Wierd but true personal story:
(When I was living in Minnesota a native American friend told me "Wendigo" was sort of a generic term meaning evil spirit, and there are lots of variations to stories about it.)
Algernon Blackwood's story "The Wendigo" was first published about 1885. Blackwood said he heard it from a Canadian Indian in the late 1860s. It features an evil spirit that races thorugh the tops of the pine trees so fast that it's feet burn, generating a "sickly-sweet" odor and huge footprints melted into the snow whenever it comes to earth. When it wears itself out, it calls the name of someone who must inevitably become its' replacement. The story is one of the world's great campfire tales, guaranteed to scare the bejesus out of anyone who hasn't heard it before. (The story was adapted in the late 1950s for an episode of T. Zone or Outer Limits, I forget which.) I've been telling the tale around campfires for better than 40 years, and for many years I considered it a great, mythical, scary tall tale.
About 10 or 12 years ago I read an article in Nat'l Geographic about Sir Edmund Hillary's expedition to Tibet in search of the Yeti. His conclusion was that since he didn't find one they didn't exist, and all the stories about them were bunk. The only things they had in common were descriptions of giant footprints in the snow and a "mysterious odor."
I'm as skeptical as you get about all that paranormal-ufo-bigfoot stuff, but when I read that I got a permanent case of the creeps. The odds against a 140 year old Canadian Indian legend having anything in common with a modern expedition to Tibet are too big to be accidental. Now when I tell the Wendigo story I scare myself, too.
ps please excuse the creepy thread creep, and this bad pun.