The Jedediah Island Goatman by Jamie Armstrong

We arrive by boat, the only means of access on the island of Jedediah. With an eerie landscape of abandoned farm-holds, rotting fence posts and ownerless sheep herds it always seems like something sinister happened on this island. I came here with my brother at this relatively unknown island location, off the coast of the much larger island Texada, the largest in the Georgia Strait. We were on an adventure, or more specifically, looking for the remains of the islands legendary Goat Man. Much was unclear of this medical marvel, and few had heard, let alone agree on the validity of this man whom had been shamed into a lonely life of solitude and rejection

Jedediah island was owned by the family Palmers who used it initially as a vacation spot, eventually becoming full time residents. They lived there for twenty years. Mary Palmer, the ‘supposedly’ last remaining resident, along with the Follow Your Dream Foundation, provided funds, which were then matched by the Provincial government to buy the island and turn it into a provincial park. Now known officially as the Jedediah Island Marine Provincial Park, at 243 hectares, it is small, and we feel that a chance encounter with Joshua the Goatman, if he was real, would not take long. 

It is said that a man named Joshua, came to the Island for the simple reason that it shared the name his mother had given him. The man had hitchhiked as a musician and talented entertainer all the way from his hometown of O’Leary, Prince Edward Island, because a rival boy band in the neighboring town of Tignish, were out to get him, but that’s a different and funny story, completely unrelated to folklore and to adventure in general. When Josh arrived on Jededia he took up residence on the island at the request of the Palmer family after a chance encounter on his first day on the island. Although he had only planned to stay for a single day, he began to assist with the maintenance of the farming operations and islands live stock for room and board. Being from PEI, the boy had lived on a Potato Farm, and fit in instantly with the rhythm and chores of farm life. With his guitar, flavored maritime humor, and a farmer’s work ethic, he was soon accepted into the family’s daily operations on the island. During the winter the Palmer family would abandon the island, now wrapped in cloud and saturated by heavy rains, for greener pastures down south. Jedediah was to spend his first winter alone. 

His winter was largely uneventful, until one thunderstorm, changed his life forever. On that stormy night Jedediah was out tending to the sheep when a lightning bolt struck a tree, which fell upon the young man. His legs were badly shattered and he was pinned under the tree. Alone, cold and loosing blood, Jedediah was forced to sever off his own two legs with his hunting knife which was always sharp as his grandfather highly valued the state of the little boys knife, saying only a lazy man carries a dull blade. 

Unable to call for help from his unfortunate position, he called upon the sheep, who had fled when the lightning had struck, and stayed away from his screams of his pain. Eventually he coaxed one over and struck it in the throat with his knife. Skinning the beast, he used its entrails as a rope to tie off his stubs, and the sheep coat to stay warm. His skin was badly burned from the heat of the tree after it had fallen on him and the sheep’s skin began grafting to replace the mans own. Jedediah’s struggle of horrific pain was not yet over, although he had staved off hypothermia and blood loss for the moment, he was still far away from being safe from the elements of the storm, and he was unable to get himself to his cabin. He decided sometime within the night that he needed legs to navigate the tricky and rocky terrain back to his cabin, and with some coaxing and cooing, managed to tussle another sheep for his uses, medical uses. This time he took the sheep’s hind legs, and thread he had rendered from the entrails, to stitch the beasts hind legs to what remained of his own. It was not long, with the help of medicinal cloves and a strange jelly fungus, that the legs were usable and he was able to stumble his way to the cabin on his hooves that naturally took to the rocky terrain goats so gracefully navigate. He spent the rest of the winter alone, isolated and healing in that cabin, allowing the rest needed by the body to accept such alien grafts of body parts. He soon became delusional and afraid of what people would think of his new makeover. He soon began a lifestyle one could only define as ‘alternative’. He began seeking the companionship of the sheep herds, and started sleeping outside, rather than inside the cabin given to him for the winter. He never wanted a human to see him in such state.

After this not much else is know of this elusive goat man, and because no one has seen this poor soul in the last decade at least, many hypothesize that he has met some demise. Others suggest he made his way to the mainland, and now resides in the Caren Range, or works in Quebec as an organic farmer. Me and my brother had never seen any signs or heard any local tales in the Caren Range, and a trip to rural Quebec didn’t really sound like a realistic adventure. We agreed that Jedediah island was the best and most convenient way to spend the day. The small island of Jedediah makes for a perfect location to explore the legend of the Goatman.

Regardless, we didn’t find anything concrete, many suggestive clues of sheep bones, empty grassy meadows, and easily spooked sheep flocks eluded to a sinister presence.  But we were not soured, a good adventurer always has many side paths and other missions pop up, it was a good day of touring the strange and beautiful island. It is always good to keep an eye out for the Goatman’s remains, as Joshua the Goatman has so much to offer in terms of medical surgery studies, transplant practices and nerve development. If we found Josh’s remains, his bone structure would yield a lot of information on surgical science that’s for sure. I mean, a goat leg growing onto a mans! How can that work, how does that happen? If only we could coax the embarrassed and alienated Goat Man of Jedediah into the light of science. And what of his story, his family back in PEI, or of his own wishes and hopes for his future? There is so much unknown and doubted about this man. This folklore was largely forgotten until the recent occurrence of shoes with feet left in them started washing up on beaches, with the first on Jedediah Island. Coincidence, or is The Goat Man experimenting with another surgical operation, driven by his desire for re-acceptance into the human world he has been so tragically alienated from.

