Origins of Terrifying Russian Lullaby “TILI TILI BOM” are Murky

Truly creepy, or merely creepypasta?


One comes across an abundance of nightmare-fuel when probing the darkest corners of You Tube.  A recent chilling discovery was a video for the Russian lullaby Tili tili bom (тили тили бом).  The lyrics are as haunting as the echoing choir of children singing; minimalist musical accompaniment heightens a dreadful disposition.  Please believe this may be one of the scariest, most unnerving things you’ve ever heard!

Lyrics: Tili-tili-bom / Close your eyes rather / Someone goes outside the window, / and knock at the door. / Tili-tili-bom. / Screams night bird. / He had already made ​​his way into the house. / For those who can not sleep. / He goes … He already close … / Tili-tili-bom. / You hear someone nearby? / lurking around the corner, / and pierces the eye. / Tili-tili-bom. / All hide silent night / For you it is stolen / and is about to catch. / He … He is already close …  /Tili-tili-bom. / You hear someone nearby? / lurking around the corner / and pierces the eye.

While these creepy voices and lyrics would be more likely to keep me awake (especially as a kid), the idea seems to be that Russian parents would sing this song as a means of inducing slumber in their children.  But rather than soothing them with soft, peaceful imagery, the message is: “Hurry up and go to sleep before the Boogeyman gets you!”  Yeah, that’s relaxing!

Could Russian parents really be so cruel?  While it’s true that many English nursery rhymes also have dark roots and gruesome undertones, Tili tili bom seems exceptionally terrifying—hardly appropriate for children of any nation.  But while some ardently insist this lullaby is legit, a search for the song’s origins are incredibly difficult (impossible?) to find.  I went down the rabbit holes previous internet detective have traveled in an attempt to crack this nut.  And just like them, I came to a virtual brick wall at the year 2007; after that: A total informational void.

Like many a Reddit user, I was able to trace Tili tili bom to a soundtrack for the Russian horror movie TRACKMAN (aka Putevoy obkhodchik, Путевой обходчик) but discerning whether the lullaby was written for the soundtrack or merely included on it is impossible to confirm, even when tracing the film back to its official Russian website.  Notice on the screenshot below, no information whatsoever regarding the soundtrack for TRACKMAN.


A search for the soundtrack on Google Music turns up a similar informational vacuum.


I hit another brick wall over at IMDB.


Still determined to find the origins of Tili tili bom, I bought TRACKMAN on DVD (distributed in America by Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Underground).  After confirming that this lullaby was indeed a musical backdrop for parts of the film (it’s in the opening credits), I skipped to the end credits where I found: Absolutely nothing about Tili tili bom; nothing even regarding the recording (i.e. when/where released, produced by, performed by, etc.)—even though the other songs used in the film were all represented in the end credits. WTF, am I right?

Knowing when I’ve been bested, I abandoned my search for answers, unable to determine if Tili tili bom is the creepiest lullaby ever written, or merely a particularly chewy piece of internet creepypasta.

The song has gained a certain cult notoriety among fans of all things morbid and macabre, even taking on a life of its own.  In addition to other video manifestations, Tili tili bom has been used to add atmosphere to chilling dash-cam footage (below) of a car traveling through a forest fire, and even as the soundtrack for a fan-made BLACK WIDOW trailer featuring Scarlett Johansson (also below).

If you have any information regarding the origins of Tili tili bom, please let me know in the Comments section.  I’d love to solve this spooky little riddle once and for all!

In the meantime: Pleasant dreams!

Do you agree that Tili tili bom is creepy as hell?  Sound off in the Comments section!

Follow me on Twitter @josh_millican for quality horror articles worthy of your attention.



54 Comments on this post.

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  • Kat
    7 July 2016 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Did you try contacting the person who uploaded the video on YouTube? DaXia999 or something. Maybe they can tell you something where they got the video?

  • Mary Miller
    21 July 2016 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    This is copied from “Sputnik news” on Russian symphony stories. The article is speaking of the Russian composer Stravinski.

