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Sasquatch and the Wendigo Legend

A fresh blanket of snow has fallen overnight, and I sit here gazing out over the quiet, cold woods that surround my home. Of course my mind wanders, as it does, and I think of the Wendigo...

The Wendigo, or sometimes Windigo, is an Algonquian legend involving a spirit associated with Winter, starvation and death. The Wendigo are described as tall, thin, gnarly phantoms that haunt the cold northern woodlands.

The Algonquian legends of the "Wendigo" are often used to support the idea that there was knowledge of, and a long history of contact between various tribes and Sasquatch, or "hairy forest people." The connection between Wendigo and Bigfoot may simply be the result of a need or desire, by staunch "believers," to give Bigfoot a greater foothold in history than there actually was.

If we take a look at the story of the Wendigo, even in its various forms, it is nothing like Sasquatch. Wendigo were considered by Native Americans to be a spiritual beings, not physical creatures.

The general description of the Wendigo is decidedly non-Bigfoot, with a gaunt, skeletal appearance, emaciated, grayish skin pulled tightly over their bones.

When I was younger I read a book called "Master Of The Dead (and Other Strange Unsolved Mysteries)" by Margaret Ronan, which included a story called "Wamagemeswak." It told the story of two white settlers terrorized by a gruesome spectre that would bite, leaving narrow wedge-shaped marks. In the book, the Wamagemeswak is a Native American legend come to life, so thin that when it turns sideways it would appear to vanish. The Wamagemeswak sounds very much like an extension of the Wendigo legend.

The Wendigo were associated with the suffering of the Algonquian people. They were a symbol of death, Winter, harsh cold, and famine. The legend of the Wendigo may also stem from instances of cannibalism among Native American people who found themselves faced with food shortages during cold winter months.

The Wendigo legend was probably developed to prevent cannibalism, much like stories of the Boogeyman were created to keep children close, and safe. The Wendigo was not considered a physical creature by Algonqian tribes. It was considered a spirit, symbolic, and should not be considered evidence of the historic presence of hairy hominids known as Bigfoot or Sasquatch.

Here's a good story of the Wendigo/Windigo:
Windigo - A Northwest Territories Ghost Story retold by S. E. Schlosser. (Note: the creature in this tale, while described as "tall as a tree" was not described as hairy, and would have been white, or at least very pale, since its form "blended in with its white surroundings so well...")

For more information on the Wendigo:
The Wendigo, Fate Of The Cannibal
Wikipedia - Wendigo
The Wendigo by Bill Lengeman

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