The hidebehind is a nocturnal[1] fearsome critter from American folklore that preys upon humans that wander the woods,[2] and was blamed for the disappearances of early loggers when they failed to return to camp.[3][4] As its name suggests, the hidebehind is said to be able to conceal itself. When an observer attempts to look directly at it, the creature quickly hides behind an object or behind the observer and therefore cannot be directly seen.[5] The hidebehind supposedly uses this ability to stalk human prey without being observed and to attack them without warning. Said victims, including lumberjacks and others who frequent the forests, are then dragged back to the creature's lair to be devoured.[2][3] The creature subsists chiefly upon the intestines of its victim and has a severe aversion to alcohol, which is therefore considered a sufficient repellent.[6] Tales of the hidebehind may have been used as an explanation of strange noises in the forest at night. Early accounts describe hidebehinds as large, powerful animals, despite the fact that no one was able to see them.

The hidebehind from Fearsome Critters (1939)
GroupingLegendary creature
CountryUnited States
HabitatForests and woodlands

The hidebehind has been featured and referenced in popular culture including games, novels, stories, and television.

  • In Pecos Bill Catches a Hidebehind, a hidebehind's capture is attempted by the cowboy, in hopes to donate it to a zoo.[7]
  • Hidebehinds are mentioned in Diane Duane's Young Wizards series.[8] In the series, they are described as being mostly small creatures, with the fear they engender in those they stalk being a defense mechanism.[8]
  • In 2016, the official Harry Potter themed site Pottermore by J. K. Rowling released a new story about the wizarding school Ilvermorny, which featured a hidebehind. This "nocturnal, forest-dwelling spectre" preys on humanoid creatures, but a witch and Pukwudgie working together were able to defeat the creature.[9] It also features in the revised edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
  • A variant of this creature called the Great Seventeen-Toed Prairie hidebehind is featured in Sid Fleishman's McBroom’s Zoo where it is depicted as a shy, harmless creature.[10]
  • The hidebehind appeared in the Gravity Falls short "Dipper's Guide to the Unexplained: The Hide Behind".[11]
  • The hidebehind is featured in the 2018 short horror film "The Hidebehind" directed by Parker Finn.[12]

See also



  1. ^ Wyman, Walker D. (1978). Mythical Creature in the USA and Canada. River Falls, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Riverfalls Press.
  2. ^ a b Botkin, B. A. (1977). The American People: Stories, Legends, Tales, Traditions and Songs. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. ISBN 1-56000-984-5
  3. ^ a b Brown, C. E. (1935). Paul Bunyan Natural History. Madison: self-published.
  4. ^ Cohen, Daniel (1975). Monsters, Giants, and Little Men from Mars: An Unnatural History of the Americas. New York: Doubleday.
  5. ^ Randolph, Vance (1951). We Always Lie to Strangers: Tall Tales from the Ozarks. New York: Columbia University Press.
  6. ^ Tryon, Henry Harrington (1939). Fearsome Critters. Cornwall, New York: Idlewild Press.
  7. ^ Blassingame, Wyatt; Vestal, Herman (1977). Pecos Bill Catches a Hidebehind. Garrard Publishing Company. ISBN 0-8116-4045-0.
  8. ^ a b Duane, Diane. "The Errantry Concordance: The Online Encyclopedia of the Young Wizards Universe". Retrieved 2009-10-08.
  9. ^ Rowling, J.K. (June 28, 2016). "Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry". Pottermore.
  10. ^ Fleischman, Sid; Werth, Kurt (1972). McBroom's zoo. New York: Grosset & Dunlap. ISBN 0-448-21444-X. OCLC 533668.
  11. ^ DisneyXDUK (2014-04-25), Gravity Falls - Dipper's Guide To The Unexplained - The Hide Behind, archived from the original on 2021-12-13, retrieved 2017-04-01
  12. ^ "The Hidebehind". YouTube. 2018. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13.