A quietly picturesque scene can be found beneath the old railroad trestle over Pope Lick Creek, in the Fisherville neighborhood of Louisville in eastern Jefferson County, Kentucky. The place is calm and arguably rather beautiful, with nothing that might suggest danger, mystery, and even death.
Such monstrous things, however, can be found in abundance here.
Goatman of Pope Lick Legend
There is an urban legend that has haunted Pope Lick Creek since the late 1940s, deterring sensible townsfolk while drawing hundreds of daring youths and out-of-town legend trippers to its location. Folk say that it is part man, part goat, and some say even part sheep. In the beginning it was said to have been responsible for mass killings of livestock in surrounding farms. Since then it has been said to lure passersby onto the trestle to meet their demise before the next passing train, while other tales tell of the creature leaping from the trestle onto unsuspecting cars. Some even say that the very sight of the fiend wielding a blood-stained axe is enough to cause people to jump from the 90 foot bridge, scattering them on the ground below. This particular entity of darkness is known as the infamous Goatman of Pope Lick.
While Bigfoot is still by far the best known wildman of the United States, sightings of Goat Men have circled the country for decades, particularly in the southeast in places such as Virginia and North Carolina. One tale, as described by Author David Domine, explained, “The goatman arose as a tale of a local farmer back in the day. Tortured a herd of goats for Satan and signed a contract with him and forfeited his soul. In the process he was converted into this terrible creature that was sent to live under the trestle seeking revenge on people!”
The Legend Variation
Another popular legend Domine shared claims, “A circus train was crossing the trestle one day and it derailed and in one of the cars there was a kind of circus freak.” The freak was said to have been mistreated by the circus and, after escaping the crash with its life, took revenge on any folk unfortunate to cross its path. Some say the Goatman only wants to be left alone; one story telling of how a group of Boy Scouts were chased from their nearby camp by a screaming beast who threw rocks at them. One particularly chilling detail that perseveres through Goatman legends is that his screech is an imitation of the whistle of the train which passes through his territory.
Adding weight to this legend is the bleak and tragic history of the trestle itself. Extending over 700 feet long and 90 feet high, the rickety old train bridge is not one of the more advisable places to cross. However, it has been a popular dare to do just that for decades now, probably far more frequently since the birth of the Goatman legend. Many think the trestle is unused in this day and age, whereas in reality trains pass over the spot every single day. Due to the odd acoustics of the place, trains can be nigh-on impossible to see or hear coming until they are on the trestle itself. With no walkways, railings or ledges to cling to, daredevils finding themselves near the centre of the trestle at this point will have little hope of survival.
A gruesome myth with enough real deaths to back it up, The Goatman has the potential to bring a shudder to even the more hardened legend tripper. We can only hope it deters anyone else from crossing the deadly trestle, a location seemingly as dangerous as the legends surrounding it.
Joe first knew he wanted to write in year six after plaguing his teacher’s dreams with a harrowing story of World War prisoners and an insidious ‘book of the dead’. Clearly infatuated with horror, and wearing his influences on his sleeve, he dabbled in some smaller pieces before starting work on his condensed sci-fi epic, System Reset in 2013.Once this was published he began work on many smaller horror stories and poems in bid to harness and connect with his own fears and passions and build on his craft.
Joe is obsessed with atmosphere and aesthetic, big concepts and even bigger senses of scale, feeding on cosmic horror of the deep sea and vastness of space and the emotions these can invoke. His main fixes within the dark arts include horror films, extreme metal music and the bleakest of poetry and science fiction literature.
He holds a deep respect for plot, creative flow and the context of art, and hopes to forge deeper connections between them around filmmakers dabbling in the dark and macabre.