Fort Worth Star Telegram
Couples say they saw a Lake Worth monster 40 years ago
Posted Thursday, Jul. 30, 2009
By CHRIS VAUGHN
Greer Island, a small patch of land close to where the West Fork of the Trinity River flows into Lake Worth, is heavily shaded by tall oaks, cedar elms and cottonwoods.
One of the quietest spots in Fort Worth, the island is home to egrets and owls, perhaps an alligator or two.
And maybe, just maybe, the Lake Worth Monster.
The Lake Worth Monster — aka Goat-Man — hasn’t been seen regularly at the Fort Worth Nature Center since a very memorable summer 40 years ago when all of Texas seemed to buzz with the news that a hairy, scaly 7-foot man-goat-beast was terrorizing the good citizens of Tarrant County.
"Every so often, it will come up in conversation," said Suzanne Tuttle, manager of the Nature Center. "Somebody will say, 'I remember when that happened.’ "
Perhaps the monster moved on to less-populated environs, and maybe it’s dead by now, his bones to be discovered decades later by a lucky anthropologist.
Or, as more people actually suspect, the monster was really several creatures, all hoaxes carried out by enterprising and opportunistic mischief-makers from Brewer, Castleberry or North Side high school.
No one is exactly sure.
Mystery still cloaks the legend of the Lake Worth Monster and his tire-chucking, hair-raising appearance in July 1969.
On the afternoon of July 10 that year, the Star-Telegram’s front page carried a headline above the fold — "Fishy Man-Goat Terrifies Couples Parked at Lake Worth."
Reporter Jim Marrs broke the story to the world.
"Six terrified residents told police early today they were attacked by a thing they described as being half-man, half-goat and covered with fur and scales.
"Four units of Fort Worth police and the residents searched in vain for the thing, which was reported seen at Lake Worth, near Greer Island."
John Reichart told police that the creature leapt from a tree and landed on his car, and he showed them an 18-inch scar down the side of his car as proof.
The police officer told Marrs that "we did make a serious investigation because those people were really scared."
The police also revealed that they had received reports in the past but had laughed them off.
The next night, the monster, in front of a couple of dozen witnesses, was said to have uttered a "pitiful cry" and hurled a tire from a bluff at them.
The police weren’t laughing anymore. Hundreds of amateur trackers descended on the area with all manner of Remingtons, Brownings and Colts.
"I’m not worried about the monster so much as all those people wandering around out there with guns," a police sergeant was quoted as saying in Marrs’ second-day story.
One of the curious who went to Lake Worth that summer was Sallie Ann Clarke, an aspiring writer and private investigator who dropped everything to interview people for what would become her quick-draw and slightly tongue-in-cheek book, The Lake Worth Monster of Greer Island, self-published in September ’69.
During the weeks of summer, people saw the creature running through the Johnson grass, found tracks too big for a man, and reported dead sheep and blood.
Soldiers and sailors in Vietnam wrote their parents in Fort Worth and asked for more news, and reporters from far and wide wrote stories about it. The authorities continued to blame either a bobcat or teenage pranksters.
Then, about the time school resumed, perhaps not coincidentally, the Lake Worth Monster furor largely disappeared.
A photo and doubts
Clarke is 80 years old now and still lives in Benbrook, but, regrettably, she can’t talk much about that summer. A series of strokes greatly damaged her memory and her health, said her husband, Richard Lederer.
Clarke has always regretted the way she wrote her book, he said, because after she published it, she saw the monster on three occasions.
"If I’d seen it before I wrote the book, the book would have been quite a lot different," she told the Star-Telegram in 1989. "It wouldn’t have been semi-fiction. It would have been like a history."
She has the most famous, perhaps the only, photograph ever taken. It was given to her by Allen Plaster, who snapped it in October 1969 at 1:15 a.m. near Greer Island.
Both her descriptions and the photo show a large white something, though it doesn’t seem to favor a goat at all.
Plaster, interviewed in 2006, said he doesn’t buy the monster story now.
