For as advanced and civilized as we are, humans are still led by very basic desires. We are drive by a need for safety and shelter. We long for a community to belong to. And we hunger. But not every method of sating our desires is good. Upon occasion, those methods have become downright evil.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
One of the most chilean historical events of the last two hundred years. One
fascinated me for most of my life is the
one thousand eight hundred and forty six pioneer journey of the families and employees with James Reed and George Donner
Think of a last name that evokes as much emotion as much fear and as much instant visual image
as the Donner name
in the years since that fateful winter, the name
become synonymous with mountain passes, rose.
and bodies, huddled around dead, campfires and, of course, cannibalism
the Donner Party has a way of stopping us in our tracks. We are more
ITALY fascinated with their tragic journey
but even more so we're amazed at how
They went to stay alive,
hurry forces us to look straight into the face of a fear that most people buried deep beneath the surface. People eating other people we can look for just
creation, weaken research, the reasons behind their situation and right step,
oil and safe papers about the horrible plight they found themselves in, but at the end of the day,
we are simply and powerfully horrified.
When the story of Hansel and Gretel to the modern television show Hannibal we have always made.
in a repulsive fascination with those who cross the line, we can't stand to think about it, and yet we can't look away either
Maybe it has to do with the morbid symbolism of one body within another
It's the realisation that, like
wild game. Humans can sometimes become for something or someone else
or perhaps deep down.
fascinated with cannibalism, because we believe
maybe just maybe it could turn us into monsters. I married mahnke- and this is more
Humans have been confronted with cannibalism for a very long time: archaeology,
I have discovered signs of the act that date back tens of thousands of years in some
Instances reasons have
really been ritualistic
while others have been driven by food shortages, is a lot. We still don't know,
by what we do understand, has highlighted the fact that long ago it was far more common than it is today
In the realm of ancient history,
And roman historians recorded instances related to war and conquering.
The roman siege of Jerusalem in seventy eighty, for example, resulted in scattered reports
cannibalism decades later
when the Romans attack Numidia Historic,
in Alexandria, recorded similar stories, one in
listing observation is that over the centuries, the accusation
of cannibalism has been a political and colonial tool, the ancient
weeks assumed that all non hellenistic peoples
simply barbarians and cannibals and used it to just,
find their hostility toward them
many empires even up through the british empire,
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it was
way to demonize people group and to give them-
permission to come in and take over to bring civilization, so to speak, which lay
to deep prejudice against these people groups one example from eighteen
twenty stands out now
the year a wailing ship called the Essex was right
and sunk by one of the whales it was pursuing- that block
sounds familiar at all. It's because that stuff,
He went on to inspire the novel Moby Dick after the accident, captain and crew of twenty one boarded three of their whaleboats.
They had two choices for a route to safety, naked sale
three thousand miles against the wind to delay or half the distance with the wind.
The cases, islands but
more cases were rumoured to be cannibals, so they took the longer route. As a result, the crews
Months at sea, and eventually
two cannibalism themselves to survive. Reality can be cruel and ironic. Apparently
but something darker sits at the centre of many candles and stories at the core of
most all native american cultures across Canada and the northern part of what is now the United States. There are stories
the supernatural effects that eating other humans can have on a person. Each tribe seems to refer to the stories with different terms,
they're all eerily similar woven Aki legends
weeks of the man eating snow giant. You walk decree, tell tales of the Whittaker, also agenda.
And also a man eater make MAX right,
of northern main up through Nova, Scotia they'll stories,
the two new creature
is that were once human, but had been transformed through some
horrible crime that was usually cannibalism.
the most common name for these creatures. Among native Americans, however, is one we already know from popular culture. They are Wendy, go the creature,
that was once human but had been transferred
and by their hunger for human flesh into a monster that can't ever be satisfied.
Why native american description of the creature claims. That window is taller than a grown man with a gaunt body and dead,
Can that seems to be pulled too tightly over its bones? Tails
of the tangle of antlers upon its head in the deep I sockets, it seemed to be dead inside and smelled of death and decay
in cream. If, though, the when was simply a human who had become possessed by an evil spirit,
It would take over and then turn its hunger and hatred towards the people around it through the creek. The window was,
most often just another person, a neighbour, a friend, a sister, a son,
there is no hope for those who were transformed into man eating creatures.
