in

The Skinwalker – Real Or Folklore

Guest Contributor: MoonJoey












Often mistakenly categorized into the Cryptid world, the skinwalker, in my opinion, is possibly the closest thing to reality, if not actually real, that one can come to believe in existing.

My wife & I have visited various places in the Southwest U.S. and have held discussions with various Dine' and been shown skinwalker suspect areas (difficult to get to), destroyed hogans and territories that just from the looks of them, one would not entertain going there after dark.  All of this, along with my own personal suspicions of a 'warning attack' on my vehicle while traveling out of Navajo territory leads me to believe there is something to this legend.

The skinwalker animal can take many forms, including wolves, bears and birds. If the shaman stays too long in animal form, he can lose his humanity completely — which makes him even more dangerous. Traditionally, it was taboo for Dine' to wear the pelt of any animal other than cowhide or sheepskin and even then, for ceremonial purposes only.  It is believed the skinwalker cannot turn into a sheep or cow.

Not all witches are skinwalkers, but all skinwalkers are witches.

The Navajo have passed down stories of those able to shapeshift into different animals. Local lore describes a coyote with the eyes of a man that runs alongside cars, hitting the hood while transforming into a man that has the glowing yellow eyes of an animal.

This ferocious creature (possibly the Skinwalker’s man-beast form) will attack vehicles in hopes of causing a serious or even fatal accident. 

But first, some background info, the following of which as described by to Navajo Rangers, whose presence I was in:

- they spoke about cases of theirs involving skinwalkers 
- they were assigned over a period of 10 years to officially investigate and document significant cases involving Bigfoot, the Paranormal, Navajo Witchcraft, and UFO's.
"Special Projects Unit (SPU)". 

This section's primary role was managing cases and projects that were deemed critical, sensitive or high profile in nature. These cases could be anything from high priority investigations, dignitary protection, high risk detail, SWAT or other emergency operations.

One of the other responsibilities of that unit was the investigation of those incidents that did not necessarily fit with everyday parameters of law enforcement or criminal investigation. Enter the "paranormal or supernatural" i.e. cases involving Bigfoot, UFOs, witchcraft, skinwalkers, ghosts and hauntings. These cases represented less than 1% of those cases that were investigated by the SPU each year.

ABOUT NAVAJO NATION RANGERS
DEPARTMENT OF RESOURCE ENFORCEMENT
During the time period referenced in this article, there were 16 commissioned law enforcement officers or Rangers; one Chief Ranger, five administrative staff, four Ranger Sergeants and eleven field Rangers.
MISSION STATEMENT
To protect and preserve the cultural, historical and archaeological resources of the Navajo Nation, through law enforcement, public education, preventive patrols, and regulatory enforcement. To safeguard and preserve the livestock property of residents to maintain the cultural and traditional significance of this resource for future generations of Dine’
HISTORY
The Navajo Rangers were formed in 1957.
PURPOSE
The purpose of the Department of Resource Enforcement is to protect and preserve the natural and cultural resources and to safeguard the livestock property of the Navajo people in accordance with the mandated laws and regulations of the Navajo Nation.
GOALS
Place our cultural and religious beliefs as Dine’ as paramount ideals for future generations, by strengthening our sovereignty as a Nation.
Develop and foster leadership abilities among workforce while optimizing use of available resources.
Conduct business in an honest, ethical and consistent manner.
Maintain performance standards that enhance job satisfaction and provides for professional growth of employees.

The following is from a Q&A meetup with the two rangers:

SKINWALKERS. Do they really exist? The following as reported in a meetup I attended with 2 Navajo Reservation Rangers:
SKINWALKERS can change form from another form. Is it just a myth? (see picture 1). On the Navajo reservation (covering New Mexico, Utah & Arizona) up until 1998 Navajo witchcraft was included in Federal Law making it illegal to practice, included with the 7 other major crimes, felonies such as murder, mayhem, etc. It is very real on the reservation. On the reservation, if you are taught to be a medicine man, you are taught from a very early age. One ceremony might involve 250 songs over a period of 3 nights just to heal somebody. If they get any of those songs wrong, the whole ceremony is negated. In addition they are taught witchcraft and how to change form. They have to learn how a skinwalker cursed a person in order to cure them. It is up to the person being taught to have a social conscience about it. Unfortunately today, their are kids that are learning this, they practice the chants and the things they need to do to change form, and they do this, just to go out and terrorize the community. A lot of people think skinwalkers are wolfmen. (The hide shown in picture 2 was found by a powerline crew working in the area.
The line crew was very frightened finding this because somebody has taken the time to make this skin and they would wear it, and then they would change into the animal
of that skin). Picture 3 is that of a Yei Bi Chei dancer who performs a healing ceremony.) An evil medicine man will cover himself completely with a white paint-like substance, wear a skin of an animal. Hanging from their belt is a pouch containing the femur (leg bone) of an infant, that is cut off at both ends and hollowed out. In this they would put poisons. One case covered by the Rangers was a man who had seen a mangy dog (see picture 4) come up to his house as he was working in the garage. He stated the dog had hair falling off of it and all dusty-like, skinny to the point of skin-and-bones.
He grabbed a 2 x 4 piece of wood and struck it hard. A bunch of dust popped off the animal. He went inside to call his wife to see the animal but when they came out the animal was gone. Shortly after he became sick, getting progressively sicker to the point he went to the hospital. Doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. His wife took him to a medicine man. The medicine man examined him & asked him what happened. The man shared his story. The medicine proclaimed "that was no dog, that was a skinwalker, and the delivery of the poison was the dust from the fur and you inhaled that." The medicine man was able to cure him after several days. The man had barely survived. Picture 5 is of a medicine man performing a healing ceremony. On the floor between his legs is a sand painting. Each design element in a sand painting imparts meaning for the sacred ceremony performed to honor the gods. Navajo sand paintings are made in the mornings and early afternoons of the last days of a ceremony lead by the medicine man and his helpers. After a ceremony the sand art is destroyed. Skinwalkers can turn themselves mostly into coyotes. A Ranger case worked on involved a family coming home after dark. They saw a coyote trying to get into the sheep corral. The husband grabbed a 22-rifle and shot it hitting it in the flank. The coyote went down but soon got up and started dragging itself away with its front legs, it's back legs dragging behind it. It went into the tumbleweeds but it's rear legs were still sticking out. The husband went over to it, grabbed a rear leg and started to drag it out to get it far enough out to shoot it again and kill it. As he dragged it out, the leg turned into a human leg in his hand. He said it was a figure painted white with long hair. The Navajo police didn't want any part of it when called. The Navajo ambulance transported the figure to their hospital where staff refused to work on it. Navajo medicine men cleared the room and started to work on it, did surgery & saved him. They recognized him as a member of their community. According to Navajo tradition, if you know who it is, you go up their house, knock on their door and say "I know what you are." Traditionally, within 3 days that person is going to die suddenly. A Ranger has witnessed such a thing happening. skinwalkers can also change into an owl. In Navajo & many other Native cultures, the owL is a harbinger of doom. They change into ravens & crows. The Navajo structures called hogans, always have the door facing to the east so that they rise to greet the morning sun with their prayers. The "forked stick" or "male" Hogan (picture 6) contains a vestibule in the front and was used only for sacred or private ceremonies. The circular or "female" Hogan (picture 7) is the family home for the Diné people. A traditional Navajo, Toney from Monument Valley, AZ confirmed this much to me in a conversation I had with him.  He refused to go into more detail as per usual Navajo behavior on this subject. Rangers have found destroyed hogans in the field with the doors facing west (picture 8). A Ranger Cultural Specialist will not step into this area for this is where skinwalkers were trained.

THE MORE POPULAR BELIEF ABOUT SKINWALKERS:
In order to become a Skinwalker, the witch must commit an unthinkable crime: murdering an immediate relative.  It has to be a full brother or sister that you kill.  That's why people stop short of learning all of it.  If you do kill your brother or sister, they put it right into the bad medicine.
The creature resorts to grave robbery to increase its own personal wealth, as well as to collect much-needed ingredients for use in its own brand of black magic. A common method of becoming wealthy used by Navajo witches is the unethical practice of fee-splitting. This is done when a Skinwalker causes a victim to become ill, and a healer (usually a witch himself) heals the victim. The healer is then paid, and the culprits then split the proceeds, each taking half of his or her share.
The Skinwalker’s eyes may be the key to identifying the creature in its human form. The Skinwalker will avoid bright lights when it can, not because it causes the creature any harm, but because the eyes of a Skinwalker burn red like coals in a fire. When the Skinwalker is in animal form, its eyes do not glow at all. It is said that, in addition to being able to shapeshift, the Skinwalker is also able to control the creatures of the night and to make them do its bidding. 
The Navajo themselves absolutely refuse to touch a corpse, for fear of accidentally summoning the shade of the deceased or making oneself vulnerable to the Skinwalker’s dark magic.

Except for an animal skin, the Skinwalker prefers to go about naked, even in the dead of winter. Because of the Skinwalker’s choice of shapeshifting into predatory animals, wearing the skins of those particular animals is a major taboo, and is deeply frowned upon by the Navajo community. Wearing the hide of a sheep or a cow is acceptable, but if an individual should choose to wear the skin of a predator, he is liable to be accused of being a Skinwalker. The Skinwalker is also known for wearing the skulls of the animals it becomes in addition to their skin, which is said to bring additional power to the witch. Sometimes, the Skinwalker does not do evil of its own accord, but instead works under the will of another. Occasionally, a truly vile person will hire the Skinwalker to perpetrate some evil deed, for which the Skinwalker will be amply rewarded. When it comes down to punishing the Skinwalker if it is caught in the act (a rarity, indeed), Navajo law is very direct and straightforward when it comes to witchcraft: when a person becomes a witch, they immediately forfeit their humanity and their right to exist, and thus the Skinwalker can be killed without any legal or moral consequences.

According to these beliefs, people must live in harmony with each other and the Earth. It also teaches that there are two types of beings: the Earth People (humans) and the Holy People. These entities are invisible spirit beings that have the ability to either help or harm people. The Navajo also take a spiritual approach to sickness, disease, and personal problems. These things are believed to be due to disorder within an individual’s life, and they can be remedied with prayer, singing, various herbs, help from a shaman, and traditional rituals. However, there is a dark side to the religion. While the shaman uses his knowledge to heal and to help his people, there are others (like the Skinwalker) who use witchcraft to direct and control supernatural forces in order to cause harm, misfortune, sickness, or death to others. But despite this, Navajo witchcraft is only another aspect of the Navajo religion as a whole.

In regards to magical practices, Skinwalkers are said to gather in small groups in dark caves in order to initiate new members, plot their activities, kill people from a distance with black magic, engage in necrophilia with female corpses, and to commit cannibalism, incest, and grave robbery. Here, they perform their dark ceremonial rites, which are blasphemous mockeries of traditional Navajo religious ceremonies. Instead of sprinkling pollen (which is sacred to the Navajo and is used for blessing), the Skinwalkers scatter dust made from the powdered bones of infants in order to curse their victims. The Skinwalkers use bows carved from human shinbones to attack their victims, while the arrows are made of hardwood and tipped with flint (the arrowheads themselves may be cursed). They also make traditional sand paintings using colored ash, upon which the Skinwalkers will spit, urinate, and defecate, profaning and desecrating the religious nature of these paintings, which are usually of their intended victims. The leader of the Skinwalkers is usually an old man, perhaps a very powerful and long-lived Skinwalker. A small east may take place, during which the participants eat coyotes and owls, as well as a type of ground-up blue lizard. As stated earlier, the Skinwalker goes about naked, wearing only beaded jewelry and ceremonial paint. All the while, they sit around in a circle and walk or run on all fours, singing or howling like wolves.

