The Goatman Legend Of Prince George's County

Part human, part goat, the elusive Goatman has been one of the USA's premiere urban legends since the 1960's.

There exists a creature in Maryland known as the Goatman. Whether it is Maryland "legend" or Maryland "reality" is a question that remains unanswered but there are enough witnesses and circumstantial evidence to keep the Goatman's name alive.

When one first hears of the elusive monster they may be overwhelmed by laughter at such an odd sounding menace, or baffled at how such a thing came to be thought up. No matter what the initial reaction a person has, it soon gives way to curiosity: what the heck is a Goatman? While the facts may be disputed the details in every story remain the same; an angered humanoid emerges from the forest and returns to its abode without a trace. The invariable description is that of an upright creature but beyond that the appearance varies. Some have claimed that the Goatman has a human body with a goat's head, similar to the perception of Satan, while others insist that the Goatman has a goat's lower body with the torso of a human, much like the satyr of Greek mythology. There is another school of observers/speculators whose description is not as definitive and say simply that he is an exceptionally hairy humanoid creature roughly six feet in height. Regardless of the physiognomy the Goatman legends do share one common theme and that is Maryland or, more precisely, Prince George's County.

Since the late 1950's the territory of the Goatman has consisted of several localities in P.G. County with an acute focus on the Bowie area. The area is largely forest with a number of main highways running through it to other, more populous parts of the state. At the heart of the matter is the bridge known as "Crybaby Bridge" because, so it is said, if motorists stop on that bridge late at night the shrill braying of the Goatman can be heard. It should be noted that the crying could be that of an infant ghost, as the bridge reportedly got that name because of a young mother drowning her baby under it. The bridge is located on Governor's Bridge Road.

The two other prominent roads that the the Goatman frequents are Lottsford Road and Fletchertown Road. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the Glendale State Asylum is situated between these two roads. The locale around Lottsford-Vista Road and Admore-Ardwick Road has been reported as a Goatman hot spot. Maryland is not alone in Goatman sightings. In the eastern Texas town of Marshall, a "goatman" was reported by hunters during 1972, as the story goes. Another goatman has been reported in Alabama and is said to be roughly seven feet tall, hooved, with claws and a lumpy bald head. Stories have also poured in from Oregon, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and in California there is the tale of the "Chevo Man," Chevo being Spanish for goat. There has even been a report from New Zealand.

As for the sightings, they come from persons of varying reliability. Some have claimed that the Goatman was bold enough to break into their homes while they were out, leading to the witnesses returning and startling the belligerent creature. And while struggles ensue there remains no physical evidence. Others claim to have witnessed the Goatman in the act of throwing canines off of interstate 495 overpasses near secluded areas. The assault of pets has been the most persistent accusation against the Goatman as there have been several rashes of mutilated or missing animals in the vicinity. The Washington Post reported such an incident in 1971 and while the author of the article treated the matter with levity they did provide a paper trail for those seeking more information on the spectral occurrences. When animals kept in the yard overnight or in pens become agitated or vanish, residents are heard to curse the Goatman. In some instances the decapitated corpses of the missing animals have been found, but as other journalists have pointed out there are other circumstances to consider (such as the fact that one of the dogs was found next to frequently used railroad tracks).

Another crime that the Goatman shoulders the blame for is the attack of cars left near the woods, often using an ax to damage the vehicles. This is one of the most frequent settings for witnessing the beast. This facet of the Goatman mythology has for many decades been blended with the urban legend of "˜the Hook"--two teens park on lover's lane, the boyfriend gets out of the car, two hours later the girlfriend hears his blood dripping onto the car. It is a familiar tale by now, only in this region, the Goatman is the culprit. There does not appear to be any factual event in Maryland to spawn these stories. The crimes are said to be the offspring of the Goatman's overwhelming hatred for humans and animals alike, a condition rooted in his origins.

More often than not the Goatman's origins are attributed to mankind's greedy quest for knowledge. At the center of this moral crisis lies the United States Agricultural Research Center of Beltsville, Maryland. Two common variations involve a scientist working with goats at the facility. In one story the scientist simply went mad, for reasons often improvised by the storyteller, and ran off into the woods screaming. Ever since that accursed day the madman has stalked the woods of the area with an ax. The second and more fantastic version claims that the scientist's experiments with goats went horribly wrong and he ended up becoming mutated and goat-like in appearance. After this occurred he went the way of his mad scientist counterpart, fleeing to the relative peace of the woods with an ax and a chip on his shoulder.

Beltsville is situated at the outskirts of Washington D.C.'s suburbs and has an abundance of wooded land that could provide shelter or an escape route for the Goatman. There is a third assertion about man's scientific wrongdoing involving a botched attempt at creating a cure for cancer. As the story goes this occurred back in the 1960's in a Pittsburgh lab using techniques that are known to modern medical researchers to be redundant with no hope of facilitating any breakthroughs in the battle against cancer. However, this was unknown to the unfortunates involved in the experimentation and, through methods as yet unrevealed, the cancer cells were caused to grow into none other than the Goatman. The abominable beast then broke loose and has ravaged the countryside ever since. Furthermore, this legend claims that the Chubacabra phenomenon is in actuality the mistaken progeny of the Goatman creature the was created in the lab. No explanation as to how he multiplied has been ventured at the time of this writing.

A fourth theory involves the mental health facility housed within the confines of the Goatman's known territory. Some locals have grumbled about rumored experimentation on inmates while others have speculated about "regular" insane persons escaping in the night to commit the crimes that the Goatman has been blamed for. And finally there is the assertion that the Goatman is the embodiment of none other than the arch fiend himself, summoned to this earth from time to time by the rituals of satanists. The connection between this origin and the attacks on cars and dogs would seem tenuous at best. Other sources site parental license in the use of a deranged old hermit loose in the woods wielding his ax against children, generally residing in whichever area the parents wanted their children to stay away from. Examples are: near busy highways, under bridges, around certain electrical towers, and any other dangerous places.

As recently as the August of 2000 a group of construction workers sighted a sasquatch-like creature that, in their estimate, was twelve feet in stature traversing an area of Washington's suburbs. Whatever is happening in the region, whether imagined or bizarrely real, the story of the Goatman will not only persist but thrive. Publicity has come from many different sources in the past few years including feature articles in the press in tandem with the inclusion on cable specials where the Goatman was featured with the monster elite, Nessie and the Yeti. Cryptozoologists, those who study the so-called extinct or nonexistent animals, have been drawn to the story in droves. Until the myths can be sufficiently proven or disproven the Goatman will continue to be the object of both ridicule and fear for residents outside of Washington, D.C.

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