UP NOLAN CREEK: Sitting down with a local legend
Thursday, 23 August 2012 by Wayne Carpenter
I chuckled over a recent article in one of the local daily newspapers about an alleged 'goatman' being observed in the mountains of Utah. Turns out the sighting was probably a hunter dressed in a home-made costume designed to sneak up on some innocent mountain goats and shoot them. The folks in Utah would never admit to doing anything of that nature, so they quickly blamed a hunter from out of state. Everyone knows California is full of weirdos, so that seems like the most likely place of origin for someone loco enough to crawl up a mountain dressed as a goat.
Of course, anyone who grew up in the Belton area knows that the one-and-only Goatman lived in a cave at Miller Springs. As a kid, I heard tales about how the Goatman of Miller Springs would sneak up on unsuspecting visitors and scare them just for fun. By the time I reached age 14 and could drive, I had heard many tales of wayward youths "parking" in the woods and along the river banks of Miller Springs and being startled by the sudden vision of the Goatman bounding up the cliffs or jumping out of the bushes. Actually, so I have heard, most of the stories were told by young men convinced that telling scary tales to young ladies would encourage the girls to snuggle up in the back seats of their old worn-out jalopies. However, a few souls swore they actually had seen a Goatman with the head of a man on the body of a two-legged goat. Some kids even launched full-moon expeditions to try and gather evidence of his existence. Often, or so I am told, those expeditions wound up involving other unauthorized activities; thus, no actual photos of the Goatman exist.
Somewhere in the 1980's, when the area grew more populated and Miller Springs became a more civilized recreation area, sightings of the Goatman ceased. The recent article piqued my interest in what might have happened to our Goatman, so I researched the internet and Googled the name, coming up with several possibilities. After a few false leads, I finally reached a phone number for a Mr. B. Goatmann in Key West, Florida, so I gave him a call. When he answered, I told him I was calling from Belton, Texas. After a long silence, I said: "Please don't hang up!"
He finally asked: "How did you track me down?" I told him the whole story. He laughed and said: "Well, well; I had some great times at Miller Springs! I scared the heck out of some of you teenage romeos back in the day!"
"Yes, sir, you certainly did. But why did you leave town? You were famous."
"Oh, I know. I used to love sneaking up behind a car with teenagers busy smooching and scratch on the the trunk of their car with my hooves. I'd just stand there and laugh and watch those big, brave, high school boys peel out and head back for town. I tell you, I saw some interesting things happening out at Miller Springs in the old days."
"Oh, I am sure you did, but you left anyway?"
"Yeah, it was time for me to move on. Teenagers found other places to go parking, and they started cleaning the place up and putting in hiking trails and stuff; just took all the fun out of it. Besides, I'm not getting any younger, you know."
"It happens to all of us, but why Florida?"
"Why not? This place is full of old goats! I just wear baggy pants and Crocs so people can't see my hooves and goat legs, and I fit right in with the rest of them. Besides, Key West has a gigantic Halloween party every year, and I can just go as myself. It's a perfect retirement location for an old goat like me!"
"Well, I guess your right, Mr. Goatmann, but we sure miss you back in Belton."
He laughed. "Just call me Billy, and thanks for remembering me!"
I thanked him and hung up, now you have it, the "real story" of the Goat Man of Miller Springs!