Who is the Goatman? (Goatman’s Bridge Series)

North Texas has four different Goatman legends, including the Old Alton Bridge Goatman. Here’s a look at those stories, as well as other urban legends about goatmen around the world.

Who is the Goatman? (Goatman’s Bridge Series)

Who is the Goatman? North Texas has four different Goatman legends, including the Old Alton Bridge Goatman. Here’s a look at those stories, as well as other urban legends about goatmen around the world.

As I continue my series on the Old Alton Bridge, or Goatman’s Bridge, I take a little detour to look at different goatmen throughout history. What similarities are there between the Old Alton Bridge and others? Why are there so many Goatman stories?

Highlights include:
• Satyrs
• Pan
• The Pope Lick Monster
• Vanishing hitchhikers


Episode Script for Who is the Goatman? (Goatman’s Bridge Series)

DISCLAIMER: I’m providing this version of the script for accessibility purposes. It hasn’t been proofread, so please excuse typos. There are also some things that may differ between the final episode and this draft script. Please treat the episode audio as the final product. 

Intro for Who is the Goatman? (Goatman’s Bridge Series)

  • The last couple episodes have been a little heavy, so this time, I wanted to have some fun. So I’ve gathered up some goatman stories for you. I’ll talk about ancient goatmen, international goatmen, other American goatmen, and other Texas goatmen. A lot of these stories are pretty silly and fun.
  • Mention going back to every other week drop schedule.

Ancient Goat Men

International Goatmen (of Mystery?)

