In Search of the Wendigo That Wasn’t
The other day, I bought this cheapo compilation DVD package at the ‘Mart. (That’s what I affectionately call Walmart.) It featured a plethora of haunted documentaries–documentaries of alleged real hauntings–and as that stuff, along with True Crime documentaries, is the audio/visual equivalent of comfort food for me, naturally I picked it out of the bargain bin. I’ve watched about an eighth of it so far; it really is worth the low price I paid, as it contains several hours of content. One of the stories profiled, that really stood out for me, was that of the Wendigo of Fort Kent, Canada. So enthralling did I find this story, in fact, that I ruminated that it might make a good subject for a play. (For those who might not know, in my other life I masquerade as a playwright and producer.) I decided to research the subject further. As it so happens, someone beat me to it. That story has already been written.
The Wendigo of Fort Kent is a work of fiction, created by author Leslie Chivers. Yet I found numerous websites reporting on the massacre committed by the man reputedly possessed by a Wendigo, as if it were an actual event. The documentary I watched reported it as an actual event. But Mr. Chivers created the whole thing.
This is a perfect example of why those of us who report on the paranormal must be cautious, lest we risk being purveyors of “fake news.” I remember my college journalism class, and the professor’s admonition: “Always check your sources, then check ’em again!” Good advice.