Pope Lick Monster

Does a human-goat hybrid really exist? According to legend, the Pope Lick Monster resides beneath a Norfolk Southern Railway trestle over Pope Lick Creek in Louisville, Kentucky. It has been described as having powerful fur-covered goat legs, an alabaster-skinned face with an aquiline nose and wide set eyes, short sharp horns protruding from its head and long greasy hair the same color as the fur on its legs. Sights of this creature began in the 1940s and 50s. There are several theories on the origins of this creature and how it claims its victims.

Some believe it uses hypnosis or voice mimicry using the panicked cries of a loved one to lure trespassers on to the trestle as an oncoming train sends them to their deaths. Others claim it jumps down from the trestle on to passing cars. It attacks with a blood stained rusty axe or the very sight of it sends people flying off the trestle, committing suicide. However, the monster prefers to terrorize people by pelting them with stones and/or making disturbing sounds. But where does one alleged creature come from?

Some legends state it is a human-goat hybrid who vowed revenge after being mistreated. A second version claims the monster is a twisted reincarnated form of a farmer who sacrificed goats in exchange for Satanic powers or its the product of a perverted bond between the farmer and a goat.

The final legend links the Pope Lick Monster with another tale synonymous with the trestle, the "Ghost Train" that is also rumored to appear on the tracks. A sudden flutter of vibration from above as a train passes overhead along the trestle but yet makes no sound of approach or passage. In the late 1800s, there were rumors of a wild animal roaming the Canadian wilderness. The creature's presence caught the attention of a circus owner by the name of Silus Garner. He offered a substantial reward for the creatures capture. Once someone tracked and captured the beast he began to exhibit the Goat monster in his freak show. From town to town they went, the monster being one of his star attractions. Until one fateful night while bound for Louisville, lightening struck the track derailing the train and killing all passengers aboard except for one....the Goatman.

A low budget film called The Legend of the Pope Lick Monster was made in 1988. Many were excited to see the legend come alive on screen but the authorities weren’t. A number of accidents and deaths have occurred at the trestle since its construction. An 8ft tall fence guards the trestle and everyone is encouraged to not trespass for your own safety.


Conor J. Murphy said…
Great article, I just referenced it in piece that I posted regarding the Pope Lick Monster. I love these sort of legend tripping/urban myth-type stories.

I could find much information on the web, however, regarding how local folklorists treat this story-- if their is a kernal of truth to the legend. What are your thoughts?

Again, thank you. Your article proved invaluable for me.

Anonymous said…
Great. Just a few notes. I live minutes away from the trestle. Pope Lich Park is close to the trestle. I want to be a Cryptozoologist, and this park is where i do my research. The ghost train thing amazed me, but the story i always heard was that he was in an old time circus wagon, and passing Louisville, he bent back the bars, escaped, and came across a lumberjack he then killed and took his axe. He then realized that behind the trestle lies acres of woods and inhabited it, then adapted to a killing style, leading people on the track. btw sorry. I tend to type too much. Its just all so overwhelming to me. Great article! Will Meyer

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