Goatmen and Satyrs

Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 11th, 2009

The recent Texas conference on the Goatman (see Nick Redfern’s report) reminded me of all the other Goatmen and Satryrs tales I’ve heard down through the years. Goatmen stories have been told in cryptid circles from such high profile locations as Maryland-Virginia, near Washington D. C., and thirty years ago, from near Lincoln, Nebraska.

Nick Redfern wears a Sasqwatch.

A few years ago, I was on a radio station out of Bangor, Maine, and the hosts were discussing stories they had been told by their parents of a “hoofed horror” from the woods up in the County. But tales sometimes are merely foggy remembrances of clouded memories of attempts to keep kids in line, and only vaguely are based in reality, of course.

Nevertheless, I still remain surprised by Mark A. Hall’s 2005 attempt to categorize such sightings in a way that might be better understood. A hard pill to swallow perhaps, I thought, but at least worthy of being open-minded and reading about them. I’m not denying there’s a body of these reports, now what do we do about them?

You can find a definition for “Satyrs” in the sense of rethinking that Mark A. Hall is doing, at his Glossary of Living Fossils.

“Satyrs – A form of ape related to the Yetis. Their extraordinary physical capabilities have caused them to be called ‘goat-men’ out of a mistaken perception of their mode of locomotion….See ‘The Satyrs in Our Midst’ in Wonders for September 2005.”

Hall’s article is in Volume 9, No. 3 of his now-hard-to-find Wonders, and he did nicely pull together all the scattered reports in one place.

In 2005, I was at the Texas Bigfoot conference, being interviewed by a red-headed young man with a XL-1 video camera named Todd Partain. He was in the midst of shooting his documentary, Eyes In The Dark, about the eye glow experiences of field researchers, his own childhood experiences, and the veil of isolation and ridicule society imposes on cryptozoology. Sounded like a good project, so I did the interview, signed his release, and we began to say good-bye, as I began to move on to another conference activity. But Todd stopped me in my tracks.

Off camera, post-interview and casually, Todd froze me with a simple question…”Have you ever heard of people seeing a Satyr?”

I thought, now that’s an interesting cryptid name to use with me right now, considering what I had just re-read Hall’s work on the plane. Yes, I said, I’d heard about something like that, what did he mean, I asked him. He then briefly told me about a “thing” he’d heard about from Louisiana, his home state. Todd wasn’t aware of Mark’s article, and sent me the details after I returned home. Needless to say, I’ve done some more wondering about this whole subject.

So, for Halloween from 2005, here is Todd Partain’s account, which he gave me permission to share with you:


“The Plain Dealing Devil”

In 1993, some friends and I were sitting around swapping scary stories when a friend’s sister hesitatingly told us about a small imp or satyr type creature she encountered at a trailer park near Plain Dealing, Louisiana.

She related that she was outside when she heard a voice calling her name. Out of the darkness a pair of red eyes stared and moved closer until a small black hairy devil creature appeared and said, “I’ll follow you forever” then disappeared back into the forest. Later, a woman that lived in a nearby trailer home with whom she was friendly told her she was driving into the trailer home park one night and saw a small black Satyr type creature dancing on top of a fencepost. I have to admit that at the time I wanted to write that one off as being too far out there. But it wouldn’t be the last time…

In 1999, I was working on the side as a projectionist in an Imax theatre and while the movies played, the staff gathered in the booth, one day the scary stories started. A young lady with no apparent connection to the aforementioned young woman intimated that her brother had been home alone in Shreveport and had stepped out back to smoke a cigarette next to the family swimming pool. He heard something call his name, and at first suspected some local children were hiding in the bushes near the fence after sneaking in to trespass in the pool. Then he caught sight of a “hairy little man with horns” and retrieved a .22 caliber pistol from inside the house he tried firing at the creature a couple of times but it managed to evade him and laughed the whole time. It then leapt to the top of the fence, turned it’s head and smiled at him – revealing sharp teeth. The creature then bolted over the fence and apparently ran off into the woods.

I’ve since lost touch with both of these young women, the first actually told her story on tape reluctantly by my urging in 1993 but that tape [has been misplaced through a friend]. I’ve seen her since then and she flatly refuses to be interviewed and won’ t discuss it for fear of ridicule, “It was just too weird, I want to forget about it!”

The second individual saw “The Blair Witch Project” and became convinced that she would make a similar movie about the devil. I don’t think it ever happened.


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Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

14 Responses to “Goatmen and Satyrs”

  1. Kronprinz_adam responds:

    Weird! Classification: paranormal. (Remember old stories about goblins and kobolds?)

  2. MountDesertIslander responds:

    The calling of one’s name by a cryptid moves that sighting into the realm of the paranormal. Research on that entity should be done by demonologists or ghost hunters. I don’t believe there would be anything to be gained but ridicule if a cryptozoologist mounted a serious investigation into that encounter.

    Wouldn’t it be freaky if Bigfoot started taunting investigators from the underbrush though? Shades of the Fenway Park Darrell chant.

    Loren… Loren… Loren

  3. Loren Coleman responds:

    Just because one reports they “hear” a cryptid calling out to them does not make it a “fact.”

    Some groups of First Nations people, aboriginal shaman, and rural folks mention they “talk” to the animals, hear messages from the creatures of the forests, and even speak of a language of the birds or Bigfoot.

    We must take care with labeling things in terms of our usual frames of reference if we wish to not lose data.

    Bernard Heuvelmans noted that first encounters with new species by humans were often turned into and told as fantastic tales.

