The Hidebehind. - [Latin: Ursus dissimulans.] - [Fearsome Critter]
• About this Critter: An incredibly dangerous, nocturnal woodland predator known to stalk the boundaries of North American & Canadian lumber camps: It is probably best described as: "The sensation of being watched in the woods, being followed by 'something' in the darkness: a terrifying, unknowable presence that can’t quite ever be seen." - Because the creature is so elusive, no satisfactory description of it has ever been obtained.
No matter how quickly the suspicious victim may spin about in the hope of glimpsing their attacker, it cannot and will not ever be witnessed. -They might hear it snickering and giggling as they look around desperately trying to find it, but before they know what hit them, at once; the creature pounces and disembowels its pray with a single swipe and with a horrible, demonic laugh, vanishing back into the woods. - The creature's, slender build gives it such stealth that it's said to always stay just behind its prey, lurking just out of sight, either in the treeline, behind a tree trunk-- or at the edge of your peripheral vision... Right behind you.
...occasionally, those that were in the company of a victim and made it out alive have claimed to have caught a brief glimpse of the creature, either before or during an attack: accounts vary wildly and it is only ever vaguely described: bipedal, slender, nearly 6ft tall, sharp, grizzly-bear-like claws, its body covered in a long dark, sheep-dog like fur, the color of which I would describe as an "Opaque Eingengrau" (an intrinsic shade of dark gray; The same color that one might see when they close their eyes.) -this fur is so dense that it's near impossible to tell if the beast is coming or going, or if the creature actually has a face at all!. The color makes the creature practically invisible in the dark woods at night, some have described it as transparent as well. -Others describe it as having antlers or that its vaguely Dog-like, Deer-like, Bear-like, Lizard-like, Ape-like or Man-ish? -- Regardless, One thing is certain, The creature, whatever species it may vaguely resemble, is said to have an appetite specifically for human guts, particularly the intestines of Tenderfooted lumbermen, who are most often its pray, those poor greenhorns are often found, with their bloodied bodies flayed open with their insides pulled out... The beast has been well documented to account for many missing lumberjacks.
Fortunately, Hidebehinds are also said to have an extreme aversion to Alcohol of any kind, and they will avoid eating* anyone who has been actively drinking. So, whisky sodden lumberjacks could rest a bit easier. [its been said that wise Lumbermen would also use this as an excuse if they showed up to work drunk or if they decided to have a drink whilst on the clock!] - it's been said that having a swig of whisky or a single bottle of beer on hand was a safeguard and would keep the Hidebehind away --Because of this, The beast was said to have been able to go without food for at least 7-8 years and would strike the camp again, just as you all felt it was safe to sober up.
That said there are also several subspecies & regional variants to the Hidebehind: The creature itself is intrinsically known as the "Behinder" or the "Nighbehind." - In Appalachian folklore, a similarly named creature called the "High-behind" is often given to a misshapen deer, or a lizard-like creature, with extremely long rear legs, giving it elevated buttocks. [Despite the humor, make no mistake, it is every bit as vicious and stealthy as its counterpart.] - Without a doubt, despite the fact that these creatures are unable to be properly described, there are surely more variants out there to discover.
• History & early literature appearances: Spoken, oral accounts of 'The hidebehind' supposedly date back to frontier times. - [according to some folklorists, its might reach back further to have native roots. -However, because the creature is described so vaguely, most cannot fully agree if it was appropriated or not.**] Most argue that The hidebehind as we know it seems to have originated as a simple boogyman to keep youngsters from wandering too deeply into the woods. - Paul Bunyan tales, Yarns & Campfire stories about this creature were especially popular with campers & hikers around the turn of the century.
The creature seems to have begun its popularity in publishing sometime in the late 1920's: A blood-curdling description of a HideBehind attack and the resulting victim, were described in a story by Lake Shore Kearney in 1928. [The same book which is also known for helping to popularize & give deeper lore to what today is arguably the most famous fearsome critter: "The Black Hodag."]