"Looking back, I realize that when we drove by, it stood up," he was quoted as saying in the Star-Telegram. "Whatever it was, it wanted to be seen. That was a prank. That was somebody out there waiting for people to drive by. I don’t think an animal would have acted that way."
For his part, though, Plaster isn’t talking anymore. He declined an interview request.
In 2005, a reporter at the Star-Telegram received a handwritten letter, with no name and no forwarding address.
"One weekend, myself and two friends from North Side High School decided to go out to Lake Worth and scare people on the roads where there were always stories of monsters and creatures who would attack parkers," the letter began.
The writer claimed to have used tinfoil to make a homemade mask to scare a truckload of girls.
When the friends were finished, they went to a Dairy Queen on the north side.
"I had a Coke float. The goatman had a parfait," the letter said. "The goatman turns 55 this summer and resides a peaceful life in the hills outside of Joshua."
Except that whoever wrote the letter — a man who lives somewhere near Beaumont, based on the postal cancellation — isn’t the only person to make such a claim.
Marrs, the reporter, told the newspaper in 1989 that police questioned several Castleberry students who were found with a faceless gorilla outfit and a mask.
Fort Worth, Texas magazine outed a man this month — identified only as "Vinzens" — who admitted being involved in the infamous tire-throwing incident of July 11. He said the tire went airborne only because it hit a bump after they rolled it. But he had no interest in naming more names or publicly taking credit or blame.
The owner of a kennel near Lake Worth has also said that he lost a macaque monkey that summer and that perhaps the primate was responsible. All of it could be true. Or none of it. Who knows?
Clarke’s husband maintains that the monster was definitely not pranksters.
"She offered a $5,000 reward for any person who could pass a polygraph that they were the monster," Lederer said. "She never got a call."
The Nature Center is holding its own monster revival celebration Oct. 3, a date selected for the temperate Texas autumn rather than any connection to the events of 1969. It will have canoe rides, guided hikes around Greer Island, live music, food and drinks.
For those who belong to the Friends of the Nature Center, Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy Chairman Craig Woolheater will speak at a private dinner that night.
Tuttle said the Nature Center’s staff is skeptical of the existence of a monster.
"You never know," she said. "He may hear about it and just turn up."
News researcher Cathy Belcher contributed to this report.
Man or beast? Goatman lore reborn in Fort Worth
The Dallas Morning News
By Jacquielynn Floyd, October 21, 1999
The summer of '69 left a lot of people reeling with disbelief. Woodstock happened, and Chappaquiddick. Neil Armstrong strolled on the lunar surface, and there was a rock festival in Lewisville with naked hippies. The Goatman didn't seem much less plausible than anything else.
He was the local Sasquatch, a hairy apparition detailed by credulous sightseers and wild-eyed teenagers and even improbable news accounts. For a few glorious weeks in 1969, as summer stretched toward fall, Fort Worth was feverish with Goatman delirium.
"Everyone talked about it. It was in the newspapers," said Robert Hornsby, then an imaginative 9-year-old with an avid interest in monster stories. "It was as real as a man going to the moon."
Mr. Hornsby, a New York artist who grew up in Fort Worth, has revived the Goatman legend with a series of stories, pictures and sculptures. His exhibition opens this weekend to coincide with the downtown public library's reopening after an elegant renovation.
It's a logical site, since Mr. Hornsby spent months researching the Goatman's history at the library.
The creature's story
According to Goatman lore, the half-man, half-goat lived on a scraggly island in Lake Worth, which was accessible to the shore by a muddy car track, making it a popular venue for necking and beer ingestion.
Teenagers spread tales of being chased and hooted by a 7-foot-tall, 300-pound Goatman. A posse of Goatman-seekers reported the monster appeared on a bluff and hurled an old tire at them, frightening one man so badly he backed his car into a tree.
Mr. Hornsby dug up pictures of a Goatman statue sculpted by an Azle man at the height of the hysteria and used them to produce his own series of sculptures.
The result is a long-necked, flop-eared, slope-shouldered, pot-bellied, Neanderthal-browed, unihorned anthropoid goat with an expression of undeniable malice but also of a certain cunning charm. Like the legend, he is temptingly believable and utterly memorable.
