January 20, 2018 



Urban Legends Investigated  By The Louisville Ghost Hunters Society:

The Legend of Pope Lick
By Jay Gravatte

If you were a teen growing up in any part of Jefferson County, on some weekend you might get together with some of your friends and sit around telling ghost stories, attempting to spook one another. Sooner or later someone may eventually mention the monster that has long been rumored to be seen standing atop a 100 foot high rail road trestle in the eastern part
of Louisville.....

For years, many people have reported seeing the creature that many now refer to as the Pope Lick Monster on the trestles over Pope Lick Creek. It is said to be half human and half Capra Aegagrus Hircus, in layman’s terms, goat. The encounter with it is so startling that anyone daring to brave the walk across the trestle would rather fall the 100 foot drop to the paved road below than to stay in its presence a second longer.

The stories and legends behind the Goatman origins are as varied as the sightings of the creature itself. It is said that the monster was the offspring of a farmer who had unnatural relations with his animals. Another legend states that the Goatman was a farmer who practiced Satanism and would sacrifice his goats for power, when he was close to death he swore to live again. He was then resurrected as a half-man, half-goat being, which is fated to walk the trestles.

The final legend seems to have the most realism and the most detail. Interestingly it combines the Goatman story, with another tale synonymous with the trestle, the "Ghost Train" that is also rumored to appear on the tracks. A sudden flurry of motion as a train passes overhead along the trestles rails, but yet makes no sound of approach or passage. In the late 1800's there were rumors of a wild animal roaming the Canadian wilderness abounding. The creature's presence caught the attention of a circus owner by the name of Silus Garner. He offered a substantial reward for the creatures capture. Having finally had someone track and capture the beast he began to exhibit the Goat monster in his freak show. From town to town they went, the monster being one of his star attractions. Until one fateful night while bound for Louisville, lightening struck the track derailing the train and killing all passengers aboard except for one....the Goatman.

This seems to be one of the most well known of all of the legends associated with Louisville and Jefferson County, as with any area that has it's fair share of scary tales. In 1984, a low budget movie featuring the Goatman story was produced and filmed on location near Pope Lick. It received mixed reviews. Younger people were ecstatic that one of their favorite urban legends had been brought to life, so to speak. Older adults were worried that interest in the movie would lead people to venture out onto the trestle and risk their lives in pursuit of nothing but a good scare….

This photo was taken at ground level near Pope Lick Road which runs underneath the trestle.

The trestle is still in use today, as you can see a train passing overhead.

Local police and other officials are constantly trying to keep teenagers and others from climbing the dangerous heights to the trestle and have fenced off certain portions from the general public to try and prevent future death and injury.

While the trestle may look relatively harmless to motorists on nearby Taylorsville Road in far eastern Jefferson County, the number of accidental deaths that have taken place at the location have been a concern of local law enforcement officials for over a generation.

The Pope Lick Trestle
Photo By Rhonda Jurgenson

The Legendary Pope Lick Road
Photo By Rhonda Jurgenson

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* The Louisville Ghost Hunters Society Investigations are not always public, we do confidential investigations of haunted residences which will not be reported on our website.

If you have a haunted house, or a unexplained phenomenon that you would like us to investigate - please do not hesitate to contact us, and rest assured that your investigation will remain strictly confidential (unless you wish to release our findings to the public).


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