There is only one solution available these creatures,
be hunted and killed its fantasy.
cultural met, a narrative about something else, something deeper. At least that's what the anthropogenic tell us
Some have taken those legends at face value.
Swift runner was a native Americans from the creed. Try that lived in the western portion of Canada. He was born
in the early eighteen hundreds and worked as a hunter and trapper in the North country near Fort Edmonton, as well as a guide for the northwest mounted ponies.
He was a big man standing over six feet tall and, according to the reports,
well liked and respected among his people he and his wife.
I've had six children. It was said that.
was a loving father who care deeply for his family, which,
why the winter of eighteen, seventy eight will be remembered as a tragedy.
According to the reports, swift runner stumbled into a catholic mission in Saint Aubert, sometime in the spring of eighteen, seventy nine. He was distraught and unfocused. He told the press that the winter,
had been harsh and that his entire family had starved to death. He was, in fact the only one to make it out alive, but something didn't sit right with the priests were one thing: Swift runner didn't look like a man who had endured star.
nation. Throughout the winter months, it was a solid two hundred pounds, it seemed healthy and strong and other hint that all was not well, whereas nightmares, which often ended with him screaming in the night in the end, the priests. Three.
Out to the mountain police, a group of investigators were despatched to look into the matter and they took swift runner back to his winter camp. To his credit, Swift runner was helpful.
He immediately showed the men, a small grave near the campsite explained that it was the grave one of his voice
they even went as far as to open the grave and
breathing lined up with his story. They were the bones of child and it was safe to assume the child was swift runners, but then the police found other clues that began to paint a darker picture around the camp, in
gathered locations began to uncover more bones and a skull not just a few. Either there bones every
where some of the larger bones were hollow and snapped in half
clearly the result of someone sucking the marrow out. They also found bits of flesh and hair. The evidence began to pile up and they looked. The swift runner for an explanation. Gnats when he
tell them the truth. According to him, a window spirit came into their camp during the winter. It spoke to him and told him to eat his family. At first he resisted
ignoring the voice but slow.
Over time the when D Go took control and then it took action. Swift runners, wife, was the first to die, then
one of the younger boys and one by one, his family was killed and eaten. Then the crew
your moved on to his mother in law and his own brother
swift, runner, it was called fact monster had eaten his family and the police agreed. They simply disagreed on the identity of that monster,
The mutilated human remains were collected and transported to Fort Saskatchewan, along with swift,
himself. This trial,
began on August eighth of eighteen, seventy nine- and it was
is cut and dried as it could be. Both judge and jury refused
except the story of the wind ago days,
Ah the man as a murderer and sentenced him to be hang over. Sixty people gathered at the fort on December twentieth to watch the hanging one witness to the excuse.
A man who had reportedly seen several hangings in his life. With said,
have slapped his thigh and declared boys. That was the prettiest hanging. I've ever seen,
the Severn River in Ontario wines through the homeland of the Sandy Lake first nation. This area of Canada is so,
isolated, that it wasn't until the early decades of the twentyth century at the western
oh really made an effort to reach out and connect with the air
Its way up in the far western corner of Ontario in the kind of territory where,
see how islands that have their own lakes by the late
One thousand eight hundred the Hudson Bay Company had closed down enough of its trading post, that the closest one to Sandy Lake was over one hundred and forty miles away. That was a fifty hour walk across rough terrain.
Not really sure that isolated is strong. Enough words to here place was practical, alien, joy
Fiddler was born in eighteen, thirties or maybe it was the eighty forties. Most people aren't sure, but we know that he was a cry indian and he worked as a trader. He made the track between the villages and
imposed for a living and in the process. He met lots of people. He was
so the son of the Sandy Lake People's Sherman and over his lifetime. Five wives and many many children.
When Jack's father died in eighteen, ninety one he took over
The leader of the sandy like people. Now that sound.
fancy, but in reality they were only around one hundred twenty people living in this community had info
over the wider geographical area as well. But his real power came from his role as the tribal Shannon Shamans powers were a vital part of his leadership. With Jack became the spiritual leader of his people. He became the keeper of their ancient traditions and their guardian against the
Jeanne darkness, that was western civilization. There are even legends the tallow, Jack fiddler curing illnesses, but, most importantly, Jack became their first and only defence against the window often called upon to hunt down and kill him. I know this sounds like the stuff of comic books or how women these but Jack fiddler lives up to the hype. In fact, over his lifetime. He claimed
defeated fourteen monsters, jacket and go looking for tall monstrous creatures with antlers in bony bodies? No, he understood the
go to be more subtle, some
Wendy goes Jack said had been sent to attack, is people by other shamans
Others had been members of his own tribe, who seem to have been overtaken with an unstoppable urge to meet human flesh when it was his own people. Jack said that he and his brother Joseph, were the ones called upon to do the hard thing and kill the individuals.
