“Yee naaldlooshii.” “With it, he goes on all fours.” (www.legendsofamerica.com)
These are the Navajo words used to describe a most feared and dangerous witch. The Skinwalker (Seriously. Cue the shudders as I’m typing this).
Skinwalkers are prevalent in Navajo legends as a form of dark witchcraft. For the Navajo, good and evil powers merely are—it’s the same power, but with two sides. The way a man harnesses the power depends upon the man. There are other tribes that have legends of Skinwalkers, and all of them includes a nasty witch capable of taking on the form of an animal (www.legendsofamerica.com).
The permeance of these dreaded creatures runs so deep that many refuse to speak of them today (yes, in 2020!) for fear a Skinwalker may come after them or a loved one. It is believed that these terrifying beings walk among the tribe during the day but secretly transform into the beast of their choosing once the moon is up and the skin is donned (creepy, much?).
According to Navajo legends, most Skinwalkers were once medicine men who achieved the ultimate level of spiritual power. And then chose to use those powers for evil (www.navajolegends.org). A lot like Star Wars, the Jedi, and the Sith. One power, but two sides: good and evil (I know I’m not the only Star Wars fan here…).
It’s reported that Navajo men only wear sheepskin or buckskin, and only for special ceremonies. This is one reason the Navajo have become famous for such intricate textiles (and they are stunning—I own a set of Navajo-made clothes). They believe the Skinwalkers must don the pelt of the animal they wish to transform into—so the wearing of hides is taboo (www.navajolegends.org).
There’s nothing nice that can be said for these creatures of the night. According to tribal legend, they must kill a sibling or family member to become a Skinwalker. They wreak havoc. Make people sick. Commit murder. They rob graves and are necrophiliacs (ahem, doing naughty things with dead people). Even so recently as the mid-70’s, legal proceedings were brought against a nameless witch (reported to be of the spiritual level of the Skinwalkers) by attorney, Michael Stuhff (www.rense.com). Skinwalkers are very real in the minds of many from the cultures who hold tales of these evil men who twist themselves to evil’s desires. I’m certain I never want to meet one.
What do you think? Are Skinwalkers real? Or are they only legends? Pop up to the grey Comments button at the top and let me know!
Shadow of Time: Dark Dreams by Jen Minkman (intended for mature readers)
How the Stars Fell Into the Sky: A Navajo Legend by Jerrie Oughton
Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Code Talkers of WWII by Chester Nez
Creative Writing Prompts
“Shhh!” My mother shushed me with more vehemence than normal. “Never speak that word.” Chills tingled down my spine at the fear in her eyes.
The moon rose and with it, the hairs on the back of my neck.
Something moved in the shadows. Malevolent eyes glittered red. My blood froze.
The video clip below contains some mature content. Viewer discretion is advised. It’s creepy and dark, but very interesting.