*Kearney describes an attack ending as such: "It disembowels its victim, bringing out the entrails, raising them to its head for the purpose of smelling them before eating, Should there be any scent of liquor in the entrails, the animal will throw them back into the face of the victim and with a horrible laugh, vanish into the forest..." --so ideally its best to walk around drunk off your arse to avoid the hide behind.
In 1935, The Hidebehind was again given a brief description in Paul Bunyan Natural History.
The earliest published illustration of what is supposed to be the critter (That I could find & confirm at least.) was Illustrated by Margaret & Henry H Tryon in "Fearsome Critters."  -
[The "SheepDog-like" hidebehind as it appears fearsome critters, by Margaret Tryon, 1939.]
- The Hidebehind was later mentioned briefly in "The book of imaginary beings" by Jorge Luis Borges  then into the 70's, a humorous variant called the "Great Seventeen-Toed Prairie Hidebehind" was featured in Sid Fleishman's McBroom’s Zoo [1972.] Stories about Pecos Bill capturing a hidebehind were soon published [1977.] Soon, the hidebehind also made another lizard-like appearance in "Kicklesnifters and other Fearsome Critters"  - Thereafter & well into the 80s, The Hidebehind also gets mentioned across several children's books beginning as early as 1982 & then onwards through the 90's quite often alongside the following short poem:
"Have you seen the Hidebehind? I don't think you will, mind you, because as you're running through the dark, the Hidebehind's behind you." [Though its often presented without credit, the poem is sometimes credited to Michael Rosen.]
...Of course, to this very day, The Hidebehind has also been mentioned & illustrated across several modern Folkloric, Cryptozoology bestiaries, Books, Field guides & Monster encyclopedias over the last 25+ odd years as well. - [I'm sure there are more than I can link to properly, check my bibliography for more.]
Modern media: As with most fearsome critters today The 'hidebehind' as a monster has largely fallen out of the public consciousness, it is only really ever shared between those that are knowledgeable about the concept of critters & cryptids - [Of course, similar 'vaguely described' monsters occasionally pop up in creepypasta & horror culture, internet campfire stories to this day.] - **Recently The name "Hidebehind" had a bit of a resurgence on the internet, particularly over on the "scary side of TikTok." --Oddly, some tik-tokers seem to have taken to using the 'Hidebehind' name interchangeably or as a sort of codeword when talking about particular native monsters, whose names are either considered a bit of a taboo to say aloud or otherwise generally not spoken of. (IE: "Wendigo" --Similarly, the term 'Mimic' is also used to describe 'Skinwalkers' 'Crawlers' or 'Monsters that imitate human voices or babies crying.') - This is usually done in an effort to be culturally sensitive. [-But, if I'm being completely honest? it just kind of comes off the opposite?] -Regardless, I would like to take a moment to point out, however similar these creatures may or may not be: they are each with their own unique quirks, lore, stories & cultural origins. -These should be respected and They should NOT be confused or used interchangeably with one another!
--on the note of recent hidebehind lore: recently, The Hidebehind and a few other critters have also been listed as anomalies by the SCP foundation, but as any experienced folklorists & cryptozoologists know; unlike Fearsome Critters & Cryptids, the foundation's anomalies are [HARSH OPINION REDACTED.]
• Pop Culture & Gaming: The Hidebehind also has its own dedicated folksong by Shawn McBurnie & The Slight Exaggerations. [Fearsome Critters, 2014] yet another critters song titled "hidebehind" [Sam Kindle, 2022] A popular Hidebehind appearance was also included in disney's Gravity falls shorts, Dippers guide to the unexplained. (its appearance is a bit closer to 'slenderman' than anything previously described.) - In Pottermore & Fantastic Beasts  It appears as a bigfoot-like creature. [Full offence, Worst depiction yet.] Those that play minecraft might delight in the whisperwoods mod  which features a very startling, mostly lore accurate hidebehind. - The hidebehind has surely made quite a few other video game & popculture appearances since, but they are very rarely 'lore accurate' so, for now I shall not list them all here...
• See also: Bigfoot, Slenderman, Crawlers. • Similar Yokai: Beto Beto San.
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