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All about the Wendigo

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posted on May, 29 2005 @ 03:07 AM

The American Indians had their own tales of the Wendigo, dating back so many years that most who were interviewed could not remember when the story had not been told. The Inuit Indians of the region called the creature by various names, including Wendigo, Witigo, Witiko and Wee-Tee-Go but each of them was roughly translated to mean "the evil spirit that devours mankind". Around 1860, a German explorer translated Wendigo to mean "cannibal" among the tribes along the Great Lakes.

Native American versions of the creature spoke of a gigantic spirit, over fifteen feet tall, that had once been human but had been transformed into a creature by the use of magic. Though all of the descriptions of the creature vary slightly, the Wendigo is generally said to have glowing eyes, long yellowed fangs and overly long tongues. Most have a sallow, yellowish skin but others are said to be matted with hair. They are tall and lanky and are driven by a horrible hunger. But how would a person grow to become one of this strange creatures?

According to the lore, the Wendigo is created whenever a human resorts to cannibalism to survive. In years past, such a practice was possible, although still rare, as many of the tribes and settlers in the region were cut off by the bitter snows and ice of the north woods. Unfortunately, eating another person to survive was sometimes resorted to and thus, the legend of the Wendigo was created.

There are many definitions, almost as many as there were Native Tribes before the Europeans came to this continent. Most of Tribes knew of a creature they called "Windigo." But a few of the Tribes (mainly in this part of Canada) also feared another creature called the "Wendigo." Both of these creatures can be found in Native American mythology. But while Windigo is an actual animal, Wendigo is an animal spirit. The following is a transcription of one of the most comprehensive explanations of The Wendigo: WENDIGO, THE SPIRIT OF THE LONELY PLACES Every man who ventures alone into the wilderness should fear the spirit of the lonely places, known as Wendigo in northern Canada and by different names in other parts of the world. The cunning of Wendigo is that it knows how to keep out of your sight. As you travel, it is always behind your back. No matter how quickly you may turn, it moves faster. As you tramp through bush or forest, hills or desert, with no other company but your thoughts, you become slowly aware that Wendigo follows you. You may struggle against the temptation to swing around, but at last you turn and there is nothing. But you know that Wendigo has dodged behind you again, and you move quickly to surprise it. Again nothing, except perhaps the slightest movement of a bush. A breeze, or an animal, or Wendigo? You gaze everywhere around you, but there is nothing ... or so it seems. Wendigo torments some men until they empty their rifles blindly into the bush, screaming defiant challenges. But when the shots and cries have died away the silence settles again. The traveller plods on, and Wendigo follows. At night, it hovers outside the circle of the campfire. At dawn, it retreats in to the forest mist. As the days pass, Wendigo speaks to the traveller in little sighing whispers: words which he is not quite able to distinguish. Sometimes they sound like the voice of a friend, so that he shouts an amazed reply. Vainly he assures himself it is only the wind. He may even glimpse Wendigo, as a shadow moving between the trees or grass bending beneath invisible feet. At last the traveller runs before Wendigo, casting aside weapons, provisions, and all other gear that might hamper his flight. Sobbing desperately he runs until the end of his strength, and falls exhausted and alone. The wilderness silence settles around the body, although the treetops sway as though a wind had passed through them. Wendigo has gone, but will always return.

A Wendigo made a number of appearances near a town called Rosesu in Northern Minnesota from the late 1800's through the 1920's. Each time that it was reported, an unexpected death followed and finally, it was seen no more.

There are many who still believe that the Wendigo roams the woods and the prairies of northern Minnesota. Whether it seeks human flesh, or acts as a portent of coming doom, is anyone's guess but before you start to doubt that it exists.... remember that the stories and legends of this fearsome creature have been around since before the white man walked on these shores.

