|“||"Wendigo" is a Cree Indian word. It means "evil that devours." They're hundreds of years old. Each was once a man, sometimes an Indian or other times a frontiersman or a miner or hunter.[...]During some harsh Winter, a person finds themself starving, cut off from supplies or help -- becomes a cannibal to survive, eating other members of his tribe or camp. Cultures all over the world believe that eating human flesh gives a person certain abilities -- speed, strength, immortality. If you eat enough of it, over years, you become this less-than-human thing. You're always hungry.||”|
Wendigos are a type of cannibalistic creature whose name means "evil that devours."
|“||More than anything, a wendigo knows how to last long winters without food. It hibernates for years at a time. When it's awake, it keeps its victims alive. It stores them so it can feed whenever it wants.||”|
— Dean, about Wendigos
Wendigos were once humans, but after being forced to eat human flesh to survive, they become monsters that retain little of the human features they once possessed. After their transformation, they begin to crave human flesh and feed solely on it.
Although their name is described as an 'evil spirit', it is technically a creature.
At the same time, Wendigos are embodiments of gluttony, greed, and excess; never satisfied after killing and consuming one person, they are constantly searching for new victims. It is also common that wendigos just capture humans to hoard their food, and then eat when hungry.
Wendigos are rarely seen out of Minnesota or the north of Michigan. They are hundreds of years old, and they also have hibernation behavior during the long, cold winters they must survive—meaning they must hoard food if it is scarce. In addition, they keep their victims in dark and isolated places, such as caves or abandoned mines.
Wendigos are humanoid, standing at over six feet. They appear emaciated with bones visible under their pallid skin, a symbol of their unquenchable hunger. Wendigos eyes are pushed back deep in their sockets, and have many layers of crooked, sharp, teeth. They are equipped with razor-like claws used to rip prey to shreds. They are sometimes said to have matted fur and have chunks of skin and flesh missing, due to consumption.
In the episode Wendigo, Sam and Dean are trying to find their father, John Winchester. But when they find out that John isn't there, they 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 an abandoned mine where the Wendigo stores its victims as living food sources. Dean kills the creature by shooting it with a flare gun.
In Two Minutes to Midnight, Sam comments on how they used to hunt simpler things, like Wendigos.
In Slash Fiction, Sam has a flashback to when he and Dean hunted a wendigo at Blackwater when he realizes that the Leviathans hit Blackwater and other towns they hunted at in order.
In How To Win Friends And Influence Monsters, Bobby rules out a wendigo as the culprit of the New Jersey attacks because a wendigo leaves nothing behind.
In Southern Comfort, Garth receives a phone call from a hunter named LaMar who is hunting a Wendigo. Garth asks him if he has a flare gun or a flamethrower, which apparently he does not, because Garth advises him to start running.
In Clip Show, Tommy Collins, the boy Sam and Dean saved from a Wendigo in Colorado, thinks he hears a Wendigo outside the cabin he is in with his girlfriend. He grabs a blow torch to protect her before his head explodes.
Powers and Abilities
Wendigos are excellent hunters, either during the day or at night, as Sam and Dean said themselves, "It's a damn-near-perfect hunter. It's smarter than you." and, "This thing is a good hunter in the day, but an unbelievable hunter at night." There are few possibilities to defeat a Wendigo during the day as they usually hunt at night, but it is almost impossible to defeat them at night, since it is their favorite period to hunt. Also despite being animal-like, Wendigos retain their human intelligence, thus making them even more dangerous.
- Voice Mimicry - Wendigos can imitate the voices of humans to lure unsuspecting victims.
- Immortality - Wendigos can live forever.
- Super Speed - Wendigos possess inhuman speed (108km/h), enough to move from one place to another in seconds. Wendigos are arguably one of the fastest monsters.
- Superhuman Strength - Wendigos are incredibly strong, even by monster terms, they can tear humans limb from limb, snap necks and carry two people at once and even drag them up a tree with ease. They are considered to be among the strongest of monsters.
- Superhuman Agility - Wendigos can jump from tree to tree without being deterred by the foliage.
- Invulnerability - Wendigos are invulnerable to (albeit irritated by) normal knives and guns.
- Claws - Wendigos have giant claws, which they use to hunt or to attack.
- Super Senses - Wendigos possess enhanced senses, making them perfect hunters, they can see perfectly in darkness, and have similarly enhanced hearing.
- Super Stamina - Wendigos possess stamina superior to that of humans, and tire less easily.
