The Truth about the Goatman Bridge
A short history of Old Alton Bridge.
In Denton County, Texas, there is an old iron truss bridge called Old Alton Bridge, also called the Goatman Bridge. The King Iron Bridge Manufacturing Company constructed the bridge in 1884, and it was a vital thoroughfare for over a century. The bridge was built to connect the towns of Alton and Denton and to provide a crossing over Hickory Creek. The old Alton road over the bridge was at the time the major road between these two locations.
Building a bridge
The construction of the bridge started in 1884 and finished in 1885. It was built using iron truss technology. Iron truss was a common technique for building bridges at the time, as it was a relatively simple and economical manufacturing technique. The builder was a well-known company in the bridge-building industry. The truss components for the bridge were put together on-site using bolts. The construction was finished by laying the wooden planks for the roadway across the trusses.
Restoration and reconstruction
In 2001 a new bridge was built slightly to the north of the Old Alton Bridge. That new bridge is the one that is used today. It is a modern construction using reinforced steel and concrete. It has sidewalks for pedestrian use and most importantly two lanes of traffic. The old bridge was one lane, and to prevent accidents or other simple problems when crossing, the automobile driver was instructed to stop and signal before driving up on the bridge.
Why is Old Alton Bridge called The Goatman’s Bridge?
A brief explanation of why the bridge is known as Goatman’s Bridge
The origins of the name “Goatman’s Bridge” can be traced back to the early 20th century, when a black goat farmer named Oscar Washburn lived near the bridge with his family. Washburn, who was also known as “Goatman,” was well-established in the community and earned his fair deal selling goat milk and products like cheese and hides to his neighbors. There are various legends about him and most of all about how he died but they all connect to the label “Goatman”.
Washburn is said to have put up a sign at the Denton side of the bridge reading “This way to the Goatman” to promote his products and to show the way for his customers.
Why does it have the reputation of being haunted?
There is more than this legend though. Through the years other possible explanations for the hauntings have come forth. And for each possible cause, more people become convinced that something supernatural is going on. Today, the supposed hauntings have reached a point where it’s difficult to even get close to the bridge without bumping into a YouTuber, some satanic worshipers, or simply local youths showing up there to smoke joints.
The various Legends of the Goatman
Description of the three main legends about the Goatman:
Poor old Oscar is actually the main character in two legends.
1. The first legend tells about how Oscar, who was a very successful individual, was associated with the devil. A group of locals decided to investigate these rumors and set out to confront Washburn. When they arrived at his home, they found that he was not there, but instead discovered a noose hanging from a nearby tree. They searched for his body but it was never found.
2. The success of the Goatman as well as the sign at the bridge agitated the local Ku Klux Klan. A black man who was a successful businessman could only mean one thing. He had struck a deal with Satan himself. One night in the 1930s, a lynch mob stormed Washburn’s shack and dragged Washburn to the bridge. There they put a noose around his neck and flung him over the side. But when they went down to affirm their gruesome handiwork, they found only an inexplicably empty noose dangling over the river. The Klansmen panicked, rode back to Washburn’s house, and set it on fire killing Oscar’s wife and children.
Both these legends have Washburn roaming the bridge and the surrounding area seeking revenge. According to some stories he will attack anyone who has klansmen in his bloodline.
According to yet another interpretation, it is the wife of Oscar who is haunting the bridge. She seeks her dead children.
Another legend involves a man named Jack Kendall. He supposedly crossed the bridge in the moonlight in 1945. On the far side, he encountered the Goatman and died from a heart attack on the spot.
But Jack Kendall could also have been a slave who was involved in the Texas slave insurrection panic of 1860. A lynch mod caught him right where the bridge would later be built, and hung him from a tree. The distance to the creek below and the long line had a terrible effect. When the rope stretched the force was such that it separated the head from the body. The cowboys then watched in horror as the headless body raised itself from the creekbed mud, and ripped off the head of a nearby goat to replace his own, still dangling in the noose!
Satanists who opened a porthole to hell and let a demon come through
The third legend involves a group of Satanists who were said to have opened a porthole to hell on the Old Alton Bridge, allowing a demon to come through and terrorize the surrounding area. Many visitors to the bridge report feeling a sense of unease and dread when they hear the story. It also draws a fair deal of Satanists to the area.
Confirmation of paranormal activity:
And now to the evidence, proof, and trustworthy testimonies of paranormal activity at Goatman Bridge… If there is any. We can easily determine that any credible observation should be easy to find since there are mountains of investigations on and around the bridge. Mostly, but not only, by the many YouTube channels covering ghosts, phantoms, and haunted locations. Unfortunately, there isn’t much substance. If you have a lot of time, please look through the material for yourself, and get an idea of what I’m talking about.
- Nuke’s Top 5 visited Goatman’s bridge in 2021. It was more like a Sunday walk in the park than an actual paranormal investigation though. They visited in daylight and that could have had something to do with it.
- Sam and Colby were there in 2022. They filmed in the dark but still, nothing came out of it.
- BuzzFeed Unsolved Network visited in 2017. They tried all the known tricks about how to summon the Goatman, but they didn’t get any answers. Although while walking through the forest they claimed they encountered a demon called Steve.
The best shot so far.
Ghost Adventures investigated the Goatman bridge also in 2017. They actually encountered something. While three of their crew were underneath the bridge, Aaron Godwinn was standing alone on the bridge. Suddenly a black, shadowy entity threw him 6 meters across the bridge. He hurt his arm and damaged his jacket in the fall.
Regrettably, although the team is loaded with cameras for daylight, nightlight, and any other sort of light, and although they have a truckload of electronic equipment, nothing was caught on camera, or on any other device. And that is very unfortunate because it could have been an undeniable piece of evidence of hauntings at the Goatman’s bridge. No definite evidence, but still something.
Goatman’s Bridge today.
The site is famous, and it is situated on the outskirts of the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington Metropolitan area with an estimated population of 6 million. It is easily accessible. The locals don’t seem to regard it as very haunted, and nothing really, apart from the many paranormal experts, points to the Goatman bridge as being anything more than an old abandoned bridge.
Maybe the true origin of the demons is the many young adults who go there to smoke. Just maybe the only Goatman someone would be able to summon is the one connected to the use of hallucinogens and mind-altering substances. And if that’s the case, the number of ghosts around Goatman bridge should be considerable.
No, Goatman’s Bridge, Old Alton Bridge is just a bridge. Steel, bolts, wood, and gravel… But no goatmen.
Tips on what to do and what not.
- Knocking three times on the iron rail should summon the goatman.
- So should passing over the bridge in a car with the headlights off. (Something you can’t do since the bridge is closed to traffic).
- If you are connected to the Ku Klux Klan or have someone in your past bloodline who was, you should keep away.