Another link


posted on Jun, 7 2005 @ 11:26 AM
ha, im sorry but i was reading about this for like 3 min and the whole time i was thinking "winabago" (or however you spell it), and was like wtf?!?

kinda interesting though.

posted on Jun, 7 2005 @ 11:28 AM
I grew up with stories of the wendigo.. and just thinking about it gives me the chills. It's enough to make you think twice about staying in the woods in North Western Ontario, or Northern Minnesota. The image is horrifying.

posted on Jun, 7 2005 @ 01:05 PM
I read a book about demons in indian culture and it had a fascinating part about the Wendigo. The book explained that Wendigo tales originated with the Ojibwa indians thousands of years ago. For those that don't know, the Objiwa indians were remarkably advanced compared to other tribes of North America, in fact they were the only indians to have any form of writing (using symbols) north of the Meso-American Cultures (Mayas and Incas). The Objiwas also had a very organized religous structure called the Mediwiwin, which was much more social than the medicine man/woman type religons of other north American tribes.

Anyway the strangest part of the Wendigo stories to me is about those people that attempt to become Wendigo to gain it's powers. The descriptions of the people becoming flesh eating Sasquatch-type creatures really fascinates me. Hair covering the whole body, a terrible odor, an apelike face, and the loud death like screams. Seems alot like what other indian tribes have described as seeing in the forests throughout North America, whetever name they call it by. That gives the Wendigo stories a little credibility to me. How can all of these cultures have similar beasts in their legends even though the societies and languages were so different, not to mention that they were often warring against each other?

Oh yeah, I don't remember the name of the book about the indian demons but I do remember also reading about Wendigo in the book "Evil In Our Midsts" by David Jones. That book is about evil spirits in different cultures all around the world.

posted on Jun, 7 2005 @ 09:47 PM

Originally posted by looking4truth
...Objiwa indians were remarkably advanced... in fact they were the only indians to have any form of writing (using symbols) north of the Meso-American Cultures (Mayas and Incas).

Advanced: correct.
Only culture with writing: way wrong answer.

Want to see a wendigo? Click Here.

[edit on 7-6-2005 by Chakotay]
[edited to correct link coding - nygdan]

[edit on 9-6-2005 by Nygdan]

posted on Jun, 9 2005 @ 12:29 PM
Best not talked about eh? Thats part of the mythology no? Don't talk about the wendigo, or it'l' get yah.

Why is columbus a wendigo??

Wendigo seems to me sort of like the native version of a werewolf (more or less).

Whenever I hear about the wendigo I think of this guy

external image

Also, the wendigo reminds me, in a way, of the Grendel, which I have sometimes heard of refered to as something like 'Vendl or Wendyl' or some such, from anglo-saxon-dutch folklore, tho the legends are only similar in that both are big mean monsterish things.

posted on Jun, 9 2005 @ 12:46 PM
Sounds to me like giving a name to the fear of being in the wilderness, making a fear or feeling an enity. That was done a lot in early cultures.

posted on Jun, 9 2005 @ 06:27 PM
To the man with the Marvel Comics pics I say well done. That's exactly what I thought of too.
From what I remember (from Beowulf), Grendal didn't so much become Grendal because he ate somebody, but simply because he was an ancestor of Cain. That, of course, doesn't make much sense because Cain's lineage died out with the flood. Notwithstanding, Grendal died pretty quick once Beowulf showed up. Sorry, a bit off topic...

posted on Jun, 10 2005 @ 11:07 AM
Ah yes, I recall that now. I agree, there's quite a bit of difference between the Grendel story and the Wendigo stories. They're similar on a very basic level, and perhaps there can be a similarity between the name 'Wendel' and "Wend-igo", but thats a stretch anyways.

