Pet Sematary is Stephen King’s 14th novel and the 17th overall book published by him, considered one of his darkest works for many fans. Set to get a new film adaptation, one of the most mysterious parts in Pet Sematary is The Wendigo. In folklore and mythology, The Wendigo is a creature from North American native beliefs, usually traced back to the Algonquian group of Native Americans. A description of The Wendigo usually has it carrying a mixture of human and beast traits with an elongated humanoid body yet a beast head in most incarnations.

“Now the thing out there seemed so close that Louis expected to see its shape at any moment, rising up on two legs, perhaps, blotting out the stars with some unthought-of, Immense and shaggy body.” Then, “a shrill, maniacal laugh came out of the darkness, rising and falling in hysterical cycles, loud, piercing, chilling” (p. 122-113). The impact of this creature in legends and myths has transitioned to the medical term of Wendigo psychosis, which is characterized by people having intense cravings of human flesh, has been stated to be people infiltrated by The Wendigo’s evil spirit.

Image via Paramount Pictures

So, what is this creature’s role in Pet Sematary? Well, the Wendigo appears in both Pet Sematary and The Girl Who Loved Tim Gordon. It’s said that The Wendigo, living in a range of land spanning parts of Canada and even Maine, controls all life once it dies on its land. A method it controls those on its land is by placing a curse on the Micmac Burial Ground in Maine, where Pet Sematary takes place, causing that body to reanimate the next day except the person’s soul was corrupted and they suffered from common symptoms of the Wendigo psychosis.

The Wendigo can possess people along with revealing anyone’s deepest and darkest secrets. This can be used to manipulate others along with “pulling” people to the burial ground which can be a place of possession by The Wendigo. Seen more like a spirit than a corporeal creature, The Wendigo possesses multiple people throughout the course of Pet Sematary. Manipulating people from the shadows, it takes the townspeople around the burial ground and manipulates their internal doubts, guilt, and insecurities as it laughs throughout the wilderness.

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