It seems strange to begin this brief account of an odd Bigfoot like cryptid from Texas, with the line ‘It was the summer of 1969,’ but that was when this story of the Goat-Man really begins. Six residents of Fort Worth in Texas reported a frightening story of an encounter with a supernatural creature that left them all suitably shaken, but also completely convinced of what they had seen.
During a hot summer night in 1969, John Reichart, his wife and two other couples were parked at Lake Worth; at around midnight. As they sat there, a large creature stormed out from behind the branches of a large tree nearby. The creature appeared to be completely covered in a coat of both fur and scales. It crashed onto the bonnet of the Reichart’s car and even attempted to grab Reichart’s wife at one point. The odd coated creature then ran off into the dark night and was quickly invisible thanks to the dense surrounding trees. However, before it had fled, it had left the Reichart’s with some physical evidence of the encounter in the form of a deep scratch along the side of their car.
The report quickly sparked quite a bit of media attention, possibly because the report was actually taken seriously by local Police. This is likely to be because this may not have been the first report of a strange creature roaming around Lake Worth. In fact it is believed that Police had been investigating the ‘Goat-Man’ for about two months at this point. One officer suggested the possibility that local teenagers were responsible and running about the Lake in an ape costume. Although this was about as easy to prove as the actual existence of the creature, without additional evidence it was more like a ghost.
However, various stories that ran in the Fort Worth Star Telegram newspaper certainly kept the mystery alive and interest continued to grow, promoting the creature to somewhat of a local legend.
Not unlike Bigfoot, the Goat-Man was seen several times after the initial sighting, often in quick fleeting experiences where the creature would cross the persons path or catch their eye in amongst the woodland. On one occasion is is said that the Goat-Man was pursued by a group of nearly three dozen locals, which were scattered when the cornered monster threw a tire at the group. However, there is some disagreement within the witness statements regarding the Goat-Man, some would describe it as having dark fur, whilst many more would state that the creature had white fur.
One Helmuth Naumer had a theory that the beast was nothing more than someones pet Bobcat, that had been released into Lake Worth Park. A Bobcat that likely took some enjoyment in jumping on the park visitors cars. Although a Bobcat does not usually throw a tire at large groups of people and they are not often similar in size to the witness accounts of the Goat-Man.
There is a photograph taken by one Allen Plaster, which is supposed to show the creature has been displayed in museums relating to Bigfoot and of course all over the internet. However, Plaster is more inclined to laugh at the possibility of some kind of swamp beast at Lake Worth. His Polaroid insta-print was the only copy and was passed onto Sallie Ann Clarke, who wrote of the monster in her book ‘The Lake Worth Monster of Green Island, Ft. Worth, Texas.’
Plaster said that, some friends and him, were simply driving west along the shore of the lake, late one night. One of his friends simple pointed and shouted when she spotted the creature and the rest was history. However, Plaster does admit that with all the focus on finding the monster at that point in time it could have simply been a hoax. Someone could have been waiting for just that opportunity to stand up and generate yet another sighting of the Goat-Man. There is one small issue with that though, even admitted by Plaster, many were visiting the Lake with guns ready to shoot the beast and bring it home. Something, which looking back Plaster thought was somewhat stupid, as anyone could have been injured or even killed by accident. I surprised that no one was!
The distinctive look of the Goat-Man of Lake Worth does make it very similar to the descriptions of Bigfoot that we have heard over the years. Perhaps it is simply another species of Sasquatch that needs to be documented. Maybe it is a genuinely unknown species located in the Lake Worth area. It is certainly an interesting case of a supernatural creature, but then this one has me a little torn. Usually I would present a possible explanation where the sightings of this Goat-Man, were potentially similar to ghost sightings, but the mind fills in the blanks with an odd creature. Which all works apart from a few minor issues; a) the scratch on the Reichart’s car; b) the monster threw a tire at nearly three dozen people, thats a lot of witnesses; and c) Plaster’s photo.
The only way we can discount these pieces of physical evidence is as follows. The Reichart’s scratch on their car occurred as they drove away at speed from the encounter at the lake. Whilst this is a long shot, it is still a possibility. However, it still leaves a shared experience unexplained, unless it was a shared hallucination that had some kind of natural cause. A monster throwing a tyre at a large number of people is a tough one, as it is a little too many to be a shared hallucination, but not impossible. However, as this has a true physical element perhaps the creature was real, but this is where the possibility of a hoax really floods into the story. Could this be someone with an ape suit, possibly. However, there were many with guns about according to Plaster, so dressing up as a creature that everyone wanted to shoot, would be beyond stupid and highly dangerous I am betting.
Plaster’s photo is a little more in the line of a potential misinterpretation of information. As the group searched for the Goat-Man, the shape presented itself in much of the area. Hence their photo could be seen as simple pareidolia, if anything it looks a lot like smoke or something bouncing the light of the flash. When you look at it objectively there is little information to provide a form or shape of a suggested Goat-Man.
The same newspaper that generated such interest in the Lake Worth Monster was also related to some very different stories lately; one in 2005 that seemed to indicate that the whole Goat-Man thing was a hoax. Also, in 2009, a Fort Worth magazine published a story about a man who claimed to be at the centre of the tire throwing incident. Whilst these could easily be individual coming clean about their past exploits, there is always a feeling that they could easily be someone attempting to grab their own slice of the lime-light by admitting to something they never done.
No matter what you believe, the Lake Worth Goat-Man sounds very much like another interesting chapter of the larger and certainly more geographically spanning story of the Sasquatch. What do you believe, is there really a Bigfoot out there? What do you think it is?