The Wendigo is a terrifying beast which has its place in North American folklore. The creature has ventured the wilderness for years, threatening the existence of Native American tribes with it’s unforgiving hunger for blood, and possession of its victims.
Stories of the Wendigo run deep throughout Native American folklore, as well as the famed slayer of the Wendigo, Jack Fiddler.
The First Case of The Wendigo
The very first Wendigo is said to have been a warrior, who made a pact with the devil. The warrior was seeking exceptional skills and stature in order to beat his enemies in battle, making him the ultimate leader and savior of his tribe. In return, the warrior gave up his soul.
The warrior would go on to use his new attributes in battle, and once he’d claimed victory, he was then transformed into a Wendigo, banished from his tribe and condemned to live as an outcast. While living in the wilderness, he gained a hunger for human flesh, and had to resort to cannibalism in order to survive.
Stories of the Wendigo took up an important role in tribal life, and the creature is thought to be unique to the tribes of North America and Canada. Tribes people were often faced with harsh conditions, especially in winter, and in order to prevent people from resorting to cannibalism, the story is thought to have been used as a deterrent, claiming that anyone who ate human flesh, would themselves become a Wendigo.
What Does A Wendigo Look Like?
According to Native American folklore, the Wendigo is a man-beast which stands at around 15 feet in height, with sharp dog-like teeth, glowing eyes, a long tongue and no lips. It’s reported that the beast’s stature will grow according to how much human flesh it has consumed. The Wendigo’s saggy gray skin also gives off a strong smell of decay. It’s hands and feet said to have claws, each as sharp as daggers. According to some accounts of the beast, it also has antlers.
No matter how much human flesh the Wendigo consumes, it’s always hungry for more.
Some explorers and missionaries as far back as the 17th century, claimed that some people transformed into a Wendigo simply after encountering one in the wild, and some even transformed into the creature having been possessed by one in their dreams.
The Omen of The Wendigo
The Wendigo are believed to roam around the forests where the Algonquians lived, and those unfortunate souls that have ventured out into the forests and disappeared throughout the years were said to have been eaten by one of the beasts.
Though the story was told by the Native Americans, some of the first white inhabitants of the land also reported seeing the Wendigo.
In many cases, before the sighting of a Wendigo occurred, the air would be filled with a strong smell of decay, shortly after which a death among those in the area would occur.
In the years between the late 1800’s and the 1920’s, a Wendigo was said to have been sighted near a town called Roseau in Northern Minnesota. It was claimed that every time the beast was seen, a death in the town followed, but after the Wendigo was seen no more, life in the town went back to normal.
Trapped Inside A Wendigo
According to legend, a human person is always trapped inside the body of the beast, more specifically where the heart is. This person is unable to free themselves, nor in most cases can anyone else free them, but in order to kill the Wendigo, the person trapped inside must also be killed.
There have been some reports in the past which suggest the person inside has been successfully saved, but in most cases, there is no way out.
Where to Find a Wendigo
The Wendigo have been sighted across numerous places, but they are primarily said to roam the forests of Minnesota and the Great Lake Region, as well as some more central regions of Canada.
Sightings of Wendigo are still been reported in places like Northern Ontario, near the cave of the Wendigo, and in the vicinity of the town of Kenora.
The town of Kenora is one of the hotspots for the beast. Traders, trackers and merchants in the area claim to have been plagued by sightings of the Wendigo for many years.
Kenora has even been named the Wendigo capital of the world by many people.
Jack Fiddler The Wendigo Hunter
Jack Fiddler, who was also known as Zhauwuno-geezhigo-gaubow (meaning “He who stands in the southern sky”) was a chief and shaman of the Sucker doodem, among the Anishinaabe in what is now northwestern Ontario. His healing abilities were famed throughout the Sucker tribe, and his influence spread further to other tribes in the region. His tribe was said to have consisted of around 100 to 120 people.
Zhauwuno-geezhigo-gaubow became known as Jack Fiddler, as he began carving fiddles which he had seen at trading posts. The Sucker tribe also became known as the Fiddler tribe, as many of them also took up the craft.
Jack was arrested by authorities in 1907 for the murder of a Cree woman. The 87-year-old Jack Fiddler pleaded guilty to the murder, but claimed that he had only killed the woman because she was about to transform into a Wendigo after being possessed. He went on to defend his actions by claiming if he hadn’t killed the woman, she would have gone on to slaughter many more members of his tribe.
Jack had told authorities that during his lifetime he had managed to kill 14 other Wendigo in order to protect his people.
The 87-year-old was taken by the authorities of the Norway House police detachment. Sergeant David Bennett Smith of the Norway House detachment reported, “Jack Fiddler is very old. . . . He falls down and his heart and pulse are very weak on such occasions.”
Jack managed to escape from the police of Norway House in September 1907. Once he was free, he used his sash to hang himself from a tree, and in a matter of minutes, the great Wendigo slayer was dead.