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Saturday, December 7, 2019

Decemystery (2019) 7: The Goatman

Say Cheese and Bleat

Amazingly, I had a fair bit of difficulty picking out a mystery to cover today. The original one I wanted to cover ended up being a bit too conclusive for my tastes and I wanted to have something that was a bit more… indecisive. As such, I’ve gone with the Goatman. On its surface, the Goatman is something that most would agree is nothing more than a fable that’s stood the test of time—and with very good reason. The idea of a half man, half goat creature is laughable at best and just flat out ridiculous at worst. So why cover it?

Well, the Goatman is one of those entities that has its roots planted in the same ground as the Wendigo and the Skinwalker. If you’ve ever listened to any sort of scary story YouTube channel, odds are you’ve heard of those two. The Goatman has, at times, fallen into the same category where it’s seemingly interchangeable with them. A shapeshifting beast of legend that hungers for human flesh and lurks within the woods, waiting for unsuspecting prey.

So is this creature real? Let’s find out the truth.

Owner of a Bleating Heart: The Mystery of the Goatman

For this entry, I’ve decided that I won’t utilize any sources, let alone cite them. I’ll merely go off of my own knowledge of the Goatman and elaborate upon what the creature is and what people claim it can do.

As its name implies, the Goatman is a hybrid of a man and a goat; generally described as having the legs of a goat along with their cloven hooves. Its torso, arms, and hands are human. When you get to the head meanwhile, it’s once more that of a goat. The eyes glow either blood red or yellow. They stand anywhere from 6–10 feet in height, are extremely fast, powerful, can emit a screech that would make even the most hardy and stoic of men cower, and are said by some to be capable of shapeshifting into those they see. They can also mimic their speech, but are often not very good at it initially.

That last part is something that’s often associated with the Navajo legend of the Skinwalker. If you’re unfamiliar with them, I want to one day go over them in great detail, but compiling a list of stories that center on them is extremely difficult. The gist of them however is that they’re Navajo Shaman who wear the pelt of an animal and can thus take their appearance. In a more modern or traditional sense however, Skinwalkers have become something of a traditional shapeshifting monster; creatures similar to the Rake or Wendigo that are humanoid, agile, pale, and ferocious.

Exactly why and how the Goatman can shapeshift, I’m unsure. There are multiple variations of the creature and what exactly it can do. In Maryland, there’s a legend of a scientist who was experimenting on goats had one of his tests backfire. The end result was he mutated into a half man, half goat monstrosity and now lurks loverslane’s with an axe. Those unlucky or foolish enough to go there in spite of the warnings will meet an untimely demise at the Goatman’s hands (and axe). Elsewhere however, the Goatman has become more synonymous with the aforementioned Skinwalker. If I somehow missed a legend where the Goatman is capable of shapeshifting, then do inform me.

Anyways, as for real life sightings, most of them occur out in the woods and forests across the United States, though other parts of the world have had their own weird shapeshifting creatures pop up. These stories, just like the ones featuring Skinwalkers and the Wendigo, have become extremely popular on platforms like YouTube, 4chan’s /x/ and /k/ boards, and subreddits like No Sleep. One of the most famous of these stories originates from 4chan and is called Anasi’s Goatman Story. It tells of a man who went camping with some friends at ended up having an experience where he repeatedly had one extra friend that nobody accounted for.

That’s my extreme bastardization of the story at least. I suggest reading it if you’re a fan of scary stories. The story has likely served as the basis for many other supposedly true Goatman stories. Whether or not this accounts for the majority or minority of them, I can’t say for certain. The general formula for them however goes as follows:

1: The storyteller goes camping out in the local woods/forest. Friends, family, and/or significant other is optional; character development not included with your paid order.

2: The storyteller or one of their friends goes get firewood, piss, or scout. They come back later and are freaking out because they either heard or saw something. Nobody believes them because nobody has ever seen a horror movie, read a scary story, or heard that the forest is home to 98% of the world’s terrifying entities that begin with any letter of the planet’s collective alphabets.

3: That night, weird stuff happens. Shuffling around tents, weird noises, grunting, and/or an array of other things that constitute as enigmas to everyone who has never heard of the horror genre. A terrible stench is optional and can be applied to any time that the creature (or creatures) are nearby.

4: The next morning, the camp is all messed up, there are weird foot/hoofprints, food is missing, there are claw marks, and/or other signs that something decided to wander nearby and introduce itself.

