Every culture has a legend or two that is outright bone-chilling and terrifying. The Wendigo is one such legend of the Native Americans. The legend has been passed down from generation to generation. Algonquian people primarily living in North America are the ones who believe more in the Wendigo (Windigo or Windego) story. Apart from the Algonquian tribe, similar stories can also be found among other Native American tribes such as the Iroquois. Iroquois people have a separate version of Wendigo which is known as Stonecast. However, the two creatures – Wendigo and Stonecast share uncanny resemblance with each other and are considered to terrifying beasts that are hellbent on devouring the mankind.
About Wendigo – Meaning, Appearance and Legend
Okay, we know that Wendigo is a beast in Native American legends. However, one question that we can ask is, ‘what is the meaning of Wendigo?’ The question comes naturally because legends are based on either real-life incidents or are simply the manifestations of man’s attempt to differentiate and give a face to what he usually considers evil or good.
Wendigo is no different. This legendary beast is nothing more than an evil spirit that is hellbent on devouring the mankind. Of course the concept of God and Evil comes in but it worth noticing that some people even manage to come up with alternative explanations. For instance, in 1860 a German explorer ended up stating that Wendigoag (plural of Wendigo) are nothing but cannibals that have this insatiable hunger for human flesh. The explorer explained that no matter how much of human meat the eat, they will always remain hungry.
As far as the appearance of the beast is concerned, there is a widespread notion that Wendigoag are very thin. This physical form, according to the believers, is an outcome of their insatiable hunger. However, despite being thin, Wendigoag are described as large monsters that are described to be very tall – as tall as 14.8 feet or 4.5 meters. They are also described to have long tongue, long and yellow fangs and glowing eyes. Some say that they have rotting skin which others say that they have matte hair covering their entire bodies. Slight variations may be found among Algonquian people but more or less, all descriptions eventually paint the image of a terrifying animal-looking beast.
Now a very logical question is, ‘where do the Wendigoag come from?’ This is where cannibalism and evil are clubbed together. It is widely believed that the Wendigoag were actually humans but they transformed into this terrifying beast after they resorted to cannibalism. As per this version of the legend, whenever a person gets involved in cannibalism and eats the flesh of another human being, even if such a move is just an outcome of survival instinct, the evil spirit takes control of the cannibalistic person and transforms him or her into a Wendigo.