When you mention the Goatman there’s a good chance someone will know what you’re talking about. Just yesterday I was talking with one of my friends about urban legends and cultural folklore and the story of the Goatman came up. According to my friend, the Goatman lived in a house at the end of a dead end road called South Mill Road, and across a field in Kewaskum, WI. He was a child killer and would murder any children who went into the fields surrounding or into his house. It is said the dilapidated house that remains and the field surrounding it, is haunted by the Goatman.
How much of this story is fact and how much is fiction? Recently, I watched the documentary Cropsey on Netflix. It’s a fascinating documentary about a man who was once employed at the Willowbrook Asylum on Staten Island, NY, named Andre Rand, and accused of abducting and murdering several children, all with mental or physical limitations. The documentary explores the creation of a legend for the purpose of keeping children in line. “Don’t go into the woods. Cropsey is in there.” Unfortunately, the Cropsey urban legend became more of a reality to the residents of Staten Island when children started going missing. I wonder how much of the Goatman story was designed to keep children out of potentially dangerous situations. I suppose it makes sense that parents would want to keep their children out of a dilapidated house. The potential that they could come to some harm, either from the location itself or from some outside force, is high.
The Goatman sightings in Kewaskum are not an isolated incident. Wisconsin has several locations where Goatman has been sighted or his presence has been felt including: Hogs Back Road in Richfield and on (of all places) Holy Hill in Hubertus. The proximity of Holy Hill to the Kettle Moraine is telling. Strange sightings of werewolves or werewolf/bear hybrids are a norm in that area. It only makes sense that the Goatman would also roam those woods. A search of the internet returns several Goatman locations. There are several locations in Texas, North Carolina, Maryland, and Kentucky that all report sightings. There’s even a Goatman residing in The Los Angeles National Forest.
So how do we come to learn about creatures like the Goatman and, once we find out they “exist,” how more likely are we to have experiences? When I was very young, my grandmother would tell me all about where the “bad people” were. They hung out in the woods beyond our house and were “up to no good.” I never believed her, but one day as I cut through the woods on my way home, I came upon a group of teenagers smoking. They yelled at me and threw sticks. They didn’t hurt me physically, but was so scared I ran home as fast as I could. I never cut through the woods that way again. If I hadn’t seen those teenagers, would I have continued taking the shortcut? If I’d had siblings, the “bad people” may have taken the form of some mysterious monster, lurking in the shadows, ready to strike. Perhaps it might have been the Goatman.
During the conversation with my friend, she mentioned that her mother told her about the Goat Man. Her friends also knew about him and had been told the story by their siblings who had been told by their parents. Goatman has been sighted since the 1870’s, making it quite the popular campfire tale but, aside from the treacherous condition of the road, a location with steep inclines on either side and sudden turns, there is no mention of any Goatman murders. It is said that the Goatman mangles his victims and hangs their bodies from trees, but a search of bodies found in the South Mill Road area also came up empty. Has anyone ever actually been murdered by the Goatman? How does the fear of the Goatman survive?
The story of the Goatman is an interesting urban legend. Perhaps the dilapidated house is haunted. After an exhaustive search of the area surrounding S. Mill Road, I found no dilapidated house. It could have fallen down or gotten overtaken by the surrounding forest. I’m posting the map below and I’ve highlighted the points of interest. The green point is a bridge (I believe) leading to a more rural part of the road.
Have you seen the Goatman? Do you have a childhood story about the Goatman you’d like to share? Drop us a line!
Your Fellow Haunt Head,
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