Thursday, September 3, 2009

Did Witchcraft Spawn Zimbabwe Goatman?

As a few of you know several years ago I traveled to Prince George's County, Maryland, and shot some preliminary footage for a documentary film on the Goatman, a particularly amusing urban legend that sprang up around an agricultural research facility near the town of Beltsville. Supposedly, a scientist working there was somehow partially transformed into a goat, became insane as a result of his transformation, and still roams the countryside with a fire axe looking for courting couples. While there are no reports of any people killed by the Goatman, he is said to be responsible for the deaths of a number of pets over the years whose bodies were coincidentally found near railroads or highways looking more like the victims of speeding cars and trains than an inhuman monster whose very existence defies the laws of science.

Now a report from Zimbabwe suggests that the African nation may have its own infant Goatman. According to the story, a goat in the Lower Gweru region apparently gave birth to a human-like creature. Scientists denounced the claim as impossible, as no goat-human hybrid has ever been witnessed by a credible researcher.

In an interview with Chronicle yesterday, Midlands Provincial Veterinary Officer, Dr Thomas Sibanda, said it was scientifically impossible for a man to impregnate any animal.

“As far as I know it is not scientifically possible for a man to impregnate a beast unless of course it’s a miracle. A sheep and a goat can mate but they will never produce any product out of it,” he said.

Dr Sibanda said it was unfortunate that veterinary officers did not manage to travel to Lower Gweru to witness the strange “goat”.

Sibanda went on to suggest that creature may have been a goat born with some sort of deformity that altered its appearance rather than a half-human monster.

“It is common that an animal can be born with the hydrocephalus condition, a condition that causes an animal to have an abnormally big head full of water. This condition can cause the normal positions of the chin, nose and ears to shift,” said Dr Sibanda.

“We could have confirmed that the creature was a goat if we had seen it since we are experts in animals. To confirm whether it was a human thing you need medical doctors.”

Local residents, however, believe that the strange creature may be the result of witchcraft.

“We have heard stories of snakes with human heads, cows or donkeys that have given birth to goats or chickens. All such things are products of witchcraft,” said Mr Louis Nyathi of Mambo.

An inyanga who refused to be named said the strange goat could either be a product of a man and a goat or a result of witchcraft.

“There is a certain muti that only works when one is instructed to sleep with an animal or even your daughter. We do not know exactly the circumstances surrounding this issue but anything is possible.

Whatever the creature is, more light could be shed on the situation by allowing medical personel to examine it. So far this has not occurred, and no scientist has even laid eyes upon the supposed Goatman. It remains only a story told from one person to another, only a few of whom actually claim to have seen the bizarre beast. Science demands hard evidence, preferably a DNA test to settle the issue once and for all.

Perhaps like the Goatman of Prince George's County this one will survive in the years to come as a legend rooted in oral tradition with no clear basis in fact. First, though, the infant creature will have grow big enough to haul around that fire axe.

Technorati Digg This Stumble Stumble

No comments: