|“||The mines! I keep trying to tell you there's something in the mines!||”|
The Wendigos are the ultimate antagonists of Until Dawn. As described by the Native American Cree legends, they were humans who have been mutated into cannibalistic monsters after being possessed by the Wendigo spirit, causing them to eat the flesh of other humans. One Wendigo roams free on Blackwood Mountain, stalking and potentially killing the group members through the night.
The original Wendigo legends originated from First Nation tribes who were present on Mount Madahee from the 1400s until the 1850s. The Cree revered the mountain and its nature; they would hunt elsewhere in belief that it would bring misfortune to harm any animal in the area. Additionally, They believed harming the mountain itself in any way would inflict a terrible curse.
European explorers and mining concerns arrived in the area, eager to make their fortune. In 1893, they officially started excavating the mountain, finding tin and later, traces of radium. They then mined deeper into the sacred mountain, the Cree claims that the mountain cried out at that moment, and the Wendigo spirits were released. Since then, there had been many people possessed by the curse according to The Events of the Past, which were hunted by The Stranger's grandfather, including the Makkapitew, the fiercest of all Wendigos.
Legend of the mountain's rich reserves bruited to more prospectors, a group called The Blasting Crew established mining operations in the winter of 1951-1952. This resulted in a tragic disaster with many miners left trapped and eventually starving. Dozens of men were murdered and cannibalized, and those who did survive through cannibalism had become Wendigos.
In 1893, the mine opened at the site of rich deposits of tin and radium, but over the years the Cree warned the miners that they had unleashed the spirit that dwelled within the mountain, cursing the land and its inhabitants.
In 1952, a structural failure caused part of the mine to cave in, trapping 30 miners. A rescue team later found only 12 survivors . The miners who were still "missing" were hidden away in the archives, but it is clear that the survivors resorted to cannibalism to survive.
The survivors began to display unusual physiological characteristics, and a cover-up ensued as they were illicitly confined in the Sanatorium for study. The staff observed and experimented on the miners as they swiftly mutated into Wendigos. One film archive shows a miner undergoing early transformation on a restraining chair while being checked up by a nurse. A few seconds later, the miner breaks free and crawls up a wall and out of the camera's sight. The nurse comes back in and looks around, before finally looking up and running away in fear.
Eventually, the Wendigos broke out of confinement and slaughtered the Sanatorium staff, leaving traces of their destruction that Mike comes to examine.
A Wendigo exhibits a deterioration from previous anatomy, yet becomes stronger and hardier. They exhibit spinal disfiguration, giving them a hunchback-like appearance. Their teeth are more canine and disfigured. Their vision is less keen and more influenced by movement. Their muscle mass is almost entirely deteriorated, and the limbs are slender and longer—yet they can easily tear limbs, climb walls, and leap to different spots in the blink of an eye. Their skin is taut against their bodies much like a glossy, stretched armor. During a Wendigo's metamorphosis, while their skin is being stretched, their bodies also perform different forms of skin torture, such as sweating acids, in order to strengthen their outer coating. This renders the Wendigo practically impervious against ballistics and sharp weapons. The extreme heat from fire and explosives can burn away the thick skin, inflicting great pain while also rendering them vulnerable to other weapons.
Wendigos also lose their hair and eventually lose their male and female characteristics, becoming skeletal in appearance. They will retain any tattoo or alterations to their skin, such as Hannah's tattoo and Billy's scar.
Wendigos are recorded to have some set behavior patterns. They have great predatory skills, often tracking their prey for up to several hours. It seems they like to hunt prey alone rather than in packs. They do not appear to lose their humanity completely as they can use some human-like tricks to lure their prey. Another example of this is how Hannah never directly kills Mike, suggesting that some of her affection towards him remains. She may also spare Josh from death if he recognizes her. Wendigos may also attack each other, possibly as a way to reduce competition for food, or because they are simply sadistic killers.
Wendigos see movement: mobile persons are highlighted in their vision, otherwise they are usually unable to track those who remain still. Their main way of communication is by screeching, and they can use their vocalizations to scare prey into moving. They additionally have the ability to mimic the voice of someone they hear.