    “Curiously: a man of the world, an individual with “multi-media mentality”, Stravinsky sought to bring up his own children with a distinct “national flavor”. All of his songs, not only these – with texts – are from collections of folk texts. Moreover, the composer unearthed the most genuinely-national, primordial, acerbically-unusual for today’s ear, which has left contemporary language; that which sounds uniquely beautiful…
    “Untranslatable phonemes of the Russian language,” commented the composer.
    Another one is called “Tilly-bom” (tilly-bom, tilly-bom, the cat’s house is on fire – all of our today’s children grow up on this.) Just as they do on the tales “Gooses-swans” and about the bear…”

  • Amanda tyler
    11 August 2016 at 9:41 am - Reply

    Awesome research Mary Miller !

  • Nefaria
    21 August 2016 at 7:35 am - Reply

    Actually, a quick search again with the quote Mary Miller wrote here confirms one thing: Stravinskys “Tilly-Bom” is another song, not the same “Tili Tili Bom” we’re talking about here. So the origins still remain a mystery… Sorry to disappoint, I couldn’t find anything either!

  • hios
    26 August 2016 at 9:50 am - Reply
  • Christian
    8 October 2016 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    My friends phone spoke the words tili tili bom we’re in America. No Russian connection this song is creeping him out.

  • Dawn
    29 November 2016 at 1:00 am - Reply

    The song plays in the show Bitten in the third season episode 8. The episode is titled tili tili bom. Its a bit creepy, indeed.

  • Christina Theriot
    1 December 2016 at 1:00 am - Reply

    This is a very well known lullaby.

  • Et tu Bluto
    18 May 2017 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    Ask Donald Trump…he’s an expert on all things Russian, or even all things…just ask fact he might well have written it himself…

    • PizzaGate Podesta
      24 May 2017 at 10:46 pm - Reply

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        25 May 2018 at 2:59 am - Reply

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    • Balthazar
      17 September 2017 at 12:52 pm - Reply

      There is always one who has to be a douche canoe. Don’t be that guy.

      • Boo!
        5 June 2018 at 3:03 pm - Reply

        It’s suffice to say Donald Trump is already ‘that guy’, and a ‘douche canoe’ as you so eloquently put it. What is to be gained by ardently defending some self-serving prick anyways?

  • Natalia Sylvenska
    8 June 2017 at 2:37 am - Reply

    My parents would sing this to me as a kid. I always knew him as a form of demon that would lurk outside the houses of Russia and if I wasn’t asleep he would come up the stairs and eat me. I knew that Tili tili Bom was my Babushka’s (grandmother’s) lullaby as well, so it’s definitely old. She drew a picture of him when she was about 12 for a project and she drew him dragging bodies through the snow of ‘naughty’ children who would stay up at night. That’s kinda the image I got of him, so yeah I would make sure my feet were no way near the edge of the bed and that I went to sleep straight away.

    • Eric Waller
      13 March 2019 at 12:33 pm - Reply

      Please ask her about the origins of this song if she is still alive, this would help us find out where this song came from.

  • A guy who does college research on creepy things
    23 August 2017 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Two things in all this might be good clues that Tili Tili Bom is an actual lullaby.

    First, the fact there is a different “Tilly Bom” song (mentioned in other comments) hints very strongly at the sound “tili bom” being a widely known (therefore old) rhythm vocable. It doesn’t prove anything, but it gives it weight.
    Secondly, the fact that it is not credited in TRACKMAN also implies that there is nobody to credit or pay, making it a public domain song, and most likely, one that people are not supposed to look up in the end scroll because they already know it. It is possible that it was played by the same orchestra/band that executed the rest of the OST, that it is not explicitly stated because it is considered an evidence, and that the song itself doesn’t “count” as they didn’t compose it.

    There are two ways to get closure on this: books of Russian lullabies, and Russian people old enough to have had their parents terrify them to sleep before 2007. Both would give you a pretty definitive answer. On the other hand, since this song became an internet phenomenon, the last place you will get any confirmation is the internet: it’s like listening for a serial killer in the middle of a Halloween party.
    If you figure it out, update us!

  • Abi Jordyn
    23 November 2017 at 9:33 am - Reply

    It was actually made for the horror movie “Путевой обходчик”, a Slasher/Thriller that came out in 2007, and didn’t exist before that. It was later used as a lullaby, simply for the melody. It was more often hummed or sung in it’s original language, so small children wouldn’t fully understand, nor pay attention to words.

