The image of a creature part man, part goat is one of the oldest in the history of civilization. It brings to mind the ancient nature god, Pan, those licentious Greek and Roman satyrs, and has long served as the basis for illustrations of the Christian devil. Most people think of anything resembling these creatures as mythical allegory. But every now and then, sightings of upright goats with sharp horns and bad attitudes show up in contemporary reports of encounters with unknown creatures. Wisconsin author J. Nathan Couch has written a well-received book, “Goatman; Flesh or Folklore,” that has had many researchers — myself included — taking a second look at the bleating beast.
I admit I was one of those who generally categorizedthe idea of goatmen as folklore or urban legend. For one thing, there ARE quite a few localized legends around the country that follow a couple of oft-repeated story lines. One such trope always involves some secret lab experimenting with human/animal hybrids until one half-goat escapee terrorizes the countryside. Another tale, usually set a century or so in the past, describesa goat-like monster killing a just-married man while his terrified wife hides in a wagon or carriage. The latter legend that I’ve described in several of my own books is prominent around Washington County, Wisconsin and is supposed to have occurred on Hogsback Road in the Town of Erin.
That particular area of the state is also very rich in modern-day reports of both Bigfoot and dogmen. So imagine my surprise when a man who is related to me by marriage (a couple of times removed) mentioned at a family gathering a week or so ago that he and a companion had personally witnessed a creature in the general vicinity, perhaps 10-15 miles to the northeast of Erin. It appeared to be an upright goat sauntering across the highway as the two young men drove along Trenton Road just east of West Bend, Wisconsin, sometime around 2003. He was in his twenties at the time, and said that he and his friend completely agreed on what they’d seen. They were both extremely shocked, he added.
He described it as man-sized, with hooves, big muscular legs and smaller forelimbs held out in front of it “like a T-Rex.” And it had horns. I made sure that point was clear, because over the years I’ve had a number of people tell me they had seen a satyr or goat man, only to change their minds when I showed them a forensic sketch of what most dogman witnesses describe. But those witnesses saw neither horn nor hooves.
The sketch accompanying this article is one that I made for my own entertainment and has not been corroborated by this witness who wishes to remain anonymous. I added features such as the slightly larger “arms” and pointed teeth that I imagine would be necessary for an animal able to tear apart a sturdy young bridegroom as described in the old stories. I’ll do a second version and an update if the witness agrees to talk further.
I will add that I consider this person entirely credible. And his sighting was only 11 or 12 years ago, not such a long time as cryptid reports go. It was not a dogman, not a Bigfoot. Perhaps Goat Man does live on, after all, and this gentleman, unlike the unlucky bridegroom of the Civil War era, lived to tell its true tale.