Wendigo 2

A Wendigo (also known as windigoweendigowindagowindigawitikowihtikow, and other variations including manaha)[1] is a half-beast, half-corporeal creature that appears in legends and tales of the Native American, Algonquian tribe of the Great Lakes Region and north Atlantic Coast of the United States and Canada. The creature or spirit of the Wendigo can directly possess human characteristics or be a monster that has physically transformed and disguised as a human. The Wendigo is generally associated with forms of cannibalism and the deepest winter — the time of famine. The Algonquian people believed those who indulged in eating human flesh were especially susceptible[2]. Algonquian mythology of the Wendigo reinforces the taboo to deter practiced cannibalism in its claim to maintain the balance of nature.

The Wendigo legend and name has even been borrowed in the world of Medicine. The medical term Wendigo psychosis is deemed a dramatic culture-bound mental illness, characterized by a deep craving for human flesh as food, although food is plentiful[3]. The Wendigo has also been an inspiration to numerous characters in modern fictional horror film, television, stories and novels.


Etymology Edit

Interestingly, the Wendigo legend does not have it's first appearance documented.

Pronunciation: /ˈwɪndɪɡəʊ/

Forms: weendego(agwendigowihtigowitiko)[4]

Alternative spellings: windigo, wiindigoo, windago windigo

Compare Cree wihtikow ("greedy person; cannibal; giant man-eating monster").

From Ojibwe wiindigoo. Originally from Proto-Algonquian *wi·nteko·wa ("owl")

Folk History Edit

From the 1800s to the 20th century, reportings of an unknown creature have made their way throughout the northern United States, especially in northern Minnesota and to Canada. Stories have circulated for decades by hunters, campers and hikers about hearing long strange moans and encountering bizarrely large creatures in the winter woods.  The unstoppable, relentless and insatiable creature only appears in cold winter woods at night and always during acts of cannibalism (It wants to join in on the feast)! Its territory is vast spanning from the Great Lakes to Dakota, Minnesota and Canada. The Wendigo is described as a large malevolent, demonic and supernatural creature/ entity created by Native American myths. The legend is said to be directly from the Algonquian Native American people and was brought about during the most terrible commit-table evil, cannibalism. The Wendigo’s appearance is directly related to Native American lore; human body, long arms, eight to fifteen feet tall, sharp claws, paper-thin skin with canine teeth, missing toes and lips and crowed with a deer’s skull with attached antlers.

A Wendigo starts out as a human, isolated with a group of people within a forest for a long period of time. Over time cannibal instincts consumes the person and cause him/her to kill and eat their companions. The cannibalistic nature soon turns the human into a monster; a creature that now dwells within its new environment and a developed never ending huger for human flesh. A Wendigo is ALWAYS starving and the victim can NEVER out-run, out-trick, stop or kill it,because it is a supernatural entity that will certain stalk its victim like prey. The human prey is always killed and devoured with the help of the creatures superb stealth, speed and animal-like senses.

Without a definitive document or written history, it is difficult to decipher the true beginning of the legend, however the tales and stories that are known and circulated today are believed to both be inspired by and be a part of the tale. The legend goes shows: a Cree man named Swift Runner, famously slaughtered his entire family in 1878, his wife and six children and ate them, despite being only 25 miles from the Hudson Bay Company's supply post[5].The legend runs so deeply in history that on October 7th,1907, a Oij-Cree Indian named Jack Fiddler was claimed to be an accomplished Wendigo hunter, having killed fourteen Wendigoes during his life time. He and his son, Joseph, were arrested and tried for murdering a woman believed to have been possessed by a Wendigo. Both pleaded guilty, with their only defense for themselves was, the woman being on the verge of transforming into a full Wendigo. It was not until author, Algernon Blackwood introduced the legend to horror fiction in 1910 with his short story "Wendigo" had the legend had any sort of written documentation.

Modern Usage Edit

The 1981 thriller novel, Red Dragon represents the Wendigo character, Hannibal Lecture as an brilliant and clever forensic psychiatrist, giving the cannibalistic serial killer a unsuspecting social cover-up as opposed to the traditional creature lacking rationale or control. The novel is made into a film in 2002 and is later followed by its sequel Silence of the Lambs.

Wendigo represented in Supernatural is represented with different spin, the location. Two brothers Sam and Dean Winchester, the main protagonists, find a Wendigo in the middle of the wood preying on a group of campers in Colorado; a considerably strange location for a Wendigo, where it is commonly found in the east United States and Canada.

