Variations: Hide-behind, Hide Behind, Ursus dissimulans (Tryon)
Hidebehinds are very dangerous animals, found throughout American logging country. It gets its name from always hiding behind something, and nobody has ever seen one – to be more specific, no greenhorn has ever seen one.
Experienced lumberjacks know that the hidebehind looks a lot like a bear, walking upright, standing about 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall. Its slender body is covered in long black fur, thick enough that its front and back are interchangeable and its face (if it has one) is unknown. The forelegs are short, powerful, and armed with bear-like claws. The tail is like that of a French sheepdog and is held curled upwards.
A hidebehind is so narrow that it can conceal itself behind a ten-inch tree. No matter how fast you move, the hidebehind moves faster; you can whirl around to catch a glimpse of it, but it will always be out of sight behind a tree. They are extremely patient stalkers, capable of fasting for seven years before finding suitable prey.
Human and grebe intestines are the mainstay of a hidebehind’s diet. It uses its hooked claws to disembowel unwary loggers, pouncing from its hiding place with a terrifying laugh. Sometimes the hidebehind’s peal of laughter is enough to scare prey to death before they are ripped open.
Fortunately hidebehinds loathe the smell of alcohol, and just one bottle of beer is a guarantee of total safety in hidebehind country. Kearney warns that a hidebehind might disembowel a logger before noticing intestinal alcohol, so ideally a good state of inebriation is required.
Borges, J. L.; trans. Hurley, A. (2005) The Book of Imaginary Beings. Viking.
Brown, C. E. (1935) Paul Bunyan Natural History. Madison, Wisconsin.
Kearney, L. S. (1928) The Hodag and other Tales of the Logging Camps. Democrat Printing Company, Madison.
Tryon, H. H. (1939) Fearsome Critters. The Idlewild Press, Cornwall, NY.