NAVAJOS FEAR THE SKINWALKER & DO NOT SPEAK OF THEM TO OUTSIDERS:

The Navajo themselves fear the Skinwalker so much that they are very hesitant to speak with outsiders about these creatures, and absolutely refuse to speak about it at night. One might suppose that this is a variation of the phrase “Speak of the Devil, and he shall appear.” The Navajo fear any consequences or attacks from the Skinwalker in retaliation for allowing outsiders to meddle in their affairs. In regards as to how the Skinwalker actually chooses to attack its victims, the methods are both numerous and terrible. It may choose to bite and claw the victim to death in its animal form, but the Skinwalker is usually far more subtle. At times, the Skinwalker will try to break into a home in order to frighten, harm, or kill the inhabitants. Each Navajo home (called a hogan) has a small opening in the thatched roof to provide ventilation. The Skinwalker takes advantage of this by making use of a deadly dust, known as corpse powder, made from dried and powdered human remains. The corpse powder may be sprinkled through these holes, causing grave sickness and eventual death to those dwelling within. If this powder is blown into a victim’s face, it causes the tongue to turn black and to begin swelling, followed by convulsions, paralysis, and the eventual death of the victim. It is said that the corpses of children, especially twins, are the best source for this powder.
The Skinwalker has a wide variety of weapons at its disposal, in addition to the human shinbone bows and arrows mentioned earlier. One of the most potent of these is a tiny bone pellet, which is fired from a blowgun into a victim’s body. These pellets imbed themselves into the skin without leaving so much as a mark, and afterwards causes sickness, social misfortune, and eventual death. Another spell that the Skinwalker uses to kill is done by acquiring some of its victim’s hair, wrapping it around a potshard, and placing it into a tarantula’s hole. Live rattlesnakes may be released into the victim’s dwelling or his bed, causing him to grow sick and die from the rattlesnake’s bite. The Skinwalker also loves to cause trouble between the world of the living and the realm of the dead. The Skinwalker digs up a corpse, severs a finger or another small body part, and hides it inside the home of the intended victim. The ghost of the deceased will rise from the grave in search of its missing body part, and will then haunt whoever possesses it. The home’s owners will be both confused and terrified as to why this is happening to them.

POSSIBLE BIGFOOT SIGHTING?
It is said that sometimes the Skinwalker is invisible to human eyes, but it will leave tracks that are larger than those of any natural beast.  This "Predator" like invisibility was referred to as 'alien' in 'The Hunt For The Skinwalker' documentary.

MY OWN EXPERIENCE:

According to Navajo legend, the Skinwalker has the power to read human thoughts, allowing it to use the victim’s own fears and secrets against them. It will attack vehicles in hopes of causing a serious or even fatal accident. My own personal story involves my wife & I leaving an area to head back home.  My wife simply mentioned the same as what I was feeling & thinking, that is, "doesn't this remind you of a perfect place for a skinwalker?"  No later than 30 seconds later, out of nowhere it seems, a large black bird crashed into our car at the point the front windshield meets the roof.  I almost lost control of the car as I was doing about 70 mph. I did not stop the vehicle but kept driving.  We both looked behind us and could see no dead or injured bird on the road!  It had simply vanished!  When we had traveled to the next populated area, we stopped to check for damage.  Luckily there was none but there was no sign that our vehicle had ever been struck by something. There was no dead bird or remnants thereof, stuck on top of our car! 

VULGAR TALES:
a woman had been killed and her body was covered and stored in a hogan.  One after another the people practicing witchery had intercourse with the corpse, put a little pot underneath her collecting fluids from the men and used it in their medicine.  The body when dried up was ground up and also placed in the medicine.  They would use this to poison people's foods.

SUMMARY:
The above just touches on the full description and details of the skinwalker legend.  Some details are even more shocking than described here.  However, once you have fully immersed yourself into the research of the skinwalker, you will be forever influenced and mindful of it.

- MoonJoey
ten mistakenly categorized into the Cryptid world, the skinwalker, in my opinion, is possibly the closest thing to reality, if not actually real, that one can come to believe in existing.

My wife & I have visited various places in the Southwest U.S. and have held discussions with various Dine' and been shown skinwalker suspect areas (difficult to get to), destroyed hogans and territories that just from the looks of them, one would not entertain going there after dark.  All of this, along with my own personal suspicions of a 'warning attack' on my vehicle while traveling out of Navajo territory leads me to believe there is something to this legend.

The skinwalker animal can take many forms, including wolves, bears and birds. If the shaman stays too long in animal form, he can lose his humanity completely — which makes him even more dangerous. Traditionally, it was taboo for Dine' to wear the pelt of any animal other than cowhide or sheepskin and even then, for ceremonial purposes only.  It is believed the skinwalker cannot turn into a sheep or cow.

Not all witches are skinwalkers, but all skinwalkers are witches.

The Navajo have passed down stories of those able to shapeshift into different animals. Local lore describes a coyote with the eyes of a man that runs alongside cars, hitting the hood while transforming into a man that has the glowing yellow eyes of an animal.

This ferocious creature (possibly the Skinwalker’s man-beast form) will attack vehicles in hopes of causing a serious or even fatal accident. 

But first, some background info, the following of which as described by to Navajo Rangers, whose presence I was in:

- they spoke about cases of theirs involving skinwalkers 
- they were assigned over a period of 10 years to officially investigate and document significant cases involving Bigfoot, the Paranormal, Navajo Witchcraft, and UFO's.
"Special Projects Unit (SPU)". 

This section's primary role was managing cases and projects that were deemed critical, sensitive or high profile in nature. These cases could be anything from high priority investigations, dignitary protection, high risk detail, SWAT or other emergency operations.

One of the other responsibilities of that unit was the investigation of those incidents that did not necessarily fit with everyday parameters of law enforcement or criminal investigation. Enter the "paranormal or supernatural" i.e. cases involving Bigfoot, UFOs, witchcraft, skinwalkers, ghosts and hauntings. These cases represented less than 1% of those cases that were investigated by the SPU each year.

