Today, William T. Cox’s Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, With a Few Desert and Mountain Beasts
abounds in various electronic and printed formats, but at one time it was scarcely mentioned and remembered only by a small handful of devout folklorists.
Fourteen years ago, I set out on a search to find a curious volume of forgotten lore. Information on it was rare and pictures virtually nonexistent, but this did not discourage my efforts. For I knew what it must hold was something worth wild, something which I had never seen the likes of before. By a stroke of luck a copy made its way to me, which later became the basis for this edition. Growing up in the woods, one is captivated by a special kind of feeling, known only by those who have spent a significant portion of their life among the emerald leaves and beneath the shade of branches. As I think back to my youth, I spent a great deal of time by myself getting lost among pines and dogwoods. My mother’s voice would echo through the trees beseeching my return and occasional search parties were organized. Yet, I never knew loneliness in the woods. Rather the seclusion of the forests provided a sort of solace to childhood fears, and it felt almost as I was being absorbed into it. It became a part of me in such a manner as to be inseparable. I recall it fondly, but it all comes back to that feeling.
For the woods are place of imagination, enchantment and wonder that is difficult to describe. The thing which I find most appealing about Mr. Cox’s work is that it perfectly expresses this feeling. It is art of the storyteller, the magic if you will, that simple words can do no justice. It is a rare gift that we can appreciate much more as adults than as children. So, I invite you to pick up this book, recollect those fond childhood days and get lost one more time.