Having lived in the Dallas area of Texas, USA for more than twenty years, I know the state has more than a few monsters in it. And, that's the theme of today's article. We'll begin with the most terrifying resident of White Rock Lake, Dallas, Texas: the legendary Goat Man. So the story goes, on several occasions in the 1970s and 1980s a distinctly odd creature was seen flitting in and out of the trees after sunset, and which was described as being man-like in form, around seven feet in height, but with Goat-style protrusions sticking out of its head, and hooves instead of feet. The description of the animal was eerily like that of the fabled Satyrs of Greek and Roman legend. And it must be noted that numerous other cultures had an awareness that such strange creatures were lurking among them - and for millennia. There was, for example, the demon goat-man Azazel, the goat-beast of the mountains that was feared by the herdsmen of Parnassus, and the god, Pan. The deity of woods and fields and of flocks and shepherds, Pan dwelt in grottos, roamed both mountains and valleys, was a lover of music, and was universally feared. In ancient days, any form of overwhelming dread without a discernible cause was very often ascribed to the actions and presence of Pan, and became known as a Panic terror. Pan came to be considered a symbol of the universe and the personification of Nature, and was almost certainly the inspiration for the Latin divinities, Sylvanus and Faunus. And, as a final thing: there are at least two other sites of Goat-Men in Texas.
A fascinating account that is deserved on mention was brought to my attention by Sandy Grace, who saw the Goat Man up close and personal in August 2001 - at White Rock Lake, somewhat creepy place at night. Grace had been jogging around the lake on the nine-mile long trail when, at around 2:00 p.m., out of the trees, she told me, stepped the strangest looking thing she had ever seen. Large, and covered in thin, coarse brown hair and with two large horn-like protrusions, the half-man-half-beast strode purposefully in her direction with a malevolent, sneering grin on its face. Bizarrely, when it got within about fifteen feet of the terror-stricken Grace, the animal crouched on its four limbs and vanished in a flash of light. She was sure that it had not been a hallucination, but was equally sure that such a thing could not live within the confines of White Rock Lake - or, indeed, anywhere on the face of the Earth. Very interestingly, Grace told me that less than a minute before the Goat Man appeared, she was overcome by an intense feeling of fear - albeit for no particular reason she could fathom, then or now. She had never suffered from panic attacks (before or since) but figured that this was probably the best way to describe how she felt. I thought to myself that it could also have been a classic description of an encounter with Pan, the God of the Woods, centuries or millennia ago.
Now, to a very different creature. Her name might sound somewhat comical: The Donkey Lady. But, there’s nothing to laugh about when it comes to this truly diabolical and infernal entity that haunts various parts of the Texan city of San Antonio. Indeed, she – or, perhaps more correctly, it – has, for decades, provoked both fear and mayhem in the city’s residents. Which is hardly surprising, as you will now come to appreciate. The story of the monster-woman dates back to the 1800s, and specifically to the vicinity of an area of the city called Elm Creek. It was on the creek, legend says, that a woman lived with her husband and two children, and eked a living from farming. In fact, it was barely a living, something which ensured the family lived in poverty and at near-starvation levels.
As fate would unfortunately have it, on one particular day a man on horseback appeared near the family’s property. He was a young man, the son of a rich landowner in the area, and someone with a cruel propensity for torturing animals. And, when he saw the family’s solitary mule standing all alone in a particular field, he decided to embark on a bit of what he, in his warped state, termed fun. That’s to say, he proceeded to violently beat the poor, defenceless animal. It was only the loud cries of the mule that saved its life: its owners came running to see what was going on and were confronted by the man attacking the mule. Not surprisingly, they tried to beat the man off, which they did by throwing stones at him, some of which were right on target. The man cursed both husband and wife, swearing to get even with them. It was a curse that soon came tragically to life.
Later that night, a posse, led by the man himself, stealthily crept up on the family home and set it ablaze. In moments, the house was engulfed in flames and terror overwhelmed all four. The owner of the house tried to distract the group so his wife and children could escape, but it was to no avail. He was shot and killed and his children were burned alive. As for his wife, she was terribly burned, her fingers down to charred stumps, her entire body blackened, and her face dreadfully disfigured – to the extent that her face appeared to have semi-melted and took on elongated, donkey-like proportions; hence her name. Crazed, in agony, and hideously burned, she fled the house and threw herself into the waters below nearby Elm Creek Bridge. She vanished under the water as the farmhouse continued to burn, ominously lighting up the dark, night sky. She was never seen again. Or was she?
On more than a few occasions, and right up to modern times, people crossing the bridge – whether walking or in vehicles – have heard terrible shrieks coming from the waters below and from within the surrounding woods. A vile, wailing, she-monster, with long and lank hair, dressed in rags and with her skin peeling off, she has reportedly jumped onto the cars of terrified drivers, and on more than a few occasions. Others have seen the beast-woman walking through the waters, insanely seeking revenge on the people who made her life a misery and who killed her family. Now, to the Grinning Man of Texas.
