July 1999 - 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