Bloody Bones is a boogeyman feared by children.
According to Scott Andrew Hutchins, Bloody Bones comes from Ireland and is sometimes called Rawhead and Bloody-Bones, Tommy Rawhead, or Rawhead. Though the stories originated in Ireland, they have spread through the UK and North America, and the stories maintain popularity in the American south.
Hutchins quotes Georgess McHargue as saying that Bloody Bones "is rumored to have a crouching form like a rock. He is covered all over with matted hair, has pale flat eyes, and lives in dark cupboards,".
His appearance varies greatly depending on the telling. He is variously described as looking like:
- A crouching, rock-like hairy creature
- A gremlin with twisted flesh
- A dog or old man covered in scabs
- A burn victim, but with sharp claws and teeth
- A giant razorback boar with missing pieces of flesh
- A hairy creature with long fangs, a bushy tail, and razor claws
- In some tellings, he can take any form he chooses
Bloody-Bones is said to live near water (in older tellings) and under sink pipes (in newer tellings). Rawhead/Bloodybones rewards very good children, but will punish naughty children by dragging them down the drainpipes or into the water and drowning them. In addition to drowning naughty children, he is said to be able to turn them into objects such as pieces of trash or spots of jam, which are inadvertently cleaned-up and thrown out by unwitting parents.
The following rhyme originated in Yorkshire/Lancashire:
- Rawhead and Bloody Bones
- Steals naughty children from their homes,
- Takes them to his dirty den,
- And they are never seen again.
- Bloody Bones is Monster in My Pocket #68.
- Clive Barker's Rawhead Rex is derived from the mythological figure.
- Rawhead-and-Bloody Bones is one of the main villainous figures in the Courtney Crumrin comics (and the only villain so far to live), presented as a nigh-unkillable being immune to all curses, who enjoys slaughter and whose lair contains the still-living skulls of his victims. He was summoned to do the dirty work of a warlock; Courtney Crumrin eventually retaliated by doing the same thing and having Rawhead kill him.
- A version of Bloody Bones appears in the Anita Blake novel Bloody Bones.
- Tommy Rawhead appears in the 2000AD comic strip London Falling by Simon Spurrier, appearing to be a bearded homeless man in London; when he takes his hat off, he is revealed as having no skin on his scalp (in effect, a raw head).
- Rawhead and Bloodybones is described in a song of the same name on the Siouxsie and the Banshees album Peepshow (1988).
- Here's Rawhead and Bloodybones Reaching from dark cupboard Crouching under stair, Lurking in chimney, Pond or well We're down here, Held here Dragged here And drowned here by Rawhead and Bloodybones.
- In Supernatural episode 1.12 Faith, the monster Sam and Dean are fighting in the beginning is referred to as a Rawhead.
- Rawhead and Bloodybones, as either one or two entities, appear in the novel The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding. He stalks his victims invisibly from behind. The victim is only vulnerable if they look over their shoulder three times.
- Rawhead and Bloody Bones appears briefly in The Dresden Files comic book Welcome to the Jungle #1. It's described there as "something formed from the leftovers at a slaughterhouse" and resembles a flayed minotaur with lots of shark-like teeth.
- Rawhead and Bloody Bones appears briefly at the end of the first comic book mini-series Courtney Crumrin & the Night Things by writer/illustrator Ted Naifeh.
- McHargue, Georgess. The Impossible People. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972, 86.