Creature Compendium

Creature Compendium: Bloody Bones

I ran into this creature while reading a novel and wanted to know if it was invented or based on folklore. It turned out to be the latter.

Rawhead and Bloody Bones / Tommy Rawhead

Rawhead and Bloody Bones
Steals naughty children from their homes,
Takes them to his dirty den,
And they are never seen again.
– Children’s rhyme (Yorkshire/Lancashire)

Bloody Bones
Bloody Bones by Majo-Yoru

Bloody bones lives near places of water, sink pipes, under stairs, in cupboards, or in closets. He punishes naughty children by drowning them, or changing them into jam or trash (that gets thrown out by their parents), or eating them. Descriptions vary depending on the telling: sometimes a hairy creature with long claws, an old man covered in scabs, a razor back hog with head yellow eyes and bones for a body, or possibly a shape shifter.

Stories of bloody bones originated in Ireland, spread throughout the UK, and into North America where the belief is more prevalent in the south.

Further Reading

Related Creatures: boogeyman, Krampus

Region of Origin: Ireland

It seems like parents around the world like to threaten their naughty children with terrifying monsters. Perhaps it is just a small sampling of stories that I’ve found but descriptions of the Bloody Bones seem to be more frightening in North America than in the UK. Did your parents ever threaten you with monsters when you were naughty?


  1. Spooky bloody bones. I like him. I’ve never heard this story before but when I was a kid I loved the story of Hansel and Gretel. Now as a parent, I wonder who would read that story to their kids? A step-mother convinces the dad to lose the kids in the forest and then they’re eaten by a witch. While I love the darkness of this tale, how did this ever become a bedtime story? Times have changed…

  2. I’d never heard of this one, either – what a scary monster! As far as I know my parents never tried to frighten me with cautionary tales involving guys like him – they had enough trouble getting me to sleep with the light off as it was. I was always certain there was something waiting under the bed or in the wardrobe – maybe it was Bloody Bones himself!

  3. Aislinn Harp

    My family is originally from Ireland and settled in the mountains of Kentucky. As a child, my grandmother did in fact tell me not to go into the “holler” alone because Bloody Bones lived there and liked nothing better than to eat children he found alone. In her descriptions, Bloody Bones was a skeleton man dripping blood, larger than any living man, razor sharp teeth and claws and eyes bright as the sun in his skull head. It scared the daylights out of me but didn’t keep me out of the “holler”. Not when there happened to be enough money in my pocket to buy candy or an ice cream in town.

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