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The Wendigo

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Postby nightwolf » Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:52 pm

While this creature is considered by many to be the creation of horror writer Algernon Blackwood in his classic terror tale, "The Wendigo", this woods spirit was, and is, very real to many in the northern woods and prairies of the state. Many legends and stories have circulated over the years about a mysterious creature who was encountered by hunters and campers in the shadowy forests of the upper regions of Minnesota. In one variation of the story, the creature could only be seen if it faced the witness head-on, because it was so thin that it could not be seen from the side. The spirit was said to have a voracious appetite for human flesh and the many forest dwellers who disappeared over the years were said to be victims of the monster.

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.


http://www.prairieghosts.com/wendigo.html

Has anyone else ever heard of a spirit like this before? I was just browsing the internet for fun and came across this article and never had heard of anything like this! I’ll have to check with some relatives of mine who live in Roseau to see if they’ve heard of this before. This was a pretty interesting read.
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Postby sandra » Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:14 pm

This thread rocks, like seriously rocks..... 8-)
I'd like to see it turn into an archive like thread, with cumulative information.

I'd also like to reference a past post of mine in the religious fourms.

Well I ask because what can be seen as physical representation of anything can also be seen as spiritual. What is spiritual is physical. There are many tools out there that do not seem appealing, but alot of them were originally intended to help guide our minds to a greater understadning, to become a seed, food for thought. Also you should note, Native Americans first came with the idea of cannibilism, creating images of werewolves and vampires of its like-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendigo

And in old old legends of my people these cannibilists 'windigos' were not flesh eating in a mere factual sense WHATSOEVER....they ate the ideas of flesh. They consumed ignorance of the worlds physical views and transformed them. The more they ate, the more they consumed, the more they could. It becomes an addiciton, to know the truth. These windigo cons still live today in our ceremonies, they know alot of these things. The idea of vampires came from them, vampires are flesh eating, of a different kind....it is a physical raw representation of a spiritual act of balance, again food for thought type a symbolism that people are very unaware of. Taking physical ideas for spiritual fuel. so on and so on, this knowledge is rare. However I am sure you know absolutely nothing of the windigo people who first brought ideas of cannibilism here, and that is why I asked the question I did.


http://community.theblackvault.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3131&start=0

"The Wendigo (also Windigo, Windago, Windiga, Witiko, Wihtikow, and
numerous other variants) is a mythical creature appearing in the
mythology of the Algonquin people. It is a malevolent cannibalistic
spirit into which humans could transform, or which could possess
humans. Those who indulged in cannibalism were at particular risk,
and the legend appears to have reinforced this practice as taboo.

Windigo Psychosis is a culture-bound disorder which involves an
intense craving for human flesh and the fear that one will turn into
a cannibal. This once occurred frequently among Algonquian Indian
cultures, though has declined with the Native American urbanization.

Recently the Wendigo has also become a horror entity of contemporary
literature and film, much like the vampire, werewolf, or zombie,
although these fictional depictions often bear little resemblance to
the original entity."


http://www.mail-archive.com/mythfolk@yahoogroups.com/msg02102.html

nightwolf, you could have put this in many different forums, such as cryptozoology, or spiritual, yet I couldn't agree more that the best place was the paranormal!!!!!

Can't wait to add more to this thread, however I think its best that background information is first added, I'll add some more concerning original legends. Trying to find some specifically from the Ojibwe Tribe that I'm from.
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
memory works both ways.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
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Postby Aquatank » Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:36 pm

I remember from anthropology class there is another wendigo not a cannibal type but a monster: It was a huge giant/beast with one leg, googley eyes that rolled in pools of blood, sharp nasty teeth, and it usually fed on people trees and mushrooms.
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Postby sandra » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:14 pm

Aquatank, I have read and have been verbally told of many similar descriptions in some of the legends and stories.

"He had learned about the Windigo at his father's knee. 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."


http://www.americanfolklore.net/folktales/northwestterritories1.html

Anthropology class huh, you seem to know quite alot about history, makes me curious...

Well I have a question for you Aquatank, do you think Wendigo was given a correct translation to 'cannibal' from the German Explorer in 1860? Or do you have any thoughts on that?
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
memory works both ways.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
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Postby Aquatank » Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:54 am

Of course I know a bit of History I majored in it along with Sociology (thats where I got my cultural Anthropology specilalization)

I'm not sure cannibal is quite accurate, appropriate but not entirely accurate. Possession by an evil spirit which causes cannibalism may be a bit more accurate along belief lines. However, I seem to remember some tribes (probably among the Algonquin speaking groups from memeory) had a kill on sight order against cannibalism for fear of it being a Wendigo.