ABOUT NAVAJO NATION RANGERS
DEPARTMENT OF RESOURCE ENFORCEMENT
During the time period referenced in this article, there were 16 commissioned law enforcement officers or Rangers; one Chief Ranger, five administrative staff, four Ranger Sergeants and eleven field Rangers.
MISSION STATEMENT
To protect and preserve the cultural, historical and archaeological resources of the Navajo Nation, through law enforcement, public education, preventive patrols, and regulatory enforcement. To safeguard and preserve the livestock property of residents to maintain the cultural and traditional significance of this resource for future generations of Dine’
HISTORY
The Navajo Rangers were formed in 1957.
PURPOSE
The purpose of the Department of Resource Enforcement is to protect and preserve the natural and cultural resources and to safeguard the livestock property of the Navajo people in accordance with the mandated laws and regulations of the Navajo Nation.
GOALS
Place our cultural and religious beliefs as Dine’ as paramount ideals for future generations, by strengthening our sovereignty as a Nation.
Develop and foster leadership abilities among workforce while optimizing use of available resources.
Conduct business in an honest, ethical and consistent manner.
Maintain performance standards that enhance job satisfaction and provides for professional growth of employees.

The following is from a Q&A meetup with the two rangers:

SKINWALKERS. Do they really exist? The following as reported in a meetup I attended with 2 Navajo Reservation Rangers:
SKINWALKERS can change form from another form. Is it just a myth? (see picture 1). On the Navajo reservation (covering New Mexico, Utah & Arizona) up until 1998 Navajo witchcraft was included in Federal Law making it illegal to practice, included with the 7 other major crimes, felonies such as murder, mayhem, etc. It is very real on the reservation. On the reservation, if you are taught to be a medicine man, you are taught from a very early age. One ceremony might involve 250 songs over a period of 3 nights just to heal somebody. If they get any of those songs wrong, the whole ceremony is negated. In addition they are taught witchcraft and how to change form. They have to learn how a skinwalker cursed a person in order to cure them. It is up to the person being taught to have a social conscience about it. Unfortunately today, their are kids that are learning this, they practice the chants and the things they need to do to change form, and they do this, just to go out and terrorize the community. A lot of people think skinwalkers are wolfmen. (The hide shown in picture 2 was found by a powerline crew working in the area.
The line crew was very frightened finding this because somebody has taken the time to make this skin and they would wear it, and then they would change into the animal
of that skin). Picture 3 is that of a Yei Bi Chei dancer who performs a healing ceremony.) An evil medicine man will cover himself completely with a white paint-like substance, wear a skin of an animal. Hanging from their belt is a pouch containing the femur (leg bone) of an infant, that is cut off at both ends and hollowed out. In this they would put poisons. One case covered by the Rangers was a man who had seen a mangy dog (see picture 4) come up to his house as he was working in the garage. He stated the dog had hair falling off of it and all dusty-like, skinny to the point of skin-and-bones.
He grabbed a 2 x 4 piece of wood and struck it hard. A bunch of dust popped off the animal. He went inside to call his wife to see the animal but when they came out the animal was gone. Shortly after he became sick, getting progressively sicker to the point he went to the hospital. Doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. His wife took him to a medicine man. The medicine man examined him & asked him what happened. The man shared his story. The medicine proclaimed "that was no dog, that was a skinwalker, and the delivery of the poison was the dust from the fur and you inhaled that." The medicine man was able to cure him after several days. The man had barely survived. Picture 5 is of a medicine man performing a healing ceremony. On the floor between his legs is a sand painting. Each design element in a sand painting imparts meaning for the sacred ceremony performed to honor the gods. Navajo sand paintings are made in the mornings and early afternoons of the last days of a ceremony lead by the medicine man and his helpers. After a ceremony the sand art is destroyed. Skinwalkers can turn themselves mostly into coyotes. A Ranger case worked on involved a family coming home after dark. They saw a coyote trying to get into the sheep corral. The husband grabbed a 22-rifle and shot it hitting it in the flank. The coyote went down but soon got up and started dragging itself away with its front legs, it's back legs dragging behind it. It went into the tumbleweeds but it's rear legs were still sticking out. The husband went over to it, grabbed a rear leg and started to drag it out to get it far enough out to shoot it again and kill it. As he dragged it out, the leg turned into a human leg in his hand. He said it was a figure painted white with long hair. The Navajo police didn't want any part of it when called. The Navajo ambulance transported the figure to their hospital where staff refused to work on it. Navajo medicine men cleared the room and started to work on it, did surgery & saved him. They recognized him as a member of their community. According to Navajo tradition, if you know who it is, you go up their house, knock on their door and say "I know what you are." Traditionally, within 3 days that person is going to die suddenly. A Ranger has witnessed such a thing happening. skinwalkers can also change into an owl. In Navajo & many other Native cultures, the owL is a harbinger of doom. They change into ravens & crows. The Navajo structures called hogans, always have the door facing to the east so that they rise to greet the morning sun with their prayers. The "forked stick" or "male" Hogan (picture 6) contains a vestibule in the front and was used only for sacred or private ceremonies. The circular or "female" Hogan (picture 7) is the family home for the Diné people. A traditional Navajo, Toney from Monument Valley, AZ confirmed this much to me in a conversation I had with him.  He refused to go into more detail as per usual Navajo behavior on this subject. Rangers have found destroyed hogans in the field with the doors facing west (picture 8). A Ranger Cultural Specialist will not step into this area for this is where skinwalkers were trained.

