Episode 291: Jack Fiddler was a chief and shaman among the Anishinaabe in northwestern Ontario. Born around 1839, he became renowned for his abilities in white magic, particularly his claimed power to defeat the Wendigo, a cannibalistic spirit. Fiddler asserted that he had vanquished fourteen Wendigos during his lifetime. Some of these were believed to be sent by enemy shamans, while others were individuals from his community who developed an uncontrollable craving for human flesh. Families often asked him to euthanize a gravely ill loved one to prevent them from becoming Wendigo.
In 1907, the North-West Mounted Police arrested Jack and his brother Joseph Fiddler for the alleged murder of a woman believed to have turned Wendigo. The arrest was part of a broader effort to impose Canadian law on Indigenous communities. The story garnered significant media attention, with many newspapers sensationalizing the events. Jack Fiddler died by suicide while in custody, and although Joseph went to trial and was convicted, he passed away in 1909, shortly before an order for his release arrived.
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