Because the Goatman was sometimes attributed to a prank by kids at nearby Brewer or Castleberry high schools, Mr. Hornsby invited art students from those campuses to contribute their own interpretations of the legend to the exhibition.
The legend died out long before these students were born, but they loved the story Mr. Hornsby related.
Two halves, two sides
Their artworks reflected two obvious schools of interpretation on the Goatman's character. Some, like an ominous silhouette of a slouching, menacing beast, suggest a sinister, malevolent Goatman, angry and bent on violence.
Then there's a tragic, misunderstood Goatman, a lonely figure exiled by his hybrid status from both human and goat societies.
"I don't think he's really evil," said Brewer senior Melissa Rodriguez, whose Goatman is a series of mournful sketches. "It's like people were scared of him, but it wasn't his fault."
The story faded with time. The only remnant of the myth is that the unofficial name "Goat Island" stuck to the weedy little spot where the Goatman capered and howled and hurled tires so many years ago.
Maybe he was enraged, or maybe he was lonely. Maybe he was just curious, according to one young artist, who wrote:
He creeps at night through brush and tree / Or scraggly grass to peek at me.
Or maybe the Goatman was just passing through, camping out on his way to someplace more private or more scenic or more hospitable.
After all, it was an awfully strange summer.
© The Dallas Morning News
Lake Monster may be myth, but exhibit is real
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
By Bud Kennedy, June 06, 2006
SAN ANTONIO - Bigfoot is back.
And he's in Texas.
To be exact, he's back in an animated version, standing between fake Big Thicket trees in a museum and welcoming tourists to an exhibit where even the name is skeptical: "Bigfoot in Texas?"
As it turns out, experts and hobbyists now track the mythical swamp beast's Texas appearances back to 1969 -- and Lake Worth.
No kidding. Our very own Lake Worth Monster -- the "Goat-Man," if you prefer -- is now considered the most famous of all Texas sasquatch sightings.
Police later blamed teenage pranksters. But one of the speakers Saturday at an Institute of Texan Cultures forum said he still thinks the Lake Worth Monster was real.
"You had several credible people saying they saw it," said Maine author Loren Coleman. "You had investigations. You had more than one incident.
"It was too involved for a prank."
The sign at the entry to the "Bigfoot in Texas?" exhibit, open through July 30, even bills the Lake Worth Monster alongside other Texas legends such as the Marion County Monster and something called the Hawley Him.
If you're new around here, back in summer 1969, a lot of people were seeing things. Some people thought they saw flying saucers. Some people thought they saw Soviet spies.
And some people thought they saw a 7-foot-tall half-man, half-goat threatening motorists near Lake Worth.
John Reichert of South Henderson Street was quoted in the Star-Telegram as saying it scratched his car. Jack Harris of Sansom Park said he saw it throw a tire 500 feet. Allen Plaster of Fort Worth, who owned women's wear shops, shot a photo of a large, furry-looking, light-colored blob.
That fall, Charles Buchanan said he saw a gorillalike creature. He threw a bag of leftover chicken at it, and it swam off toward Greer Island, where it has apparently lived ever since in an undisclosed location.
Police said later that Brewer High School students were found with a glow-in-the-dark mask and a gorilla costume. Experts back then said the first sightings were probably of a bobcat, and the guess was that the teenagers wanted to scare the curious crowds searching the lake.
If so, they not only scared the crowds but also wrote Bigfoot history.
In Dallas, 9-year-old Craig Woolheater was watching the breathless TV news coverage of the search.
If you think the TV newscasts made a big deal lately about a dead alligator in Lewisville Lake, imagine the coverage in the Texas summer of 1969, before we had the Rangers or Mavericks.
"I was already interested in the unusual -- dinosaurs, UFOs," Woolheater said. "All the news talked about was this monster." He visited his grandparents on Eagle Mountain Lake and imagined the monster roaming the shore.
As a teenager, he saw The Legend of Boggy Creek, a movie based on a Northeast Texas swamp creature tale. Then, in 1994, he and his wife saw something tall and furry walking on two legs alongside a highway outside Alexandria, La.