Another version that should be taken into account for this thread is the Chenoo.

http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legen ... uoddy.html

http://www.storiestogrowby.com/stories/ ... rican.html

http://www.sacred-texts.com/nam/ne/al/al51.htm
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Postby sandra » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:32 am

Aquatank wrote:Of course I know a bit of History I majored in it along with Sociology (thats where I got my cultural Anthropology specilalization)


Thats impressive, knew you atleast had majored in History.
However a cultural anthropology specialization...hmmmm :mrgreen:

I'm not sure cannibal is quite accurate, appropriate but not entirely accurate. Possession by an evil spirit which causes cannibalism may be a bit more accurate along belief lines. However, I seem to remember some tribes (probably among the Algonquin speaking groups from memeory) had a kill on sight order against cannibalism for fear of it being a Wendigo.


Yeah I would think possession by an evil spirit which causes cannibalism is more accurate, although I was wondering if at anytime, Windigos were not associated with cannibalism, and somehow it was introduced later in the legends and stories. I just have a feeling about that, not sure why. I'll have to do some more looking into that, but I'm not sure I'll find anything that would support that idea.

Another version that should be taken into account for this thread is the Chenoo.


I've never read or heard anything about the Chenoo. Do the Chenoo originate from the MicMac tribe? Interesting I haven't had any prior knowledge to this, considering you're right, they are definitely another version of the same type of being. The similarities I couldn't believe- the ice, association with the North (which was one of the most important to me), physical descriptions, and their cannibalistic nature. Wow, that was fascinating for me to connect those 2, so I appreciated that information! Infact I'm going to look up some more history on the Chenoo as well. The story of the girl being shot with darts and smiling in the lodge until her death, with her heart being made of ice, was the most fascinating story of them all to me. She said it would only take 7 to kill her- but they kept shooting her.
Anyways that story I'm going to read again and do some research.
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
memory works both ways.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
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Postby Aquatank » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:43 am

Well there was also some post columbian cultural diffusion in the wendigo story as well that I know of: It could only be killed with a "silver bullet". This particular creation isn't just Hollywood but probably a result of the Beast of Gévaudan (in France) incident's story being spread circa 1767 in which the hunter is aid to have killed the beast with a silver bullet. Hence Wendigo gets associated with Werewolves as well.

Mind you early cultural diffusion also has The Norse Loki and Balder story mixed with the Native American Glooskap and Malsum story.
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Postby sandra » Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:05 am

"The heavily fringed costume and the mask with its long crooked nose is the typical outfit of a Windigokan, aka Cannibal, Clown, or Fools dancer. The Windigokanek was a society of masked dancers who represented cannibalistic ice giants, believed to live in the far north, and prominent in Plains Ojibwa folklore. The leaders of this cult were people who had dreamed of these giants or of thunderbirds, the latter referred to by the large crooked nose of their masks. By means of their dance this cult group was believed to exorcise the demons of disease, who used to invade the Indian camps in wintertime. The Windigokan also used their herbal medicines in curing sick people."


http://www.icollector.com/Ojibwa-Shaman-s-Ritual-Material_i7392498

The above is just a description of some old things being sold I suppose, but the information is very valid to what I know, and I'm adding it to this thread because I believe it is relevant. Its one of my reasons for adding the sacred clown thread, and my thread on ThunderBirds....Windigos are very much sacred clowns (also Heyokas) and associated with Thunderbeings. Along with the color White.....which is for the North Direction.

Aquatank I'm going to check into some of that other information you provided.
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
memory works both ways.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
User avatar
sandra
 
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Location: Minnesota US

Postby sandra » Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:18 am

"The story of how the term “Rain Dance” came into being holds that, during the days of the Native American relocation, the government banned certain religious ceremonies (amongst them the Rain Dance and Ghost Dance). The tribes in suppressed areas were forbidden to perform the Sun Dance. The Windigokan, a nominally cannibalistic sect, nicknamed "the backward people," became famous for telling federal representatives that the dance being performed was not the Sun Dance, but the Native American Rain Dance, thus preventing any prosecution or federal intervention."


http://www.support-native-american-art.com/native-american-rain-dance.html

Nightwolf I hope you don't mind me adding various things to this subject, of you do, please let me know, however its obvious I can become a hot mess on topics that I find interesting. :oops: There is alot of information on Windigos....dating back up until now, concerning both the legends and stories of a mystical creature, to tribal influences, symbolism and what not.
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
memory works both ways.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
User avatar
sandra
 
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Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 6:27 pm
Location: Minnesota US

Postby Aquatank » Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:29 pm

Sandra
I can't believe I missed this for years, but note the cultural diffusion with the Norse I mentioned, I just thought of an interesting similarity I never realized before: The Iotnar/ jǫtunn/Frost Giants.

For years I've thought maybe it was due to trade along the artic ice cap, but Russia doesn't have anything quite comparable. (Baba Yaga doesn't quite fit the bill though she eats children and Snegurochka is more like a prototype for Frosty The Snowman. Ded Moroz in his earliest form Moroz might be close evil sorcerer who like to freeze people to death kinda like the Winter Warlock.) Anyways the Finnish don't seem close either which leaves us a question about how much went on between Erickson's Vinland group and the Natives Americans (probably Algonquin speakers) with the exception of the skirmishes/trade war with the Beothuk.
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