Unlike the underwater monster in Thunderstone, the monster in Heart of Ice, the Windigo, has been featured in many stories, novels, movies, and television shows. My first brush with the Windigo was an episode of Charmed. The monster appeared again in an early episode of Supernatural, and most recently (for me) in Sleepy Hollow. Although every reference puts its own spin on the creature, I strived to keep as close as possible to the Native American lore.
A Windigo is a once-human creature, driven to cannibalism, and consumed by the lust for human flesh. It’s often described as a yellow-eyed monster with clawed hands, matted hair, an emaciated body, superhuman strength, and a heart made of solid ice. In the past, ice and snow during the hard winters in the north woods would isolate tribes and settlers from food resources. If hunting failed, faced with starvation, cannibalism might be the only chance for survival. The Native Americans believed this is how Windigos were most often created. They also believed a dreamer could be tricked into cannibalism and that dreams and visions of ice and the North Wind were harbingers of the Windigo condition. Medicine power was another way to afflict someone with the Windigo curse. If not too far gone, the plagued person might be saved by consuming heated animal fat or strong wine and then resting by a fire to melt the heart of ice. Sometimes a shaking tent ceremony was performed by a shaman who would contact the spirit world and tap into the medicine power used to curse the individual. But Windigos that had lost all humanity must be burned to ensure their demise.
What is a Thunderstone?
Tube and irregular fulgurite
To expand on Ice’s brief explanation in the book, when lightning strikes a beach, the sand is instantly melted and fused forming a glass-like hollow tube. The outer surface is typically rough, while the inner surface is usually smooth and glassy. The geological name for the formation is a Sand Fulgurite. Here is a picture of a tube and an irregular fulgurite.
Learn more about Fulgurites here: http://geology.utah.gov/surveynotes/gladasked/gladfulgurites.htm
and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulgurite
The Legend of Lake Itasca
Not many people know that Thunderstone’s working title was The Legend of Itasca. I ultimately changed it because unless you’re acquainted with northern Minnesota, Itasca probably doesn’t mean anything to you. Thunderstone takes place at the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Itasca State Park. Beautiful Lake Itasca is the source of the mighty Mississippi. You can see in the picture where a trail of stones marks the transformation of lake to river.
The place alone is enough to inspire a novel, but this account of the lake’s legend also contributed to my story:
Legend of Lake ItascaLegend recounts that Manabozho, the great mythical wonder worker of the Algonquin Indians had a beautiful daughter named Itasca. She was wooed fiercely by Chebiabo (ruler of the lower regions who governed spirits of the dead).
Itasca did not wish to leave this fair earth for the region of darkness and told Chebiabo so. Chebiabo, not to be denied, went into a rage at Itasca’s continued refusal and during the violence, a terrific storm bore away his unwilling bride below the earth. A terrific upheaval followed, which left the hills as they are today, while Itasca’s tears, as she mourns for the upper world, are the springs and rivulets which trickle to the lake and form the ultimate source of the Mississippi River.
Want to know more about Mishebeshu, the Underwater Monster?
The Island of the Anishnaabeg
I read many books about Native American mythology as well as shamanism, but my primary resource for the water monster was Theresa S. Smith’s book: The Island of the Anishnaabeg: Thunderers and Water Monsters in the Traditional Ojibwe Life-World. Smith spent time living with the Anishnaabeg on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, located in Northern Lake Huron. Anishnaabeg commonly referes to all Ojibwe people and usually includes related Algonquin speakers – primarily the Ottawa, Potawatomi, Menominee, and Cree. If, like me, you’re fascinated by Native American traditional myths and beliefs, I recommend you read this book.
Deleted Scenes from Thunderstone – Legacy in Legend Series, Book One
PDF File of all Deleted Scenes
(click to view PDF in browser, or right-click and choose “Save Link As…” to save PDF to disk)
If you’ve read Thunderstone, then you know the underwater monster extended his malevolent intentions onto land by recruiting an evil minion. Who was this guy? Mishebeshu called him Gushkewau’ , meaning darkness. His name however, is Ned and he has his own story. The following scenes were deleted from the original Thunderstone manuscript to elevate the “creepiness” factor by not knowing this guy or what he might be capable of. But Ned was quite busy in the background; stealing, deceiving, evading, and plotting his own revenge.
Deleted Scene 1: The Making of a Minion
Although his head was on the floor, Ned felt grateful for the cool surface where his face rested. He opened his eyes. Two shot glasses sat on the floor in front of his nose. Further down, he identified a couple of cardboard coasters. His forehead creased and he squinted…More »
Deleted Scene 2: Good Guy Goes Bad
It seemed Ned had just closed his eyes when the voice of Manitou roused him. He sat up in the dark cellar and listened to the urgent instructions. Minutes later, he strode through the woods and found the trail. A marker pointed him in the direction of the headwaters…More »
Deleted Scene 3: On the Prowl
The rising moon was just a sliver. Though the night was clear, the moonlight did little to illuminate the field—ideal conditions for Ned to slip unnoticed into the farmyard. He slunk silently along the back of the barn and peered around the corner….More »
Deleted Scene 4: The Thrill of Victory
Ned dug the shovel into the earth and hoisted the load over his shoulder where it landed in the center of the cellar floor. “Quittin’ time,” he said. He scraped the dirt into the growing pile in the corner. Cracking open a water bottle, he slid slowly to the ground….More »
Deleted Scene 5: Surveillance
Ned stripped off all of his clothes and stood naked on the shore of the lake. The sun had retreated behind the trees, and the water glimmered black in the shadow of the forest. He strode purposely forward and at knee-depth, dove into the chilly water….More »
Deleted Scene 6: Freeing the Monster
Ned let out a whoop without noticing—or caring—how the confines of the cellar stifled the sound. He was through!
He’d been shoveling dirt onto the stolen tarp, dragging it to the cellar to dump it, and then repeating the process for hours. Unfortunately, progress meant every trip back and forth was a little longer. Just now however, his efforts had paid off…More »
Deleted Scene 7: Peeping Ned
Ned watched from the shadows of the hospital parking deck as the Indian boy walked to his Jeep. He’d intentionally arrived before visiting hours were over so as not to draw attention to himself. A casual stroll past the old man’s room however, revealed the boy inside….More »
Deleted Scene 8: Asphyxiate
After lighting the fuse, Ned backed from the tunnel, dashed to the old furnace, then crouched behind it, arms shielding his head. Even though the blast was expected, the loud boom still made him jump….More »
Deleted Scene 9: Eliminate All Threats
Ned let out a string of profanity. How could things have gone so terribly wrong?
Somehow the kids had survived asphyxiation. He didn’t understand. And worse, they’d somehow escaped….More »
Deleted Scene 10: Knock Out
Ned skidded into the pile of brush and paused long enough to press the lever on the detonator. A quick glance over his shoulder showed his pursuer stop for an instant, awed first by the flash of light and then by the deafening boom followed by an earthy rumble….More »
Deleted Scene 11: Ned Reaps What He Sowed
Ned didn’t realize how awesome the cold ground felt on his pounding head until he tried to examine his surroundings. As his face lifted from the dirt, pain skewered his left eye and only his right eyelid lifted to allow him to look around….More »