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According to legend, Goatman is an axe-wielding, half-man, half-animal creature that was once a scientist who worked in the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. The tale holds that he was experimenting on goats, the experiment went awry, and he began attacking cars with an axe, roaming the back roads of Beltsville, Maryland. A variation of the legend tells of Goatman as an old hermit who lives in the woods, seen walking alone at night along Fletchertown Road.
Folklorist at the University of Maryland Barry Lee Pearson said modern examples of folk legends like Goatman are most commonly generated by teenagers, and the stories end up stirring interest in sites like Fletchertown Road.