To begin, I have always been interested in the taboo subjects in life. Anything that had to deal with the paranormal, witchcraft, the occult, cryptids, and urban legends and folklore, always caught my eye. Which was not really expected from a person who was born and raised in a deeply Catholic family. But what can I say? I always wanted to dig into the darker parts of life and peek behind the curtain, tread into where others wouldn’t. I wanted to seek for the truth, seek for the impossible, and one night that searching lead me to experience something so terrifying that even the mere mention of this name gives me major anxiety to this day.
One cold and quiet January night, I was in my bed and surfing the internet. Just like any normal 13-year-old would do on their winter break. On this night, I had decided that my search would center around reading stories or encounters with the paranormal, cryptids, and anything that fell under the category of spooky stuff. It was in this search that I stumbled upon the Native American legend of Wendigos. What caught my attention about this legend were the images of a Wendigo itself: A cannibalistic entity, shell of a human being, that could only be described as a towering and grotesque skeleton of decaying animal and humanistic parts. A truly terrifying image that sent shivers down my spine. However, as I continued to read about the encounters with such entities, I stumbled upon a piece of information that explained that the Wendigo was folklore commonly told by the Algonquian peoples of the Great Lakes and much of Canada east of the Rockies. Apparently, a common horror story and folklore that was told in the Midwest. Alongside this information, I read that the Wendigo could be summoned through the mere mention of its name during the winter months. Now, I live in the Midwest and it was, in fact, the middle of winter. And I, being the brilliant 13-year-old I was, decided to test out this theory. So, I sat up and squared my shoulders and took a deep breath before uttering, “Wendigo.”
Five minutes went by at a painfully slow rate but I heard nothing. I scoffed and laid back down in my bed, smirking to myself as if I had just proven that everything about the folklore was pure bullshit. So, I continued scrolling through my phone, ready to put the event at the back of my mind to be forgotten about. But, life has a way of surprising you.
As I laid in my bed, I began to notice a strange smell started to enter into my room. Within a matter of minutes, the smell began to intensify and surround the room. It smelt like rotting meat as if roadkill had been exposed to decay on a hot summer day and you had the misfortune of driving past it. It was disgusting and it concentrated heavily enough to make me gag. It was in this moment that the alarms in my head were going off, the smell of rotting meat had always meant that something evil was lurking by. And while I was becoming nervous, there was also the skeptical side of me who refused to believe that this could instantly be concluded to a paranormal incident. Well, that was until I heard a series of three taps against my bedroom window.
With a gasp, I snapped my head toward my window and scrambled to the far end of my bed. Pressing my back against the wall and not daring to make a single movement. I stared at the window, eyes wide and breath held as I sat in silence. My heart is beating erratically in my chest and I waited for something else to happen, confused and still trying to find a logical reason for all of these events so far. I had a brief thought about opening my blinds and peaking through to see what could have been outside but another tapping at the window immediately changed my mind. Before I had any time to react to the second tapping, a howling bellowed outside my window. My blood ran cold and my heart stilled in my chest. The sound was indescribable, the only way that I could even try to explain to you what I heard is if you take the dying yowls of a cat and combine them with the screams of coyotes and other animals who were dying and howling in agony. It was then that I realized that the mistake I had made was grave.
I took no chance of waiting to find out what would happen next. Instead, I turned my lamp on and began to pray. I sobbed out to God, the archangels and every dead relative you could imagine, to protect me from whatever was waiting for me outside my window. I prayed all night and constantly repeated. “That I was a child of God and that it could not touch me.” Slowly but surely, the smell disappeared and the night returned to an eerie silence. However, I decided not to sleep that night until I was sure that the early sun had peaked through my closed blinds.
At 19, this experience still shakes me to the core and it is something that I tell people who dabble in these things like I did. To serve as a warning to think twice before you decide to mess with things that will mess with you right back.