‘Supernatural’ urban legends: ‘Wendigo’ explained


Photo Credit: Supernatural/The CW Image Acquired from CW TV PR

An in-depth look at the very monster that the Winchester brothers faced in ‘Supernatural’ Season 1, Episode 2 “Wendigo.”

After spending a week searching for the monster that had killed Jess in the pilot episode of Supernatural, the Winchester brothers head off to the coordinates given by John in the journal. The two find themselves in Colorado, where a monster they never expected to encounter is taking innocent victims.

That monster was called the “Wendigo.” Here’s a look at the lore behind the creature.

‘Wendigo’: The show lore

Charmed fans weren’t initially happy at the use of the Wendigo in Supernatural. There was no real connection between the two creatures. In Charmed it was more of a werewolf. In Suprenatural it was a creature that was once human.

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The Winchesters explained to their disbelieving group that the Wendigo had turned into a creature through cannibalism. The eating of human flesh has plenty of lore involved around the world, but in Supernatural‘s case it turned a man into an immortal creature that was a mixture of beast and man. The creature would hunt for its next meal: preferably human.

Various names are also given to the creature other than ‘Wendigo’ and are most likely to be found in Minnesota and central regions of Canada. Dean points out in the episode that he had never come across a creature so far west.

While varying in size, Wendigos are larger than humans, expert hunters in the day (excelling at night), and have claws very much like sharp fingernails. They mimic the sound of human voices, luring people to them.

A ‘Wendigo’ can be kept at bay by forming a protective circle with the use of Anasazi symbols. The only way to fully stop one, aka kill one, is by the use of fire. Improvised flame throwers, flare guns etc will do the trick.

The truth of the ‘Supernatural’ urban legend

So what truth is behind a Wendigo? Is there any at all or was it completely made up for the show?

Photo Credit: Supernatural/The CW Image Acquired from CW TV PR

There is actually lore, and sorry Charmed fans but Supernatural got it right!

The Wendigo actually comes from Algonquian folklore, mainly the Ojibwe and Saulteaux, Cree, Naskapi and Innu people. The creatur’s name can be spelled Wendigo or Windigo and is native to American and Canadian folk lore. It’s an evil spirit or cannibal monster linked to starvation and famine due to harsh winters.

Supernatural made a point of stating Wendigo/Windigo is a Cree Indian word. It means “evil that devours.”

It has the look of a human. Some argue it is a spirit, which has possessed a human. The show linked to the cannibalism side of the lore, but there are also links through murder, greed, cultural taboos, and more.

There are various descriptions of the creature, including tight skin over its bone, being a giant, and having yellow skin with gaunt eyes. The theory is the Wendigo would grow in relation to its last meal.

Next: 'Supernatural' urban legends: A 'Woman in White' explained

What do you think of ‘Wendigo’? Had you heard of the tale before watching Supernatural? Share in the comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Supernatural Season 13 premieres on Oct. 12 at 8/7c on The CW.