According to Algonquian myth, Wendigo was a hunter who once lost his way in a forest during a brutally cold winter day. As he did not have and could not find anything to eat, fierce hunger drove him to cannibalism, which transformed him into a crazed man-beast, roaming the forest in search of more people to fulfill its insatiable hunger. As it is said to be a monster living in harsh cold-weather conditions, most accounts about its description have been reported in Canada, as well as the colder northern states in the United States. Throughout the late 1800s and early 1920s, the Wendigo allegedly made several appearances near a town called Rosesu in Northern Minnesota, and each time an unexpected death or disappearance of a person followed its appearance. The Cave of the Wendigo, located near the lake Mameigwess in Ontario, Canada, is also said to be one of its favourite hunting place, a hotspot.
The name Wendigo was translated as cannibal by a German explorer in 1860. However, commonly it stands for the evil spirit that devours mankind. However, the depiction of Wendigo varies between the different Algonquian tribes. While some people described it as a large, hairy, ape-like creature resembling a yeti, other reports about it resemble a werewolf instead. According to ethno-historian Nathan Carlson, the Wendigo is depicted as having large, sharp claws, and massive eyes like an owl. However, some others simply describe it as a skeleton-like figure with ash-toned skin.
It is said that the Wendigo has the ability to control the weather and can bring darkness before dusk. It can also infiltrate the minds of its victims and can turn them into wendigos, instilling upon them a similar lust for human flesh. There are different versions regarding the speed and agility of the Wendigo. Some claim it to be an unusually speedy monster that can keep on walking for a prolonged period, even in harsh winter conditions. According to others, it is lethargic and sluggish in its movements and does not like, or feel the urge to chase its victim. It has endowed with the ability to mimic human voices and uses the skill to lure its victim and away in the desolate depths of wilderness to attack and devour him.
Although considered a legend, the concept of Wendigo has long been associated with real-life problems, and persons with insatiable greed, selfishness, and violence are often described as possessed by the Wendigo. The name is also symbolically used as gluttony and the image of excess. The myth has thus still survived in the modern world. Strange it may seem, there are even a couple of lakes named after the beast, including a Lake Windigo in Minnesota and a Windigo Lake in Wisconsin.