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Image Source: Wikia

 

"The Weendigo was gaunt to the point of emaciation, its desiccated skin pulled tautly over its bones. With its bones pushing out against its skin, its complexion the ash gray of death, and its eyes pushed back deep into their sockets, the Weendigo looked like a gaunt skeleton recently disinterred from the grave. What lips it had were tattered and bloody [....] Unclean and suffering from suppurations of the flesh, the Weendigo gave off a strange and eerie odor of decay and decomposition, of death and corruption."

― Basil Johnston, an Ojibwe teacher and scholar

 

The Wendigo is said to be a Algonquian native legend. It takes its place in the study of cryptozoology. There are many different stories associated with this mystic being. Is it a spirit ? or was it once a human being who was transformed into this being as a result of eating human flesh? People can't even agree on the spelling of this creature. It is spelled Wendigo and it is spelled Windago, there is even a discrepancy with if it is spelt with a small case w or a capital W. So none of this helps with the clarification of this creature, And actually helps to make this legend even more difficult to try and understand. There has even been two (2) different television shows this year that I know of, that has done a story line with the wendigo and both have very different stories as to what they claim it to be and how it looks. The one showed it to be a very icy, grey looking figure that was also very thin and almost human looking. The other showed it to be a large hairy creature that looked a lot like a big foot with glowing eyes and long sharp claws.

So where do these very different stories come from? The Algonquian native legend states, " It is usually described as a giant with a heart of ice; sometimes it is thought to be entirely made of ice. Its body is skeletal and deformed, with missing lips and toes."* And yet another version of this story is retold by the Ojibwa First Nation and it states, "It was a large creature, as tall as a tree, with a lipless mouth and jagged teeth. Its breath was a strange hiss, its footprints full of blood, and it ate any man, woman or child who ventured into its territory. And those were the lucky ones. Sometimes, the Windigo chose to possess a person instead, and then the luckless individual became a Windigo himself, hunting down those he had once loved and feasting upon their flesh."* No matter what story you listen to the wendigo takes its rightful place in Canadian history where " Actual Wendigo murder trials took place in Canada around the beginning of the 20th century "* There is even a medical term that is associated with wendigo that is called Windigo psychosis. The meaning of Windigo psychosis is said to be " a culture bound syndrome reported occasionally among the Northern Algonkian living around the Great Lakes of Canada and the United States. Windigo psychosis usually developed in the winter when families were isolated by heavy snow for months in their cabins and had inadequate food supplies. The initial symptoms of this form of mental illness were usually poor appetite, nausea, and vomiting. Subsequently, the individual would develop a characteristic delusion of being transformed into a Windigo monster. These supernatural beings eat human flesh. People who have Windigo psychosis increasingly see others around them a being edible. At the same time they have an exaggerated fear of becoming cannibals. "* Folklore world wide, has the ability to entertain us, amaze us and seems to be able to draw us in with there descriptions of unbelievable tales and figures from what seems like a lifetime ago. Then why are Canadians so fascinated with the wendigo? Could it be that it is because the tales of wendigo are close to home? Some of the recent sightings come from Ontario. " In Ontario, though not a province regarded to shelter "Bigfoot" as much as Alberta and British Columbia are, there are still occasional reports of hominoid-like creatures stomping around in the woods. One can relate to the outbreak of sightings of Old Yellow Top, the affectionate name given to this bipedal creature, which was often seen around the community of Cobalt for nearly 50 years.


The latest sighting in Ontario (that I know of) of such a creature was back in 1997 by an American trucker near St-Catharine's. So maybe all the Windigo is, is an eastern relative to Sasquatch? Again, we might never know.

