|By AL J. Vermette
You are alone in the woods or at least you think so at first. As you walk something is trailing you just
out of sight but you know it’s there for you can hear its footsteps. It’s big and as far as you can tell, it’s
walking on just two legs. Ruling out that it’s a deer or bear, the only other large enough creatures to be
heavy footed, you keep walking hoping to find someplace to hide from whatever it is. Then it starts to move
faster and you start to run for you know whatever the thing is its coming for you. In your mind, you envision it
being just a lost hunter like yourself but then you catch in the moonlight something other than human.
Running like mad, you stumble over some brush and hit the ground. Just as you turn to regain your footing,
you see standing over you, the thing that has been stalking you. There standing over you is a large man-
shaped beast with white hair over its body and large horns protruding from its head. Within a moment’s
time, you know what the thing before you is but your mind tells you that it just can’t be. That the stories are
true and that the legend of the Goatman is all true.
As a local urban legend, the creature that has become known as The Goatman haunts not one but
many locations in very different American states. Unlike the wildly known Bigfoot that is said to roam the U.
S. within the deep dark forests, Goatman lurks near train tracks and the nearby woods surrounding them.
Of the locations where this beast or beasts roam, they are Louisville Kentucky, Beltsville Maryland, Fort
Worth Texas and Washington County Wisconsin. There are even reports of this creature being seen near
the border of Neasden and Wembley just outside of London England. Descriptions are as follows, tall man-
like creature with white hair and large horns atop its head giving the creature its name of Goatman. In
some stories the beast has the face of a goat as in others he has the face of a man and may or may not
have the legs of a goat.
Unlike Bigfoot that is said to be dark in color and more ape-like, for this creature is smaller, more
human but the horns upon its skull make it depart from any Bigfoot sightings when it’s seen. In some
stories, the creature is said to carry an ax with him as he roams the Maryland woodlands most often along
train tracks where the beast can be mostly found. This seems to be the case for most Goatman sightings
that the creature likes to be near train tracks no matter what state or country he roams in. Some say the
creature is a homeless man living in the woods, others say that he or they are a circus sideshow freak that
got loose and now roams wild. In some stories, the creature was created in a lab as some sort of
Frankenstein like experiment to create a strange new hybrid while others say that he is the creation of a
farmer who got too friendly with one of his goats and their union made the beast that has become known
as The Goatman.
The Goatman of Maryland haunts the area of Prince George County and can be seen lurking along old
railways and sometimes wielding an ax in hand. As his story goes in one re-telling of his origin, the
Goatman was once human who worked in the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. He was
experimenting with goats when something went wrong and turned him into the creature. After this plot to
any sci/fi movie, the man-goat started roaming the woodlands and after finding a rusty ax, used it to chase
away people in the woods and teens who parked in the nearby lover’s lane. Another story says that he is
just an old hermit who lives in the woods or a homeless man who had been seen from time to time and
dubbed the Goatman.
Although no one really knows where the creature came from either a lost soul living in the woods or
something the devil himself cooked up, the myth of The Goatman began long ago according to the
folklorist Barry Pearson of the University of Maryland. The story really started to gain when a local dog was
found dead and its death blamed on The Goatman in 1971. The local newspaper, the Prince George’s
County News, reported the attack on October 27th and it really went big when the Washington Post wrote
an article with the headline “A legendary Figure Haunts The Remote Prince George Woods” on November
30. Local teenagers would tell the myth of the Goatman as a campfire story as a sort of Maryland
Bogeyman to scare each other keeping the legend alive.
The Goatman of Kentucky also known as The Pope Lick Monster, much like the creature of Maryland
is said to be half man and half goat with the upper torso of a man and the lower body and legs of a goat.
Atop his head he has two goat like horns and he, like his Maryland friend, has a thing for trains. Haunting
the railway bridge over Pope Lick Creek just outside of Louisville, the monster has become the stuff of
nightmares. Over the years teens and young adults have dared each other to cross the bridge that gaps
the two sides of Pope Lick Creek in drawing out the monster.
As recently as 2016, a young woman lost her life when in an attempt to find the creature when crossing
the 772-foot long trestle, was hit and killed by a train before finding the beast or reaching the other side.
Some say that it is the creature himself that draws his victims to the deadly crossing by way of some form
of hypnosis to lure them to their doom. Much like a Wendigo, the creature calls out to his victim using voice
mimicry of someone they know and trust before attacking and their death being blamed on the trains that
cross the trestle.
