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Things that go bang in the night

Bogeyman admits links to Al Qaeda

Infamous denizen of the night says he is leaving the terrorist organization because it's "too scary"

The creature that has haunted the nightmares of generations of children has now confessed to being a member of terrorist group Al Qaeda.

The Bogeyman (also known as the 'Boogeyman' in states that do not believe in evolution) says that he joined an insurgent cell in Iraq, financed by Osama bin Laden, two years ago. This followed a period of self-doubt and depression during which he began to question his very existence.

"In this world of YouTube and MySpace, there just doesn't seem to be a place for mythical creatures like me any more," said the beast via his publicist, Steven King, in Fallujah. "It was really getting me down and I started to think, 'what's the point?'."

Then the evil specter heard about Al Qaeda. "I hadn't really been following the news — I'd kinda given up because every time you turn it on it's always bad. So it took me a while to hear about these guys."

The Bogeyman says he might have been misled about the nature of the terrorists.

"I already had the facial hair and like to hide out in caves," he said. "So I thought, 'hey, these guys are just like me'. I figured it would be like joining a club, or something."

Moving from New Jersey to Iraq was the biggest shock of his existence, said the beast. "Hell, you think some parts of Newark are rough. You should try getting a pizza after 9pm in Sadr City."

After two years of hiding in the desert, eating bugs and biting the heads off private security guards, the Bogeyman said he'd had enough. "One day I just freaked," he said. "It was like I'd got two years' worth of The Willies. I mean, these guys are really scary."

The Bogeyman said he would be leaving the Middle East and returning to the US as soon as he could get a flight from Baghdad. Surprisingly, he said he has had no problem with no-fly lists. "Maybe that's because I always travel first class," he said.

A White House spokesman said that President George W Bush would now be sleeping with the light on.