Now, he is the co-founder and director of the Dallas-based Texas Bigfoot Research Center, a Web site that sponsors an annual Bigfoot conference in Jefferson.
Woolheater's volunteers helped the Institute of Texan Cultures assemble the "Bigfoot in Texas?" exhibit, which the museum, backed by the University of Texas at San Antonio, offers not as science but as an example of Texas folklore.
A series of monthly lectures has reviewed Bigfoot evidence, as presented by Bigfoot hobbyists.
At the Saturday forum, author and mythbuster Benjamin Radford argued that Bigfoot is no more real than the legendary Texas horned rabbit called the jackalope.
"Why do people see Bigfoot?" Radford asked. "Because they see something, and they think, 'That must be Bigfoot.' Other people might think they saw a leprechaun or a dragon. The same thing goes for the Chupacabra."
In San Antonio, the legend of El Chupacabras is more vivid than Bigfoot. When a dead animal found on a nearby ranch last year was reported jokingly to be the legendary bloodsucking flying beast, hundreds of residents drove to Elmendorf to see photos of what turned out to be a mange-ridden dog or coyote.
"If people in New Mexico find cattle killed, they blame it on UFOs," Radford said. "If the same thing happens in Puerto Rico, it's the Chupacabra. In Montana, it's Satanic worship.
"Bigfoot is the same way. People use Bigfoot to explain an experience. The sightings are misunderstandings or hoaxes. Or people saw a large, hairy animal and thought it was Bigfoot."
In the crowd was one tourist who knows her hoaxes.
Linda Weems Johnson, 57, of Houston is a great-niece of T.J. Weems, a Wise County blacksmith who was quoted in The Dallas Morning News in 1897 as saying that a "native of the planet Mars" had crashed a spaceship in the town of Aurora. The "Aurora Spaceman," probably a stunt to draw attention to the town, is now the subject of his own movie and legend.
"I can see how stories like Bigfoot get started," Johnson said. "I come from a big, very Celtic family. Our tradition involves a lot of myths and storytelling."
Her husband, Scott Johnson, said he can easily believe in both the Aurora Spaceman and the Lake Worth Monster.
"I think there's too much evidence out there," he said. "There are too many witnesses. I don't think they all just misunderstood what they saw."
Real or hoax, Bigfoot is now big business. Both authors Saturday were doing a brisk book trade. The museum gift shop was almost sold out of T-shirts and mugs with the face of a Texas Bigfoot.
He's a star.
And to think -- we knew him when he was just our little Goat-Man.
© Fort Worth Star-Telegram
30 years ago, a strange whatever terrorized Lake Worth
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
By Paul Bourgeois, July 1999
It was the summer of 1969. Some remember it as the summer of the miracle Mets, Woodstock and the astronauts' first landing on the moon. But in Fort Worth, for many it will forever be the summer of the Lake Worth Monster.
Exactly 30 years ago this week, he/she/it first reared its not-so-pretty goatlike head and captured the imagination of thousands. Monster sightings lasted a week, but the myth, lore and legend continue to this day.
Some said it was a really big bobcat. Others said it was an ape that had been horribly burned in a circus fire. Others said it was the infamous "mud man" who prowled the area for years and deserves his own story. It all happened on Greer Island, a part of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge.
Reporter Jim Marrs broke the story in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on July 10. It ran on Page 2 with the headline "Fishy Man-Goat Terrifies Couples Parked at Lake Worth." It made the front page the next day.
"Police, Residents Observe, But Can't Identify Monster," the headline read.
There were more headlines throughout the week: "Witnesses Watch Monster Cavort," "Loch Worth Monster Reportedly Furry, Scaly and "Ghosts Seen on Greer Island."
The monster was described as having a short humanoid body with a long neck. It had the head of a goat or a dog and a horn in the middle of its head. Some said it was a satyr. "Witnesses today said the thing threw an automobile tire and wheel 500 feet," Marrs reported July 11.