Aside from the classic bigfoot appearance, the only noteworthy description from the Ontario sightings is that these creatures can be black, reddish-brown, even having a light colored "mane" (hence Old Yellow Top's namesake). But what I find peculiar is that in all the Ontario sightings I've read, none of these animals seemed nearly as dangerous as the Windigo is said to be. "*

So with so many different stories of the wendigo and the Canadian court trials and even a medical term associated with this creature does it really exist? Or was it was story made up to warn against the possibility cannibalism? Or is it a tale to scare the children into staying close to home and keeping them safe? I'll tell you one thing, I wouldn't suggest wondering around the Canadian wilderness at night or you may just find out if this native legend is truth or fiction!

References

*1. " It is usually described as a giant with a heart of ice; sometimes it is thought to be entirely made of ice. Its body is skeletal and deformed, with missing lips and toes."*


Taken from, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendigo


* 2. "It was a large creature, as tall as a tree, with a lipless mouth and jagged teeth. Its breath was a strange hiss, its footprints full of blood, and it ate any man, woman or child who ventured into its territory. And those were the lucky ones. Sometimes, the Windigo chose to possess a person instead, and then the luckless individual became a Windigo himself, hunting down those he had once loved and feasting upon their flesh."


Taken from, http://www.americanfolklore.net/folktales/northwestterritories1.html


* 3. "Actual Wendigo murder trials took place in Canada around the beginning of the 20th century"

Taken from, http://experts.about.com/e/w/we/Wendigo.htm


*4. " a culture bound syndrome reported occasionally among the Northern Algonkian living around the Great Lakes of Canada and the United States. Windigo psychosis usually developed in the winter when families were isolated by heavy snow for months in their cabins and had inadequate food supplies. The initial symptoms of this form of mental illness were usually poor appetite, nausea, and vomiting. Subsequently, the individual would develop a characteristic delusion of being transformed into a Windigo monster. These supernatural beings eat human flesh. People who have Windigo psychosis increasingly see others around them a being edible. At the same time they have an exaggerated fear of becoming cannibals. "


Taken from, http://anthro.palomar.edu/medical/glossary.htm


*5. " In Ontario, though not a province regarded to shelter "Bigfoot" as much as Alberta and British Columbia are, there are still occasional reports of hominoid-like creatures stomping around in the woods. One can relate to the outbreak of sightings of Old Yellow Top, the affectionate name given to this bipedal creature, which was often seen around the community of Cobalt for nearly 50 years.
The latest sighting in Ontario (that I know of) of such a creature was back in 1997 by an American trucker near St-Catherines. So maybe all the Windigo is, is an eastern relative to Sasquatch? Again, we might never know.


Asides the classic bigfoot appearance, the only noteworthy description from the Ontario sightings is that these creatures can be black, reddish-brown, even having a light colored "mane" (hence Old Yellow Top's namesake). But what I find peculiar is that in all the Ontario sightings I've read, none of these animals seemed nearly as dangerous as the Windigo is said to be. "


Taken from, http://www.bigfootmuseum.com/bigfoot/aka_windigo.php

Compiled, and written by : Jennifer Tyrrell

 


 

This was sent into us by a fellow researcher as a possible 19th century account:

THE IDOL OF THE PEORIAS
(From an old traveller)

"We arrived at the village of the Peorias, allies of the Illinois, through a fine large meadow, which is many leagues long. This village is situated on the banks of a little river, and surrounded with great pales and posts : there are many trees on the banks, and the huts are built beneath them. When we arrived there, I inquired for the hut of the grand chief : I was well received by him and his first warriors. They had just been beaten by the Foxes, their mortal enemies, and were now holding a consultation about it. A young Indian lighted the calumet of peace ; then they brought me a dish of maize flour , called sagamit’e, sweetened with the syrup of the maple-tree ; and afterwards a dessert of dry fruits, as good as Corinth raisins. The next day I saw a great crowd in the plain: they were making a dance in favor of their new Manitou; the high priest had a bonnet of feathers , like a crown, on his head. I was at the door of the temple of their false deity; he begged me to go in. Judge of my astonishment, for this is the picture of their Manitou: his head hung upon his breast, and looked like a goat’s; his ears and his cruel eye were like those of a lynx, with the same kind of hair; his feet, hands, and thighs were in form something like those of a man.


