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The Fort Kent Wendigo

Sean, Province of Alberta, Canada
January 2006

My name is Sean Viala, one of the Co-Founders of the Western Canadian Sasquatch Research Organization. Years ago I came upon a local legend known as "The Fort Kent Wendigo". I figured that because the Wendigo (Windigo, Wetiko, Witiko, etc.) is considered to be a spirit, that it would be suitable for a website of this type.

"While this creature is considered by many to be the creation of horror writer Algernon Blackwood in his classic terror tale, "The Wendigo", this woods spirit was, and is, very real to many in the northern woods and prairies of the state. Many legends and stories have circulated over the years about a mysterious creature who was encountered by hunters and campers in the shadowy forests of the upper regions of Minnesota. In one variation of the story, the creature could only be seen if it faced the witness head-on, because it was so thin that it could not be seen from the side. The spirit was said to have a voracious appetite for human flesh and the many forest dwellers who disappeared over the years were said to be victims of the monster.

The American Indians had their own tales of the Wendigo, dating back so many years that most who were interviewed could not remember when the story had not been told. The Inuit Indians of the region called the creature by various names, including Wendigo, Witigo, Witiko and Wee-Tee-Go but each of them was roughly translated to mean "the evil spirit that devours mankind". Around 1860, a German explorer translated Wendigo to mean "cannibal" among the tribes along the Great Lakes.

Native American versions of the creature spoke of a gigantic spirit, over fifteen feet tall, that had once been human but had been transformed into a creature by the use of magic. Though all of the descriptions of the creature vary slightly, the Wendigo is generally said to have glowing eyes, long yellowed fangs and overly long tongues. Most have a sallow, yellowish skin but others are said to be matted with hair. They are tall and lanky and are driven by a horrible hunger."

Now here is the story of The Fort Kent Wendigo.

Fort Kent was once a small settlement in northern Alberta, Canada. The population of this settlement never exceeded 150 people, and now it is nothing but a "ghost town".

In the early 1920's, probably 1921 or 1922, a strange creature was said to be haunting the backwoods around the area. The creature was blamed for several disappearances and a whole score of animal deaths.

One night a local rancher was sitting inside of his home after a long day of work. Suddenly he heard the horses in the corral outside starting to act up, soon the animals were stampeding around the corral, as if trying to flee from something. The rancher figured that perhaps a hungry bear or mountain lion had come down from the forest and was attacking his horses, so he retrieved his rifle and proceeded outside to confront whatever the cause of the ruckus was. No sooner had he stepped outside, when a long, terrify wail came from the forest's edge. He let his eyes adjust to the darkness, then looked in the direction of the corral. To his horror, he found that several of his prized horses had been killed by some unknown creature, while the remaining animals were trying their best to get free of the corral. Then he heard the sound again, a long, moaning wail, but this time it was much closer than it had been before. He turned towards the forest and spotted a very large, dark shape with glowing red eyes shambling towards him. He readied his rifle and fired at the unknown creature several times, the creature turned about, and with it's shambling gait, trudged off into the forest as if the bullets had done nothing but annoy it. The whole time emitting the terrible moaning wail that had first tipped the rancher off to the presence of the creature. The next morning he proceeded outside to remove the dead horses from the corral, only to discover that all the other animals were lying dead also, apparently they literally been scared to death.

There are other, more fantastical reports of this creature's presence, but most of them are just too wild to believe. There is also no doubt in my mind that things have been left out of this story & that things were added in to make it sound worse/ better than it actually truly was. Such is the way of the things that are passed down by word of mouth over the decades.

Sean, Province of Alberta, Canada
00:00 / 01:04
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