- Hibernation - Wendigos can hibernate many years at a time, a wendigo from Colorado used to attack Blackwater Ridge every 23 years.
|“||Well, guns are useless -- and so are knives. Basically... we gotta torch this sucker.||”|
Wendigos are difficult creatures to kill or even harm. There are few possibilities to defeat them during the day, but it is almost impossible to defeat them at night, since it is their favorite period to hunt. Despite the beast's immeasurable amount of power, there are ways to protect oneself from the Wendigo.
- Fire - One of two only known ways to kill a Wendigo is to burn them to death. Wendigo are so sensitive to heat, they will even shun potential prey that they find sitting before an open flame.
- Anasazi Symbols - Special Anasazi symbols, drawn in protective circles, will keep a Wendigo away, much as salt does with demons and ghosts.
- Iron - The Pad of Definitons mentions that wendigos can only succumb to a few metals, one of them is iron, although it dosen't states that it can in fact kill them.
- Steel - The Pad of Definitons mentions that wendigos can only succumb to a few metals, one of them is steel, although it dosen't states that it can in fact kill them.
- Silver - The Pad of Definitions states that silver (and certain silver weapons) are one of the few metals that wendigos succumb to, it states that with some effort, silver weapons can also be used to kill wendigos by mutilating their bodies.
- Demons - Crowley's demonic hunters were able capture wendigos.
- Season 1
- Season 4
- The Monster at the End of This Book (mentioned only)
- Season 5
- Two Minutes to Midnight (mentioned only)
- Season 6
- Season 7
- Season 8
- Season 11
- Baby (mentioned only)
- Season 12
- Celebrating The Life Of Asa Fox (mentioned only)
- Official Website
- The Supernatural Book of Monsters, Spirits, Demons, and Ghouls (non canon, mentioned only)
- Bobby Singer's Guide to Hunting (non-canon, mentioned only)
- Supernatural: Fresh Meat (non-canon)
- Supernatural: The Men of Letters Bestiary: Winchester Family Edition (non-canon, mentioned only)
The Wendigo (also known as Windigo, Weendigo, Windago, Waindigo, Windiga, Witiko, Wihtikow, and numerous other variants) is a mythical creature appearing in the mythology of the Algonquian people. It is a malevolent cannibalistic spirit into which humans could transform, or which could possess humans. Those who indulged in cannibalism were at particular risk, and the legend appears to have reinforced this practice as a taboo.
Wendigo psychosis is the name conventionally given to a culture-bound disorder which involves an intense craving for human flesh and the fear that the sufferer would turn into a cannibal. This once occurred frequently among Algonquian Native cultures, but has declined due to the Native American urbanization.
Differences Between the Show and Real Lore
The Wendigo featured on the show is very similar to Wendigos of real folklore. The only major differences include:
- Wendigo typically live in freezing cold climates around Northern Canada, Michigan and Minnesota. The Wendigo shown on the show, however, somewhat ironically appeared nowhere near their designated territory, instead appearing in Colorado and Mexico, of all places.
- In lore, silver can kill the Wendigo. A final major difference in the lore as opposed to the show is that the Wendigo prefers to hunt at night in lore, thus making night in the woods and mountains even more dangerous. Wendigo are very rarely said to hunt in the day, this being their preferred time to feed on their victims.
- Wendigos were the very first supernatural being that the Winchesters hunted in the series.
- Sam and Dean considered Black dogs and Skinwalkers responsible for a Wendigo attack.
- Despite whether or not Wendigos have an Alpha on, in real Wendigo lore, Wendigos do have an Alpha called the Master Wendigo. According to Native Cree lore, The Master/Alpha Wendigo, is 30 feet tall, covered in white fur, and has antlers and mouth full of fangs. The Alpha Wendigo is claimed to live in Northern Canada and has the power to control the weather to make snow storms or ice storms, can bend lesser wendigos to its will, and can infect any person into a Wendigo without having the person commit cannibalism.
- In Bobby Singer's Guide to Hunting, Bobby confirms the existence of the Alpha Wendigo, which implies that they are descendants from Eve. This book is non-canon. However, the fact that Ellsworth was coordinating demons attempting to capture a Wendigo for Crowley in The Man Who Would Be King would suggest that they are indeed related to Eve.
- It is stated by Dean that wendigos are in the Minnesota woods and northern Michigan. However, the only known locations of a wendigo in the series are Lost Creek Colorado and New Mexico.
- A Wendigo identified as a member of the Donner Party appears in Supernatural: Fresh Meat. This Wendigo fed off of the half-consumed victims of an aswang causing the aswang, disguised as a hunter, to team up with the Winchesters to kill it and get rid of the competition.
- Asa Fox once killed 5 Wendigos in a single night.
- Wendigos share some characteristics with kohontas. The kohontas were humans that performed massive cannibalistic acts, and, therefore, were supposed to become wendigos, but they were cursed into kohontas before they could become ones.