Despite their frail appearance, Wendigos are immensely strong, capable of crushing a human skull with their bare hands; the Doctor's Report documents one lifting 725 lb weights. They seem to favor brutal, deliberate methods of killing their prey, such as gouging out the eyes of their victims or impaling them on hooks rather than simply slashing them with their claws, indicating that Wendigos are sadistic, rather than merely animal killers.
However, Hannah survived the fall with a broken leg and wrote a diary from paper she found within the mines. During the month that she was trapped, she began to starve. As her hunger grew worse, she faced a difficult situation and as a last resort, dug up Beth's corpse and ate her flesh, unwittingly falling into the Wendigo curse. When Sam and Mike find her diary in Chapter 10, her last entry is unintelligible as most of the words have been scribbled in. You can somehow decipher the words "HUNGER, HUNGER, HUNGER" or "BETH…"
The first Wendigo is encountered by Mike and Jess, who are being tracked on their way to Washington Cabin. They will hear mysterious screeches as they walk. Vague shadows can be seen as they make their way, and Mike may hear a strange noise in the mines. The Wendigo can be seen when looking through a telescope.
Sam will hear the same screeching noise after exiting the bathroom to find Josh.
Matt and Emily can hear the same screeching noise in the pre-order bonus chapter when they are on their way to find Emily's lost bag.
After mutilating a deer, the Wendigo will then chase the couple until they make it inside a cabin. The Wendigo will continue watching the couple, and soon after throws Jessica's phone through the window. The Wendigo afterwards will pull Jess through the door's window and drag her off into an abandoned mining facility.
If Mike moves quickly, the Wendigo will leave Jessica severely injured, but alive. If he takes too long, it gives the Wendigo enough time to rip off Jessica's lower jaw, killing her. The Wendigo will then look down towards Mike, giving him enough time to shoot it.
After Mike goes after The Stranger and fails to slide under a door, he will walk through a small, dark tunnel using his lighter. He will have to stop to relight the lighter and a Wendigo's eyes can be seen behind some slats.
The Wendigo is next encountered at the fire tower with Matt and Emily. It trips the motion sensor and attempts to gain access to the top of the tower by banging on the hatchet. After failing to get inside, it climbs back down and cuts the lines holding the tower in place. By cutting the lines, the entire structure collapses and Matt and Emily fall into the mines. If Matt jumps to safety instead of saving Emily, the Wendigo will scurry off into the night. If Matt attempts to save Emily and falls into the mine, he will then be encountered by the Wendigo. If he does not have the flare gun to defend himself against it, he will be killed by having his chin impaled on a hook.
After Emily is shown making her way through the tunnels, she hears screeching and yelling with the occasional burst of fire.
After Emily unsuccessfully tries to run away from the Stranger, a Wendigo can be seen behind him, and he quickly gives her some flares to help her and pushes her down a chute.
Despite the Stranger's efforts, she is tracked by a Wendigo which shows up behind a man-made wall when Emily is entering a gap. Emily reaches a fork in the path and will be greeted by a scare from the Wendigo if she decided to go right, slowing her down. The Wendigo takes a more proactive approach and forces an elevator Emily is riding to the surface to come to a stop. She has to stay still if she turned right at the fork to potentially avoid being caught. She jumps off the elevator and makes an escape attempt with the Wendigo in hot pursuit. Emily then encounters a conveyor belt leading to an ore grinder. She can stay on and potentially fall into the grinder, crushing her lower body and killing her.
If she jumps off the conveyor and has the flare gun, she can shoot the Wendigo. Emily slams a door and locks it, and depending on whether she shot the Wendigo or not, the Wendigo will break through the door and will either bite her or not. After that, she will successfully evade the Wendigo and return to the lodge. However, if Emily fails in being quick enough, or does not slow the Wendigo down during her escape, it will catch up to her and gouge her eyes out.
If Emily escaped the mine, she sprints to the lodge and briefly informs her friends about the monster chasing her. Afterwards, the Stranger confronts the group and informs them about the Wendigo. When Mike reveals that he and Chris left Josh in the shed, the Stranger and Chris venture into the woods to find him. Seeing a broken chair and fresh blood on the floor, it's noted that Josh is most likely dead.
When they make their way back, the Wendigo ambushes the pair and beheads the Stranger. Chris is forced into a firefight with the Wendigo. Depending on the reaction skill of Chris, he can shoot the Wendigo multiple times before making it back into the house. If Chris shot Ashley in Chapter 6, or if he fails to shoot the Wendigo in time, Chris will be decapitated by the Wendigo on his way back to the lodge. A later cutscene will show the Wendigo dragging Josh's unconscious body through the woods.