THE MORE POPULAR BELIEF ABOUT SKINWALKERS:
In order to become a Skinwalker, the witch must commit an unthinkable crime: murdering an immediate relative.  It has to be a full brother or sister that you kill.  That's why people stop short of learning all of it.  If you do kill your brother or sister, they put it right into the bad medicine.
The creature resorts to grave robbery to increase its own personal wealth, as well as to collect much-needed ingredients for use in its own brand of black magic. A common method of becoming wealthy used by Navajo witches is the unethical practice of fee-splitting. This is done when a Skinwalker causes a victim to become ill, and a healer (usually a witch himself) heals the victim. The healer is then paid, and the culprits then split the proceeds, each taking half of his or her share.
The Skinwalker’s eyes may be the key to identifying the creature in its human form. The Skinwalker will avoid bright lights when it can, not because it causes the creature any harm, but because the eyes of a Skinwalker burn red like coals in a fire. When the Skinwalker is in animal form, its eyes do not glow at all. It is said that, in addition to being able to shapeshift, the Skinwalker is also able to control the creatures of the night and to make them do its bidding. 
The Navajo themselves absolutely refuse to touch a corpse, for fear of accidentally summoning the shade of the deceased or making oneself vulnerable to the Skinwalker’s dark magic.

Except for an animal skin, the Skinwalker prefers to go about naked, even in the dead of winter. Because of the Skinwalker’s choice of shapeshifting into predatory animals, wearing the skins of those particular animals is a major taboo, and is deeply frowned upon by the Navajo community. Wearing the hide of a sheep or a cow is acceptable, but if an individual should choose to wear the skin of a predator, he is liable to be accused of being a Skinwalker. The Skinwalker is also known for wearing the skulls of the animals it becomes in addition to their skin, which is said to bring additional power to the witch. Sometimes, the Skinwalker does not do evil of its own accord, but instead works under the will of another. Occasionally, a truly vile person will hire the Skinwalker to perpetrate some evil deed, for which the Skinwalker will be amply rewarded. When it comes down to punishing the Skinwalker if it is caught in the act (a rarity, indeed), Navajo law is very direct and straightforward when it comes to witchcraft: when a person becomes a witch, they immediately forfeit their humanity and their right to exist, and thus the Skinwalker can be killed without any legal or moral consequences.

According to these beliefs, people must live in harmony with each other and the Earth. It also teaches that there are two types of beings: the Earth People (humans) and the Holy People. These entities are invisible spirit beings that have the ability to either help or harm people. The Navajo also take a spiritual approach to sickness, disease, and personal problems. These things are believed to be due to disorder within an individual’s life, and they can be remedied with prayer, singing, various herbs, help from a shaman, and traditional rituals. However, there is a dark side to the religion. While the shaman uses his knowledge to heal and to help his people, there are others (like the Skinwalker) who use witchcraft to direct and control supernatural forces in order to cause harm, misfortune, sickness, or death to others. But despite this, Navajo witchcraft is only another aspect of the Navajo religion as a whole.

In regards to magical practices, Skinwalkers are said to gather in small groups in dark caves in order to initiate new members, plot their activities, kill people from a distance with black magic, engage in necrophilia with female corpses, and to commit cannibalism, incest, and grave robbery. Here, they perform their dark ceremonial rites, which are blasphemous mockeries of traditional Navajo religious ceremonies. Instead of sprinkling pollen (which is sacred to the Navajo and is used for blessing), the Skinwalkers scatter dust made from the powdered bones of infants in order to curse their victims. The Skinwalkers use bows carved from human shinbones to attack their victims, while the arrows are made of hardwood and tipped with flint (the arrowheads themselves may be cursed). They also make traditional sand paintings using colored ash, upon which the Skinwalkers will spit, urinate, and defecate, profaning and desecrating the religious nature of these paintings, which are usually of their intended victims. The leader of the Skinwalkers is usually an old man, perhaps a very powerful and long-lived Skinwalker. A small east may take place, during which the participants eat coyotes and owls, as well as a type of ground-up blue lizard. As stated earlier, the Skinwalker goes about naked, wearing only beaded jewelry and ceremonial paint. All the while, they sit around in a circle and walk or run on all fours, singing or howling like wolves.

NAVAJOS FEAR THE SKINWALKER & DO NOT SPEAK OF THEM TO OUTSIDERS:

The Navajo themselves fear the Skinwalker so much that they are very hesitant to speak with outsiders about these creatures, and absolutely refuse to speak about it at night. One might suppose that this is a variation of the phrase “Speak of the Devil, and he shall appear.” The Navajo fear any consequences or attacks from the Skinwalker in retaliation for allowing outsiders to meddle in their affairs. In regards as to how the Skinwalker actually chooses to attack its victims, the methods are both numerous and terrible. It may choose to bite and claw the victim to death in its animal form, but the Skinwalker is usually far more subtle. At times, the Skinwalker will try to break into a home in order to frighten, harm, or kill the inhabitants. Each Navajo home (called a hogan) has a small opening in the thatched roof to provide ventilation. The Skinwalker takes advantage of this by making use of a deadly dust, known as corpse powder, made from dried and powdered human remains. The corpse powder may be sprinkled through these holes, causing grave sickness and eventual death to those dwelling within. If this powder is blown into a victim’s face, it causes the tongue to turn black and to begin swelling, followed by convulsions, paralysis, and the eventual death of the victim. It is said that the corpses of children, especially twins, are the best source for this powder.
The Skinwalker has a wide variety of weapons at its disposal, in addition to the human shinbone bows and arrows mentioned earlier. One of the most potent of these is a tiny bone pellet, which is fired from a blowgun into a victim’s body. These pellets imbed themselves into the skin without leaving so much as a mark, and afterwards causes sickness, social misfortune, and eventual death. Another spell that the Skinwalker uses to kill is done by acquiring some of its victim’s hair, wrapping it around a potshard, and placing it into a tarantula’s hole. Live rattlesnakes may be released into the victim’s dwelling or his bed, causing him to grow sick and die from the rattlesnake’s bite. The Skinwalker also loves to cause trouble between the world of the living and the realm of the dead. The Skinwalker digs up a corpse, severs a finger or another small body part, and hides it inside the home of the intended victim. The ghost of the deceased will rise from the grave in search of its missing body part, and will then haunt whoever possesses it. The home’s owners will be both confused and terrified as to why this is happening to them.

