At the first of the book, Scout explains how she first learned about Boo Radley from her big brother Jem. This is only second-hand hearsay, though, because Jem got his information from the town gossip, Miss Stephanie Crawford. As tales are passed along in this manner, they tend to take on a type of urban legend status; and to a six year old, Boo sounds more like a ghost or the boogie-man. She's curious about him, but also a little nervous that someone like this lives in her neighborhood. It's a good thing, however, that Scout is inquisitive and seeks after more information on the subject from more than one source. As Scout asks Miss Maudie about Boo Radley, she gets better and more accurate information.
"'Do you think they're true, all those things they say about B--Mr. Arthur?'
I told her.
'That is three-fourths colored folks and one-fourth Stephanie Crawford. . . No, child,' she said, 'that is a sad house. I remember Arthur Radley when he was a boy. He always spoke nicely to me, no matter what folks said he did. Spoke as nicely as he knew how'" (45-46).
This conversation is the beginning of Scout's change in perception. She still witnesses Jem and Dill doing things to flush the poor man out, but at least she has a reasonable background of information from which to view Boo as a human and not a ghost.
The next event that helps to change Scout's perception of Boo Radley is when she and Jem find gum and other little treasures in the knothole of the tree. This shows her that someone in the Radley house is kind and not a boogie man. If it weren't for Mr. Nathan Radley filling up the hole with cement, she probably would have been able to communicate back and forth with Boo via tree knot hole.
Because of these helpful events that shatter the neighborhood legends and gossip, Scout is not afraid to welcome Boo into her home the night that he saves the kids from Bob Ewell.