Many people have been exposed to Egyptian, Greek, and Roman mythology, but knowledge of Native American mythology is not nearly as widespread. The idea of researching Native American mythology can seem very daunting, given how many different tribal histories and religions exist. Which is a shame, because Native American creatures of myth are just as interesting as their European and African counterparts.
Fortunately, the work has been done for you. This list of 21 creepy creatures in Native American culture will tell you everything you need to know about the most popular Native American deities and monsters. You'll learn the tribe or region from which each legend originates, and observe similarities between these myths and some popular mainstream ones. For example, you'll learn that there are Native American versions of Beauty and the Beast and Jonah and the Whale.Some of the beings on this list are notorious, individual monsters, while others are a race of creature, meaning they exist in great numbers. Either way, every creature on this list is certified creepy.
Likely the most well-known creature on this list, Windigos originate from Cree and Ojibwe mythology. Television shows like Supernatural and Charmed depict Windigos as lupine monsters similar to werewolves, but original Native American myths did not include this description.
According to the Cree people, these creepy creatures are wild, giant man-eaters who steal from and murder innocent people. Some stories claim that they can possess humans, and that their murder victims turn into Windigos. Then there's Wendigo Psychosis, a psychological disease that causes people to crave human flesh. And yes, this is a real thing.
The Inuit believed this creepy creature was an underworld deity that makes his way to earth sometimes. He is described as a gray, hairless dog (except for his feet), who stalks victims at night before murdering and eating them. Even if Keelut doesn't kill you, his presence is a sign your days are numbered; he's a harbinger of death. Legends say he doesn't leave foot tracks (which is significant in snowy Alaska), thus adding to his sneakiness. According to anthropologists, Inuit parents described Keelut to their children in order to prevent them from sneaking out at night.
Baykoks are evil, skeletal creatures that fly and can become invisible. They have sunken, red eyes, and their scream freezes victims in fright. They are warrior-creatures who hunt humans for food. The creepiest thing about them is how they are created and destroyed - Bayboks are former human warriors who died shameful deaths after committing grave acts like rape, incest, or infanticide. They only way to kill a Baykok is to find its original human remains and give them a proper burial.
Pukwudgies are a race of creatures from Wampanoag folklore. They stand two to three feet tall and their faces are human-like, with enlarged noses and ears. Pukwudgies are similar to goblins, but have gray skin and, according to some legends, sharp porcupine quills. In stories, their behavior ranges from mischievous (hiding possessions) to downright treacherous (pushing people off cliffs).
Pukwudgies are very powerful. They have poison arrows, and are able to teleport, create fire, and morph into porcupines. They are able to control the souls of the humans they've killed. Perhaps creepiest of all, residents of Massachusetts still report Pukwudgie encounters.