Denton’s top haunts: Goatman’s Bridge and UNT

Posted: August 29, 2011 in Denton Ghost Stories

Old Alton Goatman’s Bridge

Denton has numerous ghosts, but none are as famous as the ghoul of the Old Alton Bridge, built in 1884 to connect Alton (the county seat prior to Denton) and Lewisville near what is now Argyle. Well-known by locals as “Goatman’s Bridge,” this oldest Denton legend has it that a turn-of-the-century goat farmer named Oscar Washburn lived with his family near the bridge and was an honest Black entrepreneur to his neighbors. After he posted a sign “This way to the Goatman” on the popular passageway, outraged Ku Klux Klansmen dragged him from his homestead and hanged him by throwing him from the bridge BUT were shocked to find only an empty noose dangling below. The panicked Night Riders brutally murdered his family by burning their shanty and rumors of devil worship soon circulated. However, while some versions date events around August of 1938, there are older accounts that date the origins even earlier to a late 1800s Argyle Goatman named Jack Kendall, the work of drunken cowboys during the pre-bridge 1860s “Texas Terror” lynchings, or perhaps a 1895 Denton lynching that preceded the Quakertown eviction. Regardless of the true origin date, mysterious apparitions and unexplained disappearances have plagued the bridge area for generations. Denton locals still tell the story of this half man, half beast wraith to their children and follow it with a warning: those who cross the bridge and thrice rap on its steel trusses, or any who turn off their lights and honk 3 times in summons, will be visited by the ghostly Goatman. Particularly vulnerable, the old-timers say, are the unsuspecting descendants of Ku Klux Klan whom the vengeance-seeking Goatman ravenously preys upon and spirits away. Or is this fearsome horned creature with glowing red eyes a Satanic stalker of wayward women preceded by an overwhelming stench of death? Eyewitness accounts also tell of a ghostly woman, thought to be the Goatman’s murdered wife, roaming the woods searching for her slain children but eagerly claiming any youth she encounters. This haunted location and its eerie experiences have been featured in numerous books, paranormal investigations, and even TV programs such as “Unexplained Mysteries.”

Universities are often sites of hauntings, and the University of North Texas in Denton is no exception. UNT’s Bruce Hall is purported to be haunted by at least three different spirits: a ghost named “Wanda” who frequents the fourth floor and attic, the mischievous “elevator-surfer,” and the basement‘s “Boiler Room Bill.” The Student Union is also rumored to be home to a ghost nicknamed “Brandy” who turns lights or office equipment on and off, locks doors, and disturbs papers on desks. Maple Hall has its own spirit called “Brenda” roaming an outside alleyway, while the Health Center has reports of a forlorn shirtless guy on occasion and the Crumley Hall Screamer continues to spook students.

Details for these stories will be revealed on the DENTON HAUNTS & GHOST TOUR!

Bruce Hall Boiler Room

Comments
  1. Naz says:

    I wrote an article for the NT Daily a few years back about the ghosts of Denton’s square. You should ask the Antique Mini Mall people (as well as the neighboring stores) about the poltergeist “Charlie.” Pretty creepy stuff.

  2. st says:

    Thanks for the leads! I have been unable to turn up anything in the NT Daily on the ghosts of Denton Square? Please e-mail me with an approximate date of publication?

  3. Cayla says:

    Hi there! I’m the one who coordinated the TWU Ghost Tours this year. If you’d like I can let you in on our history. Email me… Thanks!

  4. Lance Oliver says:

    Greetings! Some of us with the Denton Area Paranormal Society have investigated Goatman’s Bridge off and on for years. There definitely are some strange goings on there that sometime are hard to explain. Some fairly interesting photos have been taken there and may be seen on the DAPS site – http://www.dapsghost.com We also are more than happy to discuss that and other places in the area.. Happy Haunts! Lance & Mary 940-591-1494

  5. [...] family near Denton, Texas were killed by the Klan in August of 1938. (Of course, some set the date even earlier, which does suggest a certain lack of historical evidence.) From there you get the usual hauntings, [...]

  6. Angela says:

    I need alumni from the University of North Texas who have seen the infamous “Wanda” in Bruce Hall. I am working with Syfy on their new show “School Spirits.” Please email me immediately if you can help: angelasnellen@gmail.com

  7. Tyler Looney says:

    I used to work nights at UNT and I can tell you it was not an enjoyable experience. In fact the word terror comes to mind. When I first started I cleaned the Murchison building by ihop and McDonald’s. I never stated to my supervisor it was why I wanted to be moved but I finally begged to be put in another building because I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. I know there were old houses there before they built the building. I will gladly share my experience if you’d be interested in having it.

  8. ,ary says:

    @Hi there! I’m the one who coordinated the TWU Ghost Tours this year. If you’d like I can let you in on our history. Email me… Thanks

    Fill me in I am interested.

  9. [...] far less well-known today as the Old Alton Bridge’s “GoatMan,” Denton has it’s own ghoul haunting the West Denton bridges of Bonnie Brae known as the [...]

  10. Doc T says:

    The Old Alton Bridge gets new recognitions this year! Read the DRC story!

  11. T says:

    I keep seeing all these posts about Bruce hall but no one mentions The Murchison Performance building. As a former custodian who worked nights at UNT I can tell you whatever has been experienced in Bruce Hall isnt even on the same page as what is in The Murchison.

    • Doc T says:

      I’ve had another commentator mention this spot (maybe you?) but haven’t had any specific tales and stories? Shoot me a brief rundown at dentonhaunts at the Gmail so I can start canvassing archives? Thanks for the tip.

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