The legend of Oscar Washburn

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Old Alton Bridge, which has been called haunted “Goatman’s Bridge,” attracts many brave and curious adventurers every year. It’s supernatural atmosphere is too strong to resist, especially during the Halloween season. Because of this, many stories, paranormal or not, spread like wildfire. No one can be too sure if they’re just rumors, or if the legend lingers for real. Old Alton Bridge, which has been called haunted “Goatman’s Bridge,” attracts many brave and curious adventurers every year. It’s supernatural atmosphere is too strong to resist, especially during the Halloween season. Because of this, many stories, paranormal or not, spread like wildfire. No one can be too sure if they’re just rumors, or if the legend lingers for real.

One legend is from the year 1938. An African-American entrepreneur named Oscar Washburn and his family owned a goat farm, known for their meat, milk and cheese. One night, Washburn decided to put up a sign on Old Alton advertising his farm. This was the last straw for the local Klan, and they began to plot their vengeance.

Not too long after, a mob went out for Washburn. They dragged him to the bridge, where a noose was set for him. His screams echoed through the forest, begging to be spared. But his cries for help were ignored as they tightened the rope around his neck before tossing him over the bridge.

Celebrating their victory, the Klan headed down the bridge to see their success. Once they got to the bottom, their faces turned whiter than their cloaks. The noose hung undisturbed with Washburn nowhere in sight.  To this day, no one has any idea where he went. Some say his irate spirit lurks through the forest, presenting himself as a satyr — a man with the head of a goat.

Is this really Oscar Washburn? Or is this creature behind the disappearance of Washburn? Or is it a myth? The story has been passed around so many times that no one knows Oscar’s true fate.

Other popular stories surrounding Old Alton are the mysterious noises that only occur at night. Some claim to hear horses running through the forest, someone drowning in the river underneath the bridge and ominous growling behind bushes  and trees. No solid answer has been given for these anomalies, only leaving more questions to be left unanswered.

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