Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Pope Lick Monster Hunt Turns Deadly

The various weird cryptids that show up in different parts of the country boggle the mind. It seems like just about everywhere, there are stories of bizarre creatures that hide out in remote places. Some of these creatures are said to be shy, and others are said to be malevolent, even deadly.

Kentucky's Pope Lick Monster is one of the few cryptids out there with what appears to be an actual body count. The monster is "part-man, part-goat, and part-sheep" and gets its name from the Pope Lick Trestle, a railroad trestle bridge under which it is supposed to live.

According to folklore, the monster uses some sort of paranormal power to lure its victims onto the trestle bridge, where they are then struck by oncoming trains. The bridge itself is shown in the image above, and as you can see it is very long, very high, and has no handrails or safety features of any kind.

You can probably see where I'm going with this. Last week a young woman was tragically killed when she and her boyfriend ventured out onto the bridge. When a train came, the boyfriend was able to survive by hanging off the side of the bridge, but the woman slipped and fell from the trestle.

"It’s just so sad - a very pretty young girl who had her life in front of her," deputy coroner Jack Arnold said. "It's just so preventable." In her purse, investigators found a work badge that indicated she had worked as a surgical assistant.

There were no signs the couple had been drinking or abusing drugs, but toxicology tests on the victim are pending, he said. Homicide detectives with the Louisville Metro Police Department are investigating, but on Sunday spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said, "There's nothing to indicate foul play."

The train engineer told officials his speed was 32 mph when he saw the couple, sounded the horn and tried to brake, Arnold said. Investigators will review the train's video footage, he said.

The victim and her boyfriend were in town for a paranormal investigation tour, and the boyfriend told police that the couple had gone out onto the bridge in search of the legendary monster. But they encountered a train instead.

The Pope Lick Trestle is so long that there's no way to get off the bridge once you hear a train coming, and there's nowhere on the bridge to stand as it goes by. Basically, all you can do is hang off the side and hope you don't slip - which I imagine is quite difficult, as I'm sure the train shakes the trestle quite hard as it passes.

This, I expect, is the origin of the myth. People are going to explore structures like this; it's only human nature. That makes tragedies like this one practically inevitable. And for those families who lose loved ones, maybe it's easier to have something to blame, even if that something is "part-man, part-goat, and part-sheep."

Technorati Digg This Stumble Stumble


Anonymous said...

I live within several miles of Pope Lick Park. A guy I went to high school with died trying to cross the trestle. That was 16+ years ago. He tried to hang off the side too, but was shook off. I'm not sure how long the legend of the goatman has been around, but my father said he heard about it growing up, so at least since the '60s.

Nerd said...

So, why don't they build a side rail or something?

Darth Darren said...

It's Manbearpig!!! Run for cover!!!

Scott Stenwick said...

According to the railroad, in order to survive a passing train by hanging off the side of the trestle you would have to hold on for five to seven minutes while the train passes, with the trestle shaking like crazy the whole time. Given that, it's actually kind of surprising that the guy in this story pulled it off.

The problem with adding a handrail or something is that there's just no space. The trestle is just wide enough for a train, so there isn't room to lean against a railing or something when one passes by. You'd just get squished. And the whole problem with the trestle is that it's just too long to run to the end when you see a train.

According to what research I could do, there are fences and warning signs all over the place telling people to stay off the trestle. But some folks try to cross it anyway.