    • Abi Jordyn
      23 November 2017 at 9:37 am - Reply

      It’s not ancient and it’s not a “terrifying lullaby for kids” it was simply made for the above movie. Media is just over doing it.

    • Sav
      12 June 2022 at 7:29 pm - Reply

      Well thats false my great grandma knows this lullaby from her childhood can sing it word for word

  • Regina
    8 December 2017 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    Ok, to add to this, I did find the same recording that’s on youtube on Spotify with the same cover image. However, when I went to the artist page, his name was James Smith (really generic) and he had no images or bio yet, which basically doesn’t happen with artist pages. Weird….

  • Olga Platonova
    2 January 2018 at 3:05 pm - Reply


  • Olga Platonova
    7 January 2018 at 11:54 am - Reply

    I represent composer who wrote this song, Lev Zemlinski. His name was in credits as score composer. But he wrote this song too. His daughtet Anna sang with her school mates.

    Some fresh links from composer:

  • Laura
    4 February 2018 at 10:48 am - Reply

    Wasn’t the inspiration for this music children who don’t want to go to sleep and the Bogeyman? You said it yourself, some nursery rhymes are creepy. And well, we actually have three old nursery rhymes under that theme here in Brazil: nana neném, boi da cara preta e bicho-papão. Other countries must have their own songs about this.

    • Vadim Dovganyuk
      4 July 2018 at 8:09 pm - Reply

      I do know some examples of that as well, like the Romanian children’s song “Nu mi-e frica de Bau Bau”. However, the song in this case was made for the horror movie only, nothing more than that. It is not an actual lullaby, and it obviously has never been sung to children, unlike the media claims.

  • d4dasher123
    29 May 2018 at 6:35 am - Reply

    My Russian grandparents definitely know the song. They sang it sometimes. So it’s definitely older than just the movie.

    • Eric Waller
      27 November 2019 at 10:54 am - Reply

      If your grandparents are still alive, ask them about the lullaby, depending on what side of the family they are on if your parents are still alive, ask whatever side of the family your grandparents are on.

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    7 September 2018 at 11:46 pm - Reply

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      19 February 2020 at 3:46 pm - Reply

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      5 January 2022 at 6:10 pm - Reply

      fuckin loser lol

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      31 March 2022 at 11:48 pm - Reply


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  • Alina
    19 March 2019 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    Great article 🙂 I heard this song relatively recently and I absolutely LOVED it, precisely because it is so creepy. To help answer your family and I are originally from Ukraine (Russian-speaking) and when I asked my parents about Tili Tili Bom, they said they’d never heard it before. And my parents are pretty knowledgeable about songs and stories from our “motherland.” My mom used to sing all kinds of old Russian and Ukrainian lullabies to us when we were little, and actually many of them really do have somewhat creepy undertones (I guess to encourage kids to go to sleep faster, lol). However, I think this particular song was made up recently for a movie, and therefore, it is not a traditional lullaby. I recently watched some short horror story anthology series on Netflix, one of which was called “Nightbird” or something like that. This song played throughout the movie and I kept thinking “why does it sound so damn familiar??” And then I remembered it was the Tili Tili Bom melody. The “Nightbird” title is in reference to the second verse of the song.

    P.S. In the fourth verse where the English translation says “for you it is stolen,” this is actually translated to “he is creeping behind you,” followed by, as you have correctly written, “..and he’s about to catch you.” I can see where you got the word “stolen” from though..the Russian word “Kradyotsa” (meaning “creeping”) when conjugated is very similar to the word “Krast” or “Kradyot,” (which means “to steal” or “stealing”). Really good job on the translation though!

    • Alina
      19 March 2019 at 4:46 pm - Reply

      Reading through the comments, it seems some people’s parents and even grandparents have heard the song, so clearly I may be wrong about it not being an original lullaby. I have one living grandparent left, so perhaps I should ask him.

  • Elena
    27 August 2019 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    Made a search on Russian language sights. Findings as follow-
    Written by composer Lev Zemlinskiy to the Russian horror movie TRACKMAN ,2008.
    lyrics by Rustam Sautov
    singers-Polina Voropaeva,Anna Zemlinskaya,Sergei Melnikov,Angelina Frolova

  • Eric Waller
    27 November 2019 at 10:54 am - Reply

    If your grandparents are still alive, ask them about the lullaby, depending on what side of the family they are on if your parents are still alive, ask whatever side of the family your grandparents are on.

