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... is a freelance photographer working in Middle Georgia

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Bohemiens

I ran across some photos recently of the Goatman. The Georgia version, not the one from Maryland. Georgia's Goatman was a guy named Ches McCartney. He lived in an old school bus out near Jeffersonville.
Got me to thinking about the oddballs I have met in my 35 years as a Middle Georgia photojournalist. Guess the two most eccentric, not including newsroom folks and politicians, were McCartney and a guy from Buena Vista named Eddie Owens Martin, also known as St. EOM.

The Goatman I remember from my early childhood, seeing him traveling around with his wagon pulled by about eight goats. He supposedly traveled through all the United States except Hawaii. Guess the goats couldn't swim and he didn't want to get wet. He was not real big on personal hygene. After about 30 years on the road he came back to Twiggs County, got rid of his goats and settled in. He would hitch rides into Macon quite often.
Cecil Bentley and I did several stories on him. I would sometime just stop by and visit with him.

Bill Boyd and I spent a day with Martin back in the eighties, the only time I met him.

The two had similar lives. Martin was born in Georgia while McCartney was born in Iowa. Both left home at age 14 and went to New York. McCartney said he married a Spanish knife thrower who was quite a bit older than he was. Martin said he spent his time in New York as a prostitute, drug dealer, fortune teller and transvestite known as the Tattooed Countess. You just gotta love that name.
Both settled in rural areas of Georgia. Martin was a folk artist and fortune teller. Both were viewed as real oddballs. McCartney would leave home for weeks at a time and wander. He was missing for quite some time and finally found in a hospital in California. Said he went out to marry Morgan Fairchild, but was mugged and beaten. I was at the airport when he came home, washed with a shave, haircut and new clean clothes. Didn't
recognize him.
They were a couple of real free spirits, true bohemians. One of my aunts always told me I was the bohemian of our family. Well, I couldn't hold a candle.

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