Goatman sketch

A Strange Creature Near Holy Hill

On October 28th a woman named Mindy Rossette posted the following sketch and message on my Washington County Paranormal Facebook Page. Mindy has graciously allowed me to publish it on my blog in the hopes that someone else may come forward with a sighting, or perhaps offer some explanation as to what she and her daughter encountered.

According to Mindy:

“At the urging of friends I am reaching out to you about an encounter me and my teen daughter had at about 9:40 pm on September 17th. We were traveling near Highway K and 167 near Holy Hill.

“I can only say [the creature] was maybe 4 ft tall, hairless, grey/brownish, and running on its hind legs. It seemed to brace for impact as my car barely missed it. Below is the picture I drew as soon as i got home. Any ideas?”

Goatman sketch
Eyewitness sketch of a mysterious creature that dashed in front of a moving car near Holy Hill. By Mindy Rossette.

The countryside surrounding Holy Hill has more than it’s fair share of anomalous activity. In 2006, a large bearlike animal with canine characteristics dragged a dead deer from the back of a county contractor’s pick up truck. The authorities recorded the encounter as a “yeti sighting” and started a minor media frenzy, attracting Bigfoot Hunters from as far away as California. Following the Bigfoot clamor, numerous eyewitnesses came forward with sightings of various strange animals ranging in description from the infamous Bigfoot, to odd bear/wolf hybrid creatures.

Also nearby is Hogsback Road, an area that local teenagers claim is haunted by an even stranger cryptid, Goatman. Goatman is exactly what he sounds like, a strange humanoid with caprine characteristics. To my eye, this creature, while almost assuredly not a human/goat hybrid, could put someone in mind of the legendary creature, particularly with those very unsettling legs which seem to have backwards bending knees.

Stories about Goatman have been told around Washington County campfires and in parked cars since about the late-1960s. While the creature seems to be mostly urban legend, creatures with a blend of human and goat attributes have been reported sporadically across the United States, with the oldest I’m aware of occurring in 1830s Minnesota.

Goatman: Flesh or Folklore? by J. Nathan Couch
Pictured above: Amber Michelle Russell’s interpretation of Goatman for the cover of my most recent book.

When I told Mindy that it reminded me of Goatman, she’d never heard of the creature. When she asked me what Goatman was, I was hard pressed to answer her.

She continued with her description:

“It’s elbow was set low on the arm. Legs seemed to bend back at the knee like a dog’s. Muscles very defined. Thighs especially. I couldn’t make out the hands because of the way it was running. I couldn’t see the feet as I couldn’t see past the car hood.

“Instantly i knew this was something incredible. We were shocked and confused trying to figure out what the heck we just witnessed. We don’t live far from that rural area so we are pretty much freaked out to venture outside when its pitch black. It’s something we’ll never forget. It was a monumental moment. The vision of this thing is etched in our lives.

“I really want to know what that was. It was tangible. Not our imagination. I wish I’d seen the face but it braced itself and tucked its head down. I wish i would have hit it. Not to cause harm, [but just so people won’t think I’m crazy].”

Those who have seen the drawing so far have remarked that it looks extraterrestrial to them, likely because of that large head that resembles the classic “grey alien” description given by alleged UFO abductees.

I’ve pondered the drawing all weekend, and the only rational explanation I can think of isn’t rational at all. It looks vaguely like a tailless kangaroo or wallaby, but just how did one of those make it’s way to Southeastern Wisconsin? One can’t solve a mystery by introducing a second, equally puzzling mystery.

Interestingly enough, I talked with a man two weeks ago following a Downtown West Bend Ghost Walk who described a creature similar to one Mindy saw outside of his house in Southern Kewaskum. A few winters ago he heard gunshots outside. He peered out his window, expecting to see coyotes running down the snowmobile path near his home. He instead saw a 4-foot tall, grey-brown creature with a horselike head running extremely fast down the snowmobile trail before it dashed away into the woods. The only major difference separating the thing he saw from the one sketched above was that it was covered in shaggy fur.

If anyone else encounters something similar to either of these creatures, or has any information pertaining to Mindy’s upsetting encounter, please contact me.

I Lost the Costume Contest

CAN YOU BELIEVE I LOST? I demand a recount.

Goatman costume
J. Nathan Couch as Goatman, Halloween 2014.
J. Nathan Couch enjoying a good book after the contest.

