Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 28th, 2006
Want to talk about a weird creature for Halloween? How about the really bizarre ones – the Goatmen, Hoofed Horrors, and other strange beasties that seem to have their legs on backwards and appear to have rigid feet? Is there another form of "Bigfoot" out there? One hominologist appears to think so, and a filmmaker has passed along new "old" stories for me, for us to ponder.
Goatmen stories have been heard about in cryptid circles from such high profile locations as Maryland-Virginia, near Washington D. C. And, no, people weren’t talking about the politicians. Thirty years ago, I was aware of reports from near Lincoln, Nebraska.
A year ago today, I was on a radio station out of Bangor, Maine, and the hosts were discussing stories they had been told by their parents of a "hoofed horror" from the woods up in the County. But tales sometimes are merely foggy remembrances of clouded memories of attempts to keep kids in line, and only vaguely are based in reality, of course.
Nevertheless, I was surprised by Mark A. Hall’s then recent (2005) attempt to categorize these sightings in a way that might be better understood. A hard pill to swallow perhaps, I thought, but at least worthy of being open-minded and reading about them. I’m not denying there’s a body of these reports, now what do we do about them?
You can find a definition for "Satyrs" in the sense of rethinking that Mark A. Hall is doing, at his Glossary of Living Fossils.
"Satyrs – A form of ape related to the Yetis. Their extraordinary physical capabilities have caused them to be called ‘goat-men’ out of a mistaken perception of their mode of locomotion….See ‘The Satyrs in Our Midst’ in Wonders for September 2005."
Right before I went to the Texas conference, I received my copy of Volume 9, No. 3 of Wonders, and read and re-read his Satyrs article. Hall has nicely pulled together all the scattered reports in one place, and I figured, okay, let me just, well, "wonder" about these for a few days. I hardly got the chance.
Next thing I know, I was at the Texas conference, being interviewed by a red-headed young man named Todd Partain with a XL-1 video camera. He was in the midst of shooting his documentary, "Eyes In The Dark," about the eye glow experiences of field researchers, his own childhood experiences, and the veil of isolation and ridicule society imposes on cryptozoology. Sounded like a good project, so I did the interview, signed his release, and we began to say good-bye, as I began to move on to another conference activity. But Todd stopped me in my tracks.
Off camera, post-interview and casually, Todd froze me with a simple question…"Have you ever heard of people seeing a Satyr?" I thought, now that’s an interesting cryptid name to use with me right now, considering what I had just re-read on the plane. Yes, I said, I’d heard about something like that, what did he mean, I asked him. He then briefly told me about a "thing" he’d heard about from Louisiana, his home state. Todd wasn’t aware of Mark’s article, and sent me the details after I returned home. Needless to say, I’ve done some more wondering about this whole subject.
So, for Halloween 2005, Todd Partain gave me permission to share his "Satyr" tales, maybe even sightings, with you. Here it is again:
"The Plain Dealing Devil"
In 1993, some friends and I were sitting around swapping scary stories when a friend’s sister hesitatingly told us about a small imp or satyr type creature she encountered at a trailer park near Plain Dealing, Louisiana.
She related that she was outside when she heard a voice calling her name. Out of the darkness a pair of red eyes stared and moved closer until a small black hairy devil creature appeared and said, "I’ll follow you forever" then disappeared back into the forest. Later, a woman that lived in a nearby trailer home with whom she was friendly told her she was driving into the trailer home park one night and saw a small black satyr type creature dancing on top of a fencepost. I have to admit that at the time I wanted to write that one off as being too far out there. But it wouldn’t be the last time…
In 1999, I was working on the side as a projectionist in an Imax theatre and while the movies played, the staff gathered in the booth, one day the scary stories started. A young lady with no apparent connection to the aforementioned young woman intimated that her brother had been home alone in Shreveport and had stepped out back to smoke a cigarette next to the family swimming pool. He heard something call his name, and at first suspected some local children were hiding in the bushes near the fence after sneaking in to trespass in the pool. Then he caught sight of a "hairy little man with horns" and retrieved a .22 caliber pistol from inside the house he tried firing at the creature a couple of times but it managed to evade him and laughed the whole time. It then leapt to the top of the fence, turned it’s head and smiled at him – revealing sharp teeth. The creature then bolted over the fence and apparently ran off into the woods.
I’ve since lost touch with both of these young women, the first actually told her story on tape reluctantly by my urging in 1993 but that tape [has been misplaced through a friend]. I’ve seen her since then and she flatly refuses to be interviewed and won’ t discuss it for fear of ridicule, "It was just too weird, I want to forget about it!"
The second individual saw "The Blair Witch Project" and became convinced that she would make a similar movie about the devil. I don’t think it ever happened.
Tales of Satyrs for Halloween, certainly. Folklore for the future, maybe. Different than Hall’s Satyrs, perhaps. Food for thought for today, yes. It’s like talking about a faraway carol at Christmas, I suppose, and merely, for now, another wonder for Halloween.