His name is Goatman, and his story--patchy as it is--is one of thousands of local legends that can be pieced together using the files hidden in 32 cardboard boxes in a back room of the University of Maryland's McKeldin Library.
The titles--so esoteric, so unsorted--jump from the folders and grab the eye: "Tales of Ghosts and Boogey-men of Anne Arundel County" (1978); "The Tragic Comedy of the Gasoline Shortage" (1974); "Folklore of Boy Scout Troop 299 of Hyattsville, Maryland" (1989); "From Hell to Fraternity" (1990); "Goatman: Who He Is, Where He Lives and What He Does" (1971).
Barry Lee Pearson, a folklorist at the University of Maryland, said folk legends often originated as cautionary tales from adults. However, modern examples like Goatman are most commonly generated by teenagers themselves. Instead of serving as a warning to stay away from areas mentioned, the stories end up stirring interest in those sites. Consequently, more young people flock to places like Fletchertown Road.
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