Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 News
The Fort Worth Nature Center is keeping the legend of the Lake Worth monster on Greer Island alive, with its third annual Monster Bash.
The Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge is bringing the tale of the Lake Worth Monster back to the forefront.
The shores of Lake Worth are calm, quiet and picturesque, but back in July 1969, something ugly lurked along the trails and in the trees -- a monster. Sightings were so intense that the Fort Worth Police Department looked into the reports.
What did people see?
"What they saw was a hairy, goatman-like creature," said Michelle Villafranca, a natural resources specialist at the nature center. "He smelled bad, he was scary, he threw tires at [people]. And he took chicken out of people's hands."
The monster was spotted up and down the Trinity River and lake for several years, with the most notable experience happening near an old quarry site where, legend has it, he threw tires as far as 500 feet at people.
While the monster is widely known about, Villafranca said that everyone living in Lake Worth, Azle and west Fort Worth back then and since know of the legend.
The sightings have been prominently featured prominently over the years.
The monster makes the pages of the book "Weird Texas," and author Sally Ann Clarke wrote an entire book about the sightings in "The Lake Worth Monster of Greer Island, Fort Worth, Texas." The tale was even turned into a children's book by local writer Stephanie Erb.
Not all visitors are aware of the legend. But people remain skeptical whether they have or haven't heard of the monster.
"I don't know; anything could happen," Johnny Harvey said. "It could be a hoax or dark or something. But I'm not going to be out here at dark."
Whether the monster existed doesn't really matter to the nature center, which uses the folklore to attract visitors.
"Having a big festival out in October around a monster also gets people who might not have been here before," Villafranca said.
In addition to keeping the legend alive, the Lake Worth Monster Bash will discuss the ecology at the nature center and provide some educational opportunities.
The outdoor bash, which started on the 40th anniversary of the sightings, attracted 1,200 people last year.
The last time anyone reported seeing the monster was in the early 1970s, but Villafranca said she thinks the goatman could still be out there walking the trails -- although she has yet to see it with her own eyes.
"I think he could be out here," she said. "And I've found hair on one of our hiking trails that I really thought could be a monster's hair."
Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and $2 for children ages 3-12. The bash runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, click here.