Supernatural in Focus with Cels—The Wendigo
This is one Supe I have put off focusing on mainly because I’m a big scardey cat. The Wendigo (or Windigo) and I don’t have the best history together, thanks mainly to the brilliant Stephen King and his Pet Sematary and the nightmares that followed afterwards. But then, I guess it isn’t really possible to feel all warm and fuzzy about a creature renowned for loving the taste of human flesh.
Now the Wendigo can trace its roots back to the mythology of the Algonquian people, and they didn’t get the warm and fuzzies for it either. According to their belief the Wendigo was a malevolent spirit whose main goal was cannibalism. Humans that partook in this particular hobby ran the risk of being transformed into one; or, the Wendigo could posses humans of its choosing, if no one wanted to play ball. If that wasn’t enough to have you running for the hills at the sight of one, they are also very, very greedy. Not one to have its dinner and leave the table, the Wendigo’s craving is so excessive it must devour one human after the other. Some variations of the myth state that the Wendigo grows larger with each feeding, making it even more formidable and never full. There is also no documented fail-safe way to dispose of a Wendigo, putting it on top of the scariest, nastiest and strongest Supe list.
Now unlike other Supe’s, part of the Wendigo myth was used to explain and name some very frightening human actions. The Wendigo Psychosis is the term given to explain the actions and feelings of those that crave cannibalism despite other food sources being readily available. Some believed that the perpetrators were, in fact, possessed by a Wendigo spirit – I guess, by that reckoning, Hannibal Lecter really couldn’t help himself.
So, even though the Wendigo gives most of us the creeps just by the mere mention of its name, he is amazingly popular in a lot of popular media; although, they usually bear little resemblance to the original Algonquian spirit. He’s popped up in popular shows, including Charmed and Supernatural. Video games including Final Fantasy and The World of Warcraft Universe have used his likeness, and he has his own Marvel Comics character “Wendigo” bearing his name. Then there is the fiction, including Rick Yancey’s The Curse of the Wendigo where he nabs the role as main antagonist, and the abovementioned Pet Sematary.
I guess sometimes the bad guy does come out on top. Now I’m off to imagine bunnies and rainbows and hope like heck my old foe doesn’t decide to stalk the halls of my dreams tonight [same here, Cels! – Ed.]