While I was born in France, and it is a country rife with folk lore and legends, I want to devote this post to the United States where I have spent the majority of my life. From the Volga River to the Atlantic Coast, and from North Africa to the Arctic Circle, there are a myriad of stories, which are mostly well-documented of every sort of ghost, goblin, fairy, troll, witch and spirit, while the stories of the New World seem to be less well-documented. So I would like to devote this post to a couple of stories that were part of the collective minds of a special region in the New World that I called home when my family finally repatriated from France to the United States of America in 1964.
Prince George’s County, Maryland was founded in the late Seventeenth Century and named after the Prince Consort of the United Kingdom’s Queen Anne.1 As my own arrowhead collection attests, there was an abundant population of native Americans who lived and prospered in this region before the advent of the Age of Exploration. After returning to the United States, my family settled in an area of Prince George’s County called Oxon Hill. It was there among my classmates that I heard the first story that I am about to relate. It is both farcical and horrible.
A couple married. They were young and in love. The wedding was well-attended. After the nuptial ceremony, as they approached their car, from the crowd emerged a man in a bunny suit. He was wielding an ax. He chopped the bride and groom to death, and just as quickly as he emerged, he vanished into the crowd. He was never apprehended. In fact, he may not have been human at all, but some strange cross-breed of human and rabbit, or he may actually have been a demon from Hell. He lurks still, ready to pounce on any unsuspecting newlyweds with his hatchet in hand.
Crybaby Bridge and the Goatman
On Tucker Road there is a bridge. If one approaches from Saint Barnabas Road from the north, one will go down a country road that crosses Henson Creek. It was at the bridge that crosses the creek that a woman was involved in a car accident. A creature, half-man, half-goat, jumped in front of her car. Sadly for the woman, this was before the age of mandatory car seats, and her new born baby, who was in the car with her, was killed when she veered off the road to avoid hitting this strange creature. Now, on every full moon, if one ventures down to the bridge on Tucker Road that crosses Henson Creek, one can hear the cries of this baby. As for the goat-man, he has never been accused of killing anybody, but he has been seen. He lives under the bridge. In the dead of night, if one approaches Cry Baby Bridge, if you disturb him, he will show himself. His appearance is so ghastly that once seen, the interloper will be struck mad.
Wikipedia has an entry on the Goatman that is completely spurious and should be discounted. It says the Goatman comes from Beltsville of all places. No, the Goatman comes from Oxon Hill and he is still there. Don’t disturb him. Don’t go looking for him. I’ve had friends who saw him from a distance, and they are all dead now. One was run over by a car on Indian Head Highway, dragged a mile by a car until his body was a mash of pulp. Another was a girl who fell into a bad crowd, got pregnant by an abusive man, and was last seen walking down Route 301 South, in a daze. Nobody knows what happened to her. Her baby was left in the care of its paternal grandparents, and its father died of an overdose.
- Proceedings of the Council of Maryland, 1696/7:1698, Volume 23, Page 23.