The Wendigo, an Algonquin Legend

The Wendigo, an Algonquin Legend

Most of us are familiar with Native Americans and their customs. However, not a lot of people know about the legends that have been passed down from generation to generation among the Algonquin Natives. One of the most famous of these legends is the Wendigo. 

Before we get into the history of the Wendigo, let’s focus on the features. Wendigos have a very unique appearance, they have the body of a very tall and skinny human, but the head of a deer. The skin is an ashy gray color, the eyes are sucked deep back into their sockets, so much that you can barely see the eyes, and its skin is tightly pulled against the bones that poke into the skin. Some people argue that the Wendigo does not have the head of a deer, but rather, a bald and pale face with the skin so tightly pulled that you can see every little bone. Most times Wendigos are also said to be covered in fur.

Wendigos (also spelled, “Windigos”) originate from the Algonquins and are said to roam in the forests of the Great Lakes region and the Atlantic coast of both the U.S and Canada. In native folklore, a Wendigo is an inhumane and powerful monster that has the desire to kill and eat its prey. Most of the time, these Wendigos were once human, but have been transformed into monsters due to weakness, greed, or they ate the flesh and meat of another human. Wendigos can vary in height, but are said to be around 7-12 feet tall. Wendigos are also described as beasts with unquenchable hunger. The name literally means “evil spirit that devours mankind.” Since Wendigos are monsters that have the ability to run faster than any regular moose or deer, they are not easy to kill. According to most people, in order to kill a Wendigo, you must shoot or stab it with a silver bullet in its icy heart, then remove it. These beasts are able to regenerate if not shot with a silver bullet or stabbed with a silver blade. It is also believed that a silver-covered blade could work if you’re desperate, but you preferably would want a pure silver blade/bullet. However, some people argue that simply bashing it with a club would kill the beast.

Wendigos are said to prey on the socially weak and disconnected. They are usually described with exceptional hearing and smell, and superhuman strength and stealth in order to stalk their prey. Wendigos are considered dangerous not only because they could kill a human easily, but also because of their ability to transform healthy people or communities into complete evil and chaos. In some tribes, the legend of wendigos is used to remind the importance of the community and about the significance of when individuals are left in isolation. A Wendigo’s greed is represented by some attitudes of sharing in many native cultures. Sometimes families kill their relatives if he or she is believed to be a wendigo. In one case, three men killed a spiritual leader named “Abishabis” when he became very greedy and killed a family, which made many people believe that he was indeed a Wendigo.

In conclusion, the Wendigo has a very unique history, and is by far one of the creepiest and most interesting folklore I know. The Wendigo is super cool and I definitely recommend reading more about it.