Much in the same way as the Maryland creature, this beast too wields a bloody axe that he uses to
scare, chase and kill his victims with. Also, the train company has erected fencing along the wooded root
to climb to where they can reach the bridge people still find their way up to the high crossing and seek to
find the monster. Most find nothing but some never return home as the police blame their deaths on the
train, but the Kentucky locals all know that it was The Goatman that got them. They say that if you cross the
span and you see the creature, that his very look alone and his power of hypnosis will force his victims to
leap from the bridge to their death.
In 1988, the beast was the star of a short film by filmmaker Ron Schildknecht called The Legend of the
Pope Lick Monster. Much of the 16-minute film was shot right on the very location, but even the filmmaker
had the better sense to put his actors on the death span but used a safer location when filming actors
walking the trestle. The Pope Lick Goatman was also the subject of the TV show Monsters and Mysteries
in America on the Destination American channel. The creature has become so much of a local icon that in
Pope Lick Park, there is even a haunted attraction based on the legend of the beast.
True story, this author first heard of the Goatman in Maryland in 1991 when living in Florida (for the first
time) just before I was taking a trip to Louisville Kentucky. At the time I thought it sounded cool “The
Goatman” and wanted to write a story about him only relocate the creature to the hills of Kentucky since I
was going there anyway. At the time I had no idea that Louisville really did have their own Goatman story
and even when moving there a year later for two years still never knew of the creature that was so close….
and yet so far. Most likely just as well….in my 20’s I would have been up on the damn bridge looking for the
thing and would have most likely gotten my ass hit by the train long before seeing the monster.
The Old Alton Bridge in Texas is where you’ll find our next Goatman. The Bridge is sometimes called
the Goatman’s Bridge for as the story goes, there once lived a man who farmed goats for a living. Due to
this work, he was soon known as the Goatman and after his business took off people of the 1930’s, were
not too thrilled of a black man doing so well. (yes these were different times). When the people of the KKK
found out about him, they attacked him and hung him from the Old Alton Bridge (again different times). But
when they tossed him over his body seemed to vanish and his ghost has haunted the woods around the
bridge ever since. Like in the other cases, the creature is said to be half man half beast with the lower legs
of a goat and horns adorning his head.
Even today it is said that if you drive over the single lane bridge without your headlights on, you will
meet with the beast. Other ghostly figures and strange lighting can also be found in the woods near the
crossing. The myth has become so big in the area that paranormal seekers have flocked to the sight
hoping to see the creature or any other ghostly happening in the spooky woods near the old bridge.
Not far away in Fort Worth is a Goatman who is also called The Lake Worth Monster. This creature
was first seen in the summer of 1969 and was reported in all the new papers of the day. Police found
nothing of the creature and figured it was nothing more than a hoax by the local kids while off from school.
Later when school was back in session, the sighting stopped making people believe that the creature with
nothing more than a prank by the teens. Only the sighting never really did stop and something was still
seen walking in the woods that no one could explain.
In 2009 for the 40th year Anniversary of the monster sightings, an annual festival started in honor of the
Lake Worth Bash and now held every October. Much like The Mothman Festival in West Virginia, people
come out and party and pay honor to their local monster with food carts, vendors, games and live
Between the border of Neasden and Wembley in London England is yet another Goatman creature
reported to live in the dark tunnel under the River Brent. Here this beast is said to be the spawn of a farmer
who had relations with one of his goats. Like the other creatures, this Goatman likes to hang around not a
train bridge but a tunnel, but like the others has the same human body, goat lower half and horns upon his
Stories of half-human creatures with animal body parts are not something new. The Christmas Demon
Krampus is very much half man and half goat but is said to only roam in the month of December and is
truly just a story….not the cryptic creature that the Goatman is said to be. Or is it Krampus watching year-
round to see just who are the bad kids out there so he can make a visit to their house on Christmas Eve.
The Greek god Pan is a half man half goat creature who is the god of nature and the wild. He is also the
god of fertility and the season of spring. Other half men and half beasts have shown up all throughout myths
and legends of creatures like Fauns and Satyrs who themselves have the upper body of a man and the
lower hindquarters of that of a goat. Perhaps the Goatman is one of these creatures and live not only in
myth but in our very much real world.
Like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, The Goatman has yet to be proven to be real but maybe one
day this strange creature will come out of the shadows and show the world that yes, it is very much real
and that it indeed lives among us.