Most families have some kind of hero in the family tree. Some Great-great or maybe even recent member they point at with pride and say,"he/she was the first to _" or "fought in the war and was decorated". You get the gist. In my family it was my maternal grandmother, her familial claim to fame was having drowned the boogeyman.
It was back in 1946 in rural, Kentucky. The twins (my oldest sisters) were 5 years old at the time and living with our Mother in a small cabin on my Grandparents' property. By all accounts they were quiet, well-mannered children, until the arrival of the boogeyman. No one knew where the children had even heard of him, but almost nightly their shrieks of fright roused the households, bringing my Grandfather on the run with his shotgun. They became afraid of the dark, and would beg for my mother to sit with them until they'd fallen asleep. This went on for weeks, despite the fact my mother kept reassuring them that the boogeyman didn't even exist, he was just something made up to ensure children behaved, and since they were always good, they'd have nothing to fear anyway.
My mother wasn't actually sure that there was 'nothing to fear', for weeks now there'd been odd occurrences in and about the cabin that she was at loss to explain. For one thing several times when the girls cried out, their room smelled of rotten eggs, and sometimes the window that she was sure had been closed was slightly opened. There were times when she found weird 'drag' marks in the dirt outside their window, as if someone with a horrible limp had come that way. Privately she told her father that she worried that the boogeyman might be some hobo lurking about. Although it wasn't unheard of, Grandpa said if that was the case, they'd be more likely to steal a few chickens, and surely they wouldn't dare to come back every night, or have any interest in scaring little girls. Still that same day he brought old Jack, his hunting dog to stay with Mom and the girls. According to my Mom, Jack made himself right at home but steadfastly refused to have anything to do with the girls' room refusing to even enter it, and at night would growl at nothing she could see.
Days dragged by, the 'boogeyman' taking its toll on my mother and the girls, mostly due to lack of sleep. One simply does not go from terrified screaming/responding to such screams to sound sleep easily. They grew pale, and dark circles formed under their eyes.
One day, Grandma decided consult with Aunt Sylvie about the situation. No one knows what transpired between them, but it had to be serious for Grandma to pay a call on a known witch. (No one is really certain if "Aunt' was an honorary title, or if she was truly related in some way.) What is known is when she came back she volunteered to sit with the girls for the night and even gave my Mom money to go see the movie playing in the next town over with her cousins. A rare treat indeed!
When Grandma came she ushered my mother off, and set about getting the girls ready for bed. Of course they did not want to go, so instead she put them in my mother's room, telling them, enough was enough and she'd take care of that old boogeyman, and he would never ever bother them again. Then she gave them instructions that no matter what they heard, they mustn't leave the room.
It wasn't long before they heard her talking in their room (Grandma was NOT a soft spoken individual). "See this broom, you Devil? I'm going to beat you with it! Now you get out of here, in the name of Jesus, and never come back!" After that there was a horrible racket, that went from one room to another. It sounded like furniture was being over-turned,Old Jack was barking up a storm, and Grandma yelling. They heard the back door slam, and running to the window saw Grandma running down the path, swinging the broom and shouting Bible verses.
After a short while she returned, telling them they didn't need to worry about the boogeyman anymore, as she had chased him down to the river where she had drowned him.
My mother came home to find the twins sleeping peacefully, her home in disarray, her broom broken, every window and doorway salted, and Grandma reading the Bible. Whether the result of a theatrical performance by Grandma, or some cleansing ritual the twins never again complained of the boogeyman bothering them.
*** An interesting side note to this: of course the twins told their little friends that Grandma had drowned the boogeyman, but by the time it made its rounds reaching adult ears it was she had drowned a man, which much to the amusement of family and her chagrin brought around the local sheriff with some questions... Small towns you gotta love 'em.