  • There are a number of urban legends from around the world tied to Goat Men. 
    • I found stories of a Goatman, or Hoofman, in New Zealand, for example. He’s been seen at different locations in New Zealand.
      • It sounds like Māori folks say they’re Kaitiaki, a guardian entity that protects forests and lakes. From HauntedAuckland.com:
        • “One ‘guardian’ I received information about was from the Maniapoto tribe. His name is Tarapikau. Known as being a traveller, he is said to occupy Maungatautari, a mountain range nestled in between Te Awamutu and Putaruru. He is believed to have originated from the Rangitoto ranges, King Country. I am told that this Goatman is one of two twins. One brings good, the other inflicting misfortune and death ‘because he’s impatient’.”
      • I thought this idea of the good and evil twin was really interesting.
      • This Goatman entity also sometimes comes in the form of a hitchiker.
      • Per HauntedAuckland.com:
        • “‘You stop and give him a lift, but just a short way up the road he asks to get out,’ said one believer/witness. ‘Sometimes he just disappears from the car, having safely gotten you past the stretch of road you were about to have an accident on. Just seeing him on a dangerous piece of road has avoided you from an accident about to happen, most probably right where he stood.’”
        • https://hauntedauckland.com/site/goatman/ 
      • I also found an account on reddit of someone having the experience of him as a hitchhiker who disappeared.
      • The vanishing hitchhiker is one of the most famous urban legend tropes around, at least in the US. In fact, folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand wrote the book The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and their Meanings, which talks extensively about that trope. He calls it “the classic automobile legend.” In the US version of the legend, the hitchhiker is usually the ghost of a dead person. Sometimes the hitchhiker makes a prophecy before disappearing.
      • One question that I had was how did people not notice that the person was a Goatman before he got in the car? Since I assume if you saw a goatman, you probably wouldn’t want to stop the car and let him in. Here’s a bit more from HauntedAuckland.com that explains this bit:
        • “A strange looking man in a trench coat was hitchhiking the Waituhi Saddle Road in the early hours, in pitch-black darkness. My uncle picked him up. He didn’t say a word, just silence. As the truck headed on down the road towards Turangi, the man thumped on the door of the truck to be let off. When the truck came to a stop, the man jumped off the truck and disappeared into the night. My uncle said to me, ‘All you heard was clip … clop … clip … clop.’
        • “Somehow, his lower half isn’t distinguishable until he’s in your car. He’s very smelly. If you don’t pick him up, something bad will happen.”
      • In the New Zealand story, apparently some people think that he is an ancestor or spirit, so that sort of dovetails with the idea of the ghostly hitchhiker. 
      • In the comments section of the HauntedAuckland.com article, there were some really interesting stories, including one about a Goat Woman, which I wanted to read:
        • “I grew up in rarotonga, cook islands and lived there until i was 18. There was talk of a goat woman there who would sometimes appear at night and on the road in front of you, dressed in a white, wedding like dress and standing upright on two hooves. She had a womans upper body and goat legs visible below her dress. If you saw her, you were to turn back and go in the direction you just came from. Those that carried on thru…were involved in major accidents and some died. But not before telling about the goat woman. I personally never saw her.”
  • I was looking for other international Goatmen (searching stuff like “Goatman Europe”) and I found an article in the British tabloid the Mirror that was amusing enough to share. 
    • In February 2022, a “six-foot goat man” was supposedly seen near a village called Staverton, in Northamptonshire.
    • To me, one of the funniest parts of this story is that the witness went on Mumsnet to share her story.
      • She asked fellow forum-goers what they thought she might have seen, and there were amazing suggestions.
        • One person said it could have been a deer with a chronic wasting disease, which supposedly can make them look creepy and humanoid?
        • A bunch of people said it was probably a kangaroo or wallaby, which is very funny to me, because this sighting was in England. Though some people said that there’d been confirmed white wallaby sightings in Warwickshire
        • Some people suggested herons, which was interesting to me, because people have claimed that the Mothman and the Jersey Devil are actually just been sandhill cranes
        • One person suggested that it could just be someone wearing a strange fancy dress, which I really liked because it had echoes of Woman in White sightings
        • Then people started suggesting Slenderman, Goatman, Sasquatch, the Pope Lick Monster, Skinwalker, etc. I thought the OP’s response to this was hilarious, because of what must be a typo:
          • “Not a kangaroo, goatman, slenderman, sasquatch. These things don’t exist.”
          • I absolutely love the idea that kangaroos don’t exist. 
        • Other people said it could have been a very tall rabbit
        • Or a thin bear
      • So after all this, I guess I should actually read the original post. See what you think:
        • “We had been away for a few nights and travelled back quite late. Towards the end of our journey, this was about 2am, we were driving along an A road in a rural area when something crossed the road in front of us in full headlights for about 3 seconds. It was about the height of a person, maybe 6 feet or over, but had short powerful legs and hips which seemed to move in a circular fluid fashion. It was not a deer because it stood on two legs. This was in the midlands and the area is traditional rolling fields and woodland. In this particular spot there are no houses or buildings, nearest is over a mile away. We drove back today as its only 7 miles from home to look at the road layout and whatever it was moved into a wide bowl shaped field dropping down to a stream. Any ideas?”
      • For any curious listeners from the UK, they were driving on the A425.
      • In the end, though, the OP said that it definitely wasn’t human, but it seemed like a combination of a goat and a deer.
      • I’m kinda agonistic on this one, and am not very inclined to believe the Mirror’s sensationalism. But I still thought the story was fun.
    • https://www.mumsnet.com/talk/_chat/4486761-What-did-we-see-last-night 
    • https://www.northantslive.news/news/northamptonshire-news/hunt-6ft-man-goat-northamptonshire-6699514 