5: Everyone panics, leaves, and the creature can reveal itself so that we get a big reveal moment. Maximum scares.

This is, of course, an abridged version. The formula and pattern[s] used are generally the same though. Does that debunk every single story involving the Goatman and other entities like it? No, of course not. Though you can normally tell which stories are using those notes in a way that’s intended for fiction.

With that said, let’s discuss something that I’ve mentioned before, but haven’t bothered to expand upon. I said the Goatman has become synonymous with the Skinwalker. This is something I stand by, but to what degree? Is there any real difference? If I’m to be honest, I’ve seen them used so interchangeably that I want to say no. However, there are a few differences I should make note of. The Goatman is generally confined to the woods, forests, and mountains on occasion. The Skinwalker can reside there, but also resides in the southwestern United States. The three most common states I’ve seen stories take place are Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada.

Beyond that locational difference, I cannot say for certain as to what other major differences exist. Both creatures generally have the same primal nature that drives them to mutilate animals (generally ripping them apart, eating small parts, and discarding the rest for blowfly larvae to consume). They’re also poor at mimicking speech at first and have an odd fascination with not going for their prey initially, instead enjoying being a part of the group before running off if somehow noticed.

I digress though. These stories have gone on for centuries upon centuries; they’ve clearly had some sort of time to breed and kill some humans. For what reason, I’m unsure, it’s possible they’re merely driven by the desire to survive by any means necessary. Though the legend of the Skinwalker generally makes them out to be malicious, while the Goatman varies from person to person. The Maryland version makes it out to be an extremely vindictive and hateful entity, while others make it out to be more of an animal than anything else. Whichever version you believe is up to you.

That is, for the most part, the Goatman as a whole. A creature that has become closely connected to an entity that, to the best of my knowledge, it shares nothing in common with. A beast of myth that has become real—or always was real. So does it really exist? Well, let’s look at the theories.


1. It’s real

The first and most obvious theory if you’re a believer of the supernatural. This theory posits that yes, the Goatman is indeed real. Evidence to back this up consists of the numerous reported sightings from across America and likewise, the world. There are also supposed photos of the creature that have been taken, one of which is the header for this write-up. I don’t know of the origin to the photo, but it’s been circulating for a while now and is something that I’ve seen used to showcase what the creature is. I’m also pretty sure that I’ve seen it used to represent the Wendigo and even Skinwalkers.

One other famous photo is the one below.

This image comes courtesy of ApexTV, a YouTube channel that has videos of time travelers sharing their stories what feels like every other day. They’re a very popular channel in all fairness—having 1.16 million subscribers at the time of this writing. Whether or not you believe them is up to you, but they generally cover the paranormal and that is naturally an extremely popular topic on YouTube. As such, you decide if the photo is legitimate proof of the Goatman or if it’s a man in a costume.

As for the stories, I may one day go over a few should I compile the most convincing and laughably fake. For now, it’s best to look around for written accounts of the creature and decide for yourself.

2. It’s merely a fable

The second most obvious theory is that the Goatman simply doesn’t exist. After all, it’s merely a legend. People make up sightings of cryptids and other enigmatic creatures all the time, so why would this be any different?

Such a question, while very obvious, is a good point to bring up when discussing creatures like this. While I’m a fan of cryptids and love to read about them, one question I think people should always ask themselves is why someone would want to make up a story about the creature they claim to have seen. In the case of the Goatman, the answer can be a multitude of things. One would be to have their story read by their favorite scary story narrator on YouTube. Another would be to simply scare others (be they friends, family, or strangers). A third would be pure boredom.

Given the large number of stories about Skinwalkers, Wendigos, and the Goatman, the attractiveness to a creature that one has likely heard stories about a fair number of times, it would be a no brainer to use it as their creature of choice when writing a horror story. It’s familiar and easy to handle. As such, it stands to reason that most of the stories one has heard of in regards to the Goatman (along with the Skinwalker and Wendigo) are the products of a bored teenager who wants fifteen seconds of fame. To some, however, it explains all of them.

3. It’s a Skinwalker

I’ve spoken a lot about Skinwalkers in this entry and that isn’t an accident. As it turns out, there are those who believe the Goatman is merely a Skinwalker—or a type of Skinwalker at least. This has to do with, well, every similarity I’ve stated that the two share. Nothing more, nothing less. Whether or not you believe it would have to do with your opinion on the Navajo legend though.

