The Cryptid Zoo: Satyrs (or Fauns) in Cryptozoology

Mr. Tumnus from the film 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' is a classic satyr, also called a faun. This movie still is copyrighted by Walt Disney Pictures.
Could anything like a satyr really exist? Before examining that question through the lens of cryptozoology, we first need a basic definition to work with. The best place to go for that definition is folklore (the modern sightings will be examined afterwards). In legends and mythology, satyrs look like men with pointed ears, horns, and goat legs. They are tricksters and symbols of the sensual life, closely associated with sex and with Dionysus, the god of wine.

There were a number of variations on the basic satyr legend. Sometimes there were odd versions of the standard satyr, such as those that substituted the body parts of antelopes or horses instead of goats, and some that breathed through holes in their chests. The satyrs with horse hindquarters and ears were called "sileni." Monkeys of various sorts were once shown to a credulous public as satyrs, even though they do not fit the basic description found in mythology.

Much to the embarrassment of cryptozoologists, satyrs are not confined to time-worn mythology. Modern sightings of satyrs have continued, though they are not especially common when compared to the large masses of other hairy humanoid sightings that keep Bigfoot researchers so busy. In keeping with their mythical connection to sex, they are often reported by teens who have been having sex in cars. Satyr-like beings, such as the Lake Worth monster, are frequently interpreted by cryptozoologists as misidentified Bigfoots. The basic idea is that, if the creature that is being reported sounds like a satyr, it can't possibly be a satyr. Therefore, it has to be something else.

Two of the most notable satyrs of modern America are the Pope Lick monster of Kentucky and the creature called "Goatman" which is usually associated with Maryland, but this same label is sometimes applied to sightings of satyr-like creatures from any American state, regardless of how far away from Maryland it is. Other creatures of interest are the Chevo Man of California and the Marshall Goatman of Texas.

The Maryland "Goatman" is reported as very aggressive, especially towards teenage lovers. It is often seen carrying an axe, and its activities include damaging cars and killing animals. There are also unsubstantiated reports of the Maryland Goatman killing humans. In sightings, it can appear as a standard satyr-like form, or with almost the opposite anatomy: a naked human with a goat's head. Most of the sightings take place in Prince Georgeís County and have a long history that dates back to at least the 1950s. Sighting locations are most frequently Crybaby Bridge on Governorís Bridge Road and also locations around Lottsford Road and Fletchertown Road. Some regional reports of hairy humanoids without goat features have also on occasion been meshed into the Goatman label, including a big hairy monster 12 feet tall that is supposed to roam the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

Like the Maryland Goatman, the Pope Lick monster also likes to carry an axe and harrass young lovers, but he is supposed to act more through tricks than through aggressive displays of physical violence. His most famous trick is using ventriloquism to lure people onto train tracks just in time to be hit by an oncoming train.

You can find out more about Satyrs from the following sources:

Benjamin, R.W. Maryland Goatman

Bartra, Roger. Wild Men in the Looking Glass: The Mythic Origins of European Otherness. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1994. Pages 11, 13, 17, 20-25, 28, 34, 37, 40, 45, 77, 80, 83, 120, 150, 157, 183

Blackman, W. Haden. The Field Guide to North American Monsters New York: Three Rivers Press, 1998. Pages 168-170

Daly, Sean. The Legend of Goatman

Goatman - The Legend Lives
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Kaufmann, Lynn Frier. The Noble Savage: Satyrs and Satyr Families in Renaissance Art. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1984.

Keel, John A. The Complete Guide to Mysterious Beings. New York: Doubleday, 1994. Pages 65, 129

Merivale, Patricia. Pan the Goat-God: His Myth in Modern Times. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1969.

Moran, Mark & Sceurman, Mark. Weird N.J.: Your Travel Guide to New Jersey's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2004. Page 106

Newton, Michael. Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide to Hidden Animals and Their Pursuers. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2005. Pages 176, 198, 377, 466, 489

Rose, Carol. Giants, Monsters and Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend and Myth. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2000. Pages 119, 321-322

Wikipedia, The. Goatman

Wikipedia, The. Pan

Wikipedia, The. Pope Lick Monster

Wikipedia, The. Satyr

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