By Jalah Danks
Did you tune in to our super spooky Scary Storytime series on Facebook Live in October? Do you love spooky stories, and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark? Get ready for a deep dive behind some of your favorite scary stories!
Wendigoes are creatures of Indigenous Legend, specifically the people of the Algonquian language group. This includes northern tribes such as Ojibwe, Cree, Cheyenne, Lenape, Blackfeet, Shawnee, and more!
The legend tells of a creature that craves human flesh. It’s so hungry that it is constantly ravenous, searching for people to eat, but no matter how much it eats, it never gets full. It looks very hungry, skin wrapped tight against its ribs, sunken eyes and cheeks, skin pale as snow.
Wendigoes aren’t born, however, they are created. They are created when someone is too greedy, taking more than they need or taking from others in excess (or when you dream of a wendigo). Some posit that this came from mothers warning their children to be generous, and to share (in the same vein as “if you cross your eyes, they’ll stay that way” or “eat your broccoli or your skin will turn green”). Others say it might come from the history of cold, harsh winters where some people were forced into cannibalism.
Regardless of where the stories came from, (truthfully, it could be any or all of these) the meaning is the same. You shouldn’t be greedy or else you will turn into an evil creature, the embodiment of greed. Your heart will turn to ice, you will become so hungry, and there will be only one thing that will satiate you. Human flesh.
Maybe You Will Remember
What happened to Rosemary’s mother? (From the back of Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones)
When the hotel doctor saw Rosemary’s mother, he immediately knew that she was about to die, because she had the plague.
Everyone would panic if they knew that there was a case of the plague in Paris, and the doctor knew what the hotel owner would want him to do. If he was honest about what happened, the hotel would lose a lot of money, therefore he would keep it a secret.
The doctor sent her to the other side of Paris for some worthless medicine to keep her in the dark. Mrs. Gibbs died a few minutes later, as the doctor expected. They snuck her body out of the hotel and buried it in a cemetery nearby. The room they had rented was repainted and refurnished, so it would be unrecognizable.
The staff at the hotel was asked to keep Rosemary in the dark, and make her think she was at the wrong hotel. However, when she insisted that they take her to room 505, it was completely different, and her mother was nowhere to be found. The staff were told that they’d be fired if they were to let the secret out.
To avoid city-wide panic, the death was not reported by the police or the newspapers. It was as if Rosemary’s mother and her room never existed.
A vampire is, by definition, a re-animated corpse who sucks blood from the living to survive. They are thought to be warded off by certain things such as garlic and silver, and they are told to only be killable by cremation or a stake through the heart. They are also told to be able to transform into a bat.
People, for as far as we know, have always believed in some form of vampire, as well as the significance of blood. The ancient Babylonians, Chinese, and Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all believed in vampires, and the Jewish Talmud tells of Lilith, who was turned into a monster that preyed on men and children.
In the Americas, the early Indigenous peoples of Peru believed those who worshipped the devil would suck children’s blood while they were asleep in order to gain their life force.
Some Mongolian peoples of Central Asia believe in vampires, as well as a bat god. The connection between vampires and bats is strong, for instance: the vampire bats of Central America are nocturnal creatures that suck blood from other animals.
Far and wide, but especially in Transylvania (where Dracula took place), belief in vampires has been strong. Makes you wonder whether or not they really exist, huh?
Craving more scary stories? Check out these titles from the Kansas City, Kansas Public Library! Place a hold for curbside pickup OR download the eBook by clicking on the link!
- Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark : Three Books to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz
- Don’t Turn Out the Lights by Jonathan Maberry
- Don’t Read This Book Before Bed! Thrills, Chills, and Hauntingly True Stories by Anna Claybourne
- In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz (for young readers)
- Scary Stories Complete Set by Alvin Schwartz (download the eBook on Axis360!)