A group of high school journalism students I once taught in Cleburne, Texas, encouraged my love of ghost/monster hunting. It was one of my first teaching jobs. I was young and made mistakes. Still, some great times I remember.
My journalism staff and I published the school newspaper and yearbook. We also slipped in the publication of an underground newspaper — popular among the students, not so much with the administration. They slapped our hands and said, “No! No!” Did I mention I was very young? The town newspaper gave us full support, however, so we didn’t get into too much trouble. I actually think the principal enjoyed it.
Invariably, on nights when we were working on a newspaper or yearbook deadline, one kid would say, “Let’s take a break and go look for Goatman.”
The urban legend of Goatman tells of a man who lived in Dallas. People ridiculed him because of his deformity. He moved to Antioch Cemetery near Grandview, Texas.
The spirit of a young man supposedly haunted the cemetery. He and his girlfriend were romancing at the cemetery one night. The legend says a nefarious creature attacked the couple and slaughtered the young man. There is a ransacked, dilapidated tin building on the premises with the message, Why Me, written in blood. (Everyone said it was blood. Could have been red paint.)
Goatman guarded the cemetery to frighten off visitors like teens partying among the tombstones. He wanted to protect other young people from such a cruel end.
Is the Legend True?
My editors spent the night at Antioch once, hoping to spot the phantom creature. Near dawn they both swore they saw a crooked being silhouetted against the eastern sunrise.
Now, this was the early eighties, so keep that in mind. And if you’ve ever watched, the tv sitcom “That ’70s Show” you might understand teens were freer then. Partying at the cemetery with a case of beer or a little weed wasn’t unheard of. I’ll leave it to you to form your own conclusion, but I firmly believe they saw something.
Ode to Goatman
A talented student of mine wrote a poem about Goatman for the yearbook.
A graveyard scene is a scary sight,
On a dark and spooky Halloween night,
Some students pick a gloomy spot,
They choose a place called Antioch,
The night is dark and frigid cold,
And students remember legends told,
Of a creature called the Old Goatman
Who ate blue food from all the land.
There are fallen tombstones on the ground,
And eyes and footsteps all around.
There’s a small shed that you can see,
With words that read, “Why me?”
A shabby old horse stands all alone,
To show everyone that Goatman is home.
When you leave it’s a weary sight.
You see the glow of a freaky green light.
This poem is over but it’s not the end,
’Cause Goatman will come again.
Ghost Captured on Film
For Halloween, the same staff did a newspaper devoted to goblins. I had two excellent photographers. Back then we had our own darkroom and did our own photography and processing.
During this time period, students could leave campus. My photographers travelled the countryside photographing cemeteries and haunted houses. After processing a roll of black and white film one afternoon, they discovered a ghostly image in a window of an abandoned house.
The only copy I have is from the yearbook. The negatives and photos mysteriously vanished even though my photographers had an excellent filing system. Sorry it’s not better quality, but I think you can see why we freaked out.
No, it was not staged. The old house was in such a state of wreck and ruin, there is no way my students could’ve safely made it into the house to stage the photograph, and they were as genuinely freaked as the rest of us.
It’s been quite the journey blogging on the experiences involving the supernatural encounters that have haunted me for decades. Researching Carl Sagan’s fourth dimension allowed me to consider this as a viable avenue to answering the how in the question: How is it possible some of us see ghosts and some of us don’t? It still doesn’t answer the why. But I’ll keep searching.
My experience teaching a group of ghost hunting enthusiasts like myself is the basis for my fourth novella, Better Dig 2. (ProbeNote: It is adult reading because of explicit sexual content.) So if you’d like to delve deeper in the Goatman adventure and are over eighteen, I’d love for you to read it.
I wrote Dig as a challenge to myself to write a story that involved aliens and ghosts. Somehow the two connect. I’m sure. But I’m still working on that one. Let me know what you think.
Ghostly Artwork of the Week
The Probe’s Mission Statement
The Probe is devoted to:
- the exploration of the unexplainable,
- finding the truth in occurrences that resemble science fiction,
- researching and reporting on topics that could be flung upon the wall of weird.