Alternate Perceptions Magazine, February 2024
Goat Foot Woman – Cryptid?
by: Diane Tessman
During the five years I taught school on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (1971-1976), I visited Puerto Rico many times, exploring areas like the Central Mountains, not just San Juan. I was always aware of mystical energies in Puerto Rico but had no encounters with the chupacabra nor any cryptids or paranormal experiences.
However, I did hear tales of another cryptid called the Goat Foot Woman who was said to roam St. Thomas, V.I., 40 miles from Puerto Rico. I wonder if there is a connection to the chupacabra; for instance, their physical descriptions are similar as detailed by local people who have seen them. Both chupacabras and Goat Foot Woman seem to be bipeds, walking upright or doing so part of the time.
I taught second grade in a public school near the airport which was west of Charlotte Amalie. It was the same area where the Trans Caribbean Airways Boeing 727 with 53 persons aboard crashed and burned in 1969 while landing at the airport. A passenger and his 10-year-old son were killed and 51 other passengers were injured.
This same area offered me a strange interlude probably involving the Goat Foot Woman in 1973. The children at my school had told me about the Goat Foot Woman. They were scared and excited about her, it was not a laughing matter or a joke.
I first responded that she was probably a normal woman with a birth defect (“club foot”). They all immediately chorused, “No, no!”
They explained to me that they weren’t ignorant just because “our housing area was for poor people,” and that the Goat Foot Woman was like a ghost because “she is from that other world.”
They also told me about two ghosts that were seen often around their housing project, but “they are not the Goat Foot Woman, either.” To myself, I wondered if the ghosts might be the man and his son killed in the plane crash, but I didn’t say that to them. The crash was only 4 years earlier and it seemed disrespectful to their relatives, somehow.
I was always interested in paranormal topics and the children continued to tell me about their spooky area but mostly they were concerned about the Goat Foot Woman. “She does nasty thing, she plays bad tricks.” They were sincere; I worked with these children every day, I knew them well, and they were not just entertaining their “yank” teacher. Then a very strange incident happened. I remember the specifics of this incident clearly. One afternoon in 1973, I was driving my parents and daughter to our home after a day of teaching. We were right by the housing project; another car was ahead of us, driving slowly.
Suddenly, everything happened at once!
The car ahead slammed on its brakes. I managed to stop. At the same time, I saw something come out of the sky, not as if it was thrown from the side but instead it dropped straight down from perhaps 60 or 70 feet. And at the same time, I saw the blur of a person run into the road without stopping to look for cars. He just ran straight out, no hesitation. I realized a mentally challenged boy, perhaps 12 years old, often stood at the side of the road, sweeping the curb. I feared the blur was him. I had seen him do this in the dirt at the side of the road almost every time I passed the area.
The driver of the car ahead of us, had indeed hit the boy. The driver knelt down and started to examine the boy, saying, “He just ran right out, I had no chance to stop!”
By this time, the boy was getting up, still holding onto his broom, which he always carried. It was the kind of broom you buy at a grocery store but it was really beat up. The boy then bent down, groaning loudly, and picked up another broom. He turned it ‘round and ‘round; it was obviously new to him.
Another broom? This broom looked like a cartoonist’s rendition of a witch’s broom from olden times. It was handmade, strung together with dried vegetation which was straw-like. I realized that it was this “second broom” which had dropped out of the sky.
The driver of the car which hit him tried to see if the boy was really alright, and he seemed to be. By this time, the children had arrived; they had been playing back in playground area, so when the driver accused them of throwing the 2nd broom into the road to tease this poor boy, they said, “No mister. We were no where near by.”
They said, “It was Goat Foot Woman. She is mean, especially if you are a stupid person. She plays tricks.” These 6 or 7 children all started talking at the same time, telling this driver, “You do not understand, mister.” I knew that the object I glimpsed dropping down from the sky just at the second that all the trouble began, was not thrown by the children, and I said so. The area at the side of the road had no trees, it was flat, dry, and dust-filled. The playground was back by the homes in the housing project. They were one-story homes, perhaps 6 to 8 apartments within one building. There was no tall building or object from which they could have flung the second handmade broom.
I seldom saw the boy after that. He had been sweeping by the side of the road almost every day before this incident. I did see him once or twice afterward, and from a distance he seemed ok, not injured. I never saw him sweeping again, with either or both brooms.
The day after this incident, I had three of the children draw pictures of the Goat Foot Woman without seeing what each other was drawing. (I taught three of them in my 2nd grade class, the other children were in older classes).
All three children drew a goat foot woman clutching her old-fashioned broom or riding on it. She looked rather like a goat riding on a broom except they carefully made one of her feet “human,” no shoe, with long toenails. The other foot was a hoof. Human-like hands held the broom, goat horns stuck out from her head. She was truly a Goat Foot Woman or a Human Foot Goat!
I believed and still believe, those children. Goat Foot Woman may well be the cryptid of St. Thomas! It may sound a bit strange that she is called “a woman,” but what is she supposed to be called by the local people? “Cryptid” is a term which has an archeological or at least an academic ring to it. It is easier to consider a cryptid which is a strange animal than, at least partially, a strange human. Perhaps cryptids are neither animal or human, or are they both? It is always good to keep your mind open and adaptable in this shocking and amazing field.