I am the voice of the Witika. Sometimes I am called the Wendigo, sometimes the Weetigo or Wetiko or other variants. It all depends on the region you’re from and the belief system you share. I roam the frozen north especially, northern Minnesota, the wastes of Canada, and New York State in the snowy winters.
The Wendigo, the Wendigo
I saw it just a friend ago
Last night it lurked in Canada
Tonight on your veranada!
So wrote none other than Ogden Nash.
I make an appearance in The Orphanmaster as the vicious monster the European settlers find themselves terrorized by when children start to go missing from the colony.
As everyone in New Amsterdam knows, I stand around nine feet tall, with greenish, putrid skin, long fangs, and a voracious appetite for human flesh. The Algonquins made me part of their belief system. The name is thought to mean “the evil spirit that devours mankind.”
I’ve been the subject of fantasy in literature, movies, video games, anime and comic books. Artists have had a field day with me.
In Marvel comics, I have faced off against the Hulk and other superheros.
The Dark Horse Comic Series has a different portrayal.
In Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, I haunt the path leading to the Indian burial ground.
I had a whole movie to myself in the 2001 Wendigo.
Even literati Louise Erdrich wrote a poem, “Windigo,” about melting my frozen heart.
I star in the fantasies of countless gamers.
Read your newspapers after reading The Orphanmaster, and you’ll see more cannibal stories than you’d expect.
I’m not the only monster. “Wendigo psychosis” is a mental disorder which has actually been observed among several Algonquian peoples. It describes cases where people kill and eat humans (often relatives) indiscriminately, when there’s no famine whatsoever. They do it because my spirit infests them.
These people take on the characteristics of the monster Witika. Me.
Like a Big Foot or a Loch Ness monster, I may be what mythologists call a cryptid. Or I may be real.
Biologists think the urge to cannibalize has roots in Kuru, Kreuzfeldt-Jakob or other brain diseases, which can show themselves as a form of psychosis.
But really, it’s all about the power of suggestion.