Wendigo (creature)

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Wendigo
Powers and Abilities Enhanced strength and speed. It can imitate human voices to lure in its victims, which it traps and keeps alive for long periods so that it can feed from them.
Vulnerabilities Fire; can be kept at bay with a protective circle of Anasazi symbols and injured by Silver-tipped Bows and Arrows.
Appearance Humanoid; tall and pale with elongated limbs.
Episode(s) 1.02 Wendigo

Wendigo

A creature that was once human but was transformed into an immortal evil spirit when it took up the practice of cannibalism. Wendigos are cursed to wander the land, eternally seeking to fulfill their voracious appetite for human flesh.

Various Native American tribes tell slightly different stories about this creature and refer to it by different names – Wendigo, Witigo, Witiko and Wee-Tee-Go – but each version roughly translates to mean the evil spirit that devours mankind . Around 1860, a German explorer translated Wendigo as cannibal.

Wendigos are believed to live in the northern woods of Minnesota and in the north central regions of Canada. Kenora, Ontario, Canada, has been given the title of Wendigo Capital of the World by many. Sightings of the creature in this area have continued well into the new millennium.

Wendigos are generally rumored to be gigantic spirits, over fifteen feet tall, lanky and with glowing eyes, long yellowed fangs, terrible claws and overly long tongues. Sometimes they are said to have a sallow, yellowish skin; other times they are described as being matted with hair. The Wendigo's full powers have never been recorded. The creature excels at stealth and is a near-perfect hunter, knowing and using every inch of its territory – caves, hills, trees and bushes. Some stories posit that Wendigos can control the weather through the use of dark magic.

Pad of Definitions (1.02 Wendigo), Official Website

Characteristics

A wendigo in its lair.

Well, it's always the same. During some harsh winter a guy finds himself starving, cut off from supplies or help. Becomes a cannibal to survive, eating other members of his tribe or camp.

Dean Winchester, 1.02 Wendigo

Wendigos were once humans who were forced to consume human flesh in order to survive. When a human consumes the flesh of another person they can become imbued with new strength and abilities. The continued consumption of human flesh over years will eventually make a person less and less human, until they become an emaciated husk of what they were, driven by a never-ending hunger.

Wendigos are excellent hunters and excel at it, especially at night. A wendigo will typically hibernate for years at a time, but when they are awake they are known to keep their victims alive to feed on at their leisure.

Powers and abilities

  • Claws - A wendigo has long claws which they use to slash their prey.
  • Enhanced senses - Wendigos have enhanced senses of smell and hearing, as well as the ability to hunt in complete darkness.
  • Immortality - With the continued consumption of human flesh and their ability to hibernate, a wendigo can theoretically live forever.
  • Superhuman strength and speed - The consumption of human flesh gives a wendigo the ability to tear humans limb from limb as well as incredible speed, making them incredibly stealth hunters.
  • Voice mimicry - Wendigos can imitate human voices to lure prey.

Weaknesses

  • Fire - Burning a wendigo is the only known way to effectively kill one.
  • Anasazi symbols - A protective circle of Anasazi symbols can keep a wendigo at bay.
  • Silver - A wendigo can be injured by silver-tipped bows and arrows, but they are ineffective as a means of killing one.

Episodes

Dean kills the wendigo with a flare gun.

1.02 Wendigo

While trying to find their father, John Winchester, Sam and Dean help a family whose brother has gone missing on a camping trip. He has been taken by a wendigo, but they find him alive in a cavern where the wendigo stores its victims as living food sources. Dean kills the creature by shooting it with a flare gun.

5.21 Two Minutes to Midnight

When preparing for their assault on Niveus Pharmaceuticals, Sam notes that he almost misses the days when he and Dean merely hunted wendigos rather than trying to stop the Apocalypse.

Sam finds Ben's wendigo mask in the trunk of the Impala.

6.03 The Third Man

Sam finds a mask of a wendigo in the trunk of the Impala. Dean tells him that he helped Ben make it for Halloween, and Sam admits that it is a good likeness.

6.20 The Man Who Would Be King

The demon Ellsworth is sent to New Mexico to capture a wendigo and bring it in so Crowley can question it.

8.06 Southern Comfort

Garth receives a call from a hunter named LaMar who is hunting a wendigo. Garth ask if he has a flare gun or flamethrower; the hunter does not, and Garth advises him that he better start running.

8.18 Freaks and Geeks

Victor Rogers' family was killed by a wendigo while they were camping.

8.22 Clip Show

Hearing noises from outside his cabin while trying to make out with his girlfriend, Tommy Collins assumes it to be a wendigo. He reaches for a blowtorch in his backpack, when suddenly he is struck with an intense pain and his head explodes in front of his girlfriend.

11.04 Baby

Dean reminds Sam they they worked a wendigo case with Heather "a couple years ago."

12.06 Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox

The hunter Asa Fox was known for having killed five wendigos in single night. After Asa's death, at his wake, anytime a hunter would say the word "wendigo," everyone would have to take a drink. After learning this firsthand, Dean suggests Sam does not say "wendigo" to anyone back at the party.

Apocrypha

A wendigo is one of the creatures that Sam, Dean, and Bobby hunt in the novel Supernatural: Fresh Meat; this wendigo was a man named William Foster who went on an expedition in 1845 that was forced to resort to cannibalism when the party ran out of food, Foster going so far as to kill his Miwok guides on the grounds that they weren't really human as they weren't white.

Wendigos in Lore

Windigo is actually a mental illness that some First Nations suffer from. It is a culturally-bound illness (meaning that it doesn't occur outside of First Nations groups) where the person suffering from the illness believes that they could be possessed by an evil spirit that would turn them into homicidal cannibals. Windigo is actually a derivative of the Ojibwe (Native American) folk legend of the "wiindigo" (pronounced WEEN-di-goh), a creature much like that shown in Supernatural. However, in Ojibwe folklore the wiindigo is described as more werewolf-like than human-like and does not possess the ability to mimic human voices. Many traditional Ojibwe people still believe this creature to exist in the woods of Northern Minnesota as referenced by Dean in the episode. The wendigo features prominently in the Stephen King novel Pet Semetary.

Trivia

  • Roy Campsall portrayed the wendigo.
  • The wendigo was originally one of Eric Kripke's least-liked creatures from the first season, due to the creature's makeup not coming out how he expected it to. He claimed that the episode was only saved due to the dark lighting keeping the wendigo hidden in the shadows.