  4. apithacus responds:

    This could fit in with the jersey devil sightings. What if the jersey devil sightings were only large birds carrying small deer? The stories I have read about these goat men are creepy and I had no idea that people were even seeing these pan like pranksters. It is unlike any other cryptid I have ever read about. Thanks for the post!

  5. erinmar13 responds:

    i agree that these encounters at least SOUND more paranormal than cryptozoological. but that doesn’t mean they should be shoved into that realm without looking into it. it’s clear that their upper body and heads especially have the horned, devilish, pan-like appearance, but i’m curious about the hands and feet. whether they have hooved feet or bare mammalian feet or even shoes.
    it’s important to remember though, when recalling fauns and satyrs, that ancient civilizations had a habit of saying that a person or creature was part something; it was depicted literally but had its base in metaphor. for example, the king of attica, cecrops, was said to be half snake. what this really meant was that he was actually very wise, as snakes represent wisdom. it’s the same as saying that a guy who can swim really well must be part fish. in conjunction with bringing up satyrs and goatmen, i have to mention that these animalistic traits given to these creatures could be nothing more than similarly portraying animal characteristics to “wild men.” wild men which could have been neanderthals or sasquatches. but if this is really the case, it makes these sightings of goatmen all the more intriguing.
    and very good timing Loren, with Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell coming out on dvd next tuesday having as its antagonist a very “devil” looking lamia demon.

  6. BoyintheMachine responds:

    I’ve blogged on Satyr sightings on my blog, but the thing I need to point out is that Satyrs were originally viewed has being a race of men having horse ears and a horse tail.

    Only later with the Romans did Satyrs begin to take on goat-like attributes.

  7. Fhqwhgads responds:

    Antony was amazed, and thinking over what he had seen went on his way. Before long in a small rocky valley shut in on all sides he sees a mannikin with hooked snout, horned forehead, and extremities like goats’ feet…. The answer he received from him was this: “I am a mortal being and one of those inhabitants of the desert whom the Gentiles deluded by various forms of error worship under the names of Fauns, Satyrs, and Incubi….” Let no one scruple to believe this incident; its truth is supported by what took place when Constantine was on the throne, a matter of which the whole world was witness. For a man of that kind was brought alive to Alexandria and shown as a wonderful sight to the people. Afterwards his lifeless body, to prevent its decay through the summer heat, was preserved in salt and brought to Antioch that the Emperor might see it. From the Life of Paulus the First Hermit, by St. Jerome.

  8. southernfriedbigfoot responds:

    There’s a legend in or around the New Orleans area about a creature called The Grunch. If memory serves me correctly, some of the stories describe it as a goatman.

  9. clman1 responds:

    I am of Native American descent, and remember a story of how my grandfather saw a creature- half man, half goat cross in front of his Model T one night back in the 20’s. My Grandfather was an experienced woodsman and had never saw anything like it.
    I am still hoping that Bigfoot can eventually be identified as a living hominid. However, we cannot discount that there are things people see, ie goatmen, the jersey devil, and mothmen which seem to defy all logic and have to be considered in the realm of the paranormal. If you discount what one person sees as being a hallucination or as being to ridiculous to believe, then are you not taking the same line as mainstream science does when they approach Bigfoot? Whatever all these strange things are, creptids, ufos, ghosts, etc.-there is definitely much that science has to learn.

  10. BoyintheMachine responds:

    Att: southernfriedbigfoot,

    The Grunch is described as a black, goat-like monster with spineson it’s body. I’ve never heard of it described as a goat-man. Would be interested if anybody has any tales of such.

  11. cryptidsrus responds:

    Thanks for the post. I agree with others—more “paranormal” than truly cryptozoological, but great to relate anyway.


    I happened to have READ Jerome’s life of Paul the Hermit. Awesome that you brought it up!!!

    Anthony also happened to have encountered a HIPPOCENTAUR as well on his way to meet with Paul. The tale has always fascinated me. Thanks.

    I also agree with Clman1. Whether SOME of these these “sightings” are fake or not, it bears investigating. One should always respect the Native American point of view. They’ve been around in this continent longer than the rest of us and have seen more “things” than us.

  12. Fhqwhgads responds:


    I’m not surprised you’ve read the Life of Paul the Hermit. I’ve seen you over at “the Paranormal Pastor” — and you’ve seen me, too, though not by this name.

    One of St. Jerome’s self-admitted weaknesses was Greek literature, which I think has to be taken into account with the hippocentaur story. His insistence that there was real evidence for the satyr, on the other hand, is much more intriguing. Could it have been a chimpanzee, which after all has the scientific name Pan pan? No horns or hooves, but it might have been seen as “part man, part goat” by some people. (On the other hand, by the Middle Ages at least true apes with no tails were known — see The Book of Beasts, p. 34 ff.) Or was it a deliberate fraud? If so, the interesting part is that it was described as being ALIVE in Alexandria, which (if accurate) rules out two corpses sewn together. Maybe it was someone suffering a birth defect?

  13. Fhqwhgads responds:


    I don’t know about the origin of the Greek or Roman satyrs, but I’ve been reading Gavin White’s Babylonian Star-Lore, and he claims that one of the most ancient of the Mesopotamian constellations was the “Bison-Man” (pp 57–60), which looked very similar to a satyr. His constellation was apparently transformed into the centaur when the Greeks adapted Babylonian astronomy.

  14. southernfriedbigfoot responds:


    Thanks for the info. I do have a book of Cajun ghost stories that has an illustration depicting The Grunch as a four-legged, two-armed monster with the body of a goat, the torso of a man, and ram’s horns, hence my recollection. I have no idea if the illustration is the result of alleged legends or artistic license. The name of the book is “Haunted Bayou and Other Cajun Ghost Stories” by JJ Reneaux.

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