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5 Horrifying Monsters from Native American Folklore

Since the dawn of man, every culture has had its own set of urban legends, either for  entertainment value or to warn people against bad behaviors. Legends like the Boogeyman, and more recently, Slenderman excite and thrill those who become engrossed in their mysteries, while legends such as La Llorona, for example, discourage children from wandering after dark.

The Native American culture is no exception to such tales, sporting some of their own monsters that rival or even overtake those with which we are most familiar. The below list comprises just five of the most horrifying Native American monsters, from the folklore of a beautiful group of people who contribute a rich history and culture, but also some insanely scary monsters.

Kanontsistóntie (Flying Head)

This originates from the Iroquois people and is a spiritual being sent from the Great God in the sky to terrorize the natives and animals on earth. Kanontsistóntie are just floating heads that are taller than a man, covered in thick black hair and with bat like wings equipped with dangerous talons. There is no particular reason why Kanontsistóntie embark on murder sprees, but supposedly the presence of one was the reason why Iroquois settlers near the Hudson River fled the area, leaving their homes forever.

Native American Folklore

Deer Woman 

Stories featuring the Deer Woman center mostly on the west coast, where the Native people describe the creature as a Centaur-like figure with the torso of a human female and the lower body of a white-tailed deer. She is akin to a Siren from Greek Mythology, lurking around forest trails and luring men into her presence with her beauty, intent upon killing them. Her presence is either a warning or a death sentence to those who see her.

Native American FolkloreKooshdakhaa

The Kooshdakhaa originated with the Tlingit and Tsimshian people of Alaska. This shape-shifting creature lures humans to their deaths, and is said to imitate the cries of a baby or a screaming woman to attract would-be rescuers. Once someone arrives, they rip them to shreds or turn them into another Kooshdakhaa. They haunt large and small bodies of water alike and any family traveling near rivers or lakes must take extra care to cling to their children, since Kooshdakhaa especially love preying on the flesh of the young.

Native American FolkloreThe Pamola

A bird spirit and the god of Thunder to the Penobscot tribal nation, The Pamola is described as having the head of a moose, the body of a man, and the wings and feet of an eagle. Pamola is said to reside in Katahdin, the tallest mountain in Maine, punishing anyone who dares to climb it. The Penobscot people stayed away from Katahdin because Pamola is said to become extremely upset with trespassers and will either harass or kidnap anyone who decides to scale Katahdin.

Native American FolkloreThe Wendigo

The Wendigo is arguably the most well know Native American Monster. Its legacy is tied to the  Algonquian people of both the United States and Canada. Wendigo are cannibal monsters with either a physical form or an evil spirit who inhabits humans after they commit an atrocious act against another person. Therefore, most people are safe from Wendigos, unless they murder or cannibalize someone else, then they will be possessed by an all-too-eager Wendigo. There have actually been real cases where Native American men cannibalized or murdered their own families and then claimed that they were suffering from Wendigo psychosis, a syndrome that supposedly develops deep fears of becoming a cannibal and intense cravings for human flesh.

Native American Folklore

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Written by Syl
Syl is a professional criminologist who shamelessly spends her time listening to true crime podcasts, watching horror films, and bringing real life horror to her written pieces.
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