posted on Jun, 11 2005 @ 11:16 PM
The best book about the windigo or wendigo (it is spelled both ways) is "Windigo: An Anthology of Fact and Fantastic Fiction" by John Robert Colombo. It is out of print but found in many libraries. I've never seen a better explanation of what a windigo is. "Where the Chill Came From: Cree Windigo Tales and Journeys" by Howard A. Norman is also pretty good. There are two books about a supposed mental illness in which people think they are windigoes. "Windigo Psychosis" by Morton I. Teicher describes this illness, and "Windigo Psychosis" by Louis Marano debunks Teicher's book. There have been a number of windigo movies, such as the recent The Wendigo. "Where the Chill Waits" by T.Chris Martindale is probably the most famous windigo novel, and "The Wendigo" by Algernon Blackwood is probably the most famous short story.

posted on Jun, 12 2005 @ 09:59 PM
I have been thinking (GASP) a bit about this one since I last posted. It seems a lot, to me at least, that the Wendigo sounds quite a bit like Bigfoot. I don't really know if Bigfoot is so violent and scary, but they do throw rocks and stuff.
And I don't know so much about this Native American culture, but the ones I'm farmiliar with seem to have made stories up about any unexplained phenomena, from earthquakes to the sun. Generally, they don't just make it up, but rather try to teach a lesson while doing it. Example: the whole Raven and the sun thing.
I'm not so sure about the worth of a lesson about cannabalism turning you into a monster as it never seems like canabalism is desirable in the first place. Just several thoughts...

posted on Oct, 14 2005 @ 02:53 PM
James R. Stevens, in his book, 'Sacred Legends of the Sandy Lake Cree' has a very good description on Windigo.

The dreaded windigo is the most horrible creature in the lands of thr Cree and Ojibwa Indians. Nothing strikes more terror in the hearts of the Anishinabek than the thoughts of windigo.

The cannibalistic windigos strike from the north during the five moons of winter and restlessly haunt our lands searching for food as far south as the snow belt extends.


The windigo was once a normal human being but it has been possessed by a savage cannibalistic spirit. When a human is possessed by windigo, ice forms inside the human body, hair grows profusely from the face, arms and legs and an insatiable craving for human flesh develops.

When the ugly creature attacks, it shows no mercy. This monster will kill and devour its own family to try and satisfy its lust for human flesh. the windigo is inhuman because of the powerful spirit of cannibalism and destruction residing in its body. When a windigo has destroyed its own people it will travel in a straight line across the forest until it finds the next group of people. Usually high winds and storms accompany the windigo in its travels. It is said that the scream of a windigo will paralize a man, preventing him from protecting himself. Sometimes an attack from a windigo can be turned away by a powerful medicine man and this has occured.

There is a place at Sandy Lake called Ghost Point that was marauded and destroyed by a windigo in the old days. The remains of the village are still there today.

Happy Hallowe'en, youngsters...

[edit on 14-10-2005 by masqua]

posted on Nov, 3 2008 @ 10:21 AM
personally i believe in the wendigo. I've read many stories on it and have had many sleepless nights because of them!!! It's kinda creepy cause i have a grandparent who lives in northern Canada.

posted on Nov, 5 2008 @ 08:46 PM
When I was a little cub scout we had this Native American guy, I guess he was a scout leader or something. When we would go on camping trips he would always take 4 or 5 boys that he thought could handle it out into the woods, and tell us scary stories that you couldn't find in any book.

He told us a wendigo story once. It has been years since i have heard it so It is most definitely not how the story should be told, but here goes.

some guys go to the forest... for some reason (don't remember)
they are having a merry old time for the first 2 days of their trip blah blah blah
the next night, they are deep in the forest, and one of the dudes goes away by him self... for some reason. Then all of a sudden he knows that there is something right behind him about to kill and eat him,but when he turns around it moves behind him as fast as lightning, needless to say he flips his #. He drops everything and starts running, only to be lifted up by the wendigo. As the creature gains speed the man has to keep his feet up to the pace, and the wendigo keeps going faster, and faster and faster, until the poor guys feet are bloody stumps.

well, that's all i have to say about the wendigo.

[edit on 5-11-2008 by baconvein]

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