When the group meets back in the basement of the lodge, Ashley discovers Emily's bite if she was bitten. Being convinced it's contagious, Mike demands Emily to leave the basement. Upon her refusal, he points a gun at her face and has the option of shooting her. Ashley will then read the The Stranger's Journal, where she discovers information about the Wendigo: its history, characteristics, and abilities. Here she will eventually learn the bite is not infectious as she formerly claimed.
Mike and the wolf (depending on Mike's earlier choices) are tracked by the miner Wendigos throughout the Psychiatric Wing of the Sanatorium. The clues found here uncover the history of the Blackwood Pines Wendigos, including a brief reel of a partially or fully transformed Wendigo breaking his restraints before (presumably) attacking and killing the medical staff. During this time, he also encounters multiple Wendigos, including Bates, that have been imprisoned by the Stranger or were left in their cells when the building was abandoned. They will try to grab him by his shoulder and his foot. If Mike successfully shoots the Wendigos, he can avoid their attacks and potentially save Wolfie's life. Mike will then blow up the Sanatorium, killing Bates and some of the other Wendigos. Alternatively, Bates may survive the explosion and attack Mike in the mines, only to be decapitated by Sam. If Mike fails to shoot the Wendigos, a Wendigo will attempt to kill him, and if he befriended the wolf earlier, Wolfie will be killed. If he does not directly blow up the Sanatorium, he will be attacked by Bates, leading to Sam saving him later on.
In search of Mike, Sam, Ashley, and possibly Emily and/or Chris will leave the safety of the lodge's basement and descend down into the tunnel that leads to the Sanatorium. Chris, hurt from his previous encounter with the Wendigo, suggests that the rest of the group to go on without him. Ashley can leave him behind or insist on not leaving him. After descending down into the tunnels, Ashley will hear the presumable voice of Jessica calling out for help. She here has the option of investigating the voice or rejoining the group. If she investigates the voice and opens the hatch, a Wendigo will pop out and decapitate her, as it had been mimicking Jessica's voice. If Chris was left behind and Ashley opened the hatch earlier on, Chris will be killed regardless.
Sam and Mike both attempt to rescue Josh so they can get the cable car key and escape the mountain.
They both find the lair of the Wendigo, with the hanging bodies of the Stranger, and, if they were killed outside the lodge, possibly Matt, Emily, Chris, and/or Jessica, and possibly the decapitated heads of Jessica, Chris, Matt, and/or Ashley.
Depending on if the player finds the Scrawled Journal in the Twins Clueline, Hannah, now a Wendigo, will either spare Josh or kill him. Either way, Josh will be separated from Sam and Mike again.
The Wendigo will also be hunting Jess and Matt in the mines if they are alive. If Jess and Matt try to run instead of hiding, the Wendigo will kill Jess, or if the player character cannot keep still or hit a QTE, the Wendigo will kill both of them (depending on the specifics of the situation).
Sam and Mike will return to the lodge, where they find that the miner Wendigos have broken in, forcing them to flee upstairs. Wendigo Hannah will then start fighting the older creatures, creating a gas leak. Mike and Sam will attempt to ignite the gas leak to destroy the Wendigos. If the player chooses to run to the switch prematurely to attempt to blow up the lodge, moves during a Don't Move segment, or does not choose anything, Mike, Emily, Ashley or Sam can be killed. Sam or Mike will ignite the explosion regardless, killing all Wendigos inside.
After the events, if Josh is killed, all of the Wendigos are dead. However, if he survived, then a Wendigo spirit will possess him and he will begin to transform.
The Makkapitew is the main antagonist of the Prologue. He was the strongest of all the Wendigos and is implied to be the origin of the mountain's curse. The Makkapitew hunted Hannah and Beth down the night of their disappearance, and chased them off the cliff, before The Stranger could avenge the twins by killing the Makkapitew.
The Makkapitew, before possessing Hannah, was either one of two men - one named Gordon, the other a reporter who was assaulted in the Sanatorium - or a woman named Anna Bennett and had been that person for over sixty years at the time it chased Hannah and Beth to their deaths off the side of Mount Washington. Shortly after, it was killed by the Stranger and its spirit was released, possibly possessing Hannah Washington.
