The ‘Wild Man’ of Tularosa
One day in the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico Archives, long ago, someone had asked me to look up an article to do with Carrizozo. In the process of searching out the article, whatever it was, I stumbled across something infinitely more interesting: the “Goat Man” of the Malpais. On an old newspaper clipping dating Jan. 12, 1934, I read the following:
Mysterious Goat Man of Sacramento Mtns. Reported Seen Again
CARRIZOZO, Jan. 12 (AP) – The “goat man” of the Sacramento and San Andres mountains has made his appearance in north central Lincoln County and for proof James Greer, rancher near here, offers an odd coyote skin hat said to have been lost by the “man.”
For a number of years residents of the Sacramentos and San Andres areas have told stories of seeing a “wild man” who was always to be found near sheep and goat flocks. The strange creature has been shot at several times but no one has ever captured him.
Runs on All Fours
Recently Greer, who lives three miles west of here (Carrizozo), went in search of one of his herds of goats in the Malpais beds near his ranch. While returning with the lost herd he suddenly saw the goats were being chased by a strange looking creature, which at first sight he took for a coyote, inasmuch as part of the time it would run on all-fours.
Not knowing just what to do, Greer shot at the creature, which uttered a scream and vanished among the recesses of the lava beds. Running over to where the creature had disappeared, Greer found a hat made of coyote skins.
Like Daniel Boone’s
The hat, on exhibit here, resembles the old Daniel Boone hat. To all appearances the skin was drawn over a stump or rock, the hair shaved entirely off with the exception of the tail, which hung in a streamer behind. In that condition it had been dried for use.
Greer said the creature also appeared to be dressed in the skins of different animals.
Although he made a careful search for the creature, Greer said he could find no trace of him, and others who have looked also have been unsuccessful.
For years, the yellowed newspaper clipping fascinated me. Due to the name “goat man” and also the fact that the man was often referred to as a “creature” in the article, I took this to mean that the author was trying to draw a parallel between this “goat man” and the alleged half-human half-goat creature seen along various Lovers Lanes across the U.S., most notably the one in Prince George’s County, Maryland. However, as it turned out, the Carrizozo “goat man” was really just the Tularosa “wild man.” I had heard about the Tularosa wild man long ago from my late friend, Luciana Villescas Scheve. She had mentioned seeing the wild man many years ago and leaving tortillas out for him as a child. The wild man of Tularosa was fairly well-known, and as far as I know, the January 1934 article was the only time he was called the “goat man.” The Tularosa “goat man” may have also been the wild man of Hope, New Mexico, as it turns out. The Carrizozo goat man was reported on in January, while the Hope wild man began his reign of terror in the fall of 1934.
The biggest and most sensational article read, “Search By Posse For ‘Wild Man’ Is Fruitless Near Carlsbad Yesterday” and ran in the Clovis New Mexico Evening News Journal on Sept. 7, 1934. Over a dozen men swept the hills of Queen, New Mexico, to find him, “… The man, who has terrorized women and children and robbed sheep camps and ranches in the area for the past month is believed hidden in one of the scores of caves in the hills. The country through which the search was conducted is so wild that officers said they could have passed within 10 feet of the man and not seen him.”
The next paragraph certainly sounds similar to the Carrizozo “goat man” affair as it reported that:
Officers said they believed that Murphy Hayhurst, rancher, who surprised the man Wednesday night at his home and shot at him did not hit him. They found evidence to show the man had returned to the Hayhurst home and stolen a kid goat' while Hayhurst went six miles for aid. The goat had been barbecued and eaten just a few hundred yards from the Hayhurst home. Other camp fires also were found near the home.
Later, an article from the Albuquerque Journal on Oct. 4 ran the headline “Wildman Leaves the Guadalupes”, concluding that the infamous wild man had departed for regions unknown. However, before he did so, it appeared that he returned several stolen items back to the ranchers they belonged to, including a horse and saddle. It’s possible that he traveled north, towards Tucumcari as evidenced by this article, “Wild Man Scares New Mexico Folks,” dated Oct. 30, 1934, and published in the Lowell Sun:
A “wild man” described as of large stature with a long and shaggy beard, is reported to be roaming the sparsely settled region, 60 miles south of (Lowell Sun: Tucumcari). Kitchens have been raided in the absence of ranchers and their families. He has been sighted by several persons including a young school teacher driving through this lonely region. She said he fled into a cabin and disappeared.
Did New Mexico have three separate wild men running loose in the year 1934, or was what started out as the Tularosa Goat Man later the Tucumcari Wild Man as well? Whatever the case, when I searched for the wild man in the newspapers of 1935, I found no trace of him. All I found was the mention of a New Mexico wild man on exhibit with a traveling circus, published in the Aug. 7, 1935 edition of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. If this was the same wild man, it certainly presents a fitting conclusion to his wild life.