If you have a young child that is frightened at night by a Boogeyman-like something — or someone — lurking outside their room, you may wish to learn from a New Zealand family not to discount the child’s fears as simple nightmares or other harmless things that go bump in the night.
For the New Zealand family, a prowling potential Boogeyman is exactly what they would later find, after discounting their 3-year old child’s report of “a man with a light” lurking outside his window for three nights, reports New Zealand’s Stuff.
The 3-year old’s parents assumed the Boogeyman with a light creeping around outside their child’s window was just a typical fear illuminated by a young and fertile imagination.
“I thought, obviously he’s just had a bad dream,” explained the child’s mother, Melissa Rodrigues, who, as a children’s author, has some insights into the imaginations of a child.
But reality soon intruded on any notion that the “man with a light” was just a figment of the 3-year old’s imagination when he awoke his parents with a blood curdling scream early on June 26.
“At 5.30 in the morning he let out an absolutely gut-wrenching scream from his room,” said Rodrigues. “I knew something wasn’t right.”
Rushing to their young son, the little boy escorted his father outside where eerie footprints in the morning frost and a wide open gate indicated that indeed there was a prowler visiting their home each night. And if not an actual Boogeyman, perhaps someone even more dangerous.
Other clues that a prowler had been about the property was a missing toolbox and some extension cords, according to Rodrigues.
Though the family called police, the best they could offer as a Boogeyman defense against the man with a light was some security cameras to catch the frightening interloper in the act.
After exploring their security options, the one that best fit their budget was a smartphone app called Salient Eye, a motion sensing app that kicks the smartphone’s camera into gear and starts capturing images. Those images are then emailed to the smartphone’s owner.
That night, the family set their Boogeyman trap, wondering if the man with the light would return.
The 3-year old was off for a night over at grandma’s while Rodrigues and her husband set up operation Boogeyman-with-a-light headquarters in their den.
The smartphone with its new Salient Eye app was propped up in their garage window, across the garden from the house, and ready to roll as the couple waited.
And as night crept toward dawn, the Boogeyman with a light showed up, the smartphone app kicking into gear and images of their son’s nightmare shooting into their email’s inbox.
“It gave me the shock of a lifetime because, even though I was waiting for it, I wasn’t expecting to see him,” said Rodrigues, whose call to police brought the authorities running, armed with a dog and ongoing visual reports from the family of what the Boogeyman with a light was up to.
“We were sitting in the house watching it all through the app. It was brilliant. I was talking to the police saying ‘OK, someone’s just run across our backyard,’ then telling them, ‘Oh, sorry, it’s just your policeman’.”
In the end, due to the teamwork between the police and the Rodrigues family, the Boogeyman with the light was finally captured, and unmasked as 15-year-old, fairly well-known delinquent.
According to Rodrigues, some of her elderly neighbors had been being bothered by “noises in the night” as well as stolen items from their gardens.
“I hope it’s brought them a little bit of peace of mind,” said Rodrigues.
One person who should have some new found peace of mind is the 3-year old little boy. Having a Boogeyman with a light creeping around outside your window every night is no fun.
[Images via Hulton Archive/Getty images and Melissa Rodrigues]