The Old Alton Bridge, commonly known as The Goatman’s Bridge, is an old iron-truss bridge just Northeast of Dallas, Texas, near the now uninhabited town of Alton. The bridge and surrounding woods is said to be haunted by a demonic creature with the head of a goat and the body of a man.
The History of the Bridge
The bridge was completed in 1884 and spans over Hickory Creek, a tributary of the Trinity River. It was built near the small town of Alton and served as a link to the economic centers of Dallas and Denton. Alton served as the county seat of Denton county from 1851 to 1857, however it was a declining community as the seat was moved to the town of Denton. It was hoped that the bridge would bring new life to Alton, but it continued to decline and the community gradually disappeared.
The Old Alton Bridge is about 145 feet in length and its deck spans 14 feet in width. The structure saw horse-drawn carriage, then vehicular traffic for more than 100 years until a new concrete bridge, completed in 2001, was built adjacent to the old iron bridge. The Goatman’s bridge was closed to traffic, but the citizens of Denton county encouraged the county that the bridge should remain. It was restored and became part of a series of public parks and horse and hiking trails.
The Goatman has a name: Oscar Washburn. Oscar was an African-American goat farmer who lived just north of the bridge with his family in the late 1800s. He was well known locally as a hardworking and honest businessman. People endearingly began calling him The Goatman. Having dealings with many of the locals, it was said that he put a sign on the Alton Bridge that exclaimed, “This Way to the Goatman.”
Ku Klux Klansmen in the area were angered and jealous of Washburn’s success, and the sign only fueled their hatred. They ambushed him from his home in the middle of the night and dragged him to the Old Alton Bridge. Once there, they tied a noose around his neck, the other side of the noose to the bridge, then flung him over. When they looked over the bridge, all they saw was an empty noose swaying, and undisturbed water in the creek below.
The Klansmen frantically searched the area for Washburn, but were not successful in finding him. They made their way back to his house. Maybe to lure him out, or perhaps just for spite, they set his house on fire with his wife and children inside. His entire family perished in the flames and The Goatman was never found.
Over the years, many have reported seeing a demonic apparition on the bridge that has the head of a goat, and the body of a man. Its glowing red eyes are also reported to be seen in the surrounding woods. It is warned that knocking three times on the trusses of the bridge increases the risk of summoning the creature.
Although the tragic and disturbing story of Oscar Washburn has never been verified, one version of the legend says that since his disappearance, it is Washburn who haunts the bridge and surrounding area. Because of this, some say The Goatman will only appear to Klansmen or their descendants.
However, the haunting may not be related to Washburn at at all. The Old Alton Bridge has been a hot-spot for satanic rituals. Locals have reported seeing groups of people in black robes with ritualistic candles on the bridge after midnight. For this reason, some think that The Goatman is a demon conjured by the satanists.