As you all know, old Hunter is a bit of a cryptid fanatic. It’s been my mission in life to drag these poor (oftentimes scary) creatures into my fictional world of mayhem and murder. As a lad who became fascinated by the likes of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster thanks to shows like In Search Of, I’ve always wanted to see these mythical beasts at their wildest and most terrifying.
Hence, I have a library of books I’ve penned detailing the fantastical adventures of the Montauk Monster, Dover Demon, Skunk Apes, Loch Ness Monster, Pukwudgies, Thunderbirds, Orang Pendeks, Jersey Devil, Loch Ness Monster, and now, coming out on Friday the 13th in May…The Goat Man!
When I was searching for a new cryptid to exploit…er, I mean explore…I reached out to my mega Hellions on Patreon and asked them to make suggestions. I was looking for a creature that has had little to no fiction written about it. When someone brought up the Goat Man, tiny bells went off in my head. I recalled my daughters loving an episode of Buzzfeed Unsolved where hosts Shane and Ryan go down to Denton, Texas to find evidence of the local legend…and maybe some devil worshipers!
I was hooked! I knew about the Goat Man, but I didn’t realize that the cryptid is not confined to just one place. There are Goat Man legends in Texas, Maryland, Louisiana, and the most infamous of all, Kentucky, home of the Pope Lick Monster, which, if you ask me, is a way cooler moniker. Goat Man conjures up too many images of Jim Brewer doing the Goat Boy on SNL.
But here’s what intrigued me the most. When you think of it, the Goat Man, a bipedal half man, half goat living in the woods, looks a hell of a lot like the devil himself, or at least something demonic. Sprinkle in tales of Satanic rituals being performed in places where the Goat Man has been known to dwell, and you have a pretty spine-chilling backstory.
And speaking of backstories, the Goat Man has plenty. He is sometimes said to be the offspring of one of those Satanic rituals. Others say he was an African American goat farmer who was hanged by jealous white farmers. He also may be the end product of a science project gone awry at a nearby animal lab. Like all juicy legends, speculation runs wild and give us space for our imaginations to soar. And when we’re left to fill in the blanks or expound upon an existing theory, the darkness creeps in.
I don’t know about you, but if I saw that thing in the woods, I’d hightail it all the way to Canada. I’ve always felt that the Goat Man in America is an extension of the mythological Satyr. What’s a Satyr? Well, here’s my favorite definition found on Wikipedia – “In Greek mythology, a satyr, also known as a silenus or silenos, is a male nature spirit with ears and a tail resembling those of a horse, as well as a permanent, exaggerated erection.” I know, I’ll never outgrow my adolescence. These beings are also half man, half goat, and have been around for three thousand years. Here’s another thing I love about Satyrs, thanks to those Wiki peeps – “Satyrs were characterized by their ribaldry and were known as lovers of wine, music, dancing, and women. They were companions of the god Dionysus and were believed to inhabit remote locales, such as woodlands, mountains, and pastures.“
Now, it seems like Satyrs have a whole lot more fun than our American Goat Man, which kind of makes me feel sorry for him. What I don’t feel sorry for are the cultists who have been known to sacrifice cats to the devil or the Goat Man or Linda Blair. Killing cats is not cool, though you never hear someone ask about a book or horror movie, “Did they kill the cat?” Down in Texas, it’s gotten so bad, local pet stores won’t sell cats.
Now, you can’t have a Goat Man without a bridge, it seems. The old Anton Bridge in Texas still stands after well over a hundred years. Known to residents and cryptid enthusiasts as the Goat Man’s Bridge, it’s a sort of gateway between our world and the underworld…and I’m not talking about the Mafia. All one needs to do to call upon the Goat Man is to rap on the bridge three times and utter its name. If you’re lucky, nothing will happen. If you’re one of the very unlucky, the Goat Man’s piercing eyes will appear out of the darkness, a growling voice compelling you to “get off my bridge!” And if you’re super unlucky, the Goat Man will chase you!
The Goat Man isn’t necessarily a killer, but he is territorial. Satanists, on the other hand, can be killers, especially if you wander into their ritual while wearing a cat suit. For my money, Devil worshippers are much scarier than a Goat Man. And that is how my next book was born. Out of a love for the Goat Man and a fear of Satanists!
There’s a lot more to come as we walk across the old Goat Man’s Bridge and see what we can do about rousting that modern day, unhappy Satyr out of his lair. Stay tuned, and if you find yourself in the woods at night on a decaying bridge, knock three times and tell me what you see.