On December 20, 1879, the citizens of Alberta, Canada, witnessed their first official hanging. Well, Swift Runner cannibalized his entire family. This sort of storytelling is mirrored in the folklore of other cultures: If you don't behave then Krampus will take you, and if you're too self-involved, you'll become a man-eating forest ghoul. Someone had snapped them open and sucked out the marrow. The first possibility is that it's a physical being; a hideous monster that stalks the northern woods, desperate to sate its unfathomable hunger. They have extreme speed, strength, and endurance. A wendigo, initially, was considered an evil spirit that appeared like a mix between a human and an animal. Whenever they see a lone person, they do everything they can to hunt them down and eat them. No matter what your thing is, it's nice to know that there are other folks out there who share the same interests. Sometimes, possession is only temporary and the person is able to keep their humanity after the fact. The jury is still out on that. Swift Runner was eventually executed on December 20, 1879. It’s a syndrome characterized by temporary insanity that leads people to commit acts of murder, cannibalism, and environmental destruction. This includes an EMF meter to help you, I get it, you want to be a ghost hunter. Several months later as spring rolled around, Swift Runner staggered out of the woods and into a nearby Catholic mission. In much the same way that the spirit of the Wendigo lurks in the corners of the forest, its presence can also be felt across swaths of popular culture. Shock factor aside, it's especially eye-catching in that it isn't necessarily a result of being desperate for food. Whenever something negative happens or bad vibes are detected, without a doubt, at, To be a ghost hunter, you need some essential pieces of equipment. People around the world have told stories of terrifying monsters in the woods, and among Native American tribes, those tales are taken as facts. The police at Fort Saskatchewan, however, couldn't help but notice that the man himself didn't look like he had missed a meal. People who spend excessive time in snow and cold areas are also more prone to wendigo possession. Plus, they knew quite a few other Cree who’d had a pretty successful winter, hunting-wise. It's a term for what happens to people who for one reason or another turn to eating other people. A wendigo is known for having an unending, insatiable hunger for everything around them. As this execution connoisseur later put it, “It was the prettiest hanging I’ve ever seen.”, Listverse: 10 Real-Life Inspirations For Mythical Things Lore: Hunger Pains Executed Today: 1879: Swift Runner, wendigo Rampage: Canadian Mass Murder and Spree Killing, by Lee Mellor The Law and the Lawless: Frontier Justice on the Canadian Prairies, 1873-1895, edited by Art Downs, The Fascinating Story of Minor Cooper Keith, 8 Terrible Minivan Designs Over The Years, Difference Between Comic Books And Graphic Novels, True Story Behind The WYSIWYG Keyboard Design. In the northern wilderness, when you're all alone and miles from civilization, it can probably seem like this supernatural night terror could be anywhere. Most people who have this form of psychosis can only be stopped from a killing spree by being killed. It originates in the northern regions of North America with the folklore of the Algonquian indigenous peoples. And of course, there's the Wendigo.

It’s important to remember the overall theme of wendigos. The longer that wendigos deal with their curse, the less human they become. It’s generally accepted that being targeted by a wendigo is a death sentence. Narcissism, hermaphroditism, and Proteus syndrome all come from ancient mythology. This spirit had the power to possess people and cause people to do acts that involved unspeakable levels of greed, lust, and hunger. What was his crime? All Rights Reserved. The moment a human turns to cannibalism to survive, they seal their fate as a wendigo. It could lurk behind any tree, or watch hungrily from any shadow, waiting to end you, unwitnessed, in unspeakably haunting ways. The only real way to escape a wendigo is to see it before it sees you and to run as soon as you see it. Others say he intentionally tried to mislead them, only cooperating after he was made drunk. It mainly concerns Algonquian: Cree tribes and people living in the Northern Ojibwa area. Others claim that you can do it as long as you head indoors or find your way out of the forest in time. As it was the turn of the century, tribal traditions were beginning to go by the wayside, and when the Canadian government got wind of a mystical cannibal fighter, they didn't much cotton to the idea of spiritual medicine by way of execution. Wendigos are often called “beings of ice” due to their cold-hearted nature and origins. That could only mean one thing.