  • Adrian Cooke
    9 February 2020 at 1:54 am - Reply

    If you want to see more creepy stuff try searching CREEPY RUSSIAN PLAYGROUNDS on Google Images: that should give you some more nightmares!

    • ohgodohno
      26 February 2020 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      why did i search it
      why why why

  • ohgodohno
    26 February 2020 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    why did i search it
    why why why

    • assya
      30 April 2023 at 12:57 pm - Reply

      moi aussi ,j’ai chercher et c ‘est très flippant

  • Artsy
    4 April 2020 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    It’s pretty obvious that the lullaby has existed for a while. It’s probably a folk song, or otherwise, a lullaby inspired by said folk songs. People’ve had their grandparents sing this, so it’s been around for a while.

    • Arthur V
      13 June 2020 at 3:41 pm - Reply

      Random people online saying “my grandparents sung this to me” is not obvious proof. It was written for a movie in 2007. People are lying.

      • Red Tears
        2 January 2021 at 1:26 am - Reply

        But assuming they’re false doesn’t prove that they’re lies- it just shows that you don’t believe them, and honestly it’s not that crazy to assume that it was a real, yet weird, song.

  • Daisies
    29 April 2020 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    I don’t know who composed it but I have heard this story of a stranger lurking outside in two forms. Lullaby and a bedtime story. In most slavic countries it’s common to tell scary stories so kids stay in bed.
    Basically the story went something like this..
    There is a man who walks at night with a huge sack and goes from house to house. If he finds children awake after bedtime he shoves them in a bag (like Santa’s sack) over the arm, drags them back to his home and cooks and eats them.
    Note: I only heard it a few times when I was misbehaving before bed and my grandma had enough of me. Yes, it is scary, and yes it is extremely efficient. No, I am not traumatized.
    As far as I understand its floklore of sorts. My grandma says her grandma used to scare her with the same story.

  • David
    4 September 2020 at 12:53 am - Reply

    I think this song is about a man who steals children like krumpus. Maybe it’s a Christmas them lullaby

  • dcl_e
    13 March 2021 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    I agree that the song is really creepy, especially for children, but to say that only Russian parents do stuff like that is wrong. I’m from Quebec and even though I wasn’t told this story when I was a kid (my parents are French), a lot of my friends talked about the ”Bonhomme sept-heure” which literally means ”7-o’clock man”. Basically, he would come get you if you weren’t sleeping by 7 pm. Both of those stories are Bogeyman type of stories.

  • arizona
    28 April 2021 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    I love this song! I have to listen to it on repeat, going between russian and englsih to fall asleep at night. My favorite version is the english though it sounds more chilling at least to me.

    • Riley Teague
      11 October 2021 at 2:09 pm - Reply


  • Riley Teague
    11 October 2021 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    can some people send some send me what we know about the song and the sites were you get it from i am gona do a podcast on it and i need a head start send it to me at or post it here and if you whant to be in the podcast send me a mesg to my eamil or here in the post

  • Kel
    8 December 2021 at 2:20 am - Reply

    Bested? Good Lord have you tried searching…libraries? Or contacting Russian-speaking, like, actual humans, maybe asking them to search the Russian Internet or (again) Russian libraries etc.? You could use Reddit to find scads of interested parties I’m sure. My god, man, if the Internet goes down we are well & truly fucked because my tiny cadre of Generation Xers are the last generation to know that there’s hoards of information out there that, yes, is still NOT on the World Wide Web (that we built most of, by the way). Seriously, I do know the Internet won’t bgo down,” I’m just saying that culturally speaking, if you think a pre-2007 lack of info from the Web means the info’s not out there? I dunno, dude. But I weep for you and your kin, and our planet.

  • Polina
    18 January 2022 at 12:57 pm - Reply
  • elijah
    2 August 2023 at 11:07 pm - Reply

    i can not believe that it is real cause i saw a man just walking out side my house after i played this song and i also heard my front door open to my house and so i might die

  • sisi
    2 September 2023 at 12:16 am - Reply

    Tilli tilli bom is my favrite song it is not scary. Every night before I go to bed I listen to it❤️❤️😁😁😈😈