A email from Tom A. asked about the Wendigo I hope this helps:
The first accounts of the Wendigo legend, myth by explorers and missionaries date back to the 17th century. They describe it rather generically as a werewolf, devil, or cannibal said the Native American Indians. Among all creatures in Native American Indians legend, the Wendigo is the most feared and powerful. The Wendigo was once a man who broke a tribal taboo and ate human flesh. A malignant spirit possesses the cannibal, and the Wendigo Legend is born. The Wendigo was usually presumed to have once been human. Different origins of the Wendigo are described in variations of the myth. A hunter may become the Wendigo when encountering it in the forest at night, or when becoming possessed by its spirit in a dream. When the cannibalistic element of the myth is stressed, it is assumed that anyone who eats corpses in a famine becomes a Wendigo as a result. The only way to destroy a Wendigo is to destroy its heart. In recent times, it has been identified with Sasquatch or Bigfoot by crypto zoological, but there is little evidence in the indigenous folklore for it being a similar creature.
Perhaps this myth was used as a deterrent and cautionary tale among northern tribes whose winters were long and bitter and whose hunting parties often were trapped in storms with no recourse but to consume members of their own party. It could be indicative of starvation that the Wendigo is said to consume moss and other unpalatable food when human flesh is unavailable. Its physical deformities are suggestive of starvation and frostbite, so the Wendigo may be a myth based on a personification of the hardships of winter and the taboo of cannibalism. In some stories a Wendigo will follow a lone wanderer for a long time. When the prey becomes suspicious and turns around the Wendigo always manages to get out of sight by hiding behind a tree. After a while the followed person starts to become hysterical and runs until he makes an error. The Wendigo then strikes. If someone actually survives a Wendigo attack they get the Wendigo-fever: after a night of nightmares and pain in their legs, Wendigo-fevered people strip themselves naked and run into the forest screaming.
The Native Americans once feared the Wendigo so much that small groups of brave, armed men once actively hunted the beast in the past. One, a Cree Indian by the name of Jack Fiddler, had claimed to have killed fourteen Wendigoes during his lifetime. He and his son, Joseph, were tried for the murder of a Wendigo-possessed woman on October 7, 1907. Both men pleaded guilty for the crime, explaining that the unfortunate woman had been possessed by the Wendigo’s spirit. On the verge of completing the transformation, the Fiddlers killed her with silver bullets, which they said had to be done before she turned on the tribe.
Actual Wendigo murder trials took place in Canada around the beginning of the 20th century. The anthropologist Morton Teicher has described the alleged clinical condition of believing oneself to be a Wendigo, which he calls Windigo Psychosis. Windigo Psychosis is the medical term given to those people presumed “windigo”(cannibalistic). The term applies to the Algonquin Ojibway, as well as Cree (Witigo). It is hard to pin down any real biological causes, as hunger seems to be the only one. Rather it is more likely that windigo psychosis was a cultural disease. The most commonly known cure for windigo psychosis is bear fat or bear grease.
Description of a Wendigo
It’s huge round eyes bulge out of his head, lidless eyes rolling in red blood sockets, Rack of horns like a deer,the body undergoes a terrifying transformation. The body grows in strength and height, growing a thick coat of fur. The human’s strength and weight increases greatly, gaining supernatural powers in the process. The head takes on the features of a predatory beast, including the growth of prominent fangs and sharp teeth. The Wendigo’s fangs can easily puncture a human skull, The fingernails and toenails grow into sharpened talons, completing the transformation. The cannibal is then resurrected by the evil spirit, no longer a man, but a blood lusting beast known as the Wendigo. Far from being a stupid beast, the Wendigo has a man’s intelligence and cunning, as well as the predatory instincts of an animal. It is mystically attuned to every single tree, bush, rock, hill, or cave within its territory.
The Wendigo’s spirit has been known to jump from body to body as its own body wears out, and possessing an individual causes them to become the beast, several ways to becoming are told, one is dreaming of the Wendigo another method, probably caused by possession during the night. Like other supernatural beings, the Wendigo is able to infect humans by biting them, causing the victim to become another Wendigo. A Shaman’s curse will bring the transformation on as well. And their fore go the legend or is it a Legend. Exactly how and when the first Wendigo came to be is totally lost to history as well the legend no one knows. But ever since that time remembered, the Wendigo has haunted the woodlands of the Great Lakes, unexplored territory of Alaska and the cold forests of Canada for hundreds of years.
Be Safe, Be Sure