Raw-Head and Bloody-Bones


Raw-Head and Bloody-Bones
   A traditional *bogeyman; also used allusively for robbers, etc., whose rumoured activities created panic. The earliest citation in the OED, from 1550, lists 'Hobgoblin, Rawhed, and Bloody-bone', with punctuation implying that the latter are two distinct beings; other early quotations seem to support this, but in the 19th century the whole phrase is generally a hyphenated unit. In East Anglia, Lincolnshire, Warwickshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire, children were told there was an ogre lurking in deep ponds and marlpits to drown them, known as Tommy Rawhead, or Bloody-bones (Wright, 1913: 199).

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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