POSSIBLE BIGFOOT SIGHTING?
It is said that sometimes the Skinwalker is invisible to human eyes, but it will leave tracks that are larger than those of any natural beast.  This "Predator" like invisibility was referred to as 'alien' in 'The Hunt For The Skinwalker' documentary.

MY OWN EXPERIENCE:

According to Navajo legend, the Skinwalker has the power to read human thoughts, allowing it to use the victim’s own fears and secrets against them. It will attack vehicles in hopes of causing a serious or even fatal accident. My own personal story involves my wife & I leaving an area to head back home.  My wife simply mentioned the same as what I was feeling & thinking, that is, "doesn't this remind you of a perfect place for a skinwalker?"  No later than 30 seconds later, out of nowhere it seems, a large black bird crashed into our car at the point the front windshield meets the roof.  I almost lost control of the car as I was doing about 70 mph. I did not stop the vehicle but kept driving.  We both looked behind us and could see no dead or injured bird on the road!  It had simply vanished!  When we had traveled to the next populated area, we stopped to check for damage.  Luckily there was none but there was no sign that our vehicle had ever been struck by something. There was no dead bird or remnants thereof, stuck on top of our car! 

VULGAR TALES:
a woman had been killed and her body was covered and stored in a hogan.  One after another the people practicing witchery had intercourse with the corpse, put a little pot underneath her collecting fluids from the men and used it in their medicine.  The body when dried up was ground up and also placed in the medicine.  They would use this to poison people's foods.

SUMMARY:
The above just touches on the full description and details of the skinwalker legend.  Some details are even more shocking than described here.  However, once you have fully immersed yourself into the research of the skinwalker, you will be forever influenced and mindful of it.

