One of my favorite mysterious creatures of Maine woods is the Billdad - they have the legs of a kangaroo, the tail of a beaver, and the beak of a hawk. These odd animals are noted for the loud splashes they make with their wide tails when they jump into the water hunting fish. Reportedly their meat is good eating but also deadly poisonous. It contains a powerful nuerotoxin which has the most alarming effects on humans. In the first decade of the 1900’s a cook for the Great Northern Paper Company’s Hurricane Lake Camp made a “savory slumgullion” out of billdad meat. One unfortunate Bill Murphy of Ambajejus tasted it with great delight. But moments later he froze with eyes glazed over and then screamed, ran from the mess hall and jumped fifty feet clear out into the lake as if he was a billdad catching a fish. He sank like a rock and drowned before being pulled from the waters. No lumberjack, or anyone else has since dared to taste the forbidden meat of Maine’s billdad.
These shy and beautiful animals are said to only be found only on Boundary Pond in remote Beattie Township of North Franklin, Maine - an 500 square mile unorganized territory in remote Southwestern Maine along the Quebec border. Only 61 people make their home in the entire territory and few roads cross it and as such - you aren’t alone in never having seen or even heard of the billdad.
Find out more about Maine’s billdad and over 40 more of Maine’s rarest creatures in the newly released “Mythical Creatures of Maine”, published by Down East Books and available wherever fine books are sold! Support local bookstores by shopping in person or through: https://bookshop.org/.../mythical-creatures.../9781608937264
Color Billdad illustration credit: Dan Kirchoff, 2021 - Mythical Creatures of Maine B&W Billdad illustration credit: Coert du Bois, 1910