In her book "The Lake Worth Monster," author Sallie Ann Clarke recalls a personal close encounter.
"It was not bobcat nor was it a sheep skin. It wasn't a person dressed in a Halloween costume. It was really the terrorizing monster. It stood on its hind feet and ran like a man. It had white hair over most of its body and scales, too. It was a goat-fish-man. I'm sure it stood about six feet and nine inches tall and was undressed (It didn't have any clothes on). It looked like it weighed 250 or 260 pounds," she wrote. "It was the most pathetic sound I have ever heard. It went Grrrrrr, Brrr, Yeeeepe, Yuuuuuuuuuuu, and sounded almost as if it would cry any minute from the great pain it was in."
One boy opined that it was from space. Clarke quoted the boy as saying that the monster "said he was chased down here from the moon by the astronauts, and as he fell through space it became so hot until he caught fire; but it landed in the lake and was saved. Now it is wandering around as puzzled about us as we are about it." It seemed as reasonable as any theory, although it was to be 10 more days before the astronauts would land on the moon. Clarke cited reports of sheep being horribly mangled.
"They had their necks and heads crushed. Their chins were laying in the middle of their backs. It looked like something had just ripped them apart," she wrote.
Nature Center Director Wayne Clark said he's not aware of any recent sightings, but questions about it do arise regularly. "We still have little kids on occasion who say they heard about the Lake Worth Monster or ask, 'Is there a goat man out here?'" he said last week. "I remember when all that was going on. There were a number of old parking lots, and the kids used to throw keg parties. They were a pretty well-behaved group but they would party.
"Then supposedly some creature showed up and started yelling and threw tires like Frisbees. From what I heard, it was a total panic with everybody running into each other and burning rubber to get out of there."
Marrs said in a recent interview that stories floating around the police department said some teenage pranksters at Brewer High School in White Settlement were behind the monster. "They had found an old gorilla suit and wore a clear plastic mask that gave the impression of glowing," he said.
Marrs said it was rumored that the kids had promised to retire their monster to avoid prosecution. "So nothing official ever came of it, and that leaves the Lake Worth Monster free to keep roaming through legend," Marrs said.
Still there was no explanation for the mangled sheep or how a tire could be tossed 500 feet like a Frisbee. Back at the Nature Center, Wayne Clark said there is no proof that the monster doesn't exist. "And we have heard strange noises," he said. Sallie Ann Clarke, at the close of her book, urges caution.
"Is he still running loose? I can assure you if you want to see it or hear about it, take a long quiet ride out around Lake Worth some dark quiet night," she wrote. "Don't go alone. It is too scary out there."
© The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
My son Billy when he was two.
Mom (before she's had her coffee)
My brother (he's so conceited)
My step dad (looking for his glasses)
Uncle Abner (mountain climbing in Tibet)
My sister and her prom date (1968)
A hot chick that I used to date .
My BFF (Best Friend Forever) Chaka
Cousin Chewbacca (campaigning for Richard Nixon in 1972)
Uncle Lon (after he's been out drinking all night)
The Lake Worth Monster
By Mark Chorvinsky, October, 1992
When the six residents of Fort Worth, Texas, appeared at the police station they were clearly scared - so terrified, in fact, that the skeptical Fort Worth police had to take their weird tale seriously. John Reichart, his wife, and two other couples were parked at Lake Worth around midnight when a bizarre creature jumped from a tree onto their car. The thing - covered with both fur and scales and described as part man and part goat, would terrorize Lake Worth for months in the summer of 1969 and would be seen by over a hundred witnesses. This creature was probably sighted by more people in a short period than any other monster in American history.
The police had heard reports of some strange entity lurking around near Greer Island on Lake Worth for two months, but they wrote off the accounts as "pranks." The Reichart incident was different from the previous sightings in several ways, perhaps the most important distinction being that the thing tried to grab Reichart's wife. Reichart sped off before the creature got his prey.
The Fort Worth police dispatched four units to the site of the encounter, joined by those who sighted the creature. At the scene of the attack, there was no monster to be found. There was, however, an 18-inch long scratch running down the side of Reichart's car, ostensibly made by the thing's claws.
