The Pope Lick Monster didn’t get its name because it once licked the pope. Instead, it gets its name from the nearby creek, Pope Lick Creek. Specifically, the Pope Lick Monster is said to stalk the trestle bridge which is on the Norfolk Southern Railway track.
Like many creatures made infamous by local stories, the Pope Lick Monster’s description varies although there are certain similarities that are similar in every story. One of them being that the Pope Lick Monster is humanoid. It is typically described as having the body of a man with the lower torso and legs of either a goat or sheep...almost like some weird, demonic centaur. I think it is particularly important to note that both goat and sheep have cloven hooves, and we all know what kind of creatures cloven hooves are associated with. In addition to having the lower half of animal, the Pope Lick Monster is sometimes said to have a short pair of gnarled horns protruding from its head.
But, if the trestle bridge is haunted why do the stories continue ad how does the Pope Lick Monster continue to generate more tales of horror? Well, like the sirens of older lore it is said that the Pope Lick Monster has a special call that lures wayward travelers to its hunting grounds. Once the people are close enough, the Pope Lick Monster hypnotizes those unlucky wanderers. It is said then, interestingly enough, that he does not kill them himself but rather lures them to their deaths in front of an oncoming train or by falling off the bridge.
It’s also said that sometimes the Pope Lick Monster doesn’t have a siren call, but rather the ability to mimic human voices. Sometimes, it mimics the voice of another victim, of a child calling for help, or a voice that is somehow familiar to its intended victim.
Unsurprisingly, visiting the Pope Lick Monster and the trestle bridge soon became a rite of passage for teenagers in the surrounding area. A long-time resident of Fisherville, Martha Williams said, “There would be just mobs of kids out there near the trestle and climbing up on it. It used to be a favorite thing to do…the boys would con the girls into it. Most of the ones that came out here were no locals. The locals sort of knew better.”
However, tragedy has happened on the bridge quite often in recent times and many believed it has been pushed forward by the legends of the Pope Lick Monster. In 1987, Jack Charles Bahm II, a Spalding University student, was killed by a train while on the trestle. Nicholas Jewell of Mount Washington, also died after falling from the trestle. His four friends would later tell police that Jewell had been attempting to cross the trestle when the train approached.
Signs remain up warning against entering the train tracks or trying to cross the trestle bridge. Locals, like Martha Williams, also warn local kids off the area when they can.
Interestingly enough, where the Pope Lick Monster is said to hunt marks a strange area called ‘The Big Lick’ triangle, which is said to be a strange window of fortean activity that includes haunting reports, UFO sightings, and cryptid reports.
Thank you to Reynolds M for #Blogstonishing suggestion!
Pope Lick Trestle, in Louisville, reputed home of the Pope Lick Monster by Ihoyc licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.