Oh well. I think I looked pretty awesome.

What Are Satyrs?

During the years I spent writing Goatman: Flesh or Folklore?  one of the greatest challenges I faced was trying to describe the book to non-Forteans. Whenever they found themselves intrigued enough to ask what a goat-man was, roughly two-thirds of them stared blankly at me when I described it as resembling a satyr. While most students of the unexplained are switched on to the world of mythology, I felt a blog about these strange entities from Ancient Greece is in order. Quite a few Forteans are unaware these beings have been reportedly sighted in modern day North America.

Satyrs, while described as flesh-and-blood entities in much of the ancient literature were also regarded as nature spirits. They were depicted in art and story as handsome young men with the long ears and the full, bushy tails of horses. They were most often in the company of the god of wine, Dionysus. Their chief pursuits in life were wine, women, and song. They danced, they drank, they seduced, and they fornicated.

A Satyr holding a pipe. Circa 500 B.C.

Later, as the Roman Empire spread across the land, the Romans adopted much of Greek mythology and blended it with their own. The Romans had their own bawdy, inebriated nature spirits, the fauns. Likewise, fauns were humanoids with pastoral qualities, but whereas satyrs were horselike, fauns were partly goat. The Romans merged these two in song and story, and since then satyrs have been almost universally regarded as goatlike beings.

A Faun, by Hungarian painter Pál Szinyei Merse.

Two other characters from mythology must be mentioned. Both the Greeks and the Romans have goatlike gods in their respective pantheons. In Greece, there was Pan. While mythological tales claim Pan is the youngest of all the Olympians, he is likely the oldest. Archaeologists have found evidence of Pan-worship as early as the Sixth Century, BC, in Arcadia. While some sources claim a kinship between Pan and satyrs, this connection likely didn’t exist until art began depicting satyrs as goat men.

A statue of Pan in the company of Daphnis, a Greek shepherd.

The Roman goat god was Faunus. As his name might suggest, Faunus did have a direct connection with the Roman fauns. Like Pan, Faunus is also one of the oldest of the Roman pantheon of gods. Both deities served similar purposes within their respective cultures. They were both rustic gods of fields, fertility, music, and wild places.  Many sources erroneously refer to both Pan and Faunus as satyrs, despite, in fact, being gods.

Faunus in statue form.

Both Pan and Faunus represented the most basic of human needs and pleasures. Given this fact, along with the fact they were both especially worshiped in rural places, they were among the most popular and enduring of all pagan deities.

Many scholars believe that the Christian devil Satan was given goatlike characteristics in Christian art as a way of making these gods of nature and merriment less appealing to rural Europeans who had yet to convert to Christianity. Other lesser demons from Christian tradition, such as Baphomet, were given goatlike features. Baphomet was eventually adopted as the symbol of the Church of Satan, further linking Pan, Faunus, satyrs, and fauns, with evil.

Baphomet, symbol of the Church of Satan.

As Christianity grew into a worldwide religion, goatlike entities such as satyrs would fade into the realm of mythology, or in certain circles, the realm of the occult. But belief in these creatures have never been entirely stamped out. Many neo-pagans still worship either or both Pan and Faunus, while some modern day Wiccans worship the Horned God, a deity that likely grew out of ancient Pan worship.

While some believe satyrs and fauns were or are satanic in nature, historical research shows that they represented humanity’s ties with, and dependence on, the natural world. But, why would these very Old World creatures be seen in North America? That’s a blog for another day.

J. Nathan Couch’s latest book Goatman: Flesh or Folklore? is now available on Amazon.com and anywhere books are sold!

Finalized Goatman front cover.

Goatman: Published

Tonight has been an extremely satisfying night. The latest proof copy of Goatman: Flesh or Folklore? arrived almost a week early. After what likely amounted to my 100th reading of the material, I finally realized the book was now ready for humanoid consumption. With a light heart and a nervous stomach, I gave the go ahead for publication.

As of this moment Goatman: Flesh or Folklore? is now on sale at my store and on Amazon.com

Within 14  days the book with be available on Kindle.

Within 6-8 weeks (but likely much sooner) the book with be available at Barnes and Noble, and just about anywhere else books are sold.