Those People Were Really Scared
The police investigated the case seriously - "because those people were really scared," according to patrolman James S. McGee. The police concluded tentatively that someone was either dressed in a monster or ape costume or threw a dummy or animal hide of some sort on the car. If it was a prank, however, it was a dangerous one indeed - people are liable to shoot at monsters that grab for their wives.
This scary incident was recounted in the Fort Worth Star Telegram of July 10, 1969, headlined "Fishy Man-goat Terrifies Couples Parked at Lake Worth," and it set off a chain reaction of fear and excitement in the area.
The next day, July 11, the monster struck again. The reports started to come in after midnight. Jack Harris of Fort Worth saw the creature cross the road going through the area around the Lake Worth Nature Center, and he tried to photograph the monster, but his flash failed. He then took a second hasty picture. The monster ran up and down a bluff as other cars arrived - eventually 30 or 40 people had gathered to watch the thing. The police were worried that someone would get hurt - after the first article appeared in the Fort Worth Star Telegram, people converged on the sighting area, many with guns.
When it seemed that people were ready to go after the monster, it grabbed a spare tire with a rim on it and threw it at the onlookers' cars. "He threw it more than 500 feet and it was coming so fast everybody took off. Everybody jumped back in their cars," according to Harris, including some of the sheriff's men who were as frightened as the rest of the crowd. The monster ran out of sight into the underbrush.
Harris told Jim Marrs of the Star Telegram that the creature walked like a man, but was big, whitish-gray and hairy. Witness estimates put the monster at seven feet in height and weighing perhaps 300 pounds. The headline to Marrs' article that day was "Police, Residents Observe But Can't Identify 'Monster,' " and upon its publication, the local monster fever escalated considerably.
A Pool Of Blood
According to one witness - Jack Harris of Fort Worth - the creature had a "pitiful cry - like something was hurting him. But it sure didn't sound human." Another witness, Ronny Armstrong, also of Fort Worth, backed his car into a tree while trying to escape the creature.
Over the following weeks the thing was seen several times running in an open grass field near Lake Worth. A group of five witnessed the monster breaking a big limb of a huge oak tree at the edge of Lake Worth. And, in a most bizarre incident, shots fired at the monster one night produced a large pool of blood with a trail of blood to the edge of the water, accompanied by some large tracks. These were not the last tracks to be found during the flap. One set of tracks, viewed by over 100 people, were approximately 16 inches long and 8 inches wide at the toes.
Ronnie Armstrong interviewed dozens of witnesses for two weeks after the initial sightings. His conclusions, "...whatever it is, it sure ain't human." He felt that it may have been a "big white ape."
Jim Stephens of Bluemound, Texas, claimed that the monster jumped on top of his car one night when Stephens and two of his friends were out hunting for the thing. Stephens rocked his car in an attempt to shake the monster off, but it held on until the car collided with a tree, after which the Lake Worth Monster hopped off and ran away.
Mr. and Mrs. James Bramlett of Fort Worth and Linda Gilliam of Palm Springs, California, tracked the beast for a week and found large tracks, dead sheep with broken necks, and other evidence of the creature. While they never sighted the monster itself, they heard its weird cry and smelled its horrendous odor.
Helmuth Naumer of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History went on record as saying that he thought that the thing was a bobcat. Evidently, someone had loosed a pet bobcat in Lake Worth Park some time back, according to naturalist Dick Pratt. Naumer reached his conclusion due to several factors: the bobcat is quite large, it is used to sitting on tree branches, and it had jumped on top of several cars. Park Ranger Harroll Rogers of Fort Worth, who patrolled the area during the 1969 monster flap, also thought that the thing could have been a bobcat. The bobcat hypothesis hardly explains the manlike hairy whitish thing that threw a tire 300-500 feet, however, even if it may have been responsible for some of the encounters."
