- Urban Legends
- In a small town called Beltsville in the U.S.state of Maryland, stories have been passed down by teenagers for the last forty to fifty years of a creature that is said to haunt the local woods and in particular a long stretch of road notorious for being a lovers lane.
A young couple parked their car after a date in 1957 along this track, named Fletchertown Road, and were canoodling when something hit the hood of the car, making a huge noise. They would later report to media that they found themselves being leered at by a “tall, horned man” that resembled a goat. If that wasn’t frightening enough, the man seemed to be waving what looked like a double-edged axe at them. The creature was then said to have turned and ran into the woods.
This was to be the first reported sighting of Goatman and over the years many have seen and described encounters with this creature. It is said to be between 7-8 feet tall and weighing 300 pounds, with the upper body of a normal human man, but a horned head and the legs and feet of a goat. In most accounts it is covered in fur, in other versions it is only partially covered.
What originally seemed to be an urban legend regarding young lovers being watched turned slowly into tales of the creature supposedly decapitating a man who pursued it into the woods one night. Over the years residents have claimed not only is the creature responsible for pets going missing or being killed, but it also has a deviant sexual aspect as many believe it has entered peoples homes and raped men and women.
Many believe the stories began due to the presence of an old hermit who, in the 1960s, resided in the nearby woods, and was seen regularly walking in and out of town at night along Fletchertown Road. A story began circulating that the creature was once a scientist who worked at a nearby agricultural laboratory who, while conducting experiments on goats, went mad and begun walking the back roads weilding an axe. Another version has an old farmer seeking revenge on local teenagers who killed a flock of his goats.
Stories of a similar creature are also told in Fort Worth, Texas where the creature is said to reside and haunt the local lake, hence it has come to be called the Lake Worth Monster. This creature was also said to watch young couples parked on the lake in the sixties, with many of the witnesses describing a very similar creature, but with scales!
Local police considered it to be a joke up until late 1969 when a young man claimed he and his lady friend were attacked while in the car, and showed an 18 inch scar on the side of his car where he claimed the creature slid an axe along his door. The following night the creature was seen by at least a dozen people when it hurled a tyre at drivers from a bluff, it is said that a photograph of the creature, the only one known to exist, was taken that night. Soon media started reporting that several local high school students had admitted to police to pulling several pranks by wearing a gorilla suit and walking along the lakefront. However, many of the then-teenage eyewitnesses still attest to this day that they saw a genuine monster.
A third creature similar in description and behaviour is said to be living underneath a train trestle in Louisville, Kentucky. The Pope Lick Monster, named after the creek below the train trestle, is said to be more malovolent in its nature, luring trespassers that dare tred onto the trestle in front of oncoming trains by supposedly using hypnosis or voice mimicry. In some accounts it also has an axe and has been known to jump down onto cars passing under the trestle.
In 1988 a local filmmaker created a 16 minute film called The Legend of the Pope Lick Monster, which caused controversy due to many railroad officials becoming concerned that teenagers would start climbing the trestle. An 8 foot tall fence was erected and signs warning trespassers were placed nearby, however it has not stopped a number of people from getting inside the area and making claims of seeing the creature.
Many in these areas, especially religious folk, consider the creatures demonic and the spawn of Satan. However many believe the stories are nothing but exaggerated legends told by youth around campfires.
Are there a number of hybrid human-goat men scaring people still in America?
If so, what are they?
Or are these examples of urban legends with a cryptozoological twist?
Matt Sweeney 2014 of Marvels and the Macabre with Matty
Put together by Ashley Hall 2014
Main: Reinactment, likely from a movie.
Left: The trestle bridge from the Pope Lick Monster legend.
Right: A film crew captured this blurry footage of the goatman… they are always blurry!