The Squonk & The Hag

The Pope Lick Monster

Many things come to mind when you think of Kentucky, bluegrass music, horse racing, bourbon, baseball bats, even fried chicken, but not many think of a part man, part goat, part sheep creature living by a train trestle. Today we’re discussing one of the most infamous legends of Kentucky. The Pope Lick Monster, more commonly known as the goat man. On the outskirts of Louisville, the Norfolk Southern Railroad passes through the Parklands of Floyds Fork, where the goat man is said to roam the woods near the trestle. The goat man is said to have the ability to use mimicry or hypnosis to lure victims to the top. Some suggest that once the victim is at the top of the trestle they are struck by a passing train, while others claim that the sight of the creature is so horrifying that it drives them to leap from the 100-foot (30.48m) trestle. One of the common misunderstandings with the story is that the trestle is abandoned and no longer in use. The reality is that heavy freight trains cross this bridge several times daily, making it very easy for someone to be caught at the top when a train is about to pass. There is also a street that passes under this bridge and some stories mention the creature pouncing on passing cars.

The Pope Lick Monster is named after the Pope Lick Creek which is below the trestle that runs through the woods where the creature is said to live. Its appearance is described as a human-goat hybrid with an extremely deformed human body. It has strong fur-covered goat legs, alabaster skin, and wide set eyes. Sharp horns protrude from its head which is covered in long greasy hair much like the fur on its legs. While most stories and legends claim that the creature uses hypnosis or voice mimicry to lure in victims, others have claimed that it leaps from the trestle onto passing cars, and some even say the creature attacks with a blood-stained axe. It has also been noted that the sight of the creature alone is enough to make anyone walking along the top of the trestle leap to their death.

There is very little on the origin of the Pope Lick Monster but one theory suggests that this legend may have been influenced by a poem written by James Dickey that was published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1966. The poem, titled “The Sheep Child” discusses the hypothetical existence of a half-man half-sheep creature. The specifics of the legend varies in every story, some say goat man while other say sheep man, the former being the most common. No one is sure where the transition from sheep to goat began but it is often believed that a goat is preferred due to lambs and sheep being seen as a symbol of innocence while goats are often depicted in media and religion as demonic.

Though there aren’t any actual sightings of a goat man near Pope Lick Creek, it’s likely that the legend is fueled by the numerous deaths that have occurred at the trestle due to trespassers ignoring warning signs and climbing onto the tracks. Maybe the story was intended to keep people away from the trestle but only piqued their curiosity.


Interested in similar stories? Why not try:

Episode 5: Armored Assailants: The North Hollywood Shootout and Killdozer both create millions of dollars of damage

Armored Assailants: The North Hollywood Shootout and Killdozer both create millions of dollars of damage | Episode 5

This week we talk about two stories where heavy armor helped criminals cause extraordinary amounts of damage. First, we dive into 1997's North Hollywood Shootout with bank robbers Larry Phillips Jr. and Emil Mătăsăreanu before learning of 2004's Killdozer built and driven by Marvin Heemeyer.
Episode 1: Charles "Chuck" Morgan: His Disappearances and Murder

The Disappearances and Murder of Charles “Chuck” Morgan | Episode 1

In our first episode, we will talk about the disappearances and mysterious 1977 death of Charles Morgan in the Tuscon, AZ area. Was it the government or the mafia? We may never know, but let's unravel clues, cyphers and shellfish to find out!

Sign Up for Emails