Friday, October 16, 2009


Goatman image from Monstropedia

Maryland's Goatman is a critter that paranormal bloggers just love. It's described as part man and part goat, maybe even a relative of Bigfoot.

But it's hard to get the description quite straight. Some report that the Goatman has a human body with a goat’s head, the spittin' image of Satan.

Others claim that it has a goat’s lower body with the torso of a human, like the satyr Pan of Greek mythology, the god of fields, groves, forested glens, and fertility, which plays right into the woodsy lovers' lane part of the legend.

Yet others say that it's a hairy humanoid creature roughly six feet in height, lookin' like an old-timey studio wrestler, deranged killer, or mini-Bigfoot. Geez, can't someone in Maryland buy a camera?

Anyway, Goatman likes to hang out in Prince Georges county, particularly the Bowie area. One of his favorite haunts is Cry-Baby Bridge on Governor’s Bridge Road. Its particular urban legend is that if you stop your car on the bridge and shut it off, you can hear the crying of an infant's ghost, tossed off the bridge by its unhinged young mother.

But Goatman devotees say it's not a baby's cries, but the braying of Goatman that's heard at Cry-Baby Bridge. It's a popular parking spot and lovers' lane, and it's said that Goatman likes to attack young couples doin' what comes natural, sometimes butting the car, and sometimes wielding a doubled-edged axe, depending, we suppose, on what form he's taken that night.

He's also associated with Hook lore, when a couple hear the dragging of something across their car, like a hook. The guy gets out to check on the noise, and the girl finds him a couple hours later, dead and dripping blood on the car. It's pretty similar to urban legends across the land, except for the Goatman part.

The Goatman is also known to frequent Lottsford and Fletchertown Roads, bracketing the Glenn Dale Hospital, the former site of a state tuberculosis sanatorium. There are tales of many an axe attack on parked cars in this area, some credited to Goatman and others to escaped inmates still roaming the woods. Some versions say experimental treatments turned the inmates into Goatmen.

But the most sinister stories regarding Goatman's origins concern the United States Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland.

One two-ending story concerns a scientist that was working on genetics, using a goat as a guinea pig. In one version, the doctor went mad, and escaped into the woods, where he became a fur-covered, deranged axe-murderer.

In another, he went the mad scientist route and mutated himself into Goatman, again fleeing into the woods and visiting havoc on the community at large.

In another, an experimental cancer drug being used on an unwitting test subject backfired, spawning Goatmen.

But for fans of the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) theory, Goatman is Satan incarnated, called to Maryland on occasion by his occult worshipers.

Hey, Goatman has it all: Cry-Baby Bridge, an axe, deranged scientists, genetic experiments gone wrong, Satan, Pan, Sasquatch...what more could you want from an urban legend?

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