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The Wendigo, the Wendigo
Also spelled Windigo, Weetigo and Wetiko among others (depending on the language and region), the Wendigo is a human being turned into a cannibal monster in the belief systems of several Algonquian peoples. The causes of this transformation and the Wendigo's general appearance vary from region to region. Some lores have it that eating human flesh is what makes you turn into one, but in others you can become one just by coming across a Wendigo or by being possessed by the spirit of a Wendigo. Its most common description is a dreadfully skinny giant of ice devoid of lips and toes. The more it devours, the larger it grows, and thus it can never find enough food to satisfy its hunger. In the mythologies of several Amerindian Nations, the Wendigo can revive if you don't destroy its body entirely, which may lead to Kill It with Fire. More info on the Other Wiki.
- Wendigomon is the villain for the first Digimon Adventure 02 movie (though it is never identified as such). It is a corrupted evolved form of Wallace's Chocomon (infected by a virus, and referred to solely by that name in the movie), compared to Turuiemon, named for the Festival of Rabbits. It's a Wendigo with stretching arms, ice breath, and giant laser cannons that burst out of the flesh in its chest. Early American Bandai materials mistakenly called it Endigomon, while it Japan it is known as Wendimon.
- One of Chopper's transformations looks oddly like this, only with prongs and a top hat. It still manages to be terrifiying, even for the cutest character of the crew.
- In Marvel Comics, anyone who eats human flesh in the frozen north becomes a Wendigo. The creature is best known as a villain of the X-Men and spinoff team Alpha Flight, but has tangled with Spider-Man and others. In fact, he seems to be the standard villain for superheroes visiting Canada. It's well-known for shouting its Catch Phrase: "WEN-DI-GOOOO!"
- It's a common Incredible Hulk villain too, having made its first Marvel appearance in his book. (And its second story in that book was the first appearance of Wolverine, giving the association more historical weight than it might otherwise have.)
- In Earth X, Multiple Man is transformed into one when he eats one of his own doubles to survive. He doesn't lose his self-duplication powers.
- Todd McFarlane infamously used the Wendigo as a poor, misunderstood victim during his Spider-Man run.
- A run of BPRD involved a Wendigo curse being transmitted from person to person.
- This one is a particular Tear Jerker, since the Wendigo retains his memories as a family man, though he had been unaware that his family thought him dead and had moved on. He is told that he will eventually lose his humanity, and when he asks Abe and Hellboy to kill him, is told that it won't work, since the only way to break the curse and let him die peacefully is to kill someone else and pass the curse on. HB and Abe regretfully inform the Wendigo that they have no choice but to lock him up. The last shot of him curled up in his cell with nothing but a photo of him with his family for comfort makes this example something of a Woobdigo.
- In Don Rosa's "War of the Wendigo", Scrooge McDuck investigates reports of wendigo attacks at a lumber mill of his in Canada. Said wendigo turn out to be the Peeweegah Indians from "Land of the Pygmy Indians" by Carl Barks, who once again have to teach Scrooge a Green Aesop.
- Ithaqua from the Cthulhu Mythos makes an appearance in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen when it accidentally takes over Allen Quartermain's body while he's astral-projecting. Ithaqua was perfectly happy to be a nightmarish mass in an infinite void of space, and isn't particularly pleased to be in Quartermain's disgustingly alien, human meat-body.
- Tales of the Slayer: Wendigo: A Buffyverse story in which a Slayer is called in pre-Columbian America.
- The 2001 American horror movie titled Wendigo. The Wendigo in this is a deer-headed man that may or may not exist. The movie leave sit up to the viewer but the more likely explanation for the cannibals in the movie are real psychological problems. See the Real Life section below.
- The Wendigo Myth features prominently in the 1999 film Ravenous, although an actual wendigo did not show up.
- The same author/director of Wendigo used the wendigo in his 2006 film, The Last Winter
- The film 13th Warrior features the Wendol, a fictional Norse legend posited by Michael Crichton in The 13th Warrior as a source for Grendel. The locals believe it to be a single monster with all the characteristics of the Wendigo.
- Ghostkeeper, where an insane woman keeps the Wendigo that was once her son locked in the basement.
- The werewolves are assumed to be these in the Ginger Snaps prequel.
- "The Wendigo" by Algernon Blackwood, which introduced the legend and influence the modern version of this trope.
- In the Cthulhu Mythos, Ithaqua is a Great Old One who lives in the North and was inspired by the legend of the Wendigo. Blackwood's short story was the inspiration for The Wind-walker.
- The second book in the gory Monstrumologist series is called Curse of The Wendigo. It has been confirmed that a super creepy version that is "neither living or dead version of the Wendigo" will be the main antagonist....