" The Indians found him in the woods, at the foot of a ridge of mountains, and the priests had persuaded them to adopt him for a divinity. This general assembly was called to invoke his protection against their enemies. I let the Indians know that their Manitou was an evil genius; as proof of it, I said that he had just permitted the nation of Foxes, their most cruel enemies, to gain victory over them, and they ought to get rid of him as soon as possible, and be revenged on him. After a short time, they answered ‘ hou’e nigei’e,tinai ‘lab’e- ‘we believe thee, though art in the right’ They then voted that he should be burnt; and the great priest, after some opposition, pronounced his sentence, which, according to the interpreter’s explanation, was in these terms: ‘O though, fatal to our nation, who has wrongfuly taken thee for her Manitou! Thou hast paid no regard to the offerings which we have made thee, and hast allowed our enemies, whom thou dost plainly protect, to overcome us; therefore our old men, assembled in counsel, have decreed, with the advice of the chief of the white warriors, that to expiate thy ingratitude towards us, thou shalt be burnt alive.’ At the end of this sentence, all the assembly said, ‘Hau, Hau, which signified ‘yes’.

"As I wished to get this monster, I went to the priest, made him a small present, and bid my interpreter tell him that he should persuade his countrymen, that if they burnt this evil genius, there might arise one from his ashes that could be fatal to them; that I would go on purpose across the great lake, to deliver them from it. He found my reasons good, and got the sentence changed, so that it was strangled. I got it instantly dissected, in order to bring it to France, where its skeleton is now in the cabinet of natural history of M. de Fayolles. The assembly dispersed, and returned to their village by the riverside. In the evening you might see them sitting in groups at their doors, and on the shore, with many fires made of the branches of the trees, whose light was on the water and the grove; while some of them danced the dance of war, with loud shrieks, that were enough to strike an awe into the heart."

This was taken from "Adventures among the Indians" by W. H.G. Kingston Published @1888 by the John W. Lovell company, New York

 


 

The following experience was shared with us in 2016. Our thanks to our reader for sharing this experience with us.

 

"I would like to report a sighting and experience I had last year. It was about Feb 2015, and I'm not sure what county it was but it was farm land right outside of Wimbledon North Dakota.

I was in the car with my husband, and we were driving back to Wimbledon from a friends house, it was around 6 or 7pm. We got into as fight and I wanted to get out of the car. So he drove off and I was walking, after 5 mins I turned and saw approximately 50 feet away laying on its back in the snow was a very tall very thin creature. It noticed me and stood up. I felt extremely scared and something told me don't look at it, but don't run. I kept walking at a faster pace and crying I screamed over and over, " leave me alone, just leave me alone!". I looked over my shoulder a couple of times and it was still standing still, just staring at me. I heard a heavy but loud breathing as if it were right next to me. From what I saw it would have been about 10 feet tall, it kind of hunched over, it was very thin, it had extremely long pointed fingers and toes and it had a little bit of shaggy hair on its head. It was white/ greyish in color, and it had an open thin mouth with long sharp teeth. About 10 mins after walking down the road, terrified and screaming at it, my husband came back and picked me up.  I was hysterical and told him what I just saw. He floored it until we got home. I had no idea what it was, but I was telling his sister of my encounter and she told me 3 years prior she saw the exact same thing around the same area while riding 4 wheelers with her friend.  Up until just yesterday, I had tried thinking of everything it could have been and put it down to maybe even being an alien. Just because it was so unusual, I couldn't find anything about it. Until I was looking up native American legends and saw pictures of the Wendigo, and I'm telling you, most of what I've read and some pictures online, resemble so closely to what I had seen that night.  Now that I can finally put a name to the creature I seen, I would like to report this."