Decades before the Sheepsquatch sightings in Boone County West Virginia, a very similar creature roamed the woods of Northwestern Pennsylvania.
In the early 1970s an abominable creature terrorized the small rural town of Waterford Pennsylvania.
It was a humanoid creature that was covered in fur. Large horns adorned its inhuman head. Devilish hooves sprouted where feet should otherwise be. It lurked in farm fields, stalking the unwitting animal in a desire to tear it apart and feed on its flesh and blood.
It was the Waterford Sheep-man.
Hundreds of people witnessed this creature, from school children to adult farmers. Sometimes it was also known as the “Goat-man”, for no one really knew its true diabolical origin. For a few brief years in the mid 70s it held the attention of the small community, ridiculed by some but feared by many.
Marylin knew of the goat-man legend as a teenager in the 70s; but along with the stories she had also seen it with her own eyes on more than one occasion. “I lived on Baghdad Road and I saw this figure running across the dirt road at one point near the old sawmill.” She remembers that at the time there was much talk about the legend, with many people catching a glimpse of the creature darting across the road or into the brush along farm fields. She had a second encounter with the monstrous when she was 17, “He was there that one night I drove home and right before I turned into my driveway, there he was, running across the road and into the woods.”
Waterford native Richard Galbraith knows the legend well, as a child he was told, “Don’t let the Sheep-man get ya!” He was warned to avoid the area of Pennsylvania Route 19 on the outskirts of the city at night, or else the same fate would befall him that happened to so many unwitting animals; the blood crazed sheep-man would tear him apart.
Richard was wise to take the warnings to heart; for there were many alleged incidents of the sheep-man violently attacking humans as well as ravaging livestock.
Herb Kinney, a Waterford native and businessman, knew the terror of the sheep-man firsthand. He had a friend who was a victim of the ungodly creature as it lay wait for him on top of the Waterford covered bridge on Niemeyer Road that spans LeBoeuf creek. Herb recounts the story in his own words,
“It was always said the sheepman lived in a cave on Baghdad road. He was know to frequent the covered bridge south east of town on East street. He was said to hide up in the rafters of the old bridge and jump down and terrorize young lovers that had parked in the bridge.
Two couples from Erie were traveling into the bridge late one summer night in a dark blue Ford Mustang convertible with the top down. It had started to sprinkle so the pulled inside the bridge to put the top down when they where attacked. The boys fought off the creature and peeled out filling the bridge with smoke from the burning rubber of their tires. The roof to the car was damaged ripped torn and mangled to the point it had to be replaced. All for of the young people insisted the incident really happed, telling the tale to their parents. The parents fearing embarrassment and would not allow any police report to be filed.”
Herb reports that the sheep-man was described as over six feet tall with light gray or white hair covering its body. The creature had two very large horns atop of its misshapen head and long canine teeth. Instead of hands the monster had sharp claws like something out of a horror movie. Although by this description many would tend to associate the sheep-man with a type of werewolf creature or even a sasquatch, Herb firmly asserts that the creature was never associated with any other creature and has always been known by its moniker as the sheep or goat-man.
Another longtime Waterford resident, Sally B. has a personal connection to the sheep-man and its violent demeanor, “He was supposed to live on the back side of my dad's farm- woods rd. In the 60's it was a dirt path with grass growing in the center.
He was a combo of the crazy man with the hook hand and part sheep. He would chase all parkers from the road.”
What was the Waterford sheep-man? Was it a mere childish fantasy borne out of the chilling chatter of urban youth with an over abundant imagination? Or was it something unnatural, called from beyond by unseen forces into our world in order to spread fear and dread throughout this otherwise serene community?
Intrigued, Erie County historian and paranormal investigator Heidi Kirclich LaDow decided to find out. After many years of exploring unknown phenomenon and paranormal investigation, Heidi was an ideal person to root out the truth behind the legend. Her investigative team, Flagship Paranormal, has examined a multitude of paranormal claims in Erie County and beyond with attention to scientific detail and historical accuracy. After putting her detective hat on, she put out the question to social network sites as well as other avenues of discovery. After hunting in many avenues of exploration she eventually received an anonymous email which said,
"I will let you know that the Sheepman story, as far as I know, started in the Vocational Agriculture students heads and the fable grew until the general public adopted it as a local legend. I heard of sheepman in 1970 and as a 7th grader it awed me and others. It began that a man could have sex with a sheep, after that happened, an offspring half and half was produced. Sheepman. What started as a dirty little story grew into a small town legend. I ain't telling no more!"
Did this anonymous source have in depth knowledge of the legends origin? If so, why remain anonymous? Often in many urban legends the story grows and incorporates other aspects unto its overall myth. Some of these are imagined origins of the phenomenon, and it begs the question in this case: what came first the Sheep-man or the taboo sexual element? Of course the sheep story is an offshoot of the stereotypical cliché of bestiality associated with animal husbandry found in the viewpoint of many who ridicule rural life. Who can say if this is the true origin of the legend or just a crass explanation invented by a few adolescent youth at the time?
Nevertheless, the countryside surrounding Waterford was abuzz in the 1970s with stories and sightings of the creature known as sheep-man. It seemed the legend faded with the decade for there have not been any sightings of the creature since the close of the 70s. But then again, the average lifespan of a sheep is usually no more than 10 years, so what should we expect from a creature that is part sheep anyway?