Goatmen in the United States

  • There are a number of different Goatmen who’ve been seen in the US, and I have a feeling that my list is not comprehensive. But I found stories in Maryland, Kentucky, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
  • I think that the most famous goatman is probably the Maryland Goatman
    • The story goes that a scientist working at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center was experimenting with animal DNA. One day, some goat DNA made contact with his blood and he turned into a half-man, half-goat creature.
    • I find this hilarious, because I’m like–if every time you made contact with animal DNA, part of you turned into an animal, then almost everyone in the US would be at least part chicken-person and part cow-person, because eating animals definitely puts you in contact with their DNA? The silly science here in just a delight.
    • Anyway, supposedly the Maryland goatman roams from Fletchertown Road to Governor’s Bridge Road. If you park near the bridge at night and turn off your lights, you might see the goatman. Sound familiar? It’s very, very similar to the Old Alton Bridge legend about crossing the bridge with your lights off. 
    • Some people say that the Goatman carries an ax. He’s supposed to be 7-8 feet tall, as well.
    • Wikipedia says that the stories began in the 1970s, but it seems like the first sighting of the Maryland Goatman was in 1957. I’ll include a link in the shownotes to an article on the website Phantoms and Monsters that lists a bunch of Maryland Goatman sightings:
    • He’s supposedly been caught on camera once.
    • In the 1970s, he supposedly beheaded a dog, and it looks like that got a lot of press attention and really helped spread the stories.
    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goatman_(urban_legend) 
    • https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/maryland/goatman-md/ 
    • https://medium.com/lessons-from-history/the-terrifying-goatman-who-haunts-maryland-4885f3814fca 
    • https://cryptidz.fandom.com/wiki/Maryland_Goatman 
  • The Pope Lick Monster is another famous one
    • Also called the Goatman, this monster is supposedly part man, part goat, and part sheep. He lives beneath a railroad bridge over the Pope Lick Creek in Louisville, Kentucky.
    • One version of the story goes that he hypnotizes or uses voice mimicry to lure people onto the bridge to be killed by a passing train.
    • Some people say that he jumps onto the top of trains as they pass by.
    • Others claim that he attacks people with a blood-stained ax, and when people see him, they’re so upset that they jump off the bridge to their deaths.
    • Some legends claim that he was a circus freak who wanted to get revenge after being mistreated. Others say that he’s the reincarnated form of a local farmer who sacrificed goats for satanic powers. I feel like it’s not a story about a goat in the south without some good old satanist flavor. There’s some of that in the Old Alton Bridge legends as well, but I don’t think I’ve mentioned that yet. But don’t worry, I’ll get to it.
    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Lick_Monster 
    • https://cryptidz.fandom.com/wiki/Pope_Lick_Monster 
  • The book Encyclopedia of Monsters by Daniel Cohen talks about a goatman in Prince George’s County, Virginia, who is a sort of lover’s lane monster who attacks teenagers who are making out in their car. This has some similarities to the Maryland story
    • The book says that this goatman has several origin stories. Maybe he’s a primeval creature that’s always been around there, or maybe he was a government experiment gone wrong. The area is near DC, so the story goes that a researcher was doing experiments on goats at a government facility, when things went terribly wrong, and he turned into a “half-goat, half-human monster.” The researcher fled into the woods, and, sort of like Frankenstein’s monster, grew to “hate the human race that now scorns him.” And that’s why he attacks young couples’ cars.
    • Some people say that he attacks cars with an ax, and others say he does it with his bare hands.
    • He’s blamed for killing dogs and other pets
  • Wisconsin Goatman
    • I was reading an old forum thread from the mid-2000s, because that’s apparently how I do research, and it mentioned a Wisconsin Goatman. Here’s the story from theshadowlands.net:
      • “The local legend behind that is one of a Goatman. Yes a goatman. Legend has it that back in the 60’s or 70’s maybe even earlier that there used to be a “makeout” couch located halfway down the rd. While late one night after high school prom a young couple was down there and the goatman killed them and the couch was covered with thier remains. Also a myth with the road is you can travel it one was and it will be so many miles long you can turn aroung go back to the other end and the length of the road will be dramatically different As legend has it.”
      • http://www.theshadowlands.net/places/wisconsin.htm 
    • The person on the forum said, about the rumored location of the legend:
    • “There’s this old creepy, unpaved road called “Marsh Road” and we had only heard creepy stories about it. Went there a few times with friends, and it was always creepy, but nothing ever happened. Weird sounds, a seemingly unexplainable thump againt our van, but nothing real weird. . . This sounds like complete BS, and almost certainly is. We had seen the couch on the road, and thought it was odd, but nothing more. Strangely enough, it seemed like sometimes the couch wasn’t there, but it would be the next time. That can be chalked up to poor memory though.
    • The one thing that did happen, which I just remembered, was completely explainable, but still very very weird. We had gone out to the road, and the majority of the road was lined with small tires. Literally hundreds of them. They completely lined the part of the road that had driveways (dirty driveways to houses way, way back from the road), but they never blocked the driveways. They started to thin out, but they would still mark the driveways, with one tire on each side of the entrance to each driveway.
    • The next night we went back and they were all gone. If it was a prank, it wasn’t too funny or cool, just strange. But it must have taken a very long time to line this whole road with tires, and to get rid of them. Again, completely explainable, but bizarre nonetheless.”
  • In Pennsylvania, there’s the Waterford Sheepman
    • Maybe worth noting: I think the idea of a Goatman guarding a bridge is interesting. It pops up in a lot of these stories, including, of course, the Old Alton Bridge. Bridges are liminal spaces. And they’re creepy, especially when located in the middle of nowhere, where many of these are or were. But also, I can’t help wondering if it has anything to do with the old fairy tale about the three goats who have to cross the bridge that’s guarded by a troll.
    • Related to the sheepman, apparently there’s a cryptid called a Sheepsquatch which is pretty similar to a sheep man or goatman.

