Urban Legend of the Goatman of Beltsville, Maryland

Urban Legend of the Goatman of Beltsville, Maryland

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Goatman of Beltsville, Maryland

The storyteller told the story of the Goatman from Beltsville story to me. On a summer night in 2005, she and her friend were driving back from a mall. Her friend took a shortcut home to Beltsville, Maryland by way of Callington Road Bridge. While on this shortcut home, her friend stopped the car on the side of road and turned off the headlights. She proceeded to tell the interviewee the story of the Goatman, emphasizing its truthfulness the entire time. After she heard the story, the interviewee never drove across Callington Road Bridge again.

The storyteller told me the story of the Goatman in a mutual friend’s dorm room at night. I had come to the dorm room to ask my friend if he knew any urban legends of ghost stories from around campus or the state of Maryland. The storyteller, a 21-year-old biology major, shouted excitedly from the couch that she knew one. She is from Beltsville, Maryland. Her mother is a lawyer and her father is a math professor. My friend and I sat down on the couch and listened intently as she told the story: The Goatman from Beltsville.

In the 1970s, a crazy doctor did a genetic experiment. The doctor bred a goat with a human by fusing the two embryos. A baby was born half human and half goat. It had horns, really thick hair on its face, a tail, sharp teeth, and a temper. The deformed baby grew into a really gross guy. As Goatman grew older he became more and more violent until finally the doctor kicked him out. After that, the Goatman retreated into the forest to live. He eats cats and dogs as his main source of food, and from time to time he eats humans walking alone at night along this one road commonly known as Goatman Hallow (Callington Road Bridge).

Goatman is bloodthirsty, fearless, and always on the prowl. Sometimes he wanders into people’s back yards and eats their pets. Owners will find their pets the next day with only the carcasses remaining. Kids are warned not to take the shortcut home through the forest because Goatman might eat them. One time a few kids took the shortcut home at night and this one kid fell behind.

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The others heard the third kid screaming and ran back to help him out. They successfully retrieved their friend but not before Goatman had bitten the kid’s leg and arm off. After that Goatman ran off into the forest growling and grunting. Goatman cannot be caught because he runs too fast for anyone to catch up to him and cars cannot chase Goatman through the forest. To this day, Goatman still lives in the forest of near Callington Road Bridge and eats humans who dare to venture near at night. The police have tried to catch him, but during the day no one can find him. At night, Goatman only comes out of the woods when he is hungry and there are very few people around.

As the storyteller told the story, she was lying down on the couch looking at me straight in the eye. She never looked anywhere else except at me, even though another person was sitting right next to me on the couch. She paused between ideas. After she completed the story she said, “this sh*t is scary.” The Goatman of Beltsville was not told in a way that conveyed a dramatic reading. Elena did not have much inflection in her voice and did not use hand motions to emphasize certain points. Her tone was calm yet she did speak very fast. I have not had prior interaction with her, so I do not know if that is how she speaks normally. She warned me never to travel by way of Callington Road Bridge.

There are common tales of sightings of this Goatman, but this Goatman story is the only one I know of from Beltsville, Maryland. Other Goatman stories reference genetic experiments in Prince George’s County or Bowie, Maryland. In all versions of the Goatman stories the Goatman eats people and pets. Most of the supposed sightings of the Goatman relate one of two scenarios. The first one is a couple that parked their car along an unlit road. They were making out at night and heard something banging on the roof of the car. The Goatman stared at them through the car window. He waved a shiny axe in his hand and before anything happened he then ran back into the woods. The other type of Goatman tale is exemplified by the story of a woman who heard her dog barking very loudly outside at night. She went to the window to see what was going on and saw a figure moving to where the dog was tied up in the back yard. The woman was too scared to go outside because it was so dark out. In the morning she walked out to her back yard and found her dog decapitated.

The social implications of the specific Goatman story I collected reveal our society’s fears and anxieties regarding a couple areas of life. With the advent of genetics, people are afraid that tampering with our genetic code will lead to harsh consequences that cannot be undone. In the Goatman story, the doctor cannot control his experiment and the Goatman can never be captured. This lends itself perfectly to the idea that once a person tampers with the code of life he/she cannot undo his/her mistake or amend the situation. Many in our society today are afraid of the consequences of altering genetic code. This coincides with the moral of the Goatman story -- playing God can only lead yield awful consequences. Also, the Goatman mostly preys on pets, as well as children (the weakest members of society). This story exploits a parent’s fear of having their child or pet killed or irreparably harmed. This again ties into the moral of the Goatman story. Human beings should not play God because it can only lead to terrible outcomes. Playing God can be defined as participating in genetic experiments. The awful consequences of genetic experiments will affect future generations of people (our kids.)

Works Cited

Unknown Creatures (http://www.unknown-creatures.com/maryland-goatman.html) April 2, 2007.
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