- MoonJoey


Often mistakenly categorized into the Cryptid world, the skinwalker, in my opinion, is possibly the closest thing to reality, if not actually real, that one can come to believe in existing. My wife & I have visited various places in the Southwest U.S. and have held discussions with various Dine' and been shown skinwalker suspect areas (difficult to get to), destroyed hogans and territories that just from the looks of them, one would not entertain going there after dark. All of this, along with my own personal suspicions of a 'warning attack' on my vehicle while traveling out of Navajo territory leads me to believe there is something to this legend. The skinwalker animal can take many forms, including wolves, bears and birds. If the shaman stays too long in animal form, he can lose his humanity completely — which makes him even more dangerous. Traditionally, it was taboo for Dine' to wear the pelt of any animal other than cowhide or sheepskin and even then, for ceremonial purposes only. It is believed the skinwalker cannot turn into a sheep or cow. Not all witches are skinwalkers, but all skinwalkers are witches. The Navajo have passed down stories of those able to shapeshift into different animals. Local lore describes a coyote with the eyes of a man that runs alongside cars, hitting the hood while transforming into a man that has the glowing yellow eyes of an animal. This ferocious creature (possibly the Skinwalker’s man-beast form) will attack vehicles in hopes of causing a serious or even fatal accident. But first, some background info, the following of which as described by to Navajo Rangers, whose presence I was in: - they spoke about cases of theirs involving skinwalkers - they were assigned over a period of 10 years to officially investigate and document significant cases involving Bigfoot, the Paranormal, Navajo Witchcraft, and UFO's. "Special Projects Unit (SPU)". This section's primary role was managing cases and projects that were deemed critical, sensitive or high profile in nature. These cases could be anything from high priority investigations, dignitary protection, high risk detail, SWAT or other emergency operations. One of the other responsibilities of that unit was the investigation of those incidents that did not necessarily fit with everyday parameters of law enforcement or criminal investigation. Enter the "paranormal or supernatural" i.e. cases involving Bigfoot, UFOs, witchcraft, skinwalkers, ghosts and hauntings. These cases represented less than 1% of those cases that were investigated by the SPU each year. ABOUT NAVAJO NATION RANGERS DEPARTMENT OF RESOURCE ENFORCEMENT During the time period referenced in this article, there were 16 commissioned law enforcement officers or Rangers; one Chief Ranger, five administrative staff, four Ranger Sergeants and eleven field Rangers. MISSION STATEMENT To protect and preserve the cultural, historical and archaeological resources of the Navajo Nation, through law enforcement, public education, preventive patrols, and regulatory enforcement. To safeguard and preserve the livestock property of residents to maintain the cultural and traditional significance of this resource for future generations of Dine’ HISTORY The Navajo Rangers were formed in 1957. PURPOSE The purpose of the Department of Resource Enforcement is to protect and preserve the natural and cultural resources and to safeguard the livestock property of the Navajo people in accordance with the mandated laws and regulations of the Navajo Nation. GOALS Place our cultural and religious beliefs as Dine’ as paramount ideals for future generations, by strengthening our sovereignty as a Nation. Develop and foster leadership abilities among workforce while optimizing use of available resources. Conduct business in an honest, ethical and consistent manner. Maintain performance standards that enhance job satisfaction and provides for professional growth of employees. The following is from a Q&A meetup with the two rangers: SKINWALKERS. Do they really exist? The following as reported in a meetup I attended with 2 Navajo Reservation Rangers: SKINWALKERS can change form from another form. Is it just a myth? (see picture 1). On the Navajo reservation (covering New Mexico, Utah & Arizona) up until 1998 Navajo witchcraft was included in Federal Law making it illegal to practice, included with the 7 other major crimes, felonies such as murder, mayhem, etc. It is very real on the reservation. On the reservation, if you are taught to be a medicine man, you are taught from a very early age. One ceremony might involve 250 songs over a period of 3 nights just to heal somebody. If they get any of those songs wrong, the whole ceremony is negated. In addition they are taught witchcraft and how to change form. They have to learn how a skinwalker cursed a person in order to cure them. It is up to the person being taught to have a social conscience about it. Unfortunately today, their are kids that are learning this, they practice the chants and the things they need to do to change form, and they do this, just to go out and terrorize the community. A lot of people think skinwalkers are wolfmen. (The hide shown in picture 2 was found by a powerline crew working in the area. The line crew was very frightened finding this because somebody has taken the time to make this skin and they would wear it, and then they would change into the animal of that skin). Picture 3 is that of a Yei Bi Chei dancer who performs a healing ceremony.) An evil medicine man will cover himself completely with a white paint-like substance, wear a skin of an animal. Hanging from their belt is a pouch containing the femur (leg bone) of an infant, that is cut off at both ends and hollowed out. In this they would put poisons. One case covered by the Rangers was a man who had seen a mangy dog (see picture 4) come up to his house as he was working in the garage. He stated the dog had hair falling off of it and all dusty-like, skinny to the point of skin-and-bones. He grabbed a 2 x 4 piece of wood and struck it hard. A bunch of dust popped off the animal. He went inside to call his wife to see the animal but when they came out the animal was gone. Shortly after he became sick, getting progressively sicker to the point he went to the hospital. Doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. His wife took him to a medicine man. The medicine man examined him & asked him what happened. The man shared his story. The medicine proclaimed "that was no dog, that was a skinwalker, and the delivery of the poison was the dust from the fur and you inhaled that." The medicine man was able to cure him after several days. The man had barely survived. Picture 5 is of a medicine man performing a healing ceremony. On the floor between his legs is a sand painting. Each design element in a sand painting imparts meaning for the sacred ceremony performed to honor the gods. Navajo sand paintings are made in the mornings and early afternoons of the last days of a ceremony lead by the medicine man and his helpers. After a ceremony the sand art is destroyed. Skinwalkers can turn themselves mostly into coyotes. A Ranger case worked on involved a family coming home after dark. They saw a coyote trying to get into the sheep corral. The husband grabbed a 22-rifle and shot it hitting it in the flank. The coyote went down but soon got up and started dragging itself away with its front legs, it's back legs dragging behind it. It went into the tumbleweeds but it's rear legs were still sticking out. The husband went over to it, grabbed a rear leg and started to drag it out to get it far enough out to shoot it again and kill it. As he dragged it out, the leg turned into a human leg in his hand. He said it was a figure painted white with long hair. The Navajo police didn't want any part of it when called. The Navajo ambulance transported the figure to their hospital where staff refused to work on it. Navajo medicine men cleared the room and started to work on it, did surgery & saved him. They recognized him as a member of their community. According to Navajo tradition, if you know who it is, you go up their house, knock on their door and say "I know what you are." Traditionally, within 3 days that person is going to die suddenly. A Ranger has witnessed such a thing happening. skinwalkers can also change into an owl. In Navajo & many other Native cultures, the owL is a harbinger of doom. They change into ravens & crows. The Navajo structures called hogans, always have the door facing to the east so that they rise to greet the morning sun with their prayers. The "forked stick" or "male" Hogan (picture 6) contains a vestibule in the front and was used only for sacred or private ceremonies. The circular or "female" Hogan (picture 7) is the family home for the Diné people. A traditional Navajo, Toney from Monument Valley, AZ confirmed this much to me in a conversation I had with him. He refused to go into more detail as per usual Navajo behavior on this subject. Rangers have found destroyed hogans in the field with the doors facing west (picture 8). A Ranger Cultural Specialist will not step into this area for this is where skinwalkers were trained. THE MORE POPULAR BELIEF ABOUT SKINWALKERS: In order to become a Skinwalker, the witch must commit an unthinkable crime: murdering an immediate relative. It has to be a full brother or sister that you kill. That's why people stop short of learning all of it. If you do kill your brother or sister, they put it right into the bad medicine. The creature resorts to grave robbery to increase its own