The book excerpt not only discusses the origins of the Bigfoot story, but it also briefly recounts the story of the fearsome hodag – which should always be said with near ecstatic excitement: HODAG! – "The Rhino of America's North Woods." Pictured below.
From Blu Buhs's new book:
Lumberjacks, hunters, trappers, and other working-class men had long told stories of such prodigies. For decades, seasoned veterans had funned greenhorns with tales of sidehill dodgers and mosquitoes so big that they sucked cows dry and by having them fetch the equally legendary left-handed wrench. Or they sent them to hunt snipes. Around the turn of the twentieth century, Eugene Shepard, a Wisconsin lumberjack, raconteur, and prankster, announced that he had caught a hodag, the rhino of America’s north woods. Shepard photographed a group of friends killing the beast with picks and axes. The picture was made into a postcard; hundreds of thousands were sold; tourists flocked to Rhinelander, Wisconsin; reportedly, the Smithsonian even expressed interest. Seeing is believing. But the hodag was just a woodcarving. It was all a humbug. American history is rife with such practical jokes, stories of giant turtles and panthers, jackalopes and sea serpents, agropelters and snow wassetts—an entire bestiary of legendary animals. The tradition continued long after the frontier closed. In 1950, for example, the men’s adventure magazine Saga introduced a feature called “Sowing the Wild Hoax” and encouraged the blue-collar men reading it to send in examples of “particularly fiendish” and “unusually funny” practical jokes.