The Creepy Maryland Goatman and Crybaby Bridge Urban Legends
I grew up hearing terrifying tales about a goatman that haunted a few key areas in the Southern Maryland region. My mother and a family friend told me a story when I was about thirteen that kept me extremely frightened to go near or over this one particular one-lane bridge off of Acton Lane in Charles County, MD. They called it "Goatman Bridge" because the stories claim that a woman wrecked her car off of this bridge one snowy winter's night, and she was carried away by the goatman...who left bloody goat tracks as evidence in the snow. Supposedly her body had disappeared and the police could find no human footprints around or near the wreckage.
Who is this goatman creature? The sightings of eyewitnesses state that he is a half goat/half man creature. The top half of him resembles that of a man but he sports a beard and horns...and the bottom half of him is like that of a goat...with the cloven hooves and all. As a child and a teenager, this creepy image haunted my dreams. Now that I am an adult, this image reminds me of an older mythical creature called a faun (an example of a faun - Mr.Tumnus in the Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe written by C.S. Lewis) and even of the Pagan god, Pan. These same characteristics could be related to the Christian enemy image of Lucifer, more commonly known as "the devil" or "Satan". Nevertheless, I do not plan on hanging out around the Acton Lane bridge at any time of the day.
The goatman creature has been spotted in other areas in Maryland, more notably in Prince George's County near Beltsville. The first sighting happened in the year of 1957, and many more were to take place after this. The most infamous of local goatman stories tell of a group of teenagers that went hiking through the woods in 1970, only to run into the goatman who chopped them to pieces with an axe and then ate most of their remains. Supposedly one of the teenagers escaped and tried to tell the police...but there is no substantial police evidence that this ever occurred...but to this day locals swear that it did happen. There have been other tales told of this mutant goat creature, including stories of the goatman breaking into houses and killing family pets.
The goatman is also associated with a road in Prince George's County, MD known as "Lover's Lane". This is a road in which adolescents park their cars and do whatever it is that teenagers do...but for the past ten years most teenagers do not dare to visit Lover's Lane at night. The reason? Goatman is said to appear if a date leaves the parked vehicle to pop a squat in the nearby bushes...but in this legend, instead of wielding a bloody axe, he carries a hook with him and slices up the unsuspecting horny teenager and leaves hook marks on the lovers' car. Obviously this urban legend has been told in other ways before...not having anything to do with goatman, but mainly telling of a psychotic murderer with a hook that slices up teenagers caught doing the hippity dippity in the woods.
There are various theories on how goatman came into existence. The main and most well known theory is that goatman was a by-product of human/animal experimentation. Apparently some "mad scientist" fiddled with science in ways that he should not have been and created this murderous monster from his idiotic lab partner and an innocent goat. Other goatman creation theories include local Satanic churches summoning the devil (the goatman being the devil himself or Satan's worker) and also that goatman could be an ancient Pagan being like that of a satyr or faun. However he was created, the legends in Maryland are all too real to many people who have sighted this beast...and the fear of the goatman will live on for many years to come.
In addition to the legends of the Goatman haunting Lover's Lane in Maryland, there is also another legend that sort of goes hand-in-hand with the goatman legend - the tale of Crybaby Bridge.
Maryland's Crybaby Bridge
Crybaby Bridge has now turned into an American urban legend that is told in Maryland and various other states, including South Carolina and Oklahoma. The Crybaby Bridge in Maryland is a one-lane bridge in Prince George's County and is said to be in one of the same areas where the goatman has been spotted. The bridge crosses over a branch of the Patuxent River...the same river that reportedly served as a watery grave for an innocent baby back in the 1950s.
The reason this bridge is referred to commonly as "Crybaby Bridge" is because the cry of this dead baby has been heard by locals on various nights, while crossing the creepy, rusty one-lane bridge. There are different theories as to how the baby was drowned in the Patuxent, including a story about a young mother who was running out to the road to meet her husband who was driving home after being gone for months. The young mother was tragically struck by her husband's car, as he did not see her in the fog that was covering the bridge that night. She dropped the baby and it fell into the waters below...crying. Other stories just say that the mother purposely threw the baby over, as she was too young and did not want to deal with the struggles of raising a child. One recent theory I found on a haunted places website stated that the area was thickly inhabited by the KKK back in the early 20th century and supposedly these vicious men would throw little African American babies off the side of the bridge to drown and kill them.
Whatever the horrible theory, I can attest to hearing this baby's (or babies') cries. When I was thirteen years old, my Aunt told my cousins and I the sad and scary story of Crybaby Bridge and we laughed it off...just thinking that she was trying to scare us. To prove the story, my Aunt took us down to the bridge in the middle of the night and parked. She turned off the headlights and killed the engine, totally. My cousins and I were frightened, being silly thirteen year old girls but we did not think in a million years that we would actually hear the horrifying wail of a newborn...just outside the truck's windows. It seemed to be coming from underneath the vehicle...under the bridge. My Aunt even seemed terrified herself, and we ended up quickly turning around and driving home...the four of us literally shaking and barely saying a word.
Maybe it is not actually a ghost baby crying in the waters below Crybaby Bridge...maybe it is some sort of wind tunnel that gives the illusional sound of a crying baby...maybe there is some scientific explanation to the creepy wailing that can be heard at Crybaby Bridge. Or maybe there isn't a logical reason...we will probably never know.
The goatman and Crybaby Bridge are recorded in many Maryland Urban Legend books and many videos can be found on youtube describing different witnesses' accounts of these legends. You can watch a couple of these videos below.
Questions & Answers
© 2011 Nicole Canfield