They say there are seven stages of grief. I believe there are also seven stages to writing a book. For me they are, in order:

1) Skeptical enthusiasm

2) Fanatical dedication

3) Bleak disillusionment

4) Sickening self-doubt

5) Euphoric enthusiasm

6) Crippling anxiety

7) Complete and total relief

I am presently at stage seven. There’s a lot of people who deserve recognition for making this project a reality, but I’ll save that for the book’s acknowledgment page. But I would like to use this space to thank everyone who’s believed in me and followed my other projects. If you’ve ever attended one of my talks, tours, or presentations; if you’ve ever liked something of mine on social media; If you’ve ever told a friend about one my projects; if you’ve ever pretended to laugh at one of my terrible, terrible, terrible jokes, you’re responsible for Goatman: Flesh or Folklore? being written.

I hope you’ll all enjoy it, or at the very least, mumble to yourself “That Couch fellow knows a lot about weird stuff” as you shove the book into the box marked “Goodwill.”

Thanks one, thanks all.

-J. Nathan Couch
October 07, 2014.

J. Nathan Couch with a zombie
J. Nathan Couch. And a Zombie. Dahlonega, Georgia, 2013.

The Town That Dreaded Sundown

The Town That Dreaded Sundown

The Goatman is largely considered to be an urban legend by nearly everyone except those who’ve actually encountered the creature, largely because he’s usually alleged to live near Lovers’ Lanes all around America. Folklorists are generally of the opinion that the Goatman is merely a “Lovers’ Lane Legend” such as Hook Man. You know the story: two lovers are going at it when they hear an announcement over the radio that a lunatic with a hook for a hand has escaped the local hospital.

All such Lovers’ Lane legends are believe to have been inspired by a very real serial killer known only as The Phantom. The Phantom went on a sexual killing spree in 1940s Texarakana, almost always preying on couples in parked cars. The Phantom was never apprehended. In 1976 Texas director Charles B. Pierce released a film called The Town That Dreaded Sundown. While most of the film is largely fiction, certain portions of the film are true. Do you think this killer really did conjure up Goatman in the imaginations of Americans?

By the way monster buffs, if the name Charles B. Pierce sounds familiar, its because he was involved in The Legend of Boggy Creek, the classic documentary about a Bigfoot-like creature that roamed Arkansas during the 1970s.

Old Courthouse Museum Ghost

Back on September 20th, the hosts of Real Ghost Stories Online took the Downtown West Bend Ghost Walk two weeks ago and saw an actual apparition in the tower of the Old Courthouse Museum prior to the start of the tour. They even took a photo of the alleged ghost, which you can see HERE. Is it the apparition of deceased janitor Waldemar Bernhagen? What’s your opinion. Watch the video to hear the eyewitnesses’ talk about their sighting!

Finalized Goatman Cover

Greetings everyone! It seems that Goatman: Flesh or Folklore? is nearly complete. I just got the finalized exterior files in my email. Below is the front cover. Take a look and let me know what you think!

Goatman: Flesh or Folklore? book cover
Finalized Goatman front cover.

I have to say this cover looks better than I could have ever imagined. The goat-man on this cover is, in my humble opinion, not only the creepiest Goatman ever rendered, but the most adorable. There’s something innocent and inquisitive behind those black, dark pools he has for eyes. Only the amazing Eau Claire artist Amber Michelle Russell could have achieved such a feat! I want to cuddle the guy, but I know he’ll just murder me and leave me stuffed in a hollow tree somewhere for my trouble.

The logo and exterior design (you know, all the heavy lifting) is by Mental Shed Studios, who designed my previous book, Washington County Paranormal. Mental Shed specializes in horror-oriented design work. They also operate a few swell websites like CultOfWeird.comWisconsinSickness.com, and WisconsinFrights.com.

I know you’ll all be pleased with the visuals of this book once you get a copy in your hands! It looks so good that my only concern at this point is, will my humble words do the exterior justice?

Father Rehrl’s Rectory Vandalized

Earlier today Washington County Historical Society executive director Patricia Lutz sent the following e-mail to society members regarding a vandalism and burglary at their St. Agnes Convent site in Barton:

Dear Friends,

We are sorry to report to that Father Rehrl’s Rectory will be closed until further notice. Today, while preparing for our open house, we discovered the rectory had been entered by pushing a window out of its frame. There was minor damage done to the walls, sills, and stove. Sadly, the exhibit was torn down and some tools stolen. The barn’s old side door was broken into several pieces, but nothing was damaged or stolen, just some things moved and tossed around. The West Bend police did come by and investigated. But we are aware how difficult it is to solve these type of cases. We are working on installing security, something we have not needed in the past.