4. It’s an alien

Just as there are theories that Bigfoot is an alien (this is something we’ll go over next year), there are theories that the Goatman is an alien. It is, after all, a rather alien looking creature. Exactly why the creature visited is anyone’s guess, but given that the Chupacabra, Mothman, Owlman, and NASA Gargoyle are all said to be aliens, I have to wonder exactly how big of a menagerie these aliens have and why in the world they’re leaving them on Earth. Are they like dogs that people abandon near the forests? Or are they spies?

5. It’s a demon

The wildly popular television series Ghost Adventures did an episode on the “Goatman’s Bridge” (real name Old Alton Bridge, which is located in northeastern Texas). Buzzfeed Unsolved also did an episode here. According to Wikipedia, the name comes from a demonic satyr who is said to live in the nearby forests.

A second version of the story to the bridge involves an African American goat farmer by the name of Oscar Washburn. After moving his family to a house that lay just north of the bridge. Washburn started up a business of his own to support his family. As such, the locals began to refer to him as the Goatman in an endearing manner. Washburn took a liking to the nickname and opted to display a sign on the bridge that read: “This way to the Goatman’s.”

Such an act naturally pissed off the Klansmen who held positions of power within the Texas government. So, in August of 1938, they kidnapped Washburn and lynched him; throwing him off the side of the bridge after securing a noose around his neck. However, upon checking to see if Washburn was dead, they saw that the noose was empty. As such, they returned to his house and ended up murdering Washburn’s wife and children.

As for Oscar, he was never found.

Nowadays, it’s said that if you’re to go across the bridge without any headlights, you’ll meet the Goatman on the other side. He isn’t the only entity that lurks around the bridge however. There are other apparitions and unidentifiable lights that are seen within the woods. People have also reported being touched, grabbed, and even having rocks thrown at them by forces unseen. If you’re to believe Zak Bagans, the host of the aforementioned Ghost Adventures, you can also be choked by an invisible force while on the bridge.

With that story out of the way, there are those that believe all Goatmen are some sort of demon. Whether they be a satyr or the product of a violent or untimely death, I cannot say for certain. Though if the story of Washburn is to be believed, such a fate can lead to the birth of an angry spirit that will not part to the next life with ease.

My Take

If I’m to be perfectly honest: I think the story of the Goatman is extremely silly. However, I don’t outright dismiss the creature’s existence. I think that there could be some odd basis in reality for it. Whether that be a type of Bigfoot or something like the Melon Heads, I don’t know, but I don’t think that the creature is a complete legend.

Now as for the shapeshifting creature I spoke of in this entry, that’s a different story. I don’t know about the creature in all of its powers and mystical capabilities. That’s something that I’m skeptical of given it stands to reason that someone would embellish their story for entertainment value. However, I’m of the opinion that this world is much bigger than we think of it, so perhaps that is true. Though until such a day comes when we discover how to harness the power of shapeshifting, I’m highly doubtful.


As a legend, the Goatman is one of the most popular and entertaining ones out there. It’s Skinned Tom with some horns and even bigger anger issues in my eyes. The actual cryptid itself though is something that I’ll forever be captivated by. The number of stories that people give of their encounter[s] with the beast is quite surprising. Are all of them real? No, of course not. Having read so many, I could make up my own tale and likely hit all the required notes to make it seem plausible. Though I think that it’d be a bit on the odd side to outright dismiss every single one as fake. In my eyes, there comes a point when there has to be something strange—even if it’s just an abnormally sized goat that’s learned to stand upright by some absurd chance.

What do you think? Do you believe the Goatman is merely a creature of legend or something that could have a basis in reality? Tell be down below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. Fake, defintely fake. Even that picture looks fake as all hell, really. Looks like a statue someone photographed, or a guy wearing a goat's head.

    Science would tell us that it's... quite frankly impossible for a half-man half-goat to exist.

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanted, I suppose it's entirely possible we may be looking at a Skinwalker of sorts, but to be honest, I'm doubting frankly.

    Why haven't we found the body of such a beast, or have nothing more than a few photos?

    If something like this is to survive as long as it has been around, it would need a breeding population. So, we would logically find bodies at some point or another. Or other evidence. Scat, blood, whatever.