A Fearsome Critter To Behold: The Agropelter
The Agropelter (also known as The Widow Maker) was described as being an extremely vengeful critter that made its home in the northern forests of the United States. It was said to resemble a mix between an ape and a man, had an extremely thin and wiry body, and possessed two extremely long, extremely muscular arms. The critter was said to take up residence inside hollowed out dead trees and was incredibly aggressive towards any lumberjack that dared to enter its claimed territory. If it felt that its home turf was being encroached upon, the Agropelter would make quick work of ending the intruders life.
When an unknowing lumberjack crossed into the established domain of an Agropelter, the critter would watch the lumberjack like a hawk until it felt the moment to strike was perfect. As soon as the unknowing victim passed alongside the hollowed out home of the angry creature, the Agropelter would snap off a heavy dead limb and throw it down (with the speed of a bullet) towards the lumberjack. The body of the victim would be left bloodied and broken underneath the large limb as the Agropelter made off towards a new dead tree in which to establish a new home.
The requirements needed for a suitable home included a large dead tree with a sturdy base (preferably already hollow, but if not the creature would eat out the remaining bark inside), a large amount of dead branches covering the outside, and a suitable supply of woodpeckers and owls to eat. If these requirements were met, the Agropelter would be able to build a nest and produce its pups. These younglings would always be born on February 29th and the litter amount would always be an odd number.
It is apparent that the Agropelter was created as a way to explain the challenges and dangers one faces while working deep within the woods. It is quite common for large dead branches to snap and break off trees without warning and end the life of people unlucky enough to be standing or passing underneath. Hopefully the story of the Agropelter caused more lumberjacks to be on guard and more aware of their surroundings while out working in the dense forest, and allowed them all to return safely back to camp each night.
“In early lumberjack folklore, fearsome critters were mythical beasts that were said to inhabit the frontier wilderness of North America. The critters were a part of lumberjack downtime and were often used to welcome and haze newcomers to the camp. Lumberjacks who would go from camp to camp would bring their entertaining stories with them and they would slowly spread as tall tales across America.”
-The Pine Barrens Institute
*Image Credit: https://loneanimator.deviantart.com/gallery/