for the esteemed Congressman from Massachusetts.

Everybody seems concerned with “boogeymen” like nuclear war, global warming, Obama taking away their guns. Nobody is talking about the real Boogeyman who is lurking outside their bedroom window. The real Boogeyman is most likely laughing so hard drool is falling from his accursed jaws while the distracted parents are watching PBS Newshour.

Webster protected himself and his kind by surreptitiously enacting pro-Boogeyman laws and including favorable language into totally unrelated bills. He was such a skilled hand that the bedrock of this country, the Constitution itself, is a Boogeyman protection document. A Boogeyman can steal your children and devour them at will, and the Supreme Court can do nothing but sit back and watch the spectacle. Chief Justice John Roberts (himself a known swamp monster) has been quoted as saying, “when the United States of America is rid of all Boogeymen, there can be no United States of America.” That’s how intertwined we are.

Is there nothing you and I can do to save our children from these clawed monsters of the night? Unfortunately, no. We must come to terms with the cold hard truth: this is a country run by Boogeymen, for Boogeymen.

As you tuck your loved ones into bed tonight, remember this: Daniel Webster the statesman might have died 161 years ago when the country was on the brink of Civil War. But Daniel Webster the boogeyman is still alive, keeping to back roads and taking shelter in abandoned housing developments. He is hungry. He is coming.
old daniel webster


the oregon boogeyman visits falling rock

This week in Falling Rock National Park, Carver and Ernesto glimpse the rarely-seen Falling Rock Boogeyman.  Here is one of this week’s strips:2011-01-19-falling-rock-national-park

Those of you who regularly read this blog know that a terrifying Boogeyman named John McLoughlin founded the state of Oregon.  When I was looking for reference pictures for the Falling Rock Boogeyman, I eschewed all animals.  Mammals, reptiles, birds: I considered and ultimately rejected them all.  I needed look no further than photos of the man who once ate the unsuspecting children of unincorporated Oregon.  It helps that John McLoughlin is so bogey-esque; I really didn’t have to do much to him but add body fur.mcloughlin1 mcloughlin-oregon
See the resemblance?


obama’s good year

obama+head+shot_01It used to be that kings and queens were considered at least part deity. The Americans did one good thing right away by establishing that the President was fully human, acknowledging the fallibility inherent in each of us.

At times the President would become a part of our national mythology. Washington and the cherry tree, Lincoln holding the country together with nothing but his beard, Teddy Roosevelt punching Spain right in the face. These stories are part of who we are as Americans, but we never make the mistake of saying (as much as we wanted to) that George Washington had descended from Zeus.

Then Nixon came along and made it okay to view the President as someone out to get you, kind of like a Boogeyman. The President was not only fallible but potentially worse than the average citizen. This is a perception that successive Presidential candidates fail to alter every four years.

I’ve championed Barack Obama since before he even announced he was running for President. I saw in him some of that mythology that has been missing from the White House since, I don’t know, FDR. I was sick of the run of Presidents who, at best, could be called place-holders, and at worst gave us two wars, the worst financial disaster in 70 years, and ignored global warming and those pesky “anti-torture” agreements.

I couldn’t say I was proud of any President who served in my lifetime* until now.

President Obama is doing exactly what I elected him to do. Hope? Change? Yes, on both counts. In March he signed wide-ranging conservation legislation called the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, adding new national parks, increasing the size of existing parks, and increasing protection of wilderness areas around the country. In May, he nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. She is the first Hispanic justice and the third woman to serve on that court. Oh, and let’s not forget the nation’s first national health care package, which Obama is currently pushing through Congress.

Besides those accomplishments, Obama spends his time putting out the fires from the bad old days of his predecessor. Acknowledging that global warming is not some liberal fever dream, he’s actually putting money into programs that will help us curb our greenhouse emissions. Funding stem cell research that may one day allow us to cure some of those “incurable” diseases. Appointing people to his cabinet that don’t actively hate this country.

It is the combination of big and small acts that has made Barack Obama’s administration a success. Not yet a year into his Presidency, Obama is proving that he will be there for us like Bruce Springsteen is there for Mary.