personal wealth, as well as to collect much-needed ingredients for use in its own brand of black magic. A common method of becoming wealthy used by Navajo witches is the unethical practice of fee-splitting. This is done when a Skinwalker causes a victim to become ill, and a healer (usually a witch himself) heals the victim. The healer is then paid, and the culprits then split the proceeds, each taking half of his or her share. The Skinwalker’s eyes may be the key to identifying the creature in its human form. The Skinwalker will avoid bright lights when it can, not because it causes the creature any harm, but because the eyes of a Skinwalker burn red like coals in a fire. When the Skinwalker is in animal form, its eyes do not glow at all. It is said that, in addition to being able to shapeshift, the Skinwalker is also able to control the creatures of the night and to make them do its bidding. The Navajo themselves absolutely refuse to touch a corpse, for fear of accidentally summoning the shade of the deceased or making oneself vulnerable to the Skinwalker’s dark magic. Except for an animal skin, the Skinwalker prefers to go about naked, even in the dead of winter. Because of the Skinwalker’s choice of shapeshifting into predatory animals, wearing the skins of those particular animals is a major taboo, and is deeply frowned upon by the Navajo community. Wearing the hide of a sheep or a cow is acceptable, but if an individual should choose to wear the skin of a predator, he is liable to be accused of being a Skinwalker. The Skinwalker is also known for wearing the skulls of the animals it becomes in addition to their skin, which is said to bring additional power to the witch. Sometimes, the Skinwalker does not do evil of its own accord, but instead works under the will of another. Occasionally, a truly vile person will hire the Skinwalker to perpetrate some evil deed, for which the Skinwalker will be amply rewarded. When it comes down to punishing the Skinwalker if it is caught in the act (a rarity, indeed), Navajo law is very direct and straightforward when it comes to witchcraft: when a person becomes a witch, they immediately forfeit their humanity and their right to exist, and thus the Skinwalker can be killed without any legal or moral consequences. According to these beliefs, people must live in harmony with each other and the Earth. It also teaches that there are two types of beings: the Earth People (humans) and the Holy People. These entities are invisible spirit beings that have the ability to either help or harm people. The Navajo also take a spiritual approach to sickness, disease, and personal problems. These things are believed to be due to disorder within an individual’s life, and they can be remedied with prayer, singing, various herbs, help from a shaman, and traditional rituals. However, there is a dark side to the religion. While the shaman uses his knowledge to heal and to help his people, there are others (like the Skinwalker) who use witchcraft to direct and control supernatural forces in order to cause harm, misfortune, sickness, or death to others. But despite this, Navajo witchcraft is only another aspect of the Navajo religion as a whole. In regards to magical practices, Skinwalkers are said to gather in small groups in dark caves in order to initiate new members, plot their activities, kill people from a distance with black magic, engage in necrophilia with female corpses, and to commit cannibalism, incest, and grave robbery. Here, they perform their dark ceremonial rites, which are blasphemous mockeries of traditional Navajo religious ceremonies. Instead of sprinkling pollen (which is sacred to the Navajo and is used for blessing), the Skinwalkers scatter dust made from the powdered bones of infants in order to curse their victims. The Skinwalkers use bows carved from human shinbones to attack their victims, while the arrows are made of hardwood and tipped with flint (the arrowheads themselves may be cursed). They also make traditional sand paintings using colored ash, upon which the Skinwalkers will spit, urinate, and defecate, profaning and desecrating the religious nature of these paintings, which are usually of their intended victims. The leader of the Skinwalkers is usually an old man, perhaps a very powerful and long-lived Skinwalker. A small east may take place, during which the participants eat coyotes and owls, as well as a type of ground-up blue lizard. As stated earlier, the Skinwalker goes about naked, wearing only beaded jewelry and ceremonial paint. All the while, they sit around in a circle and walk or run on all fours, singing or howling like wolves. NAVAJOS FEAR THE SKINWALKER & DO NOT SPEAK OF THEM TO OUTSIDERS: The Navajo themselves fear the Skinwalker so much that they are very hesitant to speak with outsiders about these creatures, and absolutely refuse to speak about it at night. One might suppose that this is a variation of the phrase “Speak of the Devil, and he shall appear.” The Navajo fear any consequences or attacks from the Skinwalker in retaliation for allowing outsiders to meddle in their affairs. In regards as to how the Skinwalker actually chooses to attack its victims, the methods are both numerous and terrible. It may choose to bite and claw the victim to death in its animal form, but the Skinwalker is usually far more subtle. At times, the Skinwalker will try to break into a home in order to frighten, harm, or kill the inhabitants. Each Navajo home (called a hogan) has a small opening in the thatched roof to provide ventilation. The Skinwalker takes advantage of this by making use of a deadly dust, known as corpse powder, made from dried and powdered human remains. The corpse powder may be sprinkled through these holes, causing grave sickness and eventual death to those dwelling within. If this powder is blown into a victim’s face, it causes the tongue to turn black and to begin swelling, followed by convulsions, paralysis, and the eventual death of the victim. It is said that the corpses of children, especially twins, are the best source for this powder. The Skinwalker has a wide variety of weapons at its disposal, in addition to the human shinbone bows and arrows mentioned earlier. One of the most potent of these is a tiny bone pellet, which is fired from a blowgun into a victim’s body. These pellets imbed themselves into the skin without leaving so much as a mark, and afterwards causes sickness, social misfortune, and eventual death. Another spell that the Skinwalker uses to kill is done by acquiring some of its victim’s hair, wrapping it around a potshard, and placing it into a tarantula’s hole. Live rattlesnakes may be released into the victim’s dwelling or his bed, causing him to grow sick and die from the rattlesnake’s bite. The Skinwalker also loves to cause trouble between the world of the living and the realm of the dead. The Skinwalker digs up a corpse, severs a finger or another small body part, and hides it inside the home of the intended victim. The ghost of the deceased will rise from the grave in search of its missing body part, and will then haunt whoever possesses it. The home’s owners will be both confused and terrified as to why this is happening to them. POSSIBLE BIGFOOT SIGHTING? It is said that sometimes the Skinwalker is invisible to human eyes, but it will leave tracks that are larger than those of any natural beast. This "Predator" like invisibility was referred to as 'alien' in 'The Hunt For The Skinwalker' documentary. MY OWN EXPERIENCE: According to Navajo legend, the Skinwalker has the power to read human thoughts, allowing it to use the victim’s own fears and secrets against them. It will attack vehicles in hopes of causing a serious or even fatal accident. My own personal story involves my wife & I leaving an area to head back home. My wife simply mentioned the same as what I was feeling & thinking, that is, "doesn't this remind you of a perfect place for a skinwalker?" No later than 30 seconds later, out of nowhere it seems, a large black bird crashed into our car at the point the front windshield meets the roof. I almost lost control of the car as I was doing about 70 mph. I did not stop the vehicle but kept driving. We both looked behind us and could see no dead or injured bird on the road! It had simply vanished! When we had traveled to the next populated area, we stopped to check for damage. Luckily there was none but there was no sign that our vehicle had ever been struck by something. There was no dead bird or remnants thereof, stuck on top of our car! VULGAR TALES: a woman had been killed and her body was covered and stored in a hogan. One after another the people practicing witchery had intercourse with the corpse, put a little pot underneath her collecting fluids from the men and used it in their medicine. The body when dried up was ground up and also placed in the medicine. They would use this to poison people's foods. SUMMARY: The above just touches on the full description and details of the skinwalker legend. Some details are even more shocking than described here. However, once you have fully immersed yourself into the research of the skinwalker, you will be forever influenced and mindful of it. - MoonJoey

What do you think?

0 points
Upvote Downvote

Written by SOR

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading…

0

Comments

0 comments

New Hampshire Woman Fighting State To Keep License Plate On Her Car That She’s Had For 15 Years: PB4WEGO

Second Time This Month, Nevada County Commissioners Pre-Sign Emergency Declaration In Advance Of ‘Storm Area 51’ Event