Free enamel pin when you buy any two Atlas Obscura products. Shop now.

Louisville, Kentucky

Pope Lick Trestle Bridge

This railroad overpass is said to be home to a murderous goat-man whose very legend has led to very real deaths. 

Like its part-animal, part-human brethren such as the Jersey Devil and the Chupacabra, the Pope Lick Monster’s origins, real or otherwise are unknown, but the deaths which have occurred at the bridge are well documented, usually thanks to thrill-seekers looking for the beast.

The home of the Pope Lick Monster is said to be the trestle bridge on the Norfolk Southern Railway which passes over the Pope Lick Creek in Kentucky. Supposedly the monster has the body of a man and the lower torso of a goat or sheep. It is also said to have short horns protruding from its forehead. According to differing reports the goat-man either uses hypnosis or some sort of siren voice to lure people onto the train tracks where they are then run down by passing locomotives. In other stories, the goat-man drops down onto passing cars from within the trestles.

Of course these are all just legends. However the truth is that there have been a number of people who have scaled the eight-foot fence to meet their end on or under the bridge while “legend-tripping,” a pastime where amateur folklorists and monster hunters go in seek of their legends. Trains still rattle across the aging bridge and foolish trespassers have been known to be struck by the locomotives or fall off the bridge while climbing the trestles. Legend or no, the Pope Lick Monster may have claimed more lives than most myths.