Before I go, I want to comment on the unfortunate news that President Obama will be sending more troops to Afghanistan. I’m never for war. There have only been three wars in our country’s history that have been completely necessary.** But if it’s between leaving Afghanistan to the warlords and the triumphant return of the Taliban, or finishing what we started lo those years ago, I say we stay and try to clean up some of the mess we made.

“Cleaning up the mess we made” probably should have been Obama’s campaign motto, because that’s what he’s doing and what he will continue to do for the next seven years. In spite of this handicap, Obama has been quietly bringing about the positive change he promised, moving us forward while rectifying past errors. And if that’s not totally awesome, I don’t know what “totally awesome” means.


*Except Jimmy Carter, who was in office for three months after I was born.
**The War of 1812, The Spanish-American War, and the War on Drugs. Duh.

Blog fiction

Alternate Names for the Boogeyman

Courtesy the book Giants, Monsters, and Dragons by Carol Rose, p. 271:
“Agrippa, Auld Scratty, Black Annis, Black Sow, Bodach, Booger Man, Bogyman, Bogie, Bombomachides, Boo-bagger, Brandamour, Brobinyak, Bucca Dhu, Bug, Bug-a-Boo, Bugbear, Cankobobus, Child Guzzler, Cutty Dyer, Father Flog and Madam Flog, Hobyah, Jack up the Orchut, Jenny of Biggersdale, Lammikin, Morgan, Mumpoker, Old Bloody Bones, Owner-of-a-Bag, Raw Head and Bloody Bones, Red-legged Scissor-man, Sandman, the Spoorn, Tanterabogus, Tod Lowrey, Tom Dockin, Tom Poker, Woglog.”

While most permutations of the Boogeyman feast only on children, I’m sure a hard-pressed Boogeyman would delight in eating almost anyone. Beware the creaking door! Beware the figure in shadows at your bus stop! Beware the Father of Oregon!

This public service announcement brought to you by The Falling Rock Committee For Protection Against Boogeymen.

Blog fiction history

The Boogeyman Who Founded Oregon

Did you know that the man named “Father of Oregon” was actually the Boogeyman? It’s true!

Dr. John McLoughlin (pictured above) is known as “Father of Oregon.” He was also a Boogeyman. In addition to his service to this state and to the United States of America, he crept into people’s houses at night and ate their children.

Dr. John McLoughlin, born in Riviere du Loup, St. Lawrence, Canada, worked for the Hudson Bay Company. In 1824 he and his lovely, unknowing wife moved with to Oregon to ostensibly “start afresh.” Like so many creepy supernatural figures, McLoughlin figured that if he headed into the relatively unsettled West, he would find rest from those who would destroy him. Once in Oregon, he became a central figure. He is especially known for his efforts in overseeing the migration of people from the East Coast to Oregon, for making the town site for Oregon City (just down the river from Portland), opening the first lumber mill in the Pacific Northwest, and for outliving two of his four children. He died in 1857, grizzled and worn. His house remains a tourist hotspot in Oregon City.

The lesser-known story on McLoughlin is his life as a Boogeyman. A Boogeyman, or “Bogeyman,” awakes at night and eats children. He often crouched in closets, flattened himself under beds, or hid with ghoulish glee right behind an open door. His eyes glittered with animal lust, his long teeth bared in the pale moonlight. He wore a mask of civility during the day, but at night he feasted. Boogeymen are depicted on TV and in movies as fanciful creatures that look very little like humans. This is supposed to set them apart from civilized creatures. But real-life Boogeymen look just like you and I. Well, almost.

How do I know McLaughlin was a Boogeyman? Look closely at this picture of the fiend. The prominent forehead, the shocked white hair. The excessively bushy muttonchops. In this photo he wears a black cloak of some kind. He looks both nervous and angry; this makes sense, as he was probably not thrilled at being photographed in his beastly state.

It is often the case that Men of State are thinly veiled monsters. They use their animalistic powers to climb the political ladder, then abuse the peoples’ trust by devouring their children at night. Most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were devil-beings of some sort. Thomas Jefferson was a vampire. Ben Franklin, a mummy. Even George Washington himself was nothing more than a clawed Zombie King.

Oddly, Richard Nixon is one of the only Presidents who was not a Beast from Below. Researchers have found him to be thoroughly human.

Dr. John McLoughlin’s shadow covers the state of Oregon. We must protect ourselves from his lingering evil. But we must also acknowledge the good he did for our great state.