Call it urban myth or a malevolent elemental spirit, the Goatman demon that is said to haunt the railroad trestle over the Pope Lick Creek has said to lure many victims throughout the years; and that is the one real fact about this story, which is the amount of people that have met their death at this spot.
The Pope Lick monster is supposed to live beneath the bridge that dates back to the 1800s. He is described as an Island-of-Dr-Moreau-type of hybrid creature between a man, a ram and a goat.
The creature is said to use a form of hypnosis, or in a more a sinister fashion, a siren call mimicking a voice, for example a baby crying to lure the unwary to a horrific death, either by being run over by a locomotive, or jumping which is a hundred-foot-fall to the rocky ground beneath. In some versions he carries a bloody axe just to make sure you don't think you can get out of this alive.
The origins of the goat-demon is as varied as it's way to bring you to your doom. In one version he was a circus freak, part of a traveling 19th-century show, who threatened revenge for mistreatment and that he escaped after a train derailed on the trestle after being struck by lightening.
The other story told by the locals, is that he is a farmer who got the short end of a deal with the devil, where he sacrificed goats and sheep to Satan in exchange for eternal life and power over others.
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.
The last victim of the Pope Lick Monster legend was April 2016. By the time the young couple spotted the locomotive, bearing down the railroad trestle at over 30 miles an hour, they had no choice.
Facing an 8-story drop on either side, with no way to outrun the train to the trestle’s end, the pair’s only hope was to cling to the sides of the tracks. The engineer later told officials, that he blared his horn and tried to slow down. Though the man on the tracks managed to make the split-second dive to the edge, the train was traveling too fast for his companion — there simply wasn’t enough time.
The train fatally struck Roquel Bain, a 26-year-old from Dayton, Ohio. She fell, some 100 feet to the ground.
Bain and her boyfriend, had traveled to Kentucky for an innocent bit of thrill-seeking — a tour of Waverly Hills Sanatorium, a former tuberculosis clinic turned haunted house. While in Louisville, they caught wind of another occult story, one which they decided to investigate in the twilight hours before their tour: the Pope Lick Monster.
Source - Atlas Obscura Washington Post
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by Marlene Pardo Pellicer