America has started to seem like a country of liars, and I suppose it probably always was, but it seems to me the lies were more entertaining once upon a time. They weren't called lies then, and they didn't exist for political purposes, but instead for entertainment.
Newspapermen made up stories about moon men. Sailors told tales of giant sea captains who battled colossal squid. And lumberjacks had whole genres of tall tales, from the various Paul Bunyan myths to obsessively manufacturing tales of cryptids in the big woods.
It is to these stories that we will address ourselves today. The lumberjacks called them fearsome critters, and here is a sampling of the weirdest.
FUNERAL MOUNTAIN TERRASHOT
First seen by Mormon evangelists, this beast resembles a six-to-eight-foot walking casket with four long, wobbly legs. These creatures live tragic lives: They will try to cross deserts to locate new territory in the hills, walking in a long, uncertain procession. But the heat from the desert causes their bodies to expand and eventually explode, leaving the desert dotted with graves created by the explosions.
This creatures preys on humans that wander into the forest, and is especially dangerous. Although it is generally described as a large beast, this is presumably guesswork, as the hidebehind gets its name from its astonishing skill at hiding behind things, which includes the ability to pull its gut in tight enough to fit behind even the smallest tree. It is, however, allergic to alcohol, so anyone planning on taking a stroll in the woods would do well to fortify themselves first.
A moose-sized beast with four-legs and a long snout. This animal has no leg joints, so it must remain upright at all times. It grazes on tree limbs and travels far distances every day, so far that it is almost impossible to trap. Hunters occasionally catch one by cutting trees in such a way that they will fall over if pressure is applied, as the hugag sleeps by leaning up against a tree. With their unjointed legs, if they fall over they cannot rise again.
A wild cat that preys on wild bees and raccoons, which it does with a distinctive hunting technique: It throws itself headfirst into the trees that these animals inhabit, knocking all the bark off and leaving the tree stripped and ghostly. This hunting technique leaves the cat with a permanent headache, so it is constantly irritable.
This two-to-four-legged beast lives in the underbrush, where it fills its cheeks with mud. When it spots a potential target, it rises on its legs, which extend like a tripod. When it is high enough for a clear shot, it fires mud pellets from its snout, which resembles a blowgun, and then consumes its stunned prey at leisure.