Satanic Rituals at the Bridge: A look at the urban legends claiming that cultish activity has occurred at Texas’ famously haunted Old Alton Bridge, or Goatman’s Bridge.

Content note: This episode contains discussions of urban legends about animal abuse, as well as white supremacist hate groups.

Highlights include:
Some possible debunkings
A creepy abandoned house
Rumors of rituals in the woods
• A look at one of the Buzzfeed Unsolved claims

 

Episode Script for “I Seen the Devil” (Goatman’s Bridge Series)

DISCLAIMER: I’m providing this version of the script for accessibility purposes. It hasn’t been proofread, so please excuse typos. There are also some things that may differ between the final episode and this draft script. Please treat the episode audio as the final product. 

Intro for Satanic Rituals at the Bridge (Goatman’s Bridge Series)

    • Now, I alluded to this last time, but there have been stories of satanic rituals at the Goatman’s Bridge.
    • I don’t put a ton of stock in stories of satanic rituals at supposedly haunted sites. Especially when it comes to places in the Bible Belt. At least when I was growing up there, there was a certain population of people who made everything about Satan, somehow or another. But I found a few comments online talking about different groups doing rituals or meeting there. Some of those groups are pretty sinister (you know, like the KKK), and some seemed harmless. Just for the record: I give no credence to the stuff that ignorant people say about Satanists. I think it’s mostly made up stories to weaponize against people who are on the margins of society for one reason or another, and it has nothing to do with actual Satanists, who, to be clear, I have no problem with. So if you’ve come here to listen to fearmongering and ignorance about Satanism, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m here to explore and think about these urban legends and what they say about the larger story of the hauntings of the Goatman’s Bridge.
    • I’ve talked about the connection between stories about goatmen and Satan, so that’s another reason why it’d make sense for there to be satanic rumors about the bridge.  
    • I just want to walk through some of the legends I found online RE: rituals (satanic and otherwise), as well as rumors about Satanists and KKK members gathering there
    • Let’s set the stage with a quick overview of one person’s memory of the legend; this is from dfwurbanwildlife.com https://dfwurbanwildlife.com/2013/10/28/chris-jacksons-dfw-urban-wildlife/journal-the-legend-of-goatmans-bridge/ :
      • “I must have been around eleven or twelve years old when I first heard about Goatman’s Bridge. I was told vague and enigmatic stories about dense woods, a lonely dirt road running through a tunnel of trees, and an old haunted bridge. These dark tales were accompanied by rumors of satanic rituals, burning crosses, and the Klu Klux Klan that made the place sound mysterious, foreboding, and dangerous. ”
    • It sounds like there’s always been ambient stories about Satanic rituals at the bridge, especially because of the Satanic Panic that swept through the US in the 1980s and into the 90s. This is a huge topic that a lot of people have covered really well, so I’m not going to get super into that here. If you want to know more, maybe check out some of the episodes of the podcast You’re Wrong About that deal with the satanic panic, since they go pretty in depth about it.
    • Nowadays, I think that the biggest and most-repeated concrete claim of Satanic stuff happening at the bridge comes from the 2017 Buzzfeed Unsolved episode about the bridge. In the episode, they claimed that a local cop told them that nearby pet stores stopped selling cats in the area because they were being bought to be sacrified. One of the hosts told the Dallas Observer: “One local police offer says that pet stores around the area stopped selling cats due to the amount of sacrificed cats being found in these woods.”
    • Now, I think it’s worth noting that this type of urban legend exists elsewhere. There’s a the popular rumor about Satanists sacrificing cats on Halloween. For example, the Daily News, a tabloid here in New York published an article in 1999 called “Halloween’s no treat for coveted black cats”:
  • “”This is a time when blood rituals take place,” said Hedy Litke, director of animal placement at the ASPCA. “Black cats are often sacrificed.”
  • “Such is their popularity that many shelters in New York and around the country ban adoptions of black cats in the weeks and days preceding Oct. 31 to protect them from potentially grisly endings. “Black cats are in demand at this time of year,” said Sandra DeFeo of the Humane Society, which prohibits adoptions of black cats during most of October and the beginning of November. ”
  • “Unfortunately, Halloween has also been a time when some people acquire pets — particularly cats — to use as living decorations or for displays of fun and sport, only to discard or abandon them afterwards (as often happens with chicks and rabbits at Easter time). Accordingly, many animal shelters have taken steps in recent years to limit or eliminate the adoption of cats in the days leading up to Halloween by either deferring feline adoptions until after Halloween or by more carefully scrutinizing the prospective adopters.
  • One of the more widely-cited justifications for the implementation of more stringent adoption policies by animal shelters around Halloween is the claim that cats in general — and black cats in particular — are avidly sought by members of “satanic cults” who engage in the mutilation, torture, and killing of cats in celebrations associated or coincident with Halloween. That animal shelter policy has been influenced by a widespread belief in satanic cat-sacrificing rituals at Halloween is beyond dispute; the issue here is whether such activity is really as prevalent as the belief in it is.
  • First of all, depending upon which source you believe, the alleged practice of sacrificing black cats began with “Druid priests,” “pagans,” or the (Christian) “Church” . . . 
  • When questioned about their October policies, most animal shelter and humane society representatives affirm their belief that steps are necessary to prevent cats from becoming sacrificial Halloween victims but offer no tangible evidence that the phenomenon is real beyond their belief in it . . . 
  • Although no law enforcement agency or animal protection group we contacted could provide statistics about Halloween-related animal killings or abuse, the consensus is that although incidents of animal abuse may rise slightly around Halloween, it’s a year-around problem, and it has far more to do with poorly-behaved kids than with organized “satanic cults””
