Arts & Culture News

Denton Urban Legend Put to the Test on Buzzfeed Web Series

A web series with more than 200 million viewers has turned its attention to Denton. Buzzfeed Unsolved explores true crime and supernatural stories, and the most recent episode of the show centers on the Old Alton Bridge, better known to locals as "The Goatman's Bridge."

The Old Alton Bridge made our 2015 list of "10 Stops to Make on a Creepy Tour of Dallas." According to Buzzfeed's video, it was built in 1884 to connect Denton to the town of Alton, which at that time had a population of one. Alton became the legal center of Denton County, but that later moved to Denton, and Alton ceased to exist.

Today, the Old Alton Bridge is a run-down pedestrian bridge surrounded by woods and superstition. Legend has it that both the bridge and the woods around it are controlled by a half-man, half-goat figure called Goatman.

In the Buzzfeed Unsolved episode, hosts Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej attempt to call the Goatman out by knocking on the bridge three times, insulting him, playing with a Ouija board on the bridge and using equipment that detects paranormal activity.

Bergara, the true believer of the two, says he will only do one demonic investigation per season of the series, and they chose the Old Alton Bridge for season three.

"I'm fucking nervous, man," he says. "I feel like I'm going to vomit."

One theory is that Goatman is the spirit of a goat farmer who was lynched by the Ku Klux Klan near the Old Alton Bridge. Another story is that satanists performed rituals on the bridge, opening a gateway to another realm. 

The most interesting new twist in the Buzzfeed Unsolved video, released last Friday, is that a police officer apparently told Bergara and Madej that the satanists were sacrificing cats.

"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," Bergara says.

The first reports of supernatural encounters on the bridge were in 1938, and many are recounted in the episode. Some people have claimed to see the figure of Goatman, with glowing eyes and horns. Others have heard a voice telling them to get off the bridge or have been struck with feelings of violence while visiting the site.

But the spookiest reports are those claiming people have disappeared at or near Old Alton Bridge.

"One person said that after he and his friend heard the voice, he ran off the bridge while his friend stayed," Bergara says. "He then reportedly watched his friend get dragged toward the railing of the bridge and flipped into the water below."

Bergara and Madej heard some creepy noises during their visit, but their experience — which has been viewed more than 2.5 million times at the time of writing — doesn't have us convinced the Old Alton Bridge is anything to be afraid of. If you want to see for yourself, you can always visit the Dark Path Haunted House, which takes place on the site, next Halloween.
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Caroline Pritchard studied English at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and in 2012 returned to her hometown of Dallas, where she spends her free time seeking out new places to roller skate and play pinball.
Contact: Caroline North