The Great Weird North: On Algernon Blackwood's 'The Wendigo'

Episode 55 · September 11th, 2019 · 1 hr 22 mins

About this Episode

No survey of weird literature would be complete without mentioning Algernon Blackwood (1869-1951). As with all masters of the genre, Blackwood's take on the weird is singular: here, it isn't the cold reaches of outer space that elicit in us a nihilistic frisson, but the vast expanses of our own planet's wild places -- especially the northern woods. In his story "The Wendigo," Blackwood combines the beliefs of the Indigenous peoples of the Eastern Woodlands with the folktales of his native Britain to weave an ensorcelling story that perfectly captures the mood of the Canadian wilderness. In this conversation, JF and Phil discuss their own experience of that wilderness growing up in Ontario. The deeper they go, the spookier things get. An episode best enjoyed in solitude, by a campfire.

Header Image: "Highway 60 Passing Through the Boreal Forest in Algonquin Park" by Dimana Koralova, Wikimedia Commons


Glenn Gould, The Idea of North
Algernon Blackwood, "The Wendigo"
Game of Thrones (HBO series)
Weird Studies, Episode 29: On Lovecraft
H. P. Lovecraft, "Supernatural Horror in Literature"
Edgar Allan Poe, "The Philosophy of Composition"
Fritz Leiber, The Adventures of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser
Richard Wagner, Parsifal
David Lynch, Twin Peaks: The Return
Peter Heller, The River: A Novel
The Killing of Tim McLean (July 30, 2008)
Weird Studies, Episode 3: Ecstasy, Sin, and "The White People"
Mysterious Universe: Strange and Terrifying Encounters with Skinwalkers
Jacques Vallée, Passport to Magonia: On UFOs, Folklore, and Parallel Worlds
Graham Harman, Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy
Arthur Machen, Hieroglyphics: A Note Upon Ecstasy