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When it comes to urban legends that have the potential to fill your heart with horror and premonition, it is difficult to top the enduring legend of the goatman. Over time, the legend has endured thanks to enthusiastic lore, media reports, and glorified personal accounts. The goatman legend has many versions and variations, but all of them extol the dangerous and horrific nature of the creature at the center of the story. If you believe in the legends, the goatman is a creature best avoided and an encounter with the goatman can give rise to all sort of tragedy.

The center of the goatman legend is Prince George’s Country in Maryland, in the United States. Arising out of the turbulent 1970s, the goatman legend is sure to satisfy horror aficionados and lore enthusiasts alike. It has inspired goatman stories, films, video games, and more.

goatman video game

The Goatman video game

Let us take a look at the background and explore why the goatman legend is such an interesting and enduring piece of lore.

The Background of The Goatman Story

The year was 1970 and the setting was the seemingly innocuous Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. Legend has it that an enthusiastic researcher decided to carry out some less than savory experiments on goats. Something went wrong during the experiment and the researcher transformed into a hideous creature, with the grotesque upper body of a goat. Another version of the origin story talks about Stephen Fletcher, a doctor who supposedly used goat DNA to experiment on his assistant, William Lottsford.

Other versions of the origin story involve Native American beliefs that Okee, a goat herder, came back as an evil spirit to teach a lesson to children in the area who had reportedly killed his goats. Many families also recount that the goatman legend began as a word-of-mouth tale to keep the children in line as a scare tactic. The territory of the goatman seemed to cover a large area of Maryland, including the aforementioned Prince George’s County, Beltsville, Mitchellville, Upper Marlboro, and Bowie.

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Oftentimes when searching for The Goatman story and myth, it becomes synonymous with the Pope Lick Monster of Louisville, Kentucky. Here is a short film released in 1988 that featured the monster. News about that particular version of the goatman sometimes involves people exploring that unsafe bridge, with injuries (or even accidental death) when people trespass looking for the creature.

Pope Lick Monster as a Goatman story

Pope Lick Monster (1988) as a version of The Goatman story

Pope Lick Monster as a Goatman story

Pope Lick Monster (1988) as a version of The Goatman story

Who is the Goatman?

As legend has it, the goatman is a singularly frightening creature that is half man and half goat. Apparently, the goatman roams the streets carrying an ax while shrieking in a voice reminiscent of a goat. He also takes great pleasure in killing and eating dogs and also kills small children for pleasure. The legend of the goatman found traction in the Prince George’s County area after 1970 after several incidents of dogs disappearing or being killed in the neighborhood. This led to discussions and takes about the goatman being circulated, Graphiti attributed to the goatman appearing in multiple locations, and the police receiving news of multiple goatman sightings.

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Reportedly, it all started with the disappearance of the puppy called Ginger, which belonged to the Edward family in Old Bowie. After a thorough search, the body of the puppy was found in the Fletchtown Road area, missing its head. This incident of decapitation was quickly linked to the goatman as many teenage women, including April, the daughter of the Edwards family, reportedly seeing a large creature and hearing strange noises the night Ginger disappeared.

The sightings reported a creature that walks on its hind legs like an animal. After the dog was found in that sorry state, the legend of the goatman was immediately legitimized with an article in the Washington Post. The people who found the corpse of the dog were reportedly interested in the goatman legend and had often gone on the hunt looking for this mystical creature. Several detailed sightings of the goatman were also reported during the time.
Later versions of events also report many sightings while also perpetuating the notion that the goatman often attacks couples and lovers. Apparently, the local lovers’ lane was a favorite haunt of the goatman, who would often venture there to find couples to scare.

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The Other Goatman?

Surprisingly, there is another goatman legend with no connection to the original. This story is about the goatman in Texas. Legend has it that the goatman haunts the Old Alton Bridge, which is now also known as the Goatman’s bridge. The bridge stands between Copper Canyon and Denton and the goatman is rumored to make his home in the dense jungle nearby.

This is a grievous story involving racial violence where a black goat farmer was kidnapped and killed by Klansmen in the area. They then killed the rest of his family. The spirit of the goatman, one could theorize, roams the area looking for revenge.

Locals still caution people about the goatman in Texas, with a dire warning that the goatman will appear if a car passes the bridge without the lights on. People have also reported feeling grabbed or touched, and some people have been targeted with rock projectiles.

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The Legend and Stories of Goatman Endure

While the source of the goatman legend might make for fascinating reading, the actual circumstances are far from savory. Couples with the eerie atmosphere of the goatman’s favorite places, the goatman legend can still be a ripe option for horror fans looking to go in search of a real-life monster.

Additional Reading

Numerous Urban Legends Tell of Louisville’s Goat Man

Local Legends: The Goat Man of Maryland

This Frightening Footage Just Surfaced, And No One Can Explain It. Now People Are Freaking Out.

Last Updated on March 3, 2022.

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