Swift Runner, Possessed By a Wendigo?


A Cree Indian with an adequate amount of education, Swift Runner who lived in Alberta during 1879 was held responsible for killing and cannibalizing 6 individuals.  Swift runner had a wife on which he had 6 children.  He worked in the trading industry and also as a guide for the police.

The crime spree of Swift Runner started during the starvation period of the Cree Indians.  They said he had a case of a Wendigo Psychosis that gave him the urge to cannibalize human flesh.  He killed his family and wife, cooked them and devoured their flesh. He was arrested in December of 1879 and was sentenced to death by hanging at Fort Saskatchewan.

Prior to this, Swift Runner is known to be a loving father who is always fond of his children.  He is a trustworthy and a gentle 6 foot tall that made him well liked by the traders in Hudson’s Bay.  But at the time when he returned to the village, he could not give a satisfactory explanation to the police on why her family is not with him.  He led the police to a grave site found near his winter camp and said that one of his kids dies and was laid to rest on that spot.  The authorities dig the grave site and found the remains of one of the boys.

The police managed to find human remains that are scattered all over the camp.  When one of the policemen showed him a skull, he told them that the skull belongs to his wife, by this time Runner started telling the details of a gruesome crime.  The jury that time did not take the Wendigo psychosis seriously, they were not a believers like the Cree Indians.  They saw Swift Runner as a cannibal and a murderer who needs to be apprehended.


The Cree would think of an incident as a possession of a Wendigo spirit.  The case is not rare and had dozens of similar incident.  

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