By Linda S. Godfrey (author), Rosemary Ellen Guiley (consulting editor)
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Additional resources for Mythical Creatures: Mysteries, Legends, and Unexplained Phenomena
The town had struck a deal with the beast to offer a sheep every week if he would leave them alone. It wasn’t long before all the sheep were gone and then the rest of the livestock. Reluctantly, the townspeople began to draw lots to sacriﬁce their sons and daughters. ” The princess Cleolinda now T I 55 J I 56 MYTHICAL CREATURES waited for her unthinkable fate: to disappear down the monster’s gullet. Suddenly, a great splash startled the pair as the beast rose out of the lake on leathery wings.
That’s assuming, of course, a person could ﬁnd a dragon body to raid. The Greek writer Pliny the Elder, who catalogued both known and imaginary animals in his book, The Natural History,8 listed many beneﬁcial uses of dragon parts. Its head brought good fortune when buried under a home’s front door, for instance,9 and its blood was said to heal many diseases. The fat made a salve that could repel venomous snakes. The eyes, if dried, beaten, and mixed with honey, were believed to cure people of nightmares.
Her date was later found torn limb from limb. One area writer, Mark Opsasnick, investigated the goatman and included what he found in a book titled Horror on Fletchertown Road: the Goatman of Prince George’s County, Maryland. Opsasnick interviewed farm families around the town of Bowie, which lies a few miles east of Beltsville. He discovered that some of them had used the story of the goatman as a “bogeyman” tale to keep youngsters in line for many decades. Opsasnick deduced that the story spread into area schools from the offspring of these farmers,2 and speedily mutated into an urban legend.