A Fearsome Critter To Behold: The Shagamaw
Within the vast forests of Maine, there is said to be a critter that is unlike anything seen before. The fearsome creature is said to be responsible for countless number of fights within logging camps, and it is known to leave even the most seasoned of woodsman scratching his head at the mere sight of its tracks. The critter is thought to be some sort of a hybrid creature and is widely known as The Shagamaw.
Those who have seen the critter describe it as being equal parts bear and moose, with the upper most half resembling a full grown bear, and the lower half taking on the appearance of moose legs. The Shagamaw is thought to be quite shy, extremely slow in mental capacity, and quite fond of eating discarded mittens, boots, and other lost articles of clothing it finds within the woods. Because of its slow nature, it does not fear humans, it instead studies their most commonly used walking trails and follows them as if they were its own.
While following these trails, the Shagamaw shows off its most notable feature, the ability to walk on both its feet and its hands. Since the lower half of the critter has moose legs, the heavy beast leaves deep hoof prints in the dirt. It continues on its way for nearly a quarter of a mile (or roughly 440 steps) before it suddenly inverts itself and begins walking on its hands. Now, because the top half of the Shagamaw is that of a bear, the critter now begins leaving deep bear tracks within the dirt below it. The shy creature continues forward through the woods for another 440 steps after which it again stops, inverts itself once more, and continues on its way leaving moose tracks once again.
Now, due to the fact that the Shagamaw has such a unique set of prints, and because it uses the most frequented walking trails, loggers often come upon its tracks. After realizing that an extremely large moose has passed not too far from camp and may still be in the area, the eager lumberjack starts to track it. Confident in their ability to find the creature and earn a new trophy, the lumberjack keeps his eyes locked on the tracks below him when suddenly they change into those of a completely different creature. Shocked and confused about how an experienced woodsman and tracker such as he is able to just lose the path of a giant moose, the lumberjack continues on his way with hopes of picking up the trail once again, but the only tracks below him now are those of a giant bear. Not wanting to encounter a large predator of this size alone, the experienced woodsman returns to camp to inform those of what he had seen.
Upon arrival back at camp, the confused lumberjack informs the others of what he had experienced. It often goes without saying that laughter, mocking, and ridicule generally follow. And just like that, the Shagamaw has unknowingly caused yet another fight among the woodsmen. While the men at camp are fighting about whether the tracks were truly those of a moose or bear, the Shagamaw continues on its way, looking for forgotten pieces of clothing where it finds them, and changing the way it walks every 440 steps.
“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
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