Texas Goatmen

  • There are even multiple Goatmen in North Texas. I’ve found stories about four separate North Texas Goatmen: The Old Alton Bridge Goatman, the Lake Worth Monster, the Plano Goatman, and the White Rock Lake Goatman. I don’t know why, but apparently us North Texans really like Goatmen?
  • Lake Worth Monster
    •  The Lake Worth Monster was supposedly a Goatman, described as “half-man, half-goat, with fur and scales” and claws.
    • My main source for this next bit is a Dallas Morning News article, which I’ll include a link to in the shownotes.
    • The goatman was supposedly seen at Lake Worth in North Texas, back in 1969.
      • The story is that in the summer of 1969, teenagers went to Greer Island, whis is off the West Fork of the Trinity River in Fort Worth, adjacent to Lake Worth, which was a popular hangout spot. On July 9, three couples were parked there, and a monster jumped onto their car from the trees above them. The monster tried to grab one of the women, but they sped away before the monster could kidnap her. So, another lover’s lane monster.
      • At the time, the police dispatcher told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “We’ve had reports about this thing for about two months, but we’ve always laughed them off as pranks.”
      • But this report was harder to ignore, because there was an 18-inch gash in the side of the car, and the teens were really shaken. So the police investigated.
      • When the story hit the newspapers the next day, everyone got really into it.
      • This is Texas we’re talking about, so, as the Dallas Morning News puts in, “truckloads of men with guns headed toward Greer Island to hunt the thing.”
      • Curious people and reporters came too.
      • According toRick Pratt,  the director of the Green Island Nature Center at the time, people brought drinks, partied, and tried to hunt the monster. He said, “Here was a Sasquatch of our very own. It was a party, what the hell, let’s go.”
      • On July 10, the monster appeared again and was spotted by a few dozen people. The monster was up on a cliff. People said he looked angry, and I could imagine why. And then he threw a tire 500 feet. Everyone (including some sheriff’s deputies who were there at the time) ran away. 
      • According to the Dallas Morning News, “One witness said the monster gave off a “pitiful cry, like something was hurting him.””
    • The book Encyclopedia of Monsters by Daniel Cohen says that there was a rumor that prior to colonization, there were indigenous legends about a monster near Lake Worth, but they haven’t been verified. I assume they’re made up.
    • Apparently the Lake Worth monster was a popular story at summer camps in the area. Counselors would tell people that if they listened closely, they could hear the monster’s cry on nights like tonight. Standard fun campfire story stuff.
    • Since 1969, a lot of people have assumed that the monster was a prank. Here’s why:
      • The sightings stopped once the school year started, so people assumed it was just bored kids getting up to trouble during the summer.
      • In 2005, someone wrote an anonymous letter to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, claiming that they were one of three classmates who went out to Lake Worth to scare people using a tinfoil mask.
      • Then, in 2009, an unidentified man claimed to have been the person who pretended to be the monster and threw the tire.
      • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Worth_Monster 
    • There are a lot of differences between the phenomena at Old Alton Bridge and the Lake Worth Monster, since the Lake Worth Monster sighting was big news, printed up in a bunch of newspapers. 
      • The Lake Worth Monster sounds pretty hoax-y, though who knows. It could have been real phenomena that people just talked about in a cheesy way. 
      • Also, unlike the Old Alton Bridge, there doesn’t seem to be a grim backstory behind the Lake Worth Monster. It has much more bigfoot vibes.
      • However, it isn’t lost on me that there are two famous Goatmen in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The two sites are about 1 hour drive away from each other, which is very close in Texas terms. 
