My love of ghost/monster hunting was nurtured by a group of high school journalism students I once taught in Cleburne, Texas. It was one of my first teaching jobs. I was young and made many mistakes. Still, some great times are remembered.
My journalism staff and I were responsible for publishing 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. We did get our hands slapped and told no, no. Did I mention I was very young.
Invariably, on nights when we were working on a newspaper or yearbook deadline, one of the kids would say, “Let’s take a break and go look for Goatman.”
The way the urban legend goes is that Goatman lived in Dallas and was ridiculed because of his deformity. He relocated to Antioch Cemetery near Cleburne. The spirit of a young man supposedly haunted the cemetery. He and his girlfriend were romancing at the cemetery one night when he was mysteriously slaughtered.
Goatman guarded the cemetery to frighten off visitors like teens partying among the tombstones.
My editors spent the night at Antioch once hoping to spot a look at 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 somewhat 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 did see something.
Here is a poem a talented student of mine wrote 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.
by Tommy Wylie (1980)
Ghost Photographed in Abandoned House
For Halloween, the newspaper staff decided to do a newspaper devoted to goblins. I had two excellent photographers. Back then we did all our own photography and processing. During this time period, students were allowed to 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 one of the windows of an abandoned house.
The only copy I have is from the yearbook. The negatives and photos vanished somehow 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 made it into the house to stage the photograph, and they were as genuinely freaked as all 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 fourth dimension allowed me to consider this as a possible avenue to answering the how in the question: How is it possible some of us see ghosts? 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 due to explicit sexual content.) So if you’d like to delve deeper in the Goatman adventure and are over eighteen, I’d love it if you read it. Dig was written as a challenge to myself to write a story that involved aliens and ghosts. Somehow the two are connected. I’m still working on that one. Let me know what you think.
I have one more blog to do for our ghost hunt, unless you send me your ghost stories.
Ghostly Artwork of the Week
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The Probe is a blog devoted to the exploration of the unexplainable, to finding the truth in occurrences that resemble science fiction, and to researching and reporting on topics that could be flung upon the wall of weird. New posts are featured every week.
(Mostly on Mondays, but sometimes I release early, like on Sundays, if I have a writing deadline, or if I’m going camping, or if I have something exciting I just can’t wait to tell you. And sometimes I’m late if I’m camping or have family visiting .)
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