The Wendigo (also known as Manaha) is a demonic half-beast creature appearing in the legends of the Algonquian peoples along the Atlantic Coast and Great Lakes Region of both the United States and Canada. The creature or spirit could either possess characteristics of a human or a monster that had physically transformed from a person. It is particularly associated with cannibalism.
- The Algonquian believed those who indulged in eating human flesh were at particular risk, because then they would transform into a Wendigo, or alternatively, become possessed by by the demonic spirit of a Wendigo.
- Once transformed, a person would become violent and obsessed with eating human flesh.
- The most frequent cause of transformation into a Wendigo was if a person had resorted to cannibalism, consuming the body of another human in order to keep from starving to death during a time of extreme hardship, for example in hard winters, or famine.
- Among northern Algonquian cultures, cannibalism, even to save one’s own life, was viewed as a serious taboo, the proper response to famine was suicide or resignation to death.
The Wendigo was gaunt to the point of emaciation, its desiccated skin pulled tautly over its bones. With its bones pushing out against its skin, its complexion the ash gray of death, and its eyes pushed back deep into their sockets, the Wendigo looked like a gaunt skeleton recently disinterred from the grave. What lips it had were tattered and bloody [….] Unclean and suffering from suppurations of the flesh, the Wendigo gave off a strange and eerie odor of decay and decomposition, of death and corruption.
Early European settlers dismissed accounts of the creature as simple Native folklore until the 17th century when missionaries and explorers began to report encounters with the strange devil-like monster.
In many cases, witnesses reported physical changes - bodies swelling and growing, lips and mouths enlarging. Some of the victims spoke of icy cold in their chests and an inability to warm up.
dude, being addicted to fanfiction is so weird. You stay in front of your computer for hours a day reading different versions of those same characters falling in love and fucking again, again, again and again. And yet, we’re looking for more, creating more, making fanarts because, apparently, nothing in the world is more fulfilling than fictional love, the love we cannot have. That’s either inspiring or unsettling. Or both.
It isn’t that weird, to me. :) It could be said that being ‘addicted’ to reading fanfiction is the same as being addicted to reading *any* sort of romantic or erotic fiction. Or any kind of literature or drama, or storytelling, in general. Hell, even people addicted to gaming are, in a way, just absorbed by an interactive form of storytelling. And with fanfiction, just because it is about already-established canons and characters doesn’t make it somehow more strange than, say, being obsessed with a published story. Or even, a myth or legend. Because, the thing is, the modern obsession with ‘originality’ is only a small blip in of the history of storytelling.
Much has already been written on the way medieval literature retells the same stories over and over again, with each author, from anonymous authors writing in Old English (some recording what was up to that point, orally trasmitted epic poetry), to Chaucer, and all the way to Shakespeare, building on the previous retelling. This is where you get the originality, not in the story itself, necessarily, but in the *way* said story is told. Note that performance, storytelling, folklore, and literature are therefore more inextricably linked than what one might at first think.
To me, this is all that fanfiction is, really. Yet another form of storytelling, and one that allows us to engage more expansively and intimately with characters and worlds that we already know and love. Far from being sad or pathetic, telling the same story, or the same type of stories, over and over again, is actually part of what makes us human.
”That all forms of narrative, even the most sophisticated genres of contemporary fiction, have their ultimate origin in storytelling is a point that scarcely needs to be argued. [The author’s] claims here are more ambitious: that oral narrative is and has long been the chief basis of culture itself, that the need to tell stories is what distinguishes humans from all other living creatures.”
~ From a review of Homo Narrans: The Poetics and Anthropology of Oral Literature, by John D. Niles.