A Wendigo Nightmare

Continuing on the dream train, I awoke this morning vividly remembering a bad dream I had. Was it a nightmare? In the sense that it was extremely uncomfortable and tragic, yes, but it did not have me waking up with a jolt, panicky, in a cold sweat. When I have “nightmares”, it feels more akin to watching a scary movie rather than actually experiencing the horror myself. You know?

So what happened in this macabre dreamscape was a gathering of my extended family at my old house. Everyone was having fun until everyone started killing each other. I was inside and looked out the kitchen window (into the patio) and saw “my uncle” start shooting people with a shotgun like the game at the fair. My relatives would get shot, ding back up and get shot again.

Now if THAT’S not disturbing enough, fast forward to much later, my brother and I are alive and have to enter the room where all the carnage happened.

Think about the first responders to such scenes in the real world. Could you imagine having to be the first person to walk into a classroom at Sandy Hook? I took one look into my bedroom when I saw the disfigured bodies and red gore I had that feeling of tremendous anguish and disgust (so maybe it was a bonafide nightmare…). I walked away, I couldn’t handle it and my bro took care of it.

Thank GOD that was just a dream and no, I do not consider it a portend of something disastrous in the real world. It was clearly a manifestation of what I had been reading about before I went to sleep; the Wendigo of American Indian lore.

In a nutshell, the Wendigo is a large, emaciated supernatural creature of the north woods that craves and consumes human flesh. Present in all of the Algonquian Canadian/ Great Lakes tribes – particularly the Ojibwe and Cree – it is said that Wendigoes are created from normal people who commit the ultimate taboo of cannibalism. This transforms them into the beasts, who then flee to the deepest recesses of the forests, preying on lost travelers, trappers and hunters.

Sounds pretty wild, right? Get this, in addition to that mythos, there is a real world condition known as Wendigo Psychosis where humans do go all ballistic and start murdering and eating each other! The best known case concerns a Cree man named Swift Runner who lived in Alberta as a guide for trappers in the area. Swift Runner was a perfectly genteel kind of guy who has a wife and six children. Well, in the winter of 1878-79 Swift Runner was affected by the psychosis and ended up butchering and eating his entire family.

Swift_Runner
Swift Runner or a Wendigo?

Wow. Yeah…

The Mounties obviously showed up and took Swift Runner to Fort Saskatchewan where he was tried, convicted and hanged.

So that’s what I was reading about before I went to bed and consequently had my own vision of what it would be like to see my family torn asunder. Lesson learned, watch what you [intellectually] consume before heading off for the night – save it for the morning when the Wendigo is less likely to appear before ye.

 

 

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