Back in the Day, Maine Loggers Were Scared of More Than Just Bigfoot
Back in the day, we all know that logging in Maine was king.
Because there was so much money to be made out there, men would stay out there for months at a stretch. Anyone isolated out in the woods that long, is going to have the potential to get a little on the loony side, I think. Isolation for long periods will make you believe just about anything.
While most folks around the country have heard of Bigfoot/Sasquatch, lots of regions have their own creatures that inhabit their woods. For instance, the Jersey Devil is indigenous to the state of New Jersey. Or how every big lake around the world has its own version of Nessie.
Maine is kind of the hub of all things cryptid...
Down in Portland, they currently have the world's only cryptozoology museum. Which is a place where you're likely to find info on all the creatures Maine loggers were once likely horrified of. Soon enough, that museum is moving to Bangor. How cool is that?! They already have moved their bookstore up here in the last year or so.
In Maine, back a couple of centuries, there were three creatures specifically that seemed to cause woodsmen a lot of anxiety, according to the BDN, and were all featured in a book called Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods: With a Few Desert and Mountain Beasts. Let's check them out.
The Tote Road Shagamaw
When you read about it, sounds almost like a giant Jackalope. It's a half-bear/half-moose hybrid that would walk a quarter-mile at a time, alternating between its bear paws and moose hooves. Personally, I'm imagining maybe there was some homemade liquor involved in these sightings. Haha.
The Billdad is an odd, little creature believed to live up in the northwestern tip of Maine and into Canada. This odd little critter was roughly the size of a beaver and had the same flat tail. But it also had kangaroo-like legs, and a beak like an eagle. Yes, you read all that right. Again, homemade hooch has to be a part of all this. And lastly...
This beast's name actually pretty much implies what its deal is. It's a little ape-like creature with long arms, that would snap branches off of trees, and then throw them at their unsuspecting victims. It was believed that the branches could be thrown with such force, that death was a distinct possibility.
The Hoop Snake
The hoop snake was a mythical creature allegedly first seen in Scarborough in the mid-1600s. It was the most poisonous snake in the world, but instead of fangs in its mouth, it had a stinger on its tail. When after prey, it would put its stinger in its mouth and roll at high speed, chasing its victim. It even tried to bite Paul Bunyan once.
A couple hundred years ago, these creatures may have seemed a bit more believable. I mean when you're living in a time period where leeches and bloodletting were still semi-common, being convinced that weird creatures with very specific agendas lived in the woods isn't that far-fetched. And who knows? They may be totally real. But probably not.
I bet old Maine loggers started half of these terms we use all the time...
Wicked Big List of Maine Slang Terms
10 of the Deepest Lakes and Ponds in Maine
Step Back in Time in This 1820 Farmhouse on 15 Orrington Acres