By AL J. Vermette


  You are lost in the darkened woods as your party has moved on without you. Somehow you lost them in
the winter’s snow and now you are completely alone to face the wild ahead of you. You know they can’t be
far yet in the driving white that falls over the land, the 15 man hunting party may as well be 100 miles away.
With nothing more than your rifle in hand, you look for your companions until you hear something moving off
to your right in the snow.  You glance over but see nothing there and move on until it happens again. You
know someone…..or something is there just out of sight.

  You quicken your pace but the thing seems to be following you somewhere just out of reach. Holding your
gun, you call out to the unknown intruder but there is no reply. Panic starts to set in as you began running
as fast as you can in the deep newly fallen snow.  You can hear it catching up to you and even though you
turn for only a moment for a glimpse, it hits you before you have a chance to fully see it. Driven into the
snow, the thing turns you around so you can see its face before it starts to take large bites out of your belly.
Its long sharp teeth ripping right through your clothing and into your tender flesh as the thing feeds upon
you. You scream but the beast only consumes more of you until your life fads away. You have just become
the latest victim of The Wendigo, a creature of Native American myth who craves human flesh.

  Stories of this cannibal dining creature dates back for 100’s of years. The creature is said to hunt only
humans for food and lurks in the upper states of the U.S. and Canada where the winters are harsh and
people would die under the icy frost. This beast first hunted the North American Tribes of the countryside
until the territory was starting to be settled by the English and other travelers who came to the New World.
There they too fell victim to this creature who is said to be able to sometimes possess their victims and
carry out deeds of cannibalism.  The very word Wendigo is a Cree Indian word meaning Evil That Devours.

  In one story of the myth, it is said that The Wendigo is more of a ghost like creature. A demonic spirit that
haunts the woods looking for someone to possess and have that poor person kill and feed on his friends
and family. One such man or woman may become infected with the phantom and finish off a whole village
community before the ghost moves on to a new victim and repeats the ghoulish act. Sometimes The
Wendigo is said to be that of a physical creature who is said to be human like but very tall and thin with its
ribs and bones showing through its skin. It is said that this gaunt creature is always hungry and in search of
human flesh and only human flesh.

  Some believed that anyone who partakes in the act of cannibalism (to eat another person), that they
would become a Wendigo themselves. This story was told down through time by the North American
Algonquian tribe to keep members of their population from committing such unspeakable acts. The fear of
becoming such a creature would make people slowly starving in the bad winter months think twice before
engaging in such a deed. One such story from 1878 told of a Native American named Swift Runner who
killed and ate his wife and children one cold winter in Alberta Canada. Such a tale would give more
corroboration that such a creature took possession of Swift Runner and forced him to slaughter his entire
family.

  The Wendigo is a monster that is said to possess magical powers as well. Along with the ability to take
over one’s body to kill and feed on humans, the creature can make itself invisible as well as teleport from
place to place. Sometimes the beast can mimic the voice of someone you know and trust to draw his
victims in close. This is a deadly beast with a mind of a human, intelligent in that it can figure out ways to
bring his victims in to him along with the great power of that of a monster to overtake his victims to kill and
feed upon.    

  The Wendigo unlike most monsters of myth has not seen a great deal of media exposure but has on
occasion been the subject of film and TV series. Maybe the very first time a Wendigo was seen by genre
fans was on the TV series Charmed. In an episode in the shows first season, 1998-1999, the three sister
witches of the series encountered a Wendigo and one sister even became one for a short spell. This
Wendigo was very much like a werewolf in description, large shaggy beast and very well fit. Not the thin
spidery and under nourished creature spoken of in the myth who craves a never ending quest for human
meat. Nevertheless, this monster made himself be known to the fans of the series and maybe introduced
itself upon a genre that may have never heard to the beast until that episode of Charmed.

  A closer rendering of this creature then appeared on the very second episode of the TV series
Supernatural in 2005. Here the creature was a tall thin nearly sickly looking with his bones rubbing against
its hairless skin. Brothers and monster hunters Sam and Dean Winchester would to battle the beast in the
woods to help a party of hikers survive their encounter with the mythical being. On Supernatural, the
monster was able to use people’s voices to call to its next victim and was maybe the closest rendering to
the creature in the myth than another told before. The beast also was featured on the series Sleepy Hollow
in the 2014-2015 season and the subject on the Animal Planets show Lost Tapes. The creature even was
in the feature film “Wendigo” released in 2001.

  So the bottom line here is, if you are lost, cold and hungry in the woods. Do not eat your friends….. for
you may become a Wendigo with an never ending need to feed upon the flesh of other people.
Creature Feature
The Wendigo