The Legend of the Goatriders
July 19, 2011 9:22 AM   Subscribe

The Legend of The Goatriders (Bokkenrijders): In the Limburg region at the end of the 18th century, between 300 and 600 individuals were tortured, tried and executed, accused of being members of a notorious and heretical band of robbers (who rode across the night sky on the backs of goats). But were they devil-worshipping hoodlums or the product of the economic and class pressures of their time? Regardless they have made their way into legend on TV and the printed page. (PDF link, from the European Ghost Literary Project)

Some good starting places for further exploration:
Hille’s Bokkenrijder Startpage and Forum (both in Dutch)
posted by jrb223 (19 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wonder what John Yoo would have to say about this.
posted by Naberius at 9:31 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I could ride through the sky on the back of a flying goat, I probably would, if it wasn't for all the torture.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:33 AM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Goat riders iiiiiiiiiiiiin......

GOAT RIDERS IN THE SKY

*guitar solo*
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:38 AM on July 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's the cheese wasn't it... drives people mad.

But were they devil-worshipping hoodlums or the product of the economic and class pressures of their time?

These are not a priori mutually exclusive possibilities.
posted by Jahaza at 9:42 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


It sounds like a variation of the Wild Hunt.
posted by homunculus at 9:51 AM on July 19, 2011


This is interesting. And very consistent the general trends associated with witch-belief and prosecution. Aside from some of the minutiae, it fits very neatly into that particular broader narrative. Thanks for bringing it up! It's fun, and relevant to my interests.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:52 AM on July 19, 2011


This is where I first learned of the Bokkenrijders.
posted by atrazine at 9:58 AM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Abu Limburg
posted by Vibrissae at 10:10 AM on July 19, 2011


put on your Che Guevara pin ... we're gonna sail through the night sky like a pair of bottle rockets - the Mountain Goats
posted by Surfurrus at 10:17 AM on July 19, 2011


The storm that was to become the French Revolution was no more than a dim shadow on the historical horizon at the time that the Goatriders were being executed, but nevertheless there already existed all over Europe secret societies who, inspired by the works of the writers of the Enlightenment, were dreaming of better days to come.

Hmm, a preemptive strike by a terrified elite, determined to to hold onto their privileges by any means necessary, just as they are now.

Worked pretty well, too-- right up to WWII.
posted by jamjam at 10:22 AM on July 19, 2011


Hey, I used to live in Limburg! Most of the people I met rode bikes, though, not goats.
posted by swift at 10:23 AM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can I find that comic strip online somewhere?
posted by humboldt32 at 10:23 AM on July 19, 2011


Most of the people I met rode bikes, though, not goats.

Most? Please tell us more....
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:49 AM on July 19, 2011


GOAT RIDERS IN THE SKY

...with (stolen) diamonds
posted by ian1977 at 11:28 AM on July 19, 2011


Can I find that comic strip online somewhere?

The full series of Suske en Wiske is available on torrent sites, De Bokkerijders is #136. Of course these are all in Dutch.
posted by atrazine at 12:05 PM on July 19, 2011


Hmm, a preemptive strike by a terrified elite

Don't know about the Goatriders specifically, but many of these "secret societies" were comprised of members of the elite. I'd say the proper parallel would be the St. Simonians or turn of the last century progressives like H.G. Wells, dreaming of a properly ordered world to come.
posted by AdamCSnider at 12:08 PM on July 19, 2011


Of course these are all in Dutch.

Yep, that's what I'm after. I'll have a look on the torrent sites.

thanx.
posted by humboldt32 at 2:37 PM on July 19, 2011


Most? Please tell us more....

What happens in Gulpen stays in Gulpen.
posted by swift at 7:32 PM on July 19, 2011


A few weeks ago, I was at a Dutch amusement park, Efteling, and a ride there called Villa Volta has a theme related to this. I couldn't quite get a straight story from my Dutch companions about the historical veracity and I don't understand Dutch, so the animatronic fellow who looked Chinese made no sense to me as he yammered on. Thanks for this!
posted by knile at 5:12 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


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