    • The snopes piece also has snippets from some pretty ridiculous articles, like for example there’s one that claims that 12-14 cases of cat torture or mutilation happened in an area, 5 of which were killed by humans, who they thought were neighborhood teens. To continue from snopes:
      • Note that the article cited above refers to “12 to 14 cat torture and mutilation cases” but avers that only five of the cats were confirmed to have been killed by “humans.” If the other seven to nine cases had not been linked to human activity, then why were they reported as incidents of “torture and mutilation”? The fact is that cats are frequently killed by larger animals such as coyotes and through a variety of accidental means, but both types of deaths (and unexplained disappearances) are often mistakenly chalked up to the work of “satanic cults” and described as cases of “torture and mutilation” when the deaths occur around Halloween.
    • Also, I just gotta say, I wrote the part in my script about the cats probably being killed by coyotes before reading this Snopes article
    • So, again, the Snopes article is basically like, this is an urban legend, there’s no evidence, when it does seem to happen, it’s bored teenagers and nothing satanic. It does point out that it’s prob a good idea for shelters to be cautious around Halloween anyway, because people might decide that they want to temporarily adopt a black cat for decorative purposes, but that’s very different from ritual sacrifice.
    • https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/cat-o-nine-tales/ 
  • Alright, so that’s the biggest claim about animal sacrifices either debunked or complicated, depending on your POV. What other rumors are going around online about the bridge and cults?
  • Olls Youtube comment
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEZfGlyLQnA
    • 4 months ago
    • I go to school here and the amount of people holding ceremonies at this place is creeeeeepy 🙁 my local friend says that while he doubts that this place was originally cursed, the amount of bad energy here by now is insane.
  • This is just an odd one:
    • Ranboo But Not Youtube comment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEZfGlyLQnA 5 months ago
    • I live in texas and been to the goat mans bridge(not that far from it) it’s not that scary but when I went on a trail with a few of my friends it stated getting scary and the sun was getting real low so we had to  head back(just to mention we had no flash lights or food) when we were heading back on the same trail there was glow sticks everywhere on the ground and what looked like a huge pile of grass and weeds were laid flat. I have no idea what happens right there but that wasn’t there when we came down the path.
  • This youtube commenter alludes to the idea that animal sacrifice happens near the bridge. Supposedly it’s so prevalent that the sales of certain animals have been prohibited nearby. While I’ve heard this repeated, I haven’t found anything corroborating it. I also can’t find anything supporting this claim of certain animals avoiding the area.
    • Dallas 1-1 Youtube comment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEZfGlyLQnA 9 months ago (edited)
    • I used to live by there. And every time passing by night I would get a dark feeling angry or easily irritated.  Almost like a large spot of negative energy.   There is a reason no pet stores in a 10 mile radius sell cats or goats. In the area do to  people sacrificing them. Dear and birds also avoid the area .”
  • Nick H Google reviews
    • https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=old%20alton%20bridge#lrd=0x864dccb9ff3e525b:0x427c899463ab2996,1 
    • 3 years ago
    • You need to be very careful coming to this bridge, not only is it very haunted, but the wilderness around can be very dangerous as well. Numerous sacrifices have been made on the bridge, attempts to reach the spirits and demons with Ouija boards have been made. Not only do you have the Goatman to worry about but other restless spirits as well. We have EVP documentation of growls, blood curdling screams, and voices. My brother ended up with three scratch marks down his back when he knocked twice on the bridge .Demons are very real and you don’t need to mess with them! Just warning you now. This place is evil
  • Yee-ol-boy Reddit
  • This story seems to allude to rituals occurring:
    • alexalee unexplained-mysteries.com https://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/topic/60089-goatmans-bridge-denton-tx-with-pics/ 2010
    • “i recently visited the goatmans bridge in denton texas, my friend and i went around dusk and just decided to go in with an open mind and explore a little bit. we went to the bridge and noticed huge burn marks on it in a complete perfect circle as well as red paint on the bridge, which we thought was odd. we continued over the bridge to the other side where we wandered down the path for a bit, not noticing anything we walked back towards the bridge and our car. we noticed a few marks on the ground that didnt seem to be there before but brushed them off as not being anything of importance just something we didnt see previously. once back to the car we were getting ready to leave when i noticed odd cuts all over my arms and some on my side as well as a few on my legs that had not been there before, i did not touch any shrubs or trees so it was odd. within the next day these cuts turned into larger gashes with added rashes and spots around them. has anyone experienced anything like this with any sites before? i know for a fact that i did not brush up against anything and did not have these cuts before going to the site
  • I wasn’t sure how to categorize this story, but I figured it was worth sharing because it includes a dead animal:
    • Weezeeba unexplained-mysteries.com https://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/topic/60089-goatmans-bridge-denton-tx-with-pics/ 2010 “A few friends and I went there just last night. One other person and I heard some odd noises under the bridge but we figured it was just fish or frogs. The other two, on our way back to the car, felt zaps on their backs while going under the bar to the lot. In the exact same places. We heard a zap so we either have it that some dip****z were trowing poppers or since it was a metal bar it was electricity and the crossing of the bridge a few times caused it. The strangest and most eerie thing though was driving back we saw a fresh kill laying in the road. Not roadkill, but the ribs were exposed and blood was still pooling around it. My friend was not wearing her glasses and freaked out and thought it was a goat head. 😛 We are going to go back a few more times with my cameras. We want to find a thermocam. And we plan on scaring some more friends pretty badly. XD