Most recently, the Wendigo has made a cultural ripple through the video game industry. On August 25, 2015, a video

Until Dawn Wendigo

game titled Until Dawn was released by Supermassive Games and published by Sony for the PS4. Until Dawn is a survival horror game in the fashion of an interactive 'choose-your-own-adventure' story, in which the player makes game-altering decisions that impact the game's timeline. The game's story revolves around a group of eight friends who find themselves trapped in a mountain cabin lodge. The characters are faced with both psychological and material horror as tensions rise amongst them and they are hunted by creatures identified as Wendigos. In this adaptation of the Wendigo tale, these creatures originated from humans who, in dire circumstances, gave into, fear, hunger, and anxiety- eventually becoming possessed by evil spirits and morphing into contorted, cannibalistic monsters [6].

List of Texts/ Media Edit

  1. 1981 thriller novel Red Dragon Hannibal Lecture is a forensic psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer.FBI profiler, Will Graham interviews Lecter about one of his patients who was murdered by a serial killer, before discovering Lecter is the killer. Lecter is charged with a series of nine murders, but is found not guilty by reason of insanity.He is institutionalized in a State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Some years later, Graham comes out of retirement and consults Lecter in order to catch another serial killer.[7]
  2. In the 1988 sequel to Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, Lecter assists FBI agent-in-training Clarice Starling in catching a serial killer known as "Buffalo Bill" and ask Hannibal Lecter for help in exchange for relocation from the pyschiatric institution, resulting in Lecter's escape.[7]
  3. Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark's Burning Feet[8]
  4. Hannibal. 2012 Television Series
  5. Wendigo. 2001 Horror film directed by Larry Fessenden. Main protagonist George, a high-strung professional photographer starts to unravel from the stress of his work with a Manhattan advertising agency. George takes some time away from the city, Jake, his wife Kim, and their son.George accidentally hits and severely injures a deer that ran onto the icy road; He's confronted by an angry local who had been tracking the deer for some time. When George and Kim arrive at their cabin, they discover that it's next door to local they met earlier's property and see a dark creature. The son is told about the ledgend Wendigo and the child;s curiousity encourages him to find out if the Wendigo is responsible for the family's misfortunes. [9]
  6. In the Marvel Comics Universe, there is a fictional creature called Wendigo
  7. TV series Supernatural[10], the brothers Sam and Dean Winchester, the main protagonists, find a Wendigo in the middle of the woods that is preying on a group of campers.
  8. 1910 "Wendigo" Dr. Cathcart and his nephew Mr. Simpson go on a moose hunting trip deep into the wilderness of northern Canada with their guides Hank Davis and the French Canadian Joseph Défago, along with their Indian cook, Punk. Défago chases after something, Simpson follows him, unable to keep up. Simpson somehow is able to make it back alone, but when Défago returns on his own, and he has changed. [11]

References Edit

  1. Brightman, Robert A. (1988). "The Windigo in the Material World". Ethnohistory 35 (4): 337–379.
  2. Brightman, Robert A. (1988). "The Windigo in the Material World". Ethnohistory 35 (4): 364–379
  3. "Wendigo Psychosis." Segen's Medical Dictionary. 2011. Farlex, Inc. 19 Oct. 2015
  4. "windigo, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2015. Web. 12 October 2015
  5. "The Wendigo Legend - Cannibal Spirit of the North." The Wendigo Legend - Cannibal Spirit of the North. Royal Mint Publishing LLC. Web. 17 Oct. 2015. 
  6. "Until Dawn." Until Dawn. Supermassive Games, Aug. 2014. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
  7. 7.0 7.1 n.a "The Silence of the Lambs." IMDb. Web. 15 Oct. 2015. 
  8. Jemma, Weird_Forever. "Burning Feet." Scary Website. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. 
  9. Wendigo. Dir. Larry Fessenden. Perf. Patricia Clarkson, Jake Weber, Erik Per Sullivan. Antidote Films Glass Eye Pix. 2001. Film
  10. "Wendigo." Supernatural. The WB. 20 September. 2005. Television.
  11. Blackwood, Algernon. Best Ghost Stories of Algernon Blackwood Selected with an Introd. by E.F. Bleiler. New York: Dover Publications, 1973. Print