A Strange Encounter by Kyle Armstrong

A few weeks ago a friend and I headed out for a visit with the mystical creatures we believe to inhabit  China Beach.  Creatures we refer to as Ewaks, stolen from Star Wars because of their curious resemblance to these postulatory forest dwellers.  As we make our way through the low lying mists of the ancient forest, the landscape pushes towards the beach and the distant surf beckons like a ready lover. The trail seems temporary in the cascading Canadian jungle like the wake of an offshore ship fading, dissolving to the infinite. Massive cedar and hemlock trees explode out of the ground in every direction; each capable of absorbing as much as one ton of water per day and moving it vertically one hundred feet from its roots to canopy. Looking around at the hundreds of giants in my gaze I drown in the idea of the sheer amount of water and energy that is flowing through this system. Emerging from the forest a thick blanket is removed and my eyelids peel back as trees give way to giants of another kind. Top-heavy liquid waves crash and hurl stones and mangled driftwood. We skip along the relatively small buffer zone of stones, eyes fixed on our wobbly path, hypnotized within the rhythms of a world between two. 

Victim to absent-mindedness, I have forgotten my wetsuit.  Having no interest in re-living the grueling hike back to the car and missing out on even one of these fantastic waves I jump into the piercing January waters in not but my knickers. We surf well into night, the darkness allowing the creatures of my imagination to surface: orcas circle us warding off giant squid feeding frenzies and straggling great whites wait to taste revenge. Hairs rise on my neck as I feel the stares of the monkey men squatters, believed to dwell in this mystical forest. They watch from their huts dug deep into the coastal foliages of salal and sea grasses waiting for night to fully swallow before they begin their nocturnal mischief. They can pick their smelly baboon bums for all I care, I fear not, for only a true B.C. boy dare attempt to swim the shallows in boxers in the dead of winter. Unfortunately a few hours is all it takes before I’m near hypothermic. A small crumbler lifts me and I ride it into shore. I grab my penis to make sure its still there. The sorry bastard lives.

The Ewoks have left their village unattended. It hasn’t been empty long. They must have retreated further into the jungle sensing the weekend arrival of visitors and tourists—shy little guys. Their driftwood shelters and other ritualistic structures including some form of dry surf ramp are all ours. Allowing for a moment of reflexion, I take a seat on a beach log and watch the ocean. A freighter passes, or maybe it’s a trawler. It’s low engines cut when they pass our headlamps. Its presence is stealth like a Haida slave ship making its long journey back north to the Gwaii or a Canadian submarine patrolling for pirate smuggling ships. It’s too wet to make a fire so we wander around the village in darkness, set up our tents and head to bed. 

A fowl reeking stench of rot has been carried on a breeze and fills my nostrils.  The smell is surprisingly familiar a cross between dutch-ovens and rotting meat. I’ve been awake for a few minutes listening. Something is walking in the village, something big. For the first time it occurs to me the Ewoks have vacated the village for another reason, another intruder. A heavy breathing close to my head replaces my own and my tent begins to shake violently. It’s funny the security one feels in a tent, after all its just a thin layer of fabric. Yet its familiar and that thin membrane keeps you from having to see what beast, mythical or real, stalks you in the night. No matter what happens, in the morning if you didn’t see what it was you can write it off to dreams, exaggeration or whatever you want and keep your sanity. Maybe that’s why I didn’t start screaming or bolt for the parking lot and instead just lay there, still as a stone. That is until two massive forearms creeped underneath my body and began to lift me without curling… like a fork lift. 

When I was twelve I was playing in the wash at pipeline. The beach was closed that day due to the pounding 22 ft surf. I remember the wave was enormous and even though the wash was less than ankle deep it flipped me on my back and sucked me kicking and screaming towards the hulking beast. My heart beat at the same speed of the rushing water and I watched the wave grow taller and taller as if a vacuum for my fear. The rushing sound was deafening and chaotic until that final moment. The moment when the wave could hold no more water and my heart no more fear. The moment when I was closest, looking up at the supernatural wall of water. The moment before it all came crashing down—a cross between “here we go!” and “I am so f****d”. Floundering in what was one part foam one part sand and one part water there was no fight in my resistance.

There are some forces that are larger than the fight we have. Don’t get me wrong, I struggled but it was no fight. The poles snapped and the tent collapsed around me as all was lifted from the ground and slung in one light heave behind its back. I swam in the sagging tent as branches broke beneath its enormous steps. I could tell we were traveling at incredible speeds.  Listening to the monster breath I could tell my weight was no hindrance to this creature at all.  I have no recollection of the events that followed, but when I awoke the next morning, a shiver rain down my spine as I crawled out of my collapsed tent a hundred or so feet from where I remember setting it up.  I am not claiming that the strange occurrence was the doings of “Big Foot” but Im not ruling it out.  Whatever or whoever the culprit was that evening possessed a power and aroma unfamiliar to anything I have ever experienced.  My mind remains open with regards to the existence of such a being.