"Myths and legends die hard in America. We love them for the extra dimension they provide, the illusion of near-infinite possibility to erase the narrow confines of most men's reality." - Hunter S. Thompson
First off, for anybody who is unfamiliar, you have to start with the legend. The basic story of the Bridge s this (taken from wikipedia, but I have seen it on this website and many others):
"Alternatively, legend tells of a black goat farmer who moved his family to a residence just north of the bridge. A few years later, Oscar Washburn was known as a dependable, honest businessman. North Texans endearingly began to call him the Goatman. But the success of a black man was still unwelcome to many, and Klansmen in the local government turned to violence after he displayed a sign on Alton Bridge: "this way to the Goatman's".
In August 1938 Klansmen crossed the bridge and kidnapped Washburn from his family. They hung a noose on Old Alton Bridge and, after securing it around his neck, threw him over the side. When they looked down to see if he had died, the noose was empty. In a panic, they returned to his family home and slaughtered his wife and children."
I have also heard a few varations, one saying that the goatman was NOT liked by the townspeople, and wasn't lynched by the KKK, but actually run off the bridge. Another story, radically different from the rest, says the ghost is actually of a Catholic Irish immigrant named Shamus, who takes the form of a half-goat half-man body and is a very angry and violent spirit.
I have looked at records of Alton, and have not found records of anyone named Oscar Washburn or Shamus.
There is a popular video on youtube which attests to this, and you can watch it here: https://www.youtube....h?v=boiiWYtiIRc.
Going back to the legend, they state there are no records of lynchings off the bridge, but records will show lynchings in the surrounding area. The only reported violent act on the bridge is a shootout between outlaw Sam Bass and the Texas Rangers. If anything, the bridge is just a symbol of the legend, as it is definitely creepy, scary, and strange. The history behind the bridge is that it connected Copper Canyon to Denton Texas. It was mainly used to carry horses and automobiles across the creek below. There are still many strange experiences recorded from on the bridge, from rocks being thrown, to screams, maniacal laughter, crying, even a bigfoot scream.
This is what I believe to be the most unnearving part of the whole thing. I have many friends who live in the area of the Bridge and say they see people in black with candles on the bridge after midnight often. I myself saw a person in a black robe the first night I went. I think a lot of the apparitions of goats or goatmen are things conjured by satanists. I found one picture in the bathroom of Goatman's house of what I believe to be a satanist, but who knows what the hell it is:
If you were to park off Old Alton Road and hop the gate, you'd be on your way to the Bridge. The bridge itself is off a trail to the right. The woods beyond the Bridge are very scary at night. I have my own experiences which I'll share later. To my understanding, the woods are the remnants of Alton. I have heard that there is an old asylum, a church, and even the house of the Goatman himself. People have reported everything from orange lights to being touched out there.
Now if you read the legend, it says the "goatman" put a sign on the end of the bridge saying "this way to the goatman." Everything I've ever read or seen says that the house is not too far from the bridge, and just off a path. This is true. If you watch the video I posted above, the man at the end says that there was no "Oscar Washburn." The only truth to the goat aspect of the legend is that there was a house not far from the bridge which owned slaves. One of the slaves lived in a cabin not far from the house, and he in fact DID sell goats. I have found the house after a few trips, but I felt very stupid after I realized it was not past the bridge, but in fact behind it. There is a trail that goes past Old Alton Road from the parking lot that leads directly to the alleged cabin of the goatman, and his owner's house. I have many pictures of the house, and will post them if you would like. If you want to look at the house, some over at the UER forum posted some great pictures of the house itself: http://www.uer.ca/fo...&threadid=89481. The cabin that the alleged Goatman lived in is right next to the house if you want to go look, but it is torn down.
I went on Halloween of this year, but did not experience much. I was scared out of my mind, but I eventually got to know the area pretty well. I went back a second time with my brother, a friend I go to college with, and a good friend from UNT. We brought a flashlight for each person. It was dark as we parked right in front of the gate, and we all got out excited to explore and hopefully find Goatman's house based on what we knew about the legend in the area. There was only one other car there, and it was overflow parking for the soccer field which was hosting a game that night. We hopped the gate and only walked around thirty steps before something rustled the bush and scared the hell out of us. We jumped and held our flashlights close to the bush. My brother says something big and brown ran away after we shined our lights on it. I still belive that was probably an animal, but it was a big one and not a good way to start off the night being as scared as we were beforehand. We walked another five steps before we heard footsteps. Not of any animal, as we all are very outdoorsy and my friend hunts often. They were obviously of a human. The problem is, no matter where we shined the lights, we could not find the source of the steps. Now if you go to the Bridge in daytime, you notice that the surrounding wooded area is really not too dense. It is surprisingly open and there aren't many places to hide. That's why I was scared, because the steps were a deliberateheel-toe step not too far in front of us. We stood there yelling at the noise, trying to be tough as we initially thought it was just some students messing with us. Not even a second after we stopped yelling, a rock hit my friends truck that we all rode in. A few other rocks were thrown, and we charged the area, finding literally nothing. We were mad that something threw rocks, and it wasn't until a night later that I found out that there is reportedly a bigfoot in the area, and one story I found includes rock throwing. We walked the path across the Bridge, and even heard a grunt while we took our time on it to recollect. Advancing in the woods, we heard the same heel-toe footsteps everywhere we went. It came from all directions, it even ran right in front of our lights and we couldn't see anything. We checked everywhere and there was nobody there. It was just too weird for me. We kept experiencing this the entire way up to another parking lot where there were no cars, right by the powerlines. We decided to turn around and experienced nothing for the rest of the night until we decided to try and find what threw rocks at us at the beginning, where another rock was thrown. We did not find the Goatman's house that night, but instead went home scared and skeptical. I would have been skeptical myself, if I hadn't known that there would had to have been about fifteen people placed all across the trail walking around, and we found no other cars except one that was obviously for soccer (it had shinguards in the backseat and it only held four people anyway). I cannot say that it wasn't weird.
After a lot of time spent exploring, researching, and not sleeping, I have finally found what I believe to be the truth behind the legend. Most of the legend isn't true, the only thing that is true is that a slave sold goats. I believe the woods are haunted. I believe the house itself is haunted. Based on what I know, I believe the original Goatman may have been that slave, and he very possibly could've been one of the lynchings in the area. He may not be the only ghost, as the legend of La Llorana is attached to the area, and many Native American Ghosts have been reported in the area. Also, a five year old girl apparently drowned in Hickory Creek. The whole area is basically a giant ghost story.i believe completely that anything you see out there may be the result of black magic, especially the demonic satyr that has been spotted. I may not know what happened to the Goatman in exact details, but I can hope that he rests in peace along with the other tortured souls in the area.
If you want to go to the bridge, just search old alton bridge on google maps and find directions. It's right by UNT off Teasley Lane. You won't get ticketed for trespassing day or night unless you do something stupid and are past a curfew.
I had a lot of fun writing this, and I'm glad I came to some sort of conclusion regarding the legend and to even touch on what really happened. I loved spending half of my free time researching and exploring, and I had an absolute blast with my friends going out there.
If anyone knows anything about the abandoned asylum or church, I would love to know. Thanks for reading!
Edited by grutherford3, 13 November 2012 - 10:19 PM.