Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beware of the Skinwalker

By Lyn Thurman

The tribes of the American South West all have
legends and tales of the skinwalker. They are said to be malevolent
witches who wear the skins of animals to shapeshift into the creature
whey wish to assume. The human witch takes on the speed, strength or
cunning of the animal he or she has assumed.

According to Navajo
belief, skinwalkers are self-serving and evil beings whose primary
motivation is revenge. They must kill a sibling or other close relative
to be initiated as a skinwalker, then they commit murder, cannibalise
their victims, rob graves and practice necrophilia to perform their

Some believe that skinwalkers have the ability to steal
the "skin" or body of a person. If you lock eyes with a skinwalker they
can absorb themselves into your body.

The people of the Navajo do
not openly talk about skinwalkers, and certainly not to those outside
of their culture. It's said that to talk about the skinwalkers is to
draw them close to you and your family. However, some do talk.

curse people and cause great suffering and death," one anonymous Navajo
writer said. "At night, their eyes glow red like hot coals. It is said
that if you see the face of a Skinwalker, they must kill you. If you
see one and know who it is, then they'll die. If you see them and you
don't know them, they will kill you to keep you from finding out who
they are. They use a mixture some call corpse powder, which they blow
into your face. Your tongue turns black and you go into convulsions and
you eventually die. They are known to use evil spirits in their

Although skinwalkers seem to prey purely on Native
Americans, there have been reports in recent years of Anglo-Americans
being targeted by the dark witch. One Highway Patrol Officer in New
Mexico had 2 separate encounters while patrolling a stretch of highway
south of Gallup. A creature appeared out of nowhere and appeared to
attach itself onto the door of the patrol car. The officer said it had
a ghostly, white mask and it kept pace as the petrified officer put his
foot to the floor and sped off. After a while he realised the creature
wasn't attached to the door but was keeping pace alongside the vehicle.
A few days later he experienced a similar incident with the skinwalker
appearing out of nowhere and keeping up with the car as the officer
sped across the desert. To this very day the Officer is terrified of
that stretch of highway.

Lyn is a UK white witch and co-founder of
- a website dedicated to delivering ethical magic, readings, advice and
articles. You can sign up for a free weekly newsletter from the site.

She is a writer, psychic Tarot reader, spell caster, healer and paranormal enthusiast. You can catch up with her at or on Twitter (wizardandwitch).

1 comment:

Hanks Family said...

When living in Gallup, New Mexico as a child, I heard so many skinwalker stories. Those stories wouldn't be so creepy if everyone didn't believe they were completely true. I've heard of "encounters" from both Navajo and others who would swear to their grave that they had an experience with a skinwalker. That's why when I started writing, I couldn't resist putting skinwalkers in a YA Fiction. It was sooo fun, because there are so many stories out there to choose from!
~LeeAnne Hanks
author of "Within the Flame"