The wendigo is a legendary savage beast, often likened to Bigfoot or a werewolf.

The legend originates from native American tribes and tells of a violent humanoid creature that preys on humans in the cold, snowy forests of the northern United States and Canada.


The legend of the wendigo dates back beyond living memory, with generation after generation of Native Americans having been told the story. The name, roughly translated, means “the evil spirit that devours mankind.”

The story describes a horrific-sounding creature that was once human but had been transformed into a wendigo. The creature is described as being 15 feet tall and lanky, with glowing red eyes, long fangs, and sallow, decaying skin. The wendigo often has horns or antlers on its head, and it also suffers from body odor and bad breath.

Unfortunately, the wendigo has superhuman strength and stamina, which allows it to stalk its prey before easily devouring them.

The wendigo is particularly well known among the Algonquian-speaking tribes in the USA. No other monster or spirit evokes so much fear among these tribes.

Hunters and campers in Minnesota have reported encounters with terrifying creatures in the woods. The accounts portray a creature with a voracious appetite for human flesh, and it has been blamed for many disappearances over the years.

So how, in theory, would a human being become one of these monsters? Well, the legend really stems from its connection to cannibalism.

If a human resorts to cannibalism, they become possessed by a demonic evil spirit, which transforms them into a wendigo. Some say that if bitten by a wendigo, you might also be transformed. If you are bitten, and you develop a taste for human flesh, then your fate is sealed: you will become a wendigo.

Some tales describe a physical transformation into a savage beast. Others say the person is physically unchanged but possessed by evil and a hunger for human flesh.

In times gone by, cannibalism certainly did happen in Canada and northern parts of the USA. Tribes could become cut off from other civilizations by severe snow and ice, meaning they ran out of food. Faced with cannibalism or death, many chose the former.

It is distinctly possible that the wendigo legend was started in order to discourage tribes from resorting to cannibalism.

Regardless, people took the legend seriously, and even the European settlers believed the tales. It was also thought that seeing a wendigo meant a death would occur in the community.

The legends have further evolved, with some tales stating that a person can transform into a wendigo by exhibiting greed, selfishness, or just weakness. The wendigo can then infect multiple healthy people in a community with its evil force.

There are some who believe that the human being is trapped within the wendigo, just where its heart should be. Generally, they believe that the human must be killed in order to kill the wendigo.

Wendigos can often be killed with conventional weapons such as a spear, club, or firearm. However, some legends suggest its heart should be removed and burned in a fire.

The legend can also be seen as a cautionary tale, emphasizing the importance of working together with a community for the benefit of all. An important attribute for isolated communities attempting to survive the harsh climate of Canada or the northern USA.

The wendigo became such a part of local lore and culture that it was immortalized by Algernon Blackwood, who wrote a book around the legend.

Today, a condition called “wendigo psychosis” is known to psychologists. This condition is characterized by the patient displaying violence, a desire to be alone, and a craving for human flesh.

Sightings and Tales

It is thought that the wendigo may be related to Bigfoot or the yeti. This is based on accounts of sightings and the fact that it is purely associated with cold climates. The man-beast is also thought to be similar to a werewolf in stature but has an emaciated body.

Between the late 1800s and 1920s, a myriad of sightings were reported by people near the town of Roseau in northern Minnesota. Each time the creature was seen, a death soon followed. Then, without any explanation, the sightings suddenly stopped.

The community of Cobalt, in Ontario, Canada, reported wendigo sightings for almost 50 years. The last known sighting in Ontario was in 1997 when a trucker said he saw a wendigo near St. Catharines.

A few years ago, a group of boys took some footage of what is contested to be a wendigo. They came across an abandoned house and decided to take a closer look. While filming, they saw a strange-looking, slender figure in the woods.

Wendigo sightings are still reported today, especially in northern Ontario near the Cave of the Wendigo and near the town of Kenora. Alleged sightings have been made by trappers, traders, and trackers for many years.

In 2022, Paul Dale Roberts, a retiree from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, recounted the story of an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who encountered a hunter with a terrifying tale. The hunter claimed that a wendigo had attempted to trick him with a shocking ruse.

The hunter was traipsing through the remote woods when they kept hearing the sound of a crying baby. The hunter, obviously, attempted to find the distressed child.

However, instead of a crying baby, he found a ten-foot-tall creature with antlers hissing at him. When the creature began moving toward the hunter, he fled and, thankfully, escaped.

Other Name/sWindigo, Witigo, Witiko, Wee-Tee-Go, Spirit of the lonely places
LocationCanada, United States, 
TypeHybrid, Monster
HabitatCountryside, Forest


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