Although 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 “PigMan”. The earliest recorded accounts of the PigMan are from the Rockin’ 50s, an era of hot rods and leather-jacket Greasers memorialized in Happy Days or American Graffiti, when young high school flames would return from the secluded make-out spots in West Denton’s farming country with terrified stories of a grunting, rock-throwing, grotesquely deformed Pig Man. Denton’s newspaper relayed a warning from police to teens and their parents to avoid these spots after numerous reports of vandalism to parked cars and parking couples, but word-of-mouth stories circulated about the malevolently grotesque PigMan that terrified young lovers and unwary travelers who ventured into these rural regions known as “Hog Valley.” Teens breathlessly told of a grunting figure who scurried in the shadows of the creekbed and pelted parked cars with stones, and others told of a man-like creature with glowing red eyes who traveled the roadside with an aggressive pack of grunting wild hogs. The most obvious explanations are that these are pranks played on skittish classmates, or imaginative stories used by clever parents themselves to deter the amorous activities of teens freed by automobiles to find remote spots for discrete experimentation. The stories themselves, however, are revealing for other reasons.
Two versions exist about the origins for the PigMan of Bonnie Brae bridge, one rather traditional and the other far more ominous. The first origin tells of a drifter who was attacked by wild boar as he attempted a shortcut across a farmer’s land. Similar to Werewolf folklore, the bites of cursed or rabid boar then transformed the hapless wanderer into a mad half-man, half-pig creature doomed to roam the creekbeds of Hog Valley, ravenously searching for easy prey like unsuspecting paramours parking on the rural roads outside of town.
The second version instead relates an incident tied to local legends of the “Cowboy Mafia” underworld. In this more sinister account, the remote areas of Hog Valley may have concealed sites of illegal drug activities guarded by patrols of motorcycle gangs employed by the infamous Rex Cauble‘s “Cowboy Mafia” of the 60s and 70s. During unknown circumstances that interviewees are reluctant to clarify, a leather-jacketed greaser is said to have been brutally beaten by a biker gang after having his nose cut off and a ‘Glasgow grin’ carved into his face (like the Joker)… a gangland sign that someone has been ‘nosy’ and talking or ‘squealing’ to police. Horribly disfigured and unable to function in polite society, this “PigMan” was forced to roam the rural countryside foraging for food, sometimes raiding hog slop or taking shelter in barns, sheds, and under bridges in anonymity except for an occasional frightening encounter. A far more tragic figure than the more fantastic version, this PigMan story is also clearly a cautionary tale for Dentonites who might cross paths with the very real and infamously ruthless Cowboy Mafia of North Texas. Like other variations of this urban legend, PigMan embodies and literalizes actual community anxieties or dangers. More chilling details from oral testimonies will be revealed during the DENTON HAUNTS GHOST TOUR!