    • Interestingly, the monster is supposed to have white hair. That kind of gives it a sheepsquatch vibe. Though there have been reports of white bigfoots, so that was an interesting detail.
      • To learn more about white bigfoot, check out the book Where the Footprints End: High Strangeness and the BIgfoot Phenomenon Volume I: Folklore by Joshua Cutchin and Timothy Renner.
      • According to the book, white bigfoot type creatures have been reported in Ohio, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, California, and Washington. 
      • And, as the book points out, there are connections between women in white and ghosts and white bigfoot. I won’t go into all of that here, but check that book out for a really cool analysis.
    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Worth_Nature_Center_and_Refuge 
  • Plano Goatman
    • I learned about this one from Haunted Plano, Texas by Mary Jacobs, which was published in 2018. Plano is a fairly large suburb of Dallas, and it’s pretty well known around the country, because there are a lot of corporate headquarters there (like Frito-Lay, JCPenny, Pizza Hut, and Toyota’s North American headquarters.) It’s well-known enough that when I tell people in NYC I’m from the suburbs of Dallas, I’m often asked if I’m from Plano. 
      • Anyway, one relevant detail about Plano is that part of it lies in Denton county. So I think it’s interesting that Denton County has two Goatman stories that I know of.
      • This urban legend apparently originated in Plano in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. 
      • Here’s the story from the Plano Star Courier:
        • ““The way I remember it is there was a goat farmer back in the late 1940s who went to school in Plano,” said Kenny Smith, a former Plano resident who works at a radio station in Tyler. “Evidently he had a herd of goats and teenagers went onto his land and decapitated [them]. It screwed him up bad enough where there were incidents in 1950 [in which] a couple teenagers disappeared. It even got to the point where there were kids that were drowning in the creek where Dublin Road crossed at the time. Legend has it this farmer possibly could have been responsible for all these freakish disappearances and these problems with these teenagers around that time.”
        • “Smith said the story eventually grew and infiltrated the high school, and high school athletes began using “Goat Man’s Bridge” for initiation purposes.
        • ““If you had the [guts] to not believe the legend or myth about those specific happenings, then you could spend the night on the bridge,” he said. “I never heard of anyone who was stupid [enough] to do that. … If you spent a night on the bridge the ghost of the Goat Man would get you.”
        • “The bridge, which was allegedly near where Plano East High School was built in 1981, was torn down, but the legend of Goat Man lives on in various forms.”
      • The article also quotes another person who talks about the Goat Man at a local park: ““We were told if we trespassed on the golf course that this half-goat, half-man would chase you and throw horse apples at you. He was a child of the former owners of the property when it was a farm. Supposedly several kids who tried it had died – don’t let the Goat Man catch you.””
      • https://starlocalmedia.com/planocourier/news/beware-of-the-goat-man/article_10f6b97c-613f-11e4-b3ec-27abec9a198f.html 
    • Here’s another story, from Haunted Plano, Texas by Mary Jacobs:
      • “One Planoite remembers driving with friends to the bridge to listen for the Goat Man. 
      • “We had to roll down the windows, unlock the doors, kill the engine and remove the keys from the ignition,” she said. “The driver had to give the keys to someone in the backseat. Needless to say, we did not stay long. I swear we could hear ‘hoof ’ sounds on the rocks.” Even though it was a long time ago, she added, the memory still spooks her.”
      • The bridge was torn down in the 1980s.
      • The book also reports that people have admitted to pretending to be the Goat Man to prank their friends. I’ve noticed a bit of pranking in accounts about the Old Alton Bridge, as well.
  • White Rock Lake Goatman


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