When confronted about the crime, Swift Runner confessed to having killed and eaten his family. But he laid the blame on an evil spirit called a wendigo. There were bones everywhere, some broken in half and hollowed out. Cannibalism is the great fear.” —, The Prisoners’ Dilemma Tested On Real Prisoners, Seasonal Affective Disorder Happens In Summer, Too, Listverse: 10 Real-Life Inspirations For Mythical Things, Executed Today: 1879: Swift Runner, wendigo, The Difference Between The Spirit And The Soul, The Epic (And Wrong) Predictions Of Isaac Bickerstaff, The Victorians’ Creepy Christmas Eve Tradition. The man would wake up in the night screaming at the top of his lungs. The man dangling at the end of the rope was a Cree Native American by the name of Swift Runner. It was said that this spirit could possess a person who was overcome with selfishness or greed, leading them to acts of cannibalism. It’s believed that the close ties wendigos have to cold weather deals with the way that wendigos come into being. Known to the Europeans in the area as "Jack Fiddler," he was a shaman, a holy healer with a particularly sought-after skill set: Jack could fight Wendigos. Some say Swift Runner immediately took them to the spot. At over 180 centimeters (6′) tall, he was a giant of a man, and made his living as a trapper and a guide for the North West Mounted Police. The Wendigo, too, has a namesake, and as you might expect, it's downright unpleasant. Reportedly, they had been overcome with a mysterious psychosis, which they described in detail: "(They become) so ravenous for human flesh that they pounce upon women, children, and even upon men, like veritable werewolves, and devour them voraciously, without being able to appease or glut their appetite — ever seeking fresh prey, and the more greedily the more they eat. Different groups had different variations on the mythos, but one thing always stayed the same: the all-consuming hunger that drove it to take the lives of the unwary. Creep monster that it is, the Wendigo also makes a great target in the world of gaming.

Oh, it's also worth mentioning that even if you do escape, you'll probably lose your mind. Born in Alberta as Ka-Ki-Si-Kutchin, Swift Runner was a popular man in the Cree community and the father of six children. The Cree, Algonquian, and Ojibwe tribe territories are where they are most likely to be spotted. They are considered to be ethereal creatures, so duking it out will not work. According to howstuffworks, if you can get at the creature's heart with a silver blade or stake or bullet, then shatter the heart, then put the shattered heart bits in a silver box, then lock the box, and finally bury the box in a graveyard, then maybe, just MAYBE, the Wendigo will die. Like all of the best beasts of folklore, it strikes up visceral images of the possibilities we all know are out there but lock away in the backs of our minds. Though wendigos can eat other animals, other animals are not their primary focus.

The chief weakness of a Wendigo, traditionally, is its heart.

In the same way that concerns about the destructive potential of nuclear technology brought Godzilla to the modern world, a very real fear of desperation may have led to the proliferation of stories about the Wendigo. Wendigos are often described as tall, emaciated beings that have greyish skin, long claws, and black eyes. It’s a syndrome characterized by temporary insanity that leads people to commit acts of murder, cannibalism, and environmental destruction. Wendigo psychosis is a mental illness that is associated with wendigo possession, and there have been multiple cases reported in the Ontario area. They have an unending thirst for human flesh that keeps them on the hunt for people at all times. It manifests through compulsive, strong attacks of cannibalistic behaviors.

It was sometimes said to grow in proportion to the size of the meal it had just consumed, making it impossible for the beast to ever eat its fill. According to folklore, wendigos are people who committed acts of cannibalism during famines. To a point, wendigos are a living representation of all things greed. The folks at mythology.net add a few steps like dismembering and cremating the body and scattering its ashes in several directions. But over time, Swift Runner developed a taste for whiskey (possibly because he’d lost his ability to hunt and take care of his family) and fell into the throes of alcoholism. Since their most active times are during the winter and fall seasons, it’s can be assumed that they hibernate during the summer months if food supplies are low. Wherever you go, the creature will follow, raking at you with grasping claws, tirelessly pursuing the despairing hope that you will be the meal that finally gives it satisfaction. So what, you might well ask, is the Wendigo? That being said, there have been survivors. It’s also worth pointing out that most people have the power to fight the possession through selfless deeds. Much like wendigos, people who have wendigo psychosis never stop being hungry when afflicted with the illness. To many of the Algonquin tribe, the wendigo was very real—and also had a bad habit of possessing unsuspecting people and turning them into cannibals. There's even a mission where the player is tasked with killing one while dressed as a clown because who the hell knows what's going on with that game. They investigated his campsite and discovered grisly remains: bones picked clean of meat, some with the marrow hollowed out. Your first reaction might be to panic, and maybe even give up on any chance of having a pleasant afternoon. Because it can never be full, it gets hungrier every time they eat someone. On their home turf, the unforgiving cold in the forests of the North, you're pretty much out of luck. So, it is part spirit, part monster–all depending on how it chooses to manifest. When the priests asked what was wrong, Swift Runner said his entire family was dead. When Swift Runner went to trial in 1879, the jury didn’t buy his supernatural tale, and after 20 minutes of deliberation, they sentenced the Cree to death. The priests were also disturbed by Swift Runner’s constant nightmares. In other tellings, it's the fate that awaits people who turn to cannibalism in the first place. Quite a few people came to watch Swift Runner meet his maker, including one spectator, who claimed it was the 29th hanging he’d witnessed, was thoroughly impressed with the show.

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