“Christine” grew up in West Texas and was confronted on more than a few occasions by one of the weirdest and creepiest offshoots of the Men in Black mystery – namely, the so-called “Grinning Man.” She says of this shadowy thing: “I haven’t told a lot of people about it. When I first saw the person I was about 1 or 2 years old. I have a very long memory. It was like the typical thing that you hear: it was this man who would stand in the doorway of my bedroom. I remember standing up in my crib and holding onto the bars and he wore a fedora and a tan raincoat and black trousers, shiny shoes and black leather gloves. His face wasn’t like someone who had been burned, but he just stood there and would grin. There was nothing friendly about the way he was grinning. It was horrible. Emotionless, didn’t blink. And he came off and on for a few years. “Even as I got older and slept in my own bed I would wake up sometimes, like at 3 o’clock in the morning, and that went on. That still happens: all of a sudden I’ll be wide awake at 3 o’clock in the morning, for no apparent reason. But as a kid I’d wake up at 3 o’clock and he’d be there. I didn’t have any frame of reference for it. Of course, my mom didn’t believe me; she just thought I was dreaming."
Christine said: “But there were all sorts of strange paranormal things that happened throughout my childhood and I wonder if it was all part of the same thing. I even got weird phone calls as a teenager. The phone would ring and it sounded like a little kid speaking in another language; just rapidly talking into the phone. I thought at the time it was some little kid got on a payphone and started dialing numbers from another country. But, when I read The Mothman Prophecies, I went: Holy shit! This was the same thing. What kind of validated that this person was real was that when I was twelve, a friend and I were out riding our bikes about 9.30 at night in the summer – it was a small town in west Texas. And we stopped and were looking in the doors of the Baptist church, as they had just put in new carpets. A big Saturday night!
"But, we both turned at the same time to look behind us and this man appeared like right on the edge of the street light and started walking towards us, and he was wearing the exact same outfit: the fedora and the tan overcoat and black pants. But, this time, his whole head and hands were bandaged. We didn’t speak; we just took off like a shot, around the corner, to her house. We didn’t know what to make of it, but I thought it was probably that same person that I used to see. I’ve never saw him again. When I got into my early twenties, I was living in Dallas and I met a girl; we got to talking about paranormal stuff and she lived in Lufkin, in east Texas. She said that she and her sister shared a room and that sometimes she would wake up and there would be this man in her room. She said he wore a hat and a long coat. One night, she woke up and he was looking at her, but he was petting her sister’s head while she slept. For sure, a terrible "thing" in the Lone Star State.
Certainly, one of the most bizarre of all the many and varied strange beings that haunts the lore and legend of Texas is that which became known, albeit very briefly, as the Houston Batman - a creature that is eerily similar to the Mothman of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. The most famous encounter with the beast took place during the early morning hours of June 18, 1953. Given the fact that it was a hot and restless night, twenty three year old housewife Hilda Walker, and her neighbors, fourteen year old Judy Meyer and thirty three year old tool plant inspector Howard Phillips, were sitting on the porch of Walker’s home, located at 118 East Third Street in the city of Houston. Walker stated of what happened next: “…twenty five feet away I saw a huge shadow across the lawn. I thought at first it was the magnified reflection of a big moth caught in the nearby street light. Then the shadow seemed to bounce upward into a pecan tree. We all looked up. That’s when we saw it.” She went on to describe the entity as being essentially man like in shape, sporting a pair of bat style wings, dressed in a black, tight-fitting outfit, and surrounded by an eerie, glowing haze. The trio all confirmed that the monstrous form stood about six and a half feet tall and also agreed that the strange glow engulfing him was yellow in color. The Batman vanished when the light slowly faded out and right about the time that Meyer issued an ear-splitting scream.
Mrs. Walker also recalled the following: “Immediately afterwards, we heard a loud swoosh over the house tops across the street. It was like the white flash of a torpedo-shaped object… I’ve heard so much about flying saucer stories and I thought all those people telling the stories were crazy, but now I don’t know what to believe. I may be nuts, but I saw it, whatever it was… I sat there stupefied. I was amazed.” Meyer added to the newspaper that: “I saw it, and nobody can say I didn’t.” Phillips, meanwhile, was candid in stating the following: “I can hardly believe it. But I saw it… we looked across the street and saw a flash of light rise from another tree and take off like a jet.” For her part, Walker reported the incident to local police the following morning.
Constructed in 1969, Lake Granbury, Texas as a dam for the Brazos River, which is the lake’s primary inflow. At more than 1,200 miles long, the Brazos River is the 11th longest river in the United States. And Lake Granbury is hardly small either: it has a surface area of 8,310 acres. The approximately 75-foot-deep lake is home to wide and varied kinds of fish, including catfish, bass, gar, and sunfish. It’s a popular spot for a bit of fun, too: water-skiing, boating, and fishing are all very popular on weekends and holidays. And then there is the matter of its hideous, terrifying inhabitant. As far as the resident monster is concerned, it goes by the name of One Eye and is described as a classic lake-monster: dark gray in color, with a long neck, and a hump-like back. Irish creature-seeker Ronan Coghlan says: “Whether it has attained a one-eyed state by accident or whether it is naturally one-eyed, I cannot say.” Although the lake itself is less than half a century old, the Brazos River has a long history of sightings of huge fish and mysterious creatures. Native Americans and early Spaniards talked of something terrible and savage lurking in the river.