The Book And The Photo
There were numerous sightings four months after the initial flurry of publicity. One local resident, Sallie Ann Clarke, was inspired to write a book entitled The Lake Worth Monster of Greer Island, Ft. Worth, Texas, which she self-published in 1969. Ms. Clarke spent months in the area of the sightings and no doubt collected many fascinating accounts of the monster. However, they are of little or no use to the serious researcher, for in the book author Clarke is honest about the fact that it is a work of "semi-fiction" and more recently (1988), in personal correspondence with my colleague Mark Opsasnick, she wrote that the book is "1/2 truth and 1/2 fiction." Only the captions to the photographs preceding the main body of the book are useful, as they include actual names of witnesses and accurately, albeit briefly, describe their experiences.
Sallie Ann Clarke wrote the book before her own four sightings of the creature, which she now believes to be real. Among other claims, she says that she saw the creature rip through a barbed wire fence. Her last encounter with the monster was in August, 1977.
In Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us (Seattle, WA: Hancock House, 1978, p. 186) Bigfoot-expert John Green writes that local dress shop owner Allen Plaster took an intriguing but fuzzy black and white photo that he claimed was of the upper half of the monster. (Photo in article used with permission of Sallie Ann Clarke.)
An Aquatic Ape-man With a Taste For Chicken?
Green also tells the story of Charles Buchanan, who claimed that a man-ape lifted him up while he was sleeping in his sleeping bag in the back of his pickup truck around 2 A.M. on November 7, 1969. In this tale, recounted also by Loren Coleman in Mysterious America (Boston, Faber & Faber, 1983, p. 162), Buchanan gave the monster a bag with some chicken in it, which it took in its mouth as it shambled to Lake Worth, and then swam to Greer Island.
According to John Green, newspaperman Jim Marrs, who wrote the original monster stories, said that some pranksters with a costume had been found by the police, and that these boys had jumped onto the Reichart's car, setting off the flap and the attendant hysteria that it generated. Green notes, however, that police explanations are not always correct, and that "there is certainly independent evidence of hairy giants" living in the northeastern part of Texas. Furthermore, there is no reason to think that Ms. Clarke is not telling the truth about her own sightings, and there is some doubt that boys in costume would repeatedly harass dozens of well-armed locals, who could happily dispatch them to hoaxer heaven (or hell) with little effort.
Some believe that the monster is still on the loose, roaming Greer Island and the environs, and if any of our readers have updated or additional information on the Lake Worth Monster, it would be a great service if you could contact this author at the address below.
Until next issue, Happy Halloween!
© Fate Magazine
Police, Residents Observe But Can't Identify Monster
Satyr-Day Outing Next?
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
By Jim Marrs, Friday, July 11 1969
It's been called the "Lake Worth Monster," a half-man, half-goat thing with fur and scales, a "manny-goat," and a satyr.
Police believe it is a prank. A naturalist believes it is a bobcat. Twenty or 30 residents don't know what it is, but do know it scared the bejabbers out of them.
* * *
THE "MONSTER" first made the headlines yesterday after a car-load of six residents reported a half-man, half-goat with fur and scales jumped their car at Lake Worth near Greer Island.
The Lake Worth monster was reported to have struck again early today, and police are now getting worried that someone is going to get hurt.
"I'm not worried about the monster so much as all those people wandering around out there with guns," said Sgt. A. J. Hudson, who investigated today's reported sighting.
* * *
POLICE SAID yesterday they believe the "thing" may be someone in an ape costume, or someone throwing an animal hide at cars, as a prank.
If so, he is an athletic someone. Witnesses today said the thing threw an automobile tire and wheel 500 feet. (Police said they had received reports before, but laughed them off.)
Witnesses Watch 'Monster' Cavort
TODAY'S REPORTS began coming in after midnight.
Soon after the incident, a local radio station broadcast the story and carloads of curiosity seekers descended on Lake Worth. One of these, Jack E. Harris of 5537 Terrace Trail, gave this account of the night:
"We were driving around trying to find it, when we heard it squalling. We heard it before we saw it."
* * *
"I SAW IT come across the road and I tried to take a picture of it but the flash didn't work."
"I took another picture but I don't know if I got anything because I was too busy rolling up my window."