- One of Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. In that story, the Wendigo is more of a spirit of wind and frostbite, although there are still cannibalistic overtones (the two men are starving). The Wendigo calls you out of the tent with its eerie, windblown song, and makes you run until your feet burn away, and makes you keep running after that.
Oh, my fiery feet! My burning feet of fire!
- Which is an adaptation of the Blackwood's story, currently out-of-copyright , available online at the Gutenberg Project.
- The Wendigo is discussed, and it is ambiguous as to whether it's actually encountered, in the novel Bonechiller. The dad of the protaganist's love interest describes to them a legend about one.
- The Indian burial ground, and the path leading to it, from Stephen King's Pet Sematary were frequented by the Wendigo. (Whether this was the cause or the result of the curse on that area isn't made clear.) At one point, the protagonist nearly meets the Wendigo, but it's a foggy night so he's spared from seeing it.
- The burial ground having "gone sour" is connected to cannibalism. Later, it's
heavily impliedcreatively euphemized that the resurrected Gage engaged in this.
- The burial ground having "gone sour" is connected to cannibalism. Later, it's
- Two well known poems address the wendigo. Ogden Nash's "Wendigo" uses the legends as a source of humor but Louise Erdrich's "Windigo" is more serious, claiming the only way to kill a windigo is to melt its frozen heart.
- Such a creature is mentioned in Michael D. O'Brien's novel Eclipse of the Sun by a young boy called Arrow.
- In The General by David Drake and S.M. Stirling, the Skinners, descended from French Canadians, refer to Raj Whitehall as the "Gran' wheetigo," translated in-story as the "Big Devil."
- Showed up in an early episode of Supernatural.
- One of these possesses a man in the Fear Itself episode "Skin & Bones".
- One of these appeared in an episode of Charmed, entitled "The Wendigo", in which it bit Piper and she proceeded to turn into a Wendigo herself.
- Done on Blood Ties.
- A Wendigo is the titular Monster of the Week on an episode Lost Tapes in the form of a lost hiker who kills and eats a severely injured friend, before killing and eating the other friends on the trip.
- A Wendigo is often referred to and hinted at in Twin Peaks, but we never see it clearly.
- Boy's Life had a story about a story that was told by a kid to his friends to scare them. It's implied the story teller falls victim to one a later night as they hear the moan it was described to make around the time he disappeared and was never heard from again. One of the kids even saw a giant shadowy figure in the distance looking down on him while trying to find the lost boy and concludes that they were so scared of the story they brought it to life.
- In Shadowrun, a wendigo is an Ork (human variant) infected with the HMHVV (Human Meta Human Vampiric Virus). They were around 2.5 meters high, weighed 130 kilograms, and looked like a sasquatch (Bigfoot) with white fur. They had magical powers, and mentally influenced their victims into becoming cannibals.
- In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, there is a werewolf tribe named after the Wendigo who worship the cannibal spirit as their tribal patron. Powerful members of the tribe can summon an avatar of the Wendigo to track down and devour their enemies.
- Werewolf: The Forsaken, the Spiritual Successor of Werewolf: The Apocalypse, has the Lodge of Wendigo, where most of the members have a somewhat lax attitude towards the whole "don't eat the flesh of men, wolves, or werewolves" taboo. Especially since they have rituals that grant them access to special knowledge if they sample a bit of another's flesh.
- As noted above, Call of Cthulhu (tabletop game) includes Ithaqua as a possible menace for player-characters to
facerun away from really really fast.
- Native American legends? Check. Superstition and folklore? Check. Deadlands example? Check! Wendigoes are something of a Stock Monster in the Weird and Wasted Wests. And no surprise, given that cannibalism falls under the direct purview of one of the Big Bads. Deadlands wendigoes are created when a human eats the flesh of another human in the appropriate parts of the country; it can happen to Player Character types, and according to Word of God, it can even happen if the character doesn't know what they're eating. Not that a sadistic Marshal would ever trick a Player Character like that...
- There's also a variant wendigo that is created not by cannibalism, but by food hoarding. If a hoarder causes others to starve to death because of his greed and selfishness, he runs the risk of being wendigofied.
- The tamanous in Chill was a similar cannibalism-promoting Native American monster, which resembled a warrior's corpse partially covered in tar.
- Wendigos are adapted for Dungeons & Dragons use in the Fiend Folio. In their version, they like to pick one person out any group that enters their territory and stalk them until they're jumping at shadows, and they can turn people into more wendigos by draining their Wisdom points.
- Pathfinder wendigos are directly inspired by the Algernon Blackwood version. They're as powerful as they're hideous.
