Now that winter is really here and we can't get out to Camp Chicken on the weekends, I have a lot of time on my hands. So I thought I would share some campfire stories that we tell up at Camp Chicken to scare visitors and each other.
There are some critters around the Upper Peninsula northwoods that you need to be wary of if you come up here to visit.
My Dad, Harry told us about this ill-tempered, nasty creature when we were just kids. The Wampus-Cat is a medium to large cat that prowls the thick, dark swampy places of the Eastern Upper Peninsula. It has a large head that looks somewhat like a lynx and powerful front shoulders and razor-sharp claws. However, instead of having a normal hind-end, it has another large head, front shoulders and legs at the other end. So the Wampus-Cat looks like the front end of two big cats stuck together. Dad says that this makes the Wampus-Cat particularly cranky and bad-tempered because it can't ever poop. Now, you know how cranky you feel when you can't poop even for one day, so imagine how bad-tempered this kitty because it can never poop.
The Wampus-Cat is constantly in an argument with itself on what direction it wants to go and what it wants to do. Each head and brain has it's own ideas of what it should be doing and where it should be going. So this makes the Wampus-Cat even more grumpy and bad-tempered.
So if you are out in the woods near Camp Chicken or anywhere in the E.U.P. beware of the Wampus-Cat. If you are so unlucky as to run into one, turn and run away as fast as you can. You see, it will take the Wampus-Cat some time to decide which end is going to chase and eat you and by that time you will have been able to get away.
My Grandpa, Elmer, told us about the Hide-A-Behind when we were just little and we have all been terrified of it since then.
The Hide-A-Behind is a tricky and scary critter that, as the name implies, hides behind things. It is especially fond of hiding behind you when you are walking alone in the woods after dark.
Imagine yourself on a dark forest path. You might be on your way out to your deer stand. You are carrying a small, dim flashlight. Suddenly, you hear something rustling along behind you. You stop and it stops. You walk and it walks. You spin around and shine the flashlight but you see nothing. As you begin to walk again, you can almost feel a presence behind you. You begin to almost feel something breathing down your neck. You just know that something is back there, sneaking up behind you. Screwing up your courage, you again spin around and shine your light but there is nothing there. It is the Hide-A-Behind. He can sneak up on you in the dark and when you turn around hides behind something so you can't see him.
I swear I have almost caught him several times but he always manages to hide from me. I'm not sure I really want to see him, because Grandpa said he was a really scary looking critter. I don't know that he actually ever really saw one or was just making all of it up.
All I do know is that when we were kids and had to walk in the dark from Grandpa and Grandma's house to the car, we would run like crazy so the Hide-A-Behind wouldn't get us.