You most likely have not come across a Wendigo before but it is very much likely you have heard stories of this mysterious creature. Even Larry Fessenden the American actor, director and producer directed a horror film of the same name, starring Patricia Clarkson and Jake Weber. Just like tales of the dragon and the dinosaur, tales of the Wendigo is common to the native Americans but over the years, the name has become familiar to most American citizens. The name alone instills fear to most people and curiosity to many others, and it is this curiosity that inspires us to dig deep and to find out what this creature is – a myth or reality.
The Truth About Wendigo: What Exactly is It?
Sometimes spelt as Windigo, Wendigo is a cannibalistic demonic creature which has the ability to possess humans. The creature possesses some human-like characteristics and feeds mainly on human flesh, which is one frightening feature about it.
Wendigo is believed to have originated from the northern forests of Nova Scotia the Atlantic Coast and Great Lakes Region of Canada. The Legend says Wendigos were seen in the 1800s but they suddenly disappeared in the early 1900s. A few still believe that Wendigo still surfaces from time to time in specific forests in the United States and Canada during the winter periods.
Some traditions believe that humans do turn into this mysterious creature and it is made possible when greed overpower such persons. One other way many believe human’s turn into this beast is when they have contact with the cannibalistic creature for way too long.
A common tale about the first Wendigo involves a human hunter who was out for long hunting in the winter. According to the tale, the hunter became extremely hungry after a long fruitless hunting spree. He then became cannibalistic thereby feeding on human flesh. Gradually, the hunter turned into a demon-like creature. His hunger for human flesh never seized and the human-beast has continued to roam forests during the winter periods in search of humans to feed on. This is one of many tales about the Wendigo adopted from the Algonquian, a Native American sub-group.
Another tale about the beastly creature has it that the human-beast has special inhuman abilities, some abilities we see in the superhero movies we watch. The Algonquians believe the Wendigo has a very fast speed, making it almost impossible for its prey to outrun it. The Wendigo has the ability to walk a very long distance without getting tired. It also has the ability to mimic human speeches, deceiving its prey into believing it is human and drawing them to it.
Another tale about Wendigo says it is a demonic spirit which possesses humans and then turns them into demonic creatures like it. All the tales about the horrific creature, have some similarities. First is that Wendigo feeds on humans. Secondly, it lives in the forest and only hunts during winter.
Is the Wendigo Story Real or a Myth?
Questions on the reality of the Wendigo story has remained unanswered especially as more cases of people being possessed by the demonic spirit keep sprouting. In 1879 for instance, there was a case of cannibalism in which a murder suspect defined his action as being possessed by a Wendigo. Swift Runner murdered his wife and kids after which he ate them all. After getting arrested, Swift Runner told the police that he carried out the action after being possessed by a “Wendigo spirit”.
Down the years, there have been several related cases of cannibalism and the suspects all claiming to have been possessed by the demonic spirit. However, as there is still no fact attached to the true existence of the creature scientifically, many still regard the Wendigo story a myth.
Other Facts to Know About the Creature
- A German explorer attributed the name ‘Windigo or ‘Windego’ to a Canibal in 1860
- The creature is said to appear very thin which signifies its unsatisfying hunger to consume more humans
- It is a common belief that the creature Windigo possesses its host slowly starting with a strange odour only its victim can perceive. It then goes ahead to torment the victim until it takes over the mind and body.
- According to folklore, the demonic creature becomes stronger the longer its walks on earth.
- The creature possesses special powers which it uses to manipulate and command other predators to do as its commands