Over the years, many people have ventured to the Pope Lick trestle bridge in hopes to maybe get a glimpse of the legendary Pope Lick Monster. What’s that? You’re unfamiliar with Louisville’s mythical creature that is part-man, part-goat, and possibly part-sheep that reportedly lives beneath the the railroad bridge in the Fisherville neighborhood. While there haven’t been many eye-witness accounts (that I’m aware of), there have been many strange happenings to people that have attempted to spot the monster, ranging from paranormal experiences to other unexplainable phenomenon.
Years ago, our friend Brian Manley was determined to find The Goatman. Was he successful? And what kind of weird shit did he encounter? Here is his story…
It was a stark and smarmy night and we brought all our high school junior bravado and bluster to the opening of Pope Lick. Just a bunch of bungling boys – six of us – sober, boring, bored and dead-eyed in our wants for a purpose on the weekend, other than listening to metal and Public Enemy and pranking people. We’d already broken into Waverly Hills to read Satanic graffiti. I’d stolen an ancient Bible I was convinced was used by a possessed devil man. Our imaginations and doubts were big, filled with Anton Lavey and Aleister Crowley, and we rolled our eyes more than our sleeves and headed out near midnight. Our goal was two-fold: find the Goat Man and drive further up the road and sneak into a rumored Satanic farm called Four Winds, where it was whispered the Mouth to Hell existed in a barn.
What we did see makes no sense, but I swear its true in the parched echoes of my mind.
I led the three-car caravan charge with my Dad’s rusted 1982 Honda Civic. Left of Taylorsville, we drove into the midst of hopeful thinking and screeched our ridiculous armada to a halt. We jumped out, directly below the trestles, which I kept annoyingly mispronouncing as “trussels.” We were like squad cars of the naïve, each filled with a duo. We sleuthed around quickly, acting with airs of both backbone and childish jitters, and with a phony robust pound on my chest, I yelled with a flaky voice, “this is bullshit! He’s not here. Let’s go to the church and find Satan!” We jumped back into our cars, nerves spiked from fear somebody or thing might show its face or hoof.
My unnamed patrol passenger partner suddenly said, “Brian, if shit gets weird, don’t worry about it; I got us covered,” and opened up my Dad’s glove box to show me the handgun he’d stashed there. “Goddamn,” I said and led everyone like Ichabod through a winding, dark road. The wind was loud and strong and the shoulder dropped from the sides of asphalt and we suddenly saw cars there, crashed in that ditch to the right: bent, upside-down, windows smashed, all gutted and ripped apart. We took a bend and to the left there sat a small house. I slowed the Civic to crawl because we couldn’t believe our brains: the front yard was filled with a giant hazy symbol created out of small candles. “Fuck this – go” my partner said and I hit the gas and the Civic lurched into a hot yank, hurtling down the road at a breakneck 25 mph!
“We gotta get out of here man – don’t stop no matter what!” He yelled. We slammed through more roadway bends, passed more damaged autos, until the trees cleared and the sky was open and there and we were on the straightaway and we thought were safe.
The red fence suddenly appeared on left of the car and I floored the gas. There, in the slight distance, through a small field, sat a giant red barn. Everything was red. Even the sky seemed red, now. We were silent as we barreled sideline to the Satanic farm, and as we zoomed by a gate that read “Four Winds,” all in drippy red, we realized a man was running through the field toward us, yelling, fist in air. We both fumbled our screams on top of each other, “It’s the Mouth to Hell oh my god we we’re gonna die — drive!” and I sank my shoe into the floorboard until we were on the Gene Snyder.
We’re all alive now. Although I’ve heard rumors that my passenger-friend was eventually confined to a room in his parents’ house for a while after that, rocking back and forth, arranging candles into bizarre symbols.
We’d like to thank Brian for sharing this horrifying tale from yesteryear. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out his bands Insect Policy and ML, both of which are Never Nervous approved and highly recommended.
Goatman illustration by Jake Miller.