When looking for information on the Windigo/Wendigo one is first informed that it is a creature from Algonquian lore, which is correct and straight forward.
After that one is given a mish-mash of mythology and peculiar descriptions of a creature who is pretty much impossible to make heads or tails of:
It’s a cannibal.
It’s a spirit of the North with a heart of ice and taller than the pine trees.
It’s a half man, half caribou creature.
It’s an evil spirit, emaciated, pale, crawling on all fours.
Can it really be all those things?
Could it be that The Algonquian peoples, who once inhabited most of Eastern and Middle Canada, as well as parts of the Eastern and Middle US, actually had several legends describing several creatures?
Could it be that through the years and generations, bits have been added, others forgotten?
Could it maybe even be that this Windigo has been taking on traits of other mythological beings as the lines between legends have been blurred by time?
To address the cannibalistic trait one must first remember that to be a cannibal one has to eat ones own species. A man-eating lion is not a cannibal. A lion-eating lion would be.
For the Windigo to be cannibalistic, in the sense that it eats humans, it would have to be human in the first place.
Cannibalism was an enormous taboo with the Algonquian peoples, yet the cold and the lack of food would sometimes drive people to these hideous acts.
The only way to make sense of something so senseless would then be if they were affected by an unclean, evil spirit.
Nowadays we call it Windigo psychosis. The insatiable desire to consume human flesh, even when other food is available.
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