In the foggy region along the Pacific Coast from Grays Harbor to Humboldt Bay there ranges a kind of creature that has caused much annoyance in the lumber woods. This is the gumberoo, which, luckily, is so rare that only once in a great while is one seen. It is believed to remain in hiding most of the time in the base of enormous, burned-out cedar trees, from where it sallies forth occasionally on frightful marauding expeditions. During these periods of activity the beast is always hungry and devours anything it can find that looks like food. A whole horse may be eaten at one sitting, distending the gumberoo out of all proportions, but failing to appease its hunger or cause it the slightest discomfort.
The specimens seen are reported to have been coal black, but that may have been due to their being smirched with the charred wood. In size the beast corresponds closely to a black bear, for which it might be mistaken only for the fact that the gumberoo is almost hairless. To be sure, it has prominent eyebrows and some long, bristly hairs on its chin, but the body is smooth, tough, and shiny and bears not even a wrinkle. The animal is a tireless traveler when looking for food, but is not swift in its movements or annoyed in the slightest degree by the presence of enemies. The latter characteristic is easily accounted for by the fact that no other animal within its range has ever found a successful method of attacking a gumberoo or a vulnerable spot in one's anatomy. Whatever strikes the beast bounds off with the same force. Its elastic hide hurls back with equal ease the charging elk and the wrathy hornet. A rock or peavey thrown at the creature bounds back at whoever threw it, and a bullet shot against its hide is sure to strike the hunter between the eyes.
It is believed that the scarcity of gumberoos is due to their combustible character and the prevalence of forest fires. The animal burns like celluloid, with explosive force. Frequently during and after a forest fire in the heavy cedar near Coos Bay woodmen have insisted that they heard loud reports quite unlike the sound of falling trees, and detected the smell of burning rubber in the air.