For the ninth-smallest state in the USA, Maryland has more than its fair share of haunted spots, spooky urban legends and mysterious folklore. And there's no better time to explore that rich history of creepiness than in October, in the lead-up to Halloween! Today, Route One Apparel brings you the scariest tale to come out of Prince George's County -- the Maryland Goatman.
Supposedly, the back roads of Beltsville are haunted by a horrifying creature, one that's a combination of a man and a goat. Sometimes, he's described as a goat-headed man, and others, he's more like Pan. But either way, he's not a figure you want to run into when you're driving by yourself down Fletchertown Road. He supposedly wields an axe, screams like a goat, chases you away and even attacks pets. Yikes!
Goats are pretty shifty anyway...maybe this one is friends with the Goatman.
So where did such a strange hybrid come from? Stories of goat men have been around since ancient times (look no further than the Disney movie Hercules), but this particular story started in the late 1950's and has been holding on strong since the 1970's. He's maybe a cryptid -- a creature that people claim to have seen, but has not been proven to actually exist according to science. Or he's the vengeful spirit of a goat herder whose herd was harmed by teens. But the most common myth is that he's the creation of a mad scientist at the Beltsville Agricultural Center, who crossed human and goat DNA. After the beast was created, it got loose and escaped into the woods, where it's been living ever since.
How common is this story? It got widespread enough that, according to an excellent and comprehensive article on the Goatman by the Washingtonian, the Beltsville Agricultural Center actually had to make an official statement denying it was true. Of course, that's done nothing to stop the rumors.
The interest in the creature hit its peak in the 70's, after a local family's dog was supposedly killed by the Goatman -- it even got a write-up in the Prince George's County News. Teens would go out looking for the Goatman out by Fletchertown Road or the Governor Bridge (known also as the "Crybaby Bridge"). Supposedly, people have been finding evidence of the monster, like bones and knives, but nothing has really been proven.
So, we've got to ask -- have you ever had an experience with the Maryland Goatman? We'd love to hear your stories, or those of someone you know! And just be sure to take Fletchertown Road with caution if you're driving at night....you never know if you might meet a local legend!