There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold”
Robert W. Service
We all have that friend who loves a complicated brunch. The sort who’d make you wait in line for hours because the place had twenty grain toast and a clever menu. The sort sustained as much by the hunger and frustration of their hungover pals, as they are a proper meal. I have been that hungover pal, standing in the endless cold, my good nature worn thin by thoughts of food denied. I was neither killed nor eaten, but in that moment I could feel a whisper of the Wendigos hunger.
The Wendigo, depending on who you ask, is a spirit, or demon, or psychological compulsion, that results in the consumption of human flesh. This physical embodiment of Hangry cannot be sated; like murderous Pringles, once popped the urge for flesh cannot be stopped. To be clear, this is supported by more than legend.
One of the more famous cases of Wendigo psychosis reported involved a Plains Cree trapper from Alberta, named Swift Runner. During the winter of 1878, Swift Runner and his family were starving, and his eldest son died. Twenty-five miles away from emergency food supplies at a Hudson’s Bay Company post, Swift Runner butchered and ate his wife and five remaining children. Given that he resorted to cannibalism so near to food supplies, and that he killed and consumed the remains of all those present, it was revealed that Swift Runner’s was not a case of pure cannibalism as a last resort to avoid starvation, but rather of a man with Wendigo psychosis. He eventually confessed and was executed by authorities at Fort Saskatchewan.
A man confessed to being a Wendigo, and the evidence at hand strongly supported it. Do you know how hard it is to eat six people? I get that five of them were children, but he still ate several hundred pounds of fruit off his family tree. Even if he was at it for a week he is still the Joey Chestnut of cannibals. I suspect they caught him because he couldn’t stop bragging about it in bars.
Country of origin: Canada Continue reading