Hannah is the main Wendigo introduced in-game, as she hunts the group throughout the whole game a year after the incident. After Hannah survived her fall, she ate the flesh of her deceased sister in order to survive. The spirit of the Wendigo however, possessed her and changed her into a Wendigo. Hannah may kill all 8 protagonists during the course of the game. She is shown to be stronger than the other Wendigos, presumably due to her being possessed by the spirit of the Makkapitew. She is distinguishable by the black butterfly tattoo on her shoulder, which Josh eventually recognizes, if you find the Scrawled Journal.
Partially Transformed (if survived)
After being dragged down into the mines by Hannah, Josh will eventually run into her again. If Sam told him what she read in the Scrawled Journal, he will recognize Hannah in time and cry out her name, causing Hannah to recognize him back. She will eventually drag him down to her lair, where he will be stuck with no one to help or rescue him out of the mine. As the Wendigo spirit begins to possess him, he cannibalizes The Stranger. The partially-transformed Josh is encountered by a search party lead by the authorities in the mines. Josh then attacks them, and it is unknown what happens afterwards.
Billy Bates (also known as Patient 9 in the Sanatorium records) was a member of a blasting crew which worked in the North West Mines in late 1951 and a possessed Wendigo. Billy was married to a woman named Agnes, and had a young daughter, Louise, but he seems to have been having an affair with a woman named Loretta as revealed on the Romantic Postcard. Billy was one of the mine workers who became trapped for 23 days after a part of the mine collapsed on 13 December 1951. He and the 11 other miners survived by resorting to cannibalism. They were finally rescued on 5 January 1952.
After their rescue, Bates and the others are named as "The Miracle Men" in the press, and were cared for with the other survivors at the Blackwood Sanatorium, where they were studied due to unusual physical changes that occurred during their recovery. The miners eventually became violent and on 24 February 1952, after attacking and killing some of the staff including Dr. W.B. Cathcart, White, Charles Miller, Evelyn Daniels, they escaped and were never heard from again.
During their escape they managed to kill many policemen that came to the Mountain to secure the Sanatorium.
During his investigation in the Sanatorium, Mike may find an old case study documenting Billy Bates' physical changes. Mike here notices Bates had a scar. He later sees this same scar on one of the Wendigos, leading him to suspect that Bates and the other miners had changed into Wendigos. Billy will later chase Mike down and possibly kill Wolfie. Billy will later be killed by Mike or Sam, depending on the player's actions.
Mike and Jessica will find a mortally wounded elk attacked by Hannah on their way to the guest cabin.
- Jessica (Determinant)
Death: Lower jaw ripped open and torn off by Hannah.
- Matt (Determinant)
Death: Dragged and impaled through the jaw on an iron hook, or face bashed in by Hannah's hands.
- Emily (Determinant)
Death: Eyes pierced through by Hannah's long fingernails.
Death: Decapitated through Hannah's claws.
- Chris (Determinant)
Death: Decapitated through Hannah's claws.
- Ashley (Determinant)
Death: Decapitated by having her head twisted around, or eyes gouged out by Hannah in the lodge.
- Josh (Determinant)
Death: Head crushed together by Hannah's hands, causing his brain and skull to explode.
- A miner Wendigo
Death: Hannah will kill an unnamed miner Wendigo in the lodge by overpowering and decapitating it.
- Mike (Determinant)
Death: Slashed and thrown by force against a pillar by Hannah.
- Sam (Determinant)
Death: Impaled through the abdomen by Hannah's arm.
- In a prototype of the game for Playstation 3, the Wendigos, or at least Hannah, were almost the same, except that they had a less threatening appearance and more similar to that of a zombie, their fangs were bigger and their nose was wider. They also had a normal vision instead of a movement based view.
- The Case Study Dossier found in the Sanatorium shows how long the transformation takes and what signs appear. Transformation begins with what appears to be an incubation period of at least 4 days (perhaps much longer) before any visible signs appear. The transformation then progresses very quickly from four days to up to at least twelve. Each day, they become more monstrous and lose their humanity.
- When a Wendigo feeds, it becomes stronger. It's interesting to note that in the end game when the Wendigos battle it out in the cabin, Hannah is able to overpower every single one of them. This is probably due to the fact that Hannah is possessed by the Makkapitew Wendigo spirit (the strongest Wendigo).
