History

The Legend of Maryland’s Local Cryptid, the Goat Man

Humans have always been fascinated with mythology and folklore. Every culture around the world has its own myths or legends that help to explain the unexplainable. 

In ancient times, mythological figures were revered as Gods, demons, or heroes, and often taught a moral lesson. Today, many of these myths and legends have found their way into modern urban legends and folklore. 

One such example is the “Goat Man” of Maryland. In this article, we will explore the documented cases and sightings of the Goat Man as we try to shed light on the enigmatic creature that has captured the imagination of Maryland residents. 

Representation of the Goat Man. Cryptid Wiki

Cryptids and Urban Legends

Before we get into the Maryland Goat Man, we need to first understand the world of cryptozoology. Cryptozoologists search for and study unknown, legendary, or extinct animals whose existence is disputed or unsubstantiated. 

These creatures are referred to as “cryptids.”  We are all familiar with well-known examples of cryptids such as:

The Goatman Of Prince George’s County

The Goat Man of Maryland, like many urban legends, is a blend of historical accounts, reported sightings, and unverifiable physical evidence. The Maryland Goat Man is no exception. It borrows traits and behaviors that are often associated with modern cryptids such as:

The first report of a large unknown creature in Prince George’s County may have surfaced in 1957. Several locals claimed to have seen a giant, hairy beast in the towns of Forestville and Upper Marlboro. 

Nothing ever came of the reports. There were no further documented sightings of the goatman for nearly fifteen years. 

In the spring of 1971, George Lizama, a University of Maryland student, turned in her undergraduate research paper. It was focused on the Goatman based on personal accounts from locals. 

Lizama’s paper detailed the Goatman’s purported location on Tucker Road in Clinton, Maryland. Her paper was later filed into the University of Maryland Folklife Archives where it stayed hidden for just a few months until it was discovered by reporter Karen Hosler.

In October 1971, Hosler published an article on the Goatman legend in the local Prince George’s County News. Suspiciously, two weeks after the article was published a local family dog went missing and was discovered a few days later decapitated. 

The locals were terrified. Was the goatman real or was someone trying to make it seem like it was?

Hosler followed her first article up with “Residents Fear Goatman Lives: Dog Found Decapitated in Old Bowie,” The report connected the missing dog story to the stories from 1957 which also included missing and dead dogs. 

The article only stoked fears, and suddenly more sightings were being reported. Reports from a group of teenage girls including, April Edwards, the owner of the decapitated dog, told of unsettling noises and a sighting of a large creature walking on its hind legs. 

Representation of the Goat Man. Cryptid Wiki

Whether the girls actually thought they saw something or they were trying to perpetuate the myth of the goatman is up for debate. But what is known is that the report continued to fuel the paranoia felt in Prince George’s County. 

Over the following weeks, numerous other sightings were reported but never verified. Most of the sightings were centered around a forest behind the St. Mark the Evangelist Middle School in Hyattsville, beneath the “Cry Baby” Bridge in Bowie, and in College Park. 

Some people claimed to have heard devilish screams or the sound of a baby crying. They have even found weapons and bones at these locations. 

Most reported sightings of the Goatman seem to happen near Governor Bridge, known as “Cry Baby” Bridge to the locals. Legend says that if you park under the bridge after sunset, you can hear the sounds of a baby crying which has been interpreted as a goat braying. 

The Goat Man Through Time

The concept of a half-human, half-goat creature is not unique to Maryland or even the United States. These beings actually have their roots in ancient Roman and Greek mythology. 

These mythical beings have been depicted in paintings, statues, carvings, and other forms of art. They typically feature the upper body of a human and the lower body of a goat. In both mythologies, these creatures were associated with various deities. They symbolized the dualities of civilization and the untamed wilderness.

Some examples of goat-human hybrids in mythology include:

Satyrs: In Greek mythology, satyrs were companions of Dionysus, the god of wine and revelry. Satyrs were known for their mischievous and lustful behavior, often depicted as wild and free-spirited woodland creatures. Their goat-like features, including horns and hooves.

Pan: Pan, the god of the wild, shepherds, and rustic music, is perhaps the most famous representation of a half-human, half-goat figure in Greek mythology. Pan, often depicted with goat horns and legs, played his panpipes and roamed the forests.

Fauns: The Roman equivalent of satyrs, fauns were associated with the god Faunus, the Roman counterpart to the Greek Pan. Fauns shared similar characteristics with satyrs, featuring goat-like legs and an affinity for the wilderness. They were believed to be protectors of the forest and fertility.

Goat-human legends exist in various forms and have evolved over time. These versions are often influenced by geography and local culture, with minor alterations in details such as the appearance, behavior, or specific encounters with the creature. 

Conclusion

The legend of the Goat Man stands as a testament to the enduring allure of urban legends and their ability to weave themselves into the fabric of local folklore. 

Whether shared around campfires, passed down through generations, or perpetuated in the digital age, urban legends like “The Goat Man” persist as a vital part of our collective storytelling heritage and create strong bonds within the communities they exist in.

References

The Goatman–Or His Story, at Least–Still Haunts Prince George’s County. https://www.washingtonian.com/2015/10/30/the-goatman-or-his-story-at-least-still-haunts-prince-georges-county/

Inside The Terrifying Legends Of The Goatman That’s Been Seen In Maryland And Texas For Decades

https://allthatsinteresting.com/goatman

Cryptozoology

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptozoology

Pan 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_(god)

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