The Goatman is believed to be the spirit of a man named Oscar Washburn, a black goat farmer. About fifty years after the Alton Bridge was constructed in 1888, he brought his family to North Texas and moved them in to a house nearby. He soon came to be known as a dependable, honest businessman, earning the nickname “Goatman”. Unfortunately, successful black men were still not welcomed in the 1930s. Klansman in the local government became outraged when he displayed a sign on the bridge: “this way to the Goatman”.
One night in August 1938, Klansman turned their headlights off and crossed the Alton Bridge. They burst in to his home and drug the Goatman away from his family to the bridge. Standing him on the side, they fitted a noose over his head and pushed him over. The Klansman peered in to the water to examine their handiwork when panic set in. The rope was still there but the Goatman’s body disappeared. The Klansman rushed back to the house and slaughtered his family. Oscar Washburn was never seen again and was presumed dead.
Since his attempted murder, strange occurrences have taken place on the bridge. Some believe the Goatman haunts the bridge and nearby woods. If you crossed the bridge with your headlights off, you would meet the Goatman on the other side. An alarming number of abandon vehicles and disappearances led to the construction of a new concrete bridge. The old red iron one remains accessible to the public by foot.