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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

This is an exciting post for me. I recent met author and filmmaker Nic Brown at the Harlan Haunt Fest. I was able to take in part of his lecture on the Wendigo. His lecture was very informative and intriguing. Unfortunately, I was not able to stay for the whole presentation as I had my own table and people were coming by to see and speak to me, which was great. So, I had to cut out early of his lecture.

As the Haunt Fest event was winding down, I made my way over the Nic's table and introduced myself and we had an enjoyable talk. And today I'm very pleased to share a nice interview I did with Nic. I think you will enjoy this one, here is our interview.

TM: How long have you been researching/studying Wendigo?

NB: That’s an interesting question.  I started looking into the Native American lore of the Wendigo in 2010 while researching my second book- Blood Sacrifice.  After that I returned to the subject while producing my second film- Wretch. Both featured Wendigos in one form or another. 

TM: What got you interested in Wendigo, Was there a particular event that got you started?

NB: Well I suppose I came at the Wendigo from an unusual source: The X-Men. See about 1981 or so, when I was around 10 or 11, I really got into the X-Men comics and a couple of my favorite issues were numbers 139 and 140. Where Wolverine and Nightcrawler go to Canada and team up with some members of Alpha Flight to fight a Wendigo. This is actually sort of a sequel to the first appearance of Wolverine in the Incredible Hulk where the Hulk also fights a Wendigo. I know that’s not the most common way that someone becomes introduced to Native American people’s lore, but it was a start.
In fact, it was the Wendigo appearance in the X-Men that inspired me to have the Wendigo in my 2nd novel. That part of the novel had actually started out as a short story, but I flushed out a couple of tie-ins and made it the first chapter of the book. You can read that chapter for free at www.authornicbrown.com.

TM: During your research/studying of Wendigo, have you ever encountered or found reports of aggressive behavior?(details please)

NB: It’s funny you mention that. Unlike many legendary creatures such as the Yeti or the Sasquatch, there are nothing but accounts of aggressive behavior from the Wendigo. You see, the concept behind most cryptozoological creatures is that they are born as what they are, a Sasquatch or what have you. The Wendigo is created. According to the Algonquin peoples, it happens when a human knowingly and willingly ingests human flesh. Cannibalism, that’s the cause. By doing that ultimately taboo act, a person’s soul is compromised in a way that allows the Wendigo spirit to enter their body. The spirit then takes over most of the person’s mind. It makes them crave more human flesh. Even as it does this though, the body also begins to change. The skin becomes pallid, almost necrotic and the body becomes thinner and thinner as the craving transforms the human into a monster. The Wendigo spirit inside the human now completely controls them. It makes them kill anyone they come across in order to satisfy their hunger… so yeah, they’re a touch aggressive.

TM: It seems Skeptics are always ready to attack Cryptid research, How do you deal with it?

NB: Well, I’ve always take the stance that there are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamed of in our philosophy (to paraphrase Shakespeare’s Hamlet). So, while I respect everyone’s right to believe what they want, I don’t discount any ideas off hand. To that end, I expect the same respect from others.
Also, when looking at the Wendigo in particular, there is the advantage of several documented court cases in Canada where killers claimed to either be possessed by the Wendigo spirit (as is the case of Swiftrunner in 1878) or that they were actually killing Wendigos when they took human life (as in the case of Jack Fiddler in 1909) .  In fact, based on the case of Swiftrunner, who murdered and ate his entire family, psychologists of the day coined the term “Wendigo Psychosis” which is a schitzophrenic condition where in the victim becomes obsessed with the consumption of human flesh. Since being a Wendigo does not necessarily involve the physical transformation, or since it may come at a later stage, who is to say that Swiftrunner wasn’t a Wendigo? Certainly not his family. 

TM: Would you like to see Wendigo and cryptids in general more accepted and/or proven to the general public?

NB: My automatic answer would be yes, but that’s not fully the case. I believe that if the existence of some cryptids was proven, it would be detrimental to the well-being of those creatures. In the case of Wendigos, detrimental is OK, they’re killers after all. However, for other beings it may be best if they remain a mystery, just outside of our reach and understanding, more for their sake than ours.

TM: What is your favorite time of year to research/study Wendigo, When do you have your most success?

NB: I usually look into the Wendigo in the fall and winter. Those are traditionally the times when legend has it that the Wendigo spirit is most powerful as they are symbolic times of the end of life and death. Also, with cannibalism being the trigger, those times of year are when the spirits are most likely to manifest themselves in people driven to cannibalism due to a lack of game to hunt or becoming trapped/snowbound.

TM: Do you have a favorite Wendigo story or report?

NB: I’m very partial to the story of Swiftrunner, whom I mentioned before. He’s a tragic figure, like most I’ve heard of afflicted by the Wendigo spirit. He was also one who knew what he’d done and in his own way regretted it. He didn’t wail or cry out at the crimes he committed, but he did take the police to where he’d done the deeds and he showed them the remains. He plead guilty at his trial and he told them as they took him to be hanged that he would save them the trouble if they just gave him his tomahawk.

TM: What do you do when you are not researching/studying Wendigo?

NB: Well I split my time between writing (novels, for my film blog, and non-fiction books like “The B-Movie Cookbook” that I co-wrote with my wife), film making, (I’ve produced 3 feature films in the last 4 years), I cohost a podcast on B-Movies and film history called The B-Movie Cast (www.bmoviecast.com)  and my day job- I’m a project manager for a Japanese trading company specializing in Autonomous Mobile Robotic systems, Training, and Environmental regulatory compliance.

TM: Tell us more about your books and your film.

NB: Well my novel series is called “Werewolf for Hire”- it features Michael Warren, he’s a werewolf detective who works with his partners; Tabitha the witch and her husband Sam, the I.T. guy. They are urban fantasy, with plenty of action and more than a little magic. Some of the humor is even intentional. I’ve also co-written a cookbook with my wife, Author Fiona Young-Brown – it’s called “The B-Movie Cookbook” and it’s a lot of fun. It features 15 films from the 1950s and has recipes based on or inspired by the movies we chose. Fiona wrote the history/cookbook- “A Culinary History of Kentucky” for the History Press and she runs www.BritishFoodAndTravel.com so she handles the recipes. I handle the photography and the film history portion of the book.
Currently, I’m working on my next Werewolf for Hire novel and Fiona and I are working together on a second B-Movie Cookbook- This time looking at films from the 1960s.  

For my films. Two of them are available now – “Wretch” the Wendigo film, and “Loss Prevention” an action comedy with WWE wrestler Al Snow and Vernon Wells from “The Road Warrior”. They are on all the major streaming sites, and can also be purchased on blu ray or DVD.
My third film- a horror/thriller inspired by the work of Edgar Allen Poe is called “The Fall of Usher” and it is in post-production with a planned 2020 release. You can learn more about all my projects at www.AuthorNicBrown.com

Awesome! Thanks for doing the interview and we wish you the best of luck with your research, books and upcoming film.


This post by Thomas Marcum, Thomas is the founder/leader of the cryptozoology and paranormal research organization known as The Crypto Crew. Over 20 years experience with research and investigation of unexplained activity, working with video and websites. A trained wild land firefighter and a published photographer, and poet.

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