Folklore & Urban Legends: The Pope Lick Monster
The strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. We try to find answers, as explaining something allows us a feeling in control. Sometimes tragedy can be so random and horrendous; our only explanation is something completely unnatural.
There have been stories of a goat-like creature haunting the forests of Kentucky, and its surrounding states. Though most take place in this area, stories of the creature extend to Maryland and Texas.
The creature is described as having the legs of a goat, torso of a man, and an elongated face with large horns on its head.
This kind of creature is common in folklore; such as the god Pan from Greek mythology, and the Christmas demon Krampus. These stories stretch back for hundreds of years.
In Old Bowie, Maryland; the legend of the Goatman started gaining attention in 1971 when a farmer found his dog decapitated on the side of the road after it went missing the day before. It was a horrible scene; the farmer didn’t know what to make of it.
In the nights prior to the incident people had reported seeing a “goat-human hybrid” moving through the forests of Fletchertown Road, where the dog was found.
These stories were often told in the surrounding areas of Kentucky. So in 1937 when a young boy jumped off the Trestle Bridge overlooking Pope Lick Creek; the locals demanded an explanation. Theories surrounding the Goatman creature were quick to name him as the cause.
At this point the legend of the Goatman permanently cemented itself in Kentucky lore, under the name of the “Pope Lick Monster”.
Some tell stories about a satanic farmer, who sacrificed his goats in order to be granted demonic powers. Others speculate a science experiment gone wrong. There was once a scientist who combined the DNA of his assistant with the DNA of a goat, resulting in a monstrous creature.
It is said the creature has the ability to hypnotize humans, luring them onto the bridge, to be hit by an oncoming train. Others say just the sight of the creature drives can drive you mad, driving people to jump off the bridge.
The legend of the monster became popular among locals and tourists, eventually the bridge became widely known at “Goatman’s Bridge”.
What’s fascinating about the Pope Lick Monster is there have never been any official sightings, and no filed police reports. But the legend itself has claimed the lives of dozens of thrill-seekers venturing onto the bridge to experience seeing the Pope Lick Monster.
Nevertheless some people don’t realize the bridge is still in use.
These mistakes lead to explorers getting crushed by a passing train, or loosing their balance and falling off the bridge.
Sometimes our fear of the unknown will lead us to create drastic stories in order to explain away certain events. What the legend of the Pope Lick Monster should tell us is sometimes stories can be more dangerous than reality.
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P.S. Seriously, if you are in the area near the Trestle Bridge in Louisville, KY -DO NOT CLIMB IT. The tracks are still operational; if you do want to visit the site, appreciate it from a safe distance.