They had heard the legend and wanted to see it for themselves, how a half-goat, half-man named the Pope Lick Monster lives under a train trestle in Louisville, Kentucky.
So 26-year-old Roquel Bain and her boyfriend, both from Ohio, climbed onto the Norfolk Southern Railroad trestle on Saturday night, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Suddenly, a train came barreling towards them. The engineer told investigators he sounded the horn when he saw them on the tracks and tried to brake.
With no time to run about 40 feet to safety, Bain’s boyfriend managed to hang safely off the side of the trestle but the train hit Bain. She fell nearly 100 feet to the ground and died.
“It’s just so sad - a very pretty young girl who had her life in front of her,” deputy coroner Jack Arnold told the newspaper. “It's just so preventable.”
Bain and her boyfriend went to Louisville for a paranormal tour for ghost hunters at a local sanitorium, but decided to hunt for the monster before the 10 p.m. event.
At least three generations of local residents have grown up with the legend of the Pope Lick Monster, the star of several YouTube videos and a locally made 1988 film that Norfolk Southern criticized for putting a spotlight on the trestle.
The monster is described as a large human-like creature with alabaster skin and furry, goat-like legs and horns. He is also known as the Goatman or Sheepman.
The story goes that he was captured in the wilds of Canada around the end of the 19th century and became the star of a circus freak show. But while being transported on a train, an electrical storm caused the train to derail. The creature was the only survivor.
He is said to live under the train trestle from where he uses his supernatural, hypnotic powers to lure people onto the tracks, where they either get hit by a train or fall to their death.
WAVE 3 News in Louisville reported that many people think the train trestle is inactive, but it is very busy with trains passing regularly.
Local resident Ron Crouch told the TV station that many people come to the area to hunt the monster and put themselves in danger on the tracks.
The Courier-Journal found one Instagram photo from 2014 that showed two teens sitting on the trestle, legs dangling, proclaiming, “The Pope Lick Monster didn’t get us, but a train almost did!”
“You would think people would know better than to do that because it's a long trestle,” Crouch said. “If you get caught out in the middle you don't have time to go back.”
Coroner Arnold said he’s investigated other fatal train incidents on the trestle - including one person who jumped to their death - but Bain was the first victim claimed while searching for the monster.