We will open the site again next year on special days and will work towards having the Convent available for viewing. Thank you for all your support.

Patricia Lutz

Executive Director

WCHS executive director Patricia Lutz
Father Rehrl's rectory
Father Rehrl’s Rectory . Photo from the Washington County Historical Society

It is positively sickening that someone would break into, and steal from, a non-profit, historical site. I’m passing this e-mail along here in the hopes that someone out there will some information regarding the crime. If you love West Bend, Washington County, or local history, please, PLEASE share this post. Let’s bust some crime.

If you know anything about this crime please contact the West Bend Sheriff’s Department at: 262-335-4378

Washington County Paranormal

Washington County Paranormal on Kindle!

Exciting news folks! My first book, Washington County ParanormalA Wisconsin Legend Trip is now available on Amazon’s Kindle. While I’m a huge advocate for paper and ink books, this development makes the book available to readers in a number of exciting new ways. Not only can the Kindle version be purchased ala carte for $9.99 (the print version currently lists for $11.99), but the book is FREE to read for Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL) users!  Also, readers who’ve already purchased a print version Washington County Paranormal via Amazon.com can buy the Kindle edition for just $2.99! To get you’re copy today, just follow this link! In the coming months I’ll also be working on making the book available through other digital formats. Watch this site for details!

Washington County Paranormal
Washington County Paranormal

I understand digital books aren’t for everyone. I myself much prefer the scent of ink and paper to a cold, sterile, e-reader. Washington County Paranormal is still available as a tradition book through all major book sellers (if it isn’t on their shelves, they can order it for you)! Also, if you’re local to West Bend you can support the local economy by picking up a copy at any of the following small businesses or public institutions: The Exclusive Company, The Old Courthouse Museum’s Treasurer’s Vault Gift Shop, All In Books, Roots, or our newest member of the family, A Conversation Piece, LLC! If you’d like to sell print versions of Washington County Paranormal or any of my books at your local business just send me a message!

Baraboo’s Mysterious Man Mound

Around 500 B.C., effigy mounds of various shapes and sizes began to dot the landscape of Wisconsin and several surrounding Midwestern states. The people who built these mounds remain mysterious.

Known only as the Mound Builders, it’s now largely accepted that they are the ancestors of present day Native American tribes such as the Potawatomi or Winnebago, but long ago this wasn’t the case. Since the native population had forgotten both the purpose of the mounds as well as the identity of their architects by the time European settlers arrived, early European Americans began to theorize that a Lost Race was been responsible. Dubious theories regarding these people’s identities ranged from the lost tribe of Israel to refugees from Atlantis.

While it is exceedingly unlikely that Atlanteans or Israelis built these mounds, they are wondrous. Many mounds are simple linear and conical shapes, while others resemble birds, turtles, or large cats. Some of the mounds were used for burial, while others severed a purpose that is yet unclear. The most intriguing of all these earthworks are known as “the man mounds,” the majority of which were located in southwestern Wisconsin, in what is modern-day Richland, Dane, and Sauk Counties. Five out of seven of these huge mounds resembled men with huge horns protruding from their head.

Nearly all of these amazing manlike earthworks have been destroyed, with the most notable exception being a particularly huge formation in Man Mound County Park in Sauk County. Before its lower legs were destroyed by road construction at the dawn of the twentieth century, it was 218 feet in length.

Man Mound
Arial view of Man Mound County Park. Photo courtesy of SaukCountyHistory.org

It’s generally accepted that these works could represent effigies of shamans, who in more modern times often wore bison headdresses, or a Winnebago hero-god named Red Horn who was sent to earth to battle giants and evil spirits. All are highly plausible theories, but since we neither know if the Mound Builders wore bison headdresses or if they knew the tale of Red Horn, the man mounds remain a fascinating mystery.For more information on the history of Man Mound County Park visit www.SaukCountyHistory.org.

Me, I’ve done nothing but research satyrs, goat-men, and Sheepsquatch for the last two years. To my eyes, the long fellow at Man Mound looks a LOT like Goatman.

Artwork by winddragon24. Click this image for more great artwork.