 

Alright, so those were claims about Satanists and the Old Alton Bridge. I’ve already talked extensively about the KKK’s history in North Texas in this series, most comprehensively in the episode “This Way to the Goatman,” so if you want to know more about that, listen to that episode.

  • So, let’s talk about KKK activity in the area nowadays just to give these claims some context:
  • Let’s get into some of the stories that people had:
  • James B. youtube comment
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIrnzzTmP0s 8 years ago
    • Still remember going out there in the 80’s. Only one time did I see anything weird, and that was a KKK rally. Long time ago. Interesting thing at night the water produces fog around the bridge and helps the story. Fun growing up in the area.
  • There’s a lot going on in this next comment, including urban legends about both Satanists and KKK members. 
    • Mattzig unexplained-mysteries.com https://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/topic/60089-goatmans-bridge-denton-tx-with-pics/ 2006
    • “””me and my friends went up there couple nights ago, we live in lewisville… we went up to the bridge… and what we hard was there is supposedly an old abbandonded church if you follow the trail off the bridge… where satanists and kkk members sacrifice sh** and what not
    • wierd crap went on…
    • we got there and like… we went on the bridge and we heard drums, is the best way i can describe it, something hitting something else keeping a constant beat. my friend took pics, and when he did the drums stopped… then we heard the sound of like a saw cutting through something. my friends batteries died and he put new batteries in but they died almost instantly. my friend had gone there the night before and killed a copperhead with a crowbar. we went there and couldnt find it. also, we met a couple ppl and they took us to an abandoned house and its all kinda collapsed and crap but it was still pretty interesting. my friend and his cousin also were on the bridge the night before and they heard a loud thump and saw some kind of hairy thing crawling across one side of the bridge to the other… my friend got pics of it but it was on a cell fone and it was soo dark you can hardly see it… we are going back this weekend.”””
  • locobolio unexplained-mysteries.com https://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/topic/60089-goatmans-bridge-denton-tx-with-pics/ 2007
    • “local texan here, have been out to goatmans bridge several times in my life. to back up some of what i have read in the postings, as we have walked some of the trails out there, we have heard noises…sounds like something was watching/following close by. this is easily explained by….’its out in the country’ you hear lots of things out there.
    • I do have a question regarding some of chrisgeo’s pics. on the one about the lights, can you provide a little more info. the stories about this place not only include a place of satan worship, but also a history of klan meetings. one of the pictures looks like what i would guess a meeting like that might look like from far off(thanks to the movie bad boys 2) just a thought. a couple of things also from my experiences out there also, on certain instances while walking in the woods again, we also heard sounds of heavy breathing as we walked….not just in one spot, but almost moving with us….(yes we might have been breathing a little hard, but this was not us!!) anyone else experience this?

 

Sources consulted RE: Satanic Rituals at the Bridge (Goatman’s Bridge Series)

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