- In keeping with its Fantasy Kitchen Sink (and sci-fi kitchen sink, and horror kitchen sink...) Rifts has two types of wendigo: the "spirit" wendigo, wise supernatural hairy hominids friendly to the local Magical Native American tribes, and the wendigo demons who are truer to the original myths, if slightly underwhelming (it's a good thing they travel in packs, because a lone one wouldn't be much trouble for the average Rifts low-level PC group).
- There are monsters called "Wendigo" in the French versions of Granstream Saga and Final Fantasy VIII.
- There's a boss called Wendigo in Final Fantasy X.
- Wendigo is the official name of the line of monsters that starts with Gargantuan Beast and ends with Yeti in Diablo II.
- In World of Warcraft there is a rather common type of enemy sporting the name "Wendigo", although they more resemble yetis than actual wendigos.
- Wendigos in the Warcraft series date from earlier than that - there were already some in Warcraft III.
- Wendigo appear as demons in several Shin Megami Tensei games, most recently Devil Survivor and Strange Journey.
- Although not encountered in the game, one of the codex entries in Dragon Age: Origins mentions that people possessed by hunger demons become cannibals.
- In Brave: The Search For Spirit Dancer, the Wendigo is the main villain, although it's generally described as a "great evil", and appears as the upper half of a giant, flaming, horned, skeleton.
- Adventure Quest Worlds features a boss monster called Wendigo.
- A storyline in Scary Go Round involved a Wendigo sold to France by the Canadian government as a Easter Bunny.
- And it's back.
- The Big Guy Sevink from Geist Panik is a Wendigo who has 'achieved critical flesh', and you would have to kill him as many times as the number of people he's eaten. He's described at one point as being "...up to the population of California", rendering him nigh unkillable.
- Artist Keith Thompson has his own take on the beast here.
- The investigators in Shadow Unit postulate that, given the metabolic demands of superpowers in their setting, the wendigo legends may have originated from hungry snowed-in gammas.
- The My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "Hearth's Warming Eve" features equine blizzard spirits called Windigos that, however, feed not on flesh but hatred. Whether their origin is natural or closer to their mythological roots has thus far gone unaddressed...
- The Wendigo character appeared in an episode of Wolverine and the X-Men where Nick Fury sent Wolverine to hunt down the Hulk in Canada after a team of his goes missing, only for Logan and Bruce Banner to find the Wendigo behind the disappearance and transformation of the SHIELD agents into Wendigo themselves. They eventually discover that the WENDIGO project was an attempt by shield to create super-soldiers that went wrong and cure the victims. Logan figures out that Fury knew all along and shows his displeasure by punching Banner in the face to trigger his transformation for Fury to deal with. Even being knocked into the next county by the Hulk doesn't spoil his glee at one-upping Fury.
- The so-called "Wendigo psychosis" is a culturally specific mental disorder observed among several Algonquian peoples. It's specifically applied to cases where people kill and eat humans (often relatives) in circumstances where it doesn't make any sense, i.e. there's no famine whatsoever. This psychological category is very controversial.
- Note: Cases do not always involve killing. Often, its simply taking a bite out of someone, usually whoever is sleeping next to you. Not that that's much better for the people involved mind you, as they are alive when the bite is taken. It must also be noted that it is considered imperative to kill these "Wendigo" infected people, leading to the Canadian government taking them away from their groups and putting them in psychiatric care. They don't display any unusual traits, and are largely kept contained to protect themselves from the attacks of others.
- Another interesting fact about Algonquian culture was the fact that cannibalism was treated as a serious taboo, even if there were justifiable reasons for doing so (such as starvation). For famous examples such as Plains Cree trapper Swift Runner, who butchered and ate his wife and children twenty-five miles from emergency supplies at a Hudsons Bay Company post, it's likely the strain of starvation and the death of his eldest son caused him to form symptoms synonymous with Wendigo possession partly out of trauma and partly to put blame on outside, supernatural forces away from himself. As a result he killed the rest of his family because he may have felt exempt from punishment due to responsibility put on the wendigo (although this is all just Wild Mass Guessing on the troper's part).
- Some cryptozoology circles consider the Wendigo like a cryptid just like the Sasquatch and the Loch Ness monster.
- The cannibalism aspect suggests the myths may actually be inspired by Kuru, Kreuzfeldt-Jakob or any other of a number of brain diseases transmitted by cannibalism. The brain damage these illnesses cause can sometimes manifest as violent psychosis, and may be more likely to manifest this way in cultures with a tradition of Wendigo lore due to the power of suggestion.
- It could also have been to reinforce the taboo against cannibalism. Again, the power of suggestion plays a role, and people who have violated the taboo believe they will turn into wendigos and thus display the symptoms.