top of page
The Wendigo of Fort Kent
Since the early 2000s, a disturbing and gripping story has circulated through the depths of the internet. A tale of horror and mystery set in the remote town of Fort Kent, nestled in the east-central wilderness of Alberta, near the Saskatchewan border. Fort Kent was once a thriving logging community but had dwindled into a small hamlet by the 1920s, and has remained so ever since. It’s here that the haunting legend of the Wendigo first took root.
According to the chilling narrative, during this period, the town's tranquility was shattered by a series of gruesome attacks on local ranchers' livestock. Horses were found brutally mutilated, and cattle were disemboweled in the fields. The early evening and late nights were filled with the eerie howls of an unknown creature emanating from the nearby woods. Any who would dare venture into the ancient forest were quickly met with an oppressive dark feeling that suffocated any and all hope. There they would find markings and signs of a monster having been in the vicinity, but never once would anyone set eyes on the elusive beast.
Amidst this unsettling backdrop, two English immigrants, Dr. Thomas Burton and his wife, Katie, arrived in Fort Kent. Dr. Burton, a combat surgeon who had experienced the horrors of World War I, sought solace and a fresh start in the peaceful Alberta countryside. The couple settled into their new home, and Dr. Burton established a medical practice, earning the respect and gratitude of the local community.
However, tragedy struck the town when a deadly disease swept through Fort Kent, claiming the lives of its residents, including Katie. Overwhelmed with grief, Dr. Burton fell into despair, refusing to offer medical assistance to the desperate townspeople. The disease spread like a wildfire, and the once-thriving town became a ghostly graveyard, with lifeless bodies lying in their beds, soaked in their own blood.
When a few brave individuals from a neighboring settlement arrived with medical supplies to save any who still drew breath, they quickly discovered the eerie silence that had befallen Fort Kent. Nearly all its inhabitants were dead, brutally murdered in their homes. All except Dr. Burton.
The North-West Mounted Police were dispatched to investigate the horrific scene and suspected Dr. Burton to be the perpetrator. They believed that the grief-stricken doctor had lost his sanity after his wife's death and went on a violent rampage, slaughtering the townsfolk before vanishing into the woods forever; his guilt and itching hunger tormenting him for the rest of his days as he grappled with new personality.
As whispers of the tragedy spread, local Cree Indians added a chilling layer to the story, claiming that Dr. Burton had been possessed by the Wendigo, a malevolent cannibalistic spirit said to haunt the northern wilderness. They believed that the creature responsible for the livestock attacks had infiltrated Dr. Burton's mind, driving him to commit the gruesome and despicable acts of violence.
This gripping tale was featured in Season 2, Episode 2 of the Canadian TV program "Creepy Canada," which aired on November 4th, 2003. The episode presented the Fort Kent massacre as a genuine historical event, however, the truth behind this terrifying legend is far from what was presented. In reality, the story of the Wendigo of Fort Kent is a work of fiction, skillfully crafted by then-29-year-old independent filmmaker Leslie Chivers from Fort McMurray, Alberta. He first conceived the idea after visiting Fort Kent, which left a lasting eerie impression on him. The abandoned school and empty streets sparked his imagination, leading him to create a scary story based on the town's history.
Chivers delved into the area's past and stumbled upon references to a plethora of Wendigo accusations and convictions in the region. From there, the chilling details of such folklore and history inspired Chivers to incorporate the mythical creature into his own story. The filmmaker transformed his concept into a feature-length screenplay titled "The Lost Town of Fort Kent," which included an extensive backstory, an epidemic caused by rats, and an RCMP cover-up. Although his initial plan to produce and direct the film fell through due to financial constraints, Chivers' story found its way into the "Creepy Canada" episode, where it was portrayed as a genuine historical account.
In 2014, Chivers himself confirmed the fictional nature of the tale in a blog post, dispelling any notions of the events being real. Despite his disclaimer, the internet's vastness allowed the legend to perpetuate and take on a life of its own, leading some to believe in its authenticity.
The legend of the Wendigo of Fort Kent is a compelling example of how folklore can take root and spread, even in the digital age. Its haunting narrative, inspired by elements of history and mythology, captures the imagination and taps into our primal fears. However, it serves as a reminder that not everything we encounter online is grounded in truth. Instead, it serves as a testament to the power of storytelling and the enduring fascination with the unknown, as we continue to seek out and share tales that both terrify and captivate us.
bottom of page