Wendigo Psychosis

You might have watched the movie 'The Lone Ranger' featuring Johnny Depp as the somewhat eccentric Tonto. In the movie Tonto mentions Wendigo, an evil, cannibalistic spirit in the stories of the Algonquian peoples of the Northeast and Great Lakes regions of the United States and Canada. In its core, the wendego (many other spellings of the name exist) is a personification of winter, hardship, and hunger[1].
In some, more recently formed traditions, humans that are overpowered by greed could also turn into (a) wendigo. The myth thus served as a method of encouraging cooperation and moderation. Other sources say wendigos were created when a human resorted to cannibalism to survive.

The creature also lends its name to the controversial modern medical term Wendigo psychosis, described by some psychiatrists as a culture-bound syndrome with symptoms, with symptoms like an intense craving for human flesh and fear of becoming a cannibal.

In some indigenous communities, encroaching environmental destruction and insatiable greed are also seen as a manifestation of Wendigo psychosis.

This belief is paralleled by other culture bound psychoses in which a mentally ill person develops cannibalistic urges. However, the very existence of this condition has been disputed in recent times.

[1] Robert Brightman: The Windigo in the Material World. See here (pdf).

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