These beasts are as elusive as its name suggests, and their elusiveness is one is the reasons why Hidebehinds are so dangerous. Fond of concealing themselves within the woodland regions of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan (USA logging country) the hide-behind has inspired considerable debate about its appearance.
It has been described as canine, wraith-like, or humanoid. The diversity of these accounts might be the result of the hidebehind being able to rapidly change its shape.
However, experienced loggers and trackers knew that the slender body of the hidebehind is covered in long black fur, thick enough that its front and back—and face—are indistinguishable, and that its forelegs are short, powerful, and armed with bear-like claws.
This creature gets its name from always hiding behind something, most often behind tree trunks and fallen branches, and it is far more likely to be heard than seen, rustling through the underbrush, racing from tree to tree. And yet difficult to spot, this creature is not shy but a deadly hunter.
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. That’s the primary reason it avoids being seen, so it can sneak upon its potential victims. This beast has been linked to the disappearance of many pioneers and loggers, whom it’s suspected of devouring. It’s a well know fact that human flesh and fresh water birds compose most of the hidebehind’s diet.
Like many other fearsome creatures, the tales of the hidebehind helped those who lived and worked on the woodlands in past ages to cope with the mysteries of their surroundings. The monster was blamed for the sudden disappearance of loggers, for the inexplicable noises heard at night near campsites, but it also played and instructive role, reminding woodspeople the need to remain vigilant against potential threats.
In most accounts, fire seems to be the only weapon against the hidebehind. So keeping a bright bonfire at night was a good way to stay warm, but also your best bet to keep hidebehinds away.
-Brunvand, J.H. ed., 2006. American folklore: An encyclopedia. Routledge.
-Fee, C.R. and Webb, J.B. eds., 2016. American Myths, Legends, and Tall Tales: An Encyclopedia of American Folklore [3 volumes]: An Encyclopedia of American Folklore (3 Volumes). Abc-Clio.