I don’t cover Native American mythology a whole lot in my mythology posts, but I’m going to do so today with a creature that’s made it into popular culture, at least to a certain extent. This is the wendigo, a man-eating creature from Algonquian legend. The wendigo is sort of like a sasquatch, but it’s often described as being incredibly thin and gaunt, to the point where you can hardly see it if it turns sideways. They also give off a foul odor.
This creature is used in a cautionary manner, because apparently any human who resorts to cannibalism can turn into a wendigo. Excessive greed can also spark the transformation. Whenever a wendigo ate a person, it would get bigger, so that it could never be full. The descriptions vary from one story to another, some presenting the wendigo as essentially an animated corpse, and others as a hairy monster. I guess the growing thing could make both descriptions true, though. They were also sometimes viewed as an omen of upcoming death.
I must say that, although wendigos apparently show up in quite a few media, I’m not familiar with most of them. They do show up in the Final Fantasy games, but mostly ones I haven’t played.
And I did watch the 2001 film Wendigo, but I found it boring and remember nothing about it, other than that it starred the kid who played Dewey on Malcolm in the Middle. I think there’s definitely potential in the mythology, however, so it’s not too surprising they’ve become more famous in recent years.