And not just kill them now that wasn't enough to stop possession you see, it was believed that the Windows spirit could actually
cop from one body to the next,
Those who died as a result of their possession were often burned to stopping infection from spreading with the sandy lately
in many of the other native american tribes that cover much of the northern half of North America. When D go stories were
more than just hearsay. It was an idea that was rooted in ancient tradition,
ceremonies were built around the legend people
Were worn and educated constantly about the dangers this creature posed to the community and then suddenly, all of that tradition and history ran headlong into the modern world
The results were disastrous. Sometime in one thousand, nine hundred and five Joseph Fiddler's daughter in law was brought to Jack's village. She was very sick according to multiple first hand, accounts. She was in deep pain that often drove her to cry out and moan.
Silly make noise. Some of the women tending to her would even have to hold her down to keep her under Control Jack and his brother Joseph, were brought in favour old men by them, both in their eighties and very frail.
they knew what was causing her illness and they knew how to stop it. They had done it many times before, and so they did what they did best. It took a thin rope and lifted over her head and then slowly they tightened it was done in cold. Blood was a calculated decision that these men came to only after
deep discussion, but it was driven. I fear the Wendy Go Spirit inside her had been allowed to take control. There is no telling how destructive it might become the damn. This was preventative. It was mercy, a form of euthanasia that protected the entire community. Fiddlers were mere instruments in the hands of a culture driven by superstition. Witnesses testified to their quiet, dignified nature, but it didn't help. The men were brought before us expand jury later that year, the Drano newspapers printed sensational headlines about the trial crying
against devil, worship and murder and in response people around the country right out for a conviction, and they were guilty without question
these men had killed the member of their family, it might not have been a crime of passion
but they were still murderers, so when the final vote,
It came down, it was far from a surprise guilty.
agree. People of Sandy Lake lost their leader. They lost two of the most respected elders of their tiny community and most frightening to them.
They lost their last remaining Wendy GO hunters
he'll or not. These men had been a wall that kept the darkness and fear at bay, and now that wall was gone
superstition has often served to answer our questions and calm our fears.
The change lanes of Ireland to the vampires of New England, the story
we tell have helped us, explain the mysteries we dont understand. That's not also.
Station does, I know, but it me
So a lot of examples we find, we fear the unknown and we come up with anything explained it away,
Cannibalism is something that humans have feared for a very very long time, not because we are actually convinced it could change us into supernatural monsters now
at the root of it. All cannibalism is just a line that we don't think we should cross, and rightly so. The history is littered with examples of people who have crossed the line now because their life is at risk or because they had no choice but because of something darker, deep belief in the full clause of their upbringing. Mental instability, premeditated violence, whatever the reason every example reveals humans to be the true monsters capable of anything
even the things we fear the most maybe Jack fiddler understood this. Perhaps he knew that he represented the final entry in a vital ancient lineage saw a world ill equipped to defend itself against the evils he had fought. All his life have to imagine that the idea of it simply exhausted him.
On September thirty, nineteen o seven, while on a walk outside with police Constable Jack escaped into the woods, were
strangle himself with a sad she wore his brother would later dying prison from tuberculosis on July Thirtieth tooth
in eight, a man named him Mclean, was writing a greyhound bus along the Trans Canadian Highway Manitoba when one of the other passengers attacked and killed him. The man Vince Wigwam did more than just kill. Mclean though he stabbed him, be headed him and then proceeded to cannibalize. The body was the killer just insane, or did he perhaps me an evil spirit there on his trip through when they go territory? That's a question that would be impossible to answer for certain
the court's ruled in favour of insanity. In the end he was held in high security, Mental Institute in inevitable, but he stayed therefore less than a decade. Earlier this year in May of two thousand fifteen, he was released back into society.
This episode of Lore was researched, written and produced by me. Aaron Maggie Lore is
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-13.