"We watched him run up and down a bluff for a while and other cars arrived. There must have been 30 or 40 people watching him."
"Well, some of them thought they would get mean with the thing, but about that time, it got hold of a spare tire that had a rim in it and threw it at our cars."
* * *
"HE THREW it more than 500 feet and it was coming so fast that everyone took off. Everybody jumped back in their cars."
"Earlier there were some sheriffs deputies there asking us about it and one of them was sorta laughing like he didn't believe it."
"But then that thing howled and I think it stood his hair on end. He decided it wasn't so funny anymore."
"Those sheriff's men weren't any braver than we were - they ran to get in their car."
* * *
WITNESSES agreed that the thing was "big, hairy and white looking."
Harris said the thing "walks like a man but didn't look like a man."
"He was whitish-gray and hairy," he said, "and I might have been scared but he looked like he was 7 feet tall and must have weighed about 300 pounds."
Harris described the thing as emitting a "pitiful cry - like something was hurting him. But it sure didn't sound human," said Harris.
Fort Worth police aided in the search for the monster, but were unable to find anything.
* * *
"EVERYONE rushed out there to hunt the monster," said Hudson, and a lot of them said thay saw it looking in the dark."
"But if people keep going out there with guns, some poor kid is going to get shot," warned Hudson. "If they want protection, they should stay at home."
The "Monster" was first reported yesterday morning when six persons in a car were startled by something they described as being half-man, half-goat with fur and scales.
© The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Fishy Man-Goat Terrifies Couples Parked at Lake Worth
Police Suspect Pranksters
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
By Jim Marrs, Thursday, July 10 1969
Six terrified residents told police early today they were attacked by a thing they described as being half-man, half-goat and covered with fur and scales.
Four units of Fort Worth police and the residents searched in vain for the thing, which was reported seen at Lake Worth, near Greer Island.
The six residents were parked near the island.
* * *
"WE'VE HAD REPORTS about this thing for about two months,' a police dispatcher said this morning, "but we've always laughed them off as pranks."
This time, however, police apparently believe the six were frightened by someone or something.
Police said John Reichert of 920 S. Henderson told this story:
* * *
REICHART, ALONG WITH his wife and two other couples, was parked at Lake Worth about midnight when someone or something leaped from a nearby tree and landed on their car.
The thing was described as being covered with fur and scales and being "part man and part goat."
Reichart said the thing tried to grab his wife but he drove off before it could touch her.
* * *
RETURNING TO THE scene with police, Reichert pointed out where the attack took place, but no sign of the thing could be found.
Reichert showed officers an 18-inch scratch down the side of his car which he said the thing made with its claw-like hands.
"We made a serious investigation," said patrolman James S. McGee, "because these people were really scared."
* * *
HOWEVER, McGEE SAID the couples probably were the victims of pranksters, who either threw a dummy on the car or dressed someone in an ape costume.
"That's a dangerous way to pull a prank," added McGee. "Someone is liable to get themselves shot."
© The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
(A good photo of me!)
The Summer of 1969 was my worst. As a young goatman growing up in North Texas, I wanted to get to know my neighbors. You know, I just wanted to meet and greet, say "hi", and hang out. Unfortunately, the people living around Lake Worth were not open to someone as different as I. I was hunted, shot at, and generally disparaged in the newspapers.
Since that horrible July, I have kept a low profile. While I still live around Lake Worth, I stay away from the roads. When I see fishermen on the lake, I lie in the grass until they pass by. I spend most of my days hiking in the beautiful wild area around the lake and enjoying the wildlife and peacefulness. In the summer, I usually swim to the islands and hang out there.
I am writing this blog in hopes of creating a new beginning. Now that four decades have passed since that eventful summer, I hope that the people in the area are more open minded to me and my living here.
I want this blog to be a history of my presence and a forum where I can connect with those who are willing to accept a goatman into their neighborhood. I encourage you to review the numerous articles and stories about me. I also invite everyone to add comments to this blog. Ask me any questions you wish. I look forward to our getting to know one another.
The Lake Worth Monster
(aka The Lake Worth Goatman)