18 Spooky Native American Monsters That Will Keep You Awake At Night
18 Spooky Native American Monsters That Will Keep You Awake At Night

18 Spooky Native American Monsters That Will Keep You Awake At Night

Steve - October 16, 2018

18 Spooky Native American Monsters That Will Keep You Awake At Night
A modern depiction of the Perverted Merman, lying in wait for his prey; author unknown.

16. The Perverted Merman hides in rivers and watches women as they bathe

N-dam-keno-wet (also known as The Perverted Merman) is a creature which recurrently appears in Algonquin mythology, specifically that of the Abenaki people. Described as half man and half fish, with a child-like human face, N-dam-keno-wet lives in streams and lakes where women regularly wash themselves. Unlike other native “monsters”, N-dam-keno-wet does not seek to harm these women or to scare them, merely to voyeuristically watch them; some traditional stories do include attempted molestation, but for the most part the “perverted merman” is just that: a pervert.

Mermaid-like creatures are a staple within Native American mythology, with several Algonquin tales including characters who disobey their parents being turned into similar creatures. Consistent throughout these depictions in native legend, the theft of a merman’s or mermaid’s clothing strips the being of their magical powers and renders them unable to swim.

18 Spooky Native American Monsters That Will Keep You Awake At Night
A modern depiction of a Wechuge. Thomas Moor

17. Similar to the Wendigo, the Wechuge is a giant cannibalistic monster from Northwestern Canada

A wechuge, similar but not identical to a wendigo, is a cannibalistic monster stemming from the stories of the Athabaskan people of Northwestern Canada. According to legend the wechuge is a person who has become possessed or overpowered by the spirit of a great animal, in so doing devolving into a giant bestial form. Some versions of the wechuge depict the creature as being physically made from ancient ice come to life to hunt humans, invulnerable to harm and only defeated when melted over a campfire; this rendition of the wechuge is notably similar to that of the Wabanaki’s “Chenoo”: an ice giant who was cursed by the gods for his crimes, his heart turned to ice and his spirit trapped inside a troll-like monster that feasts upon humans. Described as giant animals, both intelligent and physically powerful, the wechuge hunts humans and attempts to ensnare and devour its prey through cunning deception.

As with the wendigo, certain tribes adhere to a less spiritual origin of the creature but instead a product of human indulgence in taboos resulting in the physical corruption of the depraved individual. The Dane-zaa of the Peace River region in Western Canada for instance contend a wechuge is the product of breaking a strong cultural taboo, such as having a photograph taken with flash, listening to guitar music, or eating meat with fly eggs in it.

18 Spooky Native American Monsters That Will Keep You Awake At Night
A pictograph of a Mishibizhiw attributed to the Ojibwe, Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. Wikimedia Commons.

18. The Underwater Panthers lived in the Great Lakes and could control the waters of their domains

The Mishibizhiw (also known as the Underwater Panther or Great Lynx) is a legendary creature belonging to the mythologies of native inhabitants of the Great Lakes region of North America. A monster from the underworld the panther resides in creeks and rivers, hiding in wait to drown unsuspecting prey. Described by the Sioux as possessing a body shaped like a buffalo, albeit with paws allowing for rapid swimming, the Mishibizhiw has just one eye, horns – either a single horn in the center of its forehead, or a pair – dorsal fins, a spiked tail, and is covered in scales; because of the latter characteristics, it has been speculated that the Mishibizhiw is in fact derived from a prehistoric stegosaurus.

Feared by the Ojibwa as the cause of waves, whirlpools, and rapids, it was considered within tribal folklore that each lake might be inhabited by its own Mishibizhiw who controlled its conditions. Despite being mortal enemies of the Thunderbirds some native communities revered the creatures as symbols of great power and hunting prowess, whilst at least one tribe fearlessly employed Mishibizhiw as part of a children’s game similar to “tag”. According to an ancient Chippewa tale, the Mishibizhiw lived on an island of mud situated between two lakeside villages. Avoided by locals for fear of an evil spirit, two girls crossing one day encountered the monster. Cutting off the beast’s tail with an oar, the severed limb transformed into a solid piece of copper and became a talisman for good luck in fishing and hunting for their tribe.

 

Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

The Mythology of All Races, Vol. Ten: North American, Hartley Burr Alexander, Marshall Jones (1916)

Legends, Traditions and Laws, of the Iroquois, Or Six Nations, and History of the Toscarora Indians, Elias Johnson, Union Print and Publishing Co. (1881)

The Legends of the Iroquois, William Walker Canfield, A. Wessels Co. (1904)

American Indian Myths and Legends, Richard Erdoes, Pantheon (1984)

An Introduction to the American Indian, Paul Pettennude (1996)

Indian Legends from the Northern Rockies, Ella Elizabeth Clark, University of Oklahoma Press (1998)

“‘Lake creature saves tot’s life’: Flathead monster stories go back more than a century”, Vince Devlin, The Missoulian (2018)

Montana Myths and Legends: The True Stories behind History’s Mysteries, Edward Lawrence, Rowman & Littlefield (2016).

Oral Literature of the Indian Peoples of the Inland Northwest, Tom Yellowtail, University of Oklahoma Press (1999)

Handbook of Mesoamerican Mythology, Kay Almere Read and Jason Gonzalez, Oxford University Press (2000)

In Search of Ogopogo, Arlene Gaal, Hancock House (2001)

Ogopogo: The True Story of The Okanagan Lake Million Dollar Monster, Arlene Gaal, Hancock House (1986)

The Piasa: An Indian Tradition of Illinois”, John Russell, The Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate (1848)

The Piasa: or The Devil among the Indians, Perry Armstrong, Morris (1887)

The Navajo Skinwalker, Witchcraft, and Related Phenomena, J Teller and N Blackwater, Infinity Horn Publishing (1999)

Kushtaka, David Pierdomenico, Dap Publishing (2015)

Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology, Eberhart (2002)

North American Indian Legends, Everett Jackson and Allan Macfarlan, Dover Publishing (2001)

Creation Myths and Legends of the Creek Indian, Bill Grantham, University of Florida Press (2002)

Wyoming Legends: Little People & the Pedro Mountain Mummy, Kathy Weiser, Legends of America (2017)

Wendigo, J.R. Colombo, Western Producer Prairie Books (1983)

Monsters: Evil Beings, Mythical Beasts and all Manner of Imaginary Terrors, David Gilmore, University of Pennsylvania Press (2009)

“Wechuge and Windigo: A Comparison of Cannnibal Belief Among Boreal Forest Athapaskans and Algonkians”, Robin Ridington, Anthropologica (1976)

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