- If given the theory that Hannah had been possessed by the spirit of the Makkapitew, then the miner Wendigos in general may have a low chance of killing a person (reasonably as time goes by), as none of the Wendigos transformed from 1950 have killed a human during the present, (evidenced in Mike surviving the Wendigo attack regardless, and the Stranger being capable of containing them).
- According to the Stranger's Journal, a Wendigo's skin is hard like armor and cannot be cut, stabbed, or pierced by bullets, though a shotgun can slow them down. The only surefire way to hold them at bay is to use fire, making their skin weak, though he doesn't advise finishing it off, only as a last resort, as death releases the Wendigo spirit.
- According to the Stranger, one of the ways the Wendigos like to murder their victims is by completely immobilizing them, then stripping the skin off their bodies piece by piece, then making the still living victim watch in agony as they harvest and eat their organs. This style of death, however, is not seen in the game, indicating he might have made it up to make Chris obey him.
- The Wendigos seem to kill animals instantly as evidenced by an Elk and Wolfie being killed by having their necks wounded or snapped.
- Despite being undead-seeming mutant humans, Wendigos are not zombies, nor do they have an infectious bite; a person bitten by a Wendigo will not become one due to the attack, only if they eat human flesh while a Wendigo spirit is free to possess them.
- The Wendigos can mimic other people's voices into luring their prey to kill them. Ashley claims that she heard Jessica calling for help within the mine, but Jessica says during her interview with the police that she didn't call for help and managed to escape. If Ashley chooses to follow Jessica's voice in the mines, she will be attacked and decapitated by a Wendigo if she opens a trapdoor in the floor.
- You can hear a slight call for help by Hannah in Chapter 10, possibly due to the unconfirmed fact that the Wendigo Spirit is uncontrollable, and you cannot control it once you've been possessed with its spirit. This, however, might be a mimicked voice, but it seems unlikely as the Wendigo IS Hannah.
- The Wendigos depicted in Until Dawn share certain similarities with the Future Predator from Primeval. Both creatures hunt by sound and movement, both are incredibly fast and agile, both have the ability to climb walls, and the Wendigo's vision is almost identical to that of the Future Predator's, though the latter has different colors and sound-producing objects make little ripples around them. There are also physical similarities. Both creatures are roughly seven to eight feet tall, have mouths full of jagged teeth, have long, skinny limbs tipped with deadly claws for tearing apart their prey. Both creatures also hunt in a similar fashion, as both stalk their prey for a long period of time before finally making the kill.
- It seems they retain some kind of traces of humanity in their behavior and intelligence, as Hannah used Jessica's phone in order to grab her attention and cut the wires of the fire tower, making it collapse into the mines.
- This is further supported by the situation in which Josh notices Hannah's tattoo and realizes the Wendigo is her, whereupon she will kidnap him instead of killing and eating him, implying familial bonds can still be partially recognized by the human side of the Wendigo. This of course only happens if other criteria are met, namely Sam and Mike discovering the truth about Hannah.
- As a Wendigo, Hannah notably never causes fatal injuries to Mike, despite having many opportunities to do so. This could be evidence that some of her humanity, such as her affection for Mike, persists even after transformation.
- The miner Wendigos never attack one another, meaning that friendship or family bonds can be recognised. Therefore, Wendigos may form packs based on their relations from their human life and rival Wendigos that are essentially strangers. It is noticeable that the miner Wendigos do not attack one another, but will taunt Mike as a group. This may explain why Hannah does not kill Mike, kidnaps Josh (twice if he recognises her) and kills the miner Wendigos.
- If the player stays in one place long enough as Chris as he interrogates the Stranger about the nature of the Wendigos, the Stranger confirms that they retain some aspect of their humanity.
- The use of a flare gun against the Wendigos is the same method used by Dean Winchester in the US TV series, Supernatural, in the show's second episode.
- 1952 Clueline, Clue #19: Journal - Cannibalism: "The eyes turn first and become milky and white."
- 1952 Clueline, Clue #07: Mine Rescue Photo
- As shown by the Inpatient; depending on your choices and whether you're male or female, the Makkapitew can be either Gordon, Anna or the Player, who was a reporter who was assaulted on the mountain.