Entertainment

The Navajo Skinwalker: Scariest Four Legged Human Creature

Skinwalker meaning

In the Navajo community, witchcraft is viewed with the highest contempt and is a very serious crime. But the most volatile and dangerous of these witches is the Skinwalker or yenaldlooshi, which when translated means “with it, he goes on all fours” or “he that walks like an animal.” These people are evil to the core, bent on nothing more than destroying the lives of those around them.

The Navajo Skinwalker legend is similar to the European werewolf: A once-ordinary human discovers the ability to shift into animal form at night where his doings then become almost exclusively evil. But the Skinwalker curse is desired and acquired, that is, Skinwalkers do not have the bad luck to be “bitten” and forced into the curse. Rather, they want it and are willing to perform extraordinary rites of evil in order to achieve it, unlike a werewolf. 

To become a Skinwalker, the witch must commit the unthinkable crime which is to murder an immediate relative. According to the Navajo people, this is a very serious taboo and is a terrible crime regardless of one’s cultural heritage. Since the Skinwalker is evil, most being homicidal and violent, this creature cares for nobody other than itself, and the Skinwalker most often kills out of greed, anger, envy, spite, or revenge. This creature even resorts to grave robbery to increase its own personal wealth and to collect much-needed ingredients for use in its own brand of black magic. 

Skinwalker facts

  1. The Navajo say to lock eyes with a skinwalker, is to allow them to absorb themselves into your body. On the other hand, some Navajos believe that if you make eye contact with a skinwalker, your body will freeze up due to the fear of them and the skinwalker will use that fear to gain power and energy.
  2. The Navajo wont touch a corpse, for fear of accidentally summoning the shade of the deceased or making oneself vulnerable to the Skinwalker’s dark magic.
  3. The skinwalkers cannot enter a home without invitation. Hence the skinwalker will try to break into the house and attack the people inside, and will often bang on the walls of the house, knock on the windows, and climb onto the roofs. Sometimes, a strange, animal-like figure is seen standing outside the window, peering in. 
  4. Skinwalkers use charms to fear and control their victims. Such charms include human bone beads launched by blowguns, which embed themselves beneath the surface of the skin without leaving a mark and can cause paralysis and heart failure.
  5. It is said that some particularly powerful Skinwalkers have the power to steal the skin or the body of a victim. By merely locking eyes with the intended victim, the Skinwalker can absorb and effectively enable the creature to become that person physically at will. This may be somewhat like hypnosis, and the stronger the victim’s will, the more difficult it is for the Skinwalker to take possession of the victim’s body. In theory, the absorption attempt may be able to be resisted, although only if the victim’s will is stronger than that of the Skinwalker. When the Skinwalker takes over a victim’s body, it takes complete control, making the victim say and do things that are completely beyond their ability to control. And all the while, the victim remains fully conscious and alert to the horrors being committed with their body, and all the while being helpless to stop it. Exactly how this is done isn’t really known.
  6. The Skinwalker will avoid bright lights when it can, 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. 
  7. The Skinwalker prefers to go about naked (although they wear animal skin) even in the dead of winter. Wearing the skins of certain 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.
  8. According to Navajo legend,the only way to kill a Skinwalker, is to gun the creature with bullets that have been dipped into white ash (although some legends say that silver will work as well). The bullet will strike the Skinwalker’s real head, and any shot that is aimed elsewhere will pass harmlessly through the body. If you wound, the Skinwalker will bleed a yellow liquid instead of blood. 
  9. The Skinwalker is able to speak while in animal form, but it will not willingly do so because it may cause the witch to permanently lose his powers. If one could trick the creature into speaking while in animal form, it will resume its human form and will be unable to shapeshift ever again.
  10.  A sick and disturbing common method of becoming wealthy used by the Navajo witches is the unethical practice of fee-splitting. When a Skinwalker causes a victim to become ill, and a healer (usually a witch himself) “heals” the victim they knew the Skinwalker would attack. Then the healer is then paid, and the culprits then split the proceeds, each taking half of his or her share.

How to become a skinwalker 

There are multiple stories behind the origin of the Navajo Skinwalker. One legend claims the Navajos mastered shapeshifting in order to escape persecution and relocation — the Kit Carson-led cornering of the tribe deep in Canyon de Chelly and later their forced and disastrous relocation to Bosque de Redondo. Another version of the legend relates to the Navajo belief in the Anasazi curse.  The Anasazi people were responsible for the prevailing witchcraft in the Navajo tribes — and that Navajo Skinwalkers used the off-limit Anasazi ruins and grave sites to gain certain powers.

The most prominent history of the Skinwalker tells the tale of a Navajo witch, or an ayee naaldlooshii, which means “he goes on all fours” when translated. The ayee naaldlooshii is typically a medicine man or high-ranking priest who has obtained supernatural powers through breaking a cultural taboo, including murder, seduction, or the corrupting of a family member.

Once they accept this deep and consuming level of witchcraft, Skinwalkers are banished forever from a tribe (but considering the foreknowledge of this as well the despicable acts required for the transformation, an aspiring Skinwalker surely possessed an early, pre-seated hate for the tribe). Prowling alone in the desert, a Skinwalker (and also unlike the werewolf) has the ability to shape-shift into any animal they wish, although most commonly the animal is a coyote, wolf, cougar, fox, owl, or crow — a reason why pelts of these animals are widely restricted among the Navajo.

Becoming a skinwalker requires the most evil of deeds: the killing of a close family member. Then, they literally become humans who have acquired immense supernatural powers, including the ability to transform into animals and other people. But beware when you wonder how to become one. Since the Skinwalker is evil, most being homicidal and violent, this creature cares for nobody other than itself, and the Skinwalker most often kills out of greed, anger, envy, spite, or revenge. This creature even resorts to grave robbery to increase its own personal wealth and  to collect much-needed ingredients for use in its own brand of black magic – not a great way of life. 

Skinwalker movie

Watch the following list of Skinwalker movies:

Antlers

Before we list the movies, we are super excited for the movie Antlers. Guillermo del Toro’s Skinwalker movie is said to be released in April 17, 2020. A horror movie produced by Guillermo Del Toro already sounds interesting but to be directed by Scott Cooper also? The potential this movie has is going to be insane!

This movie is based on Wendigos who are not Skinwalkers. As far as similarities go, Skinwalkers and Wendigos were once human, but the reason for why they transformed into a  “monster” and their behavior is different. Skinwalkers were Shamans turned monsters who misused magic or medicine to become a shapeshifter. They can only shapeshift into something they have consumed. 

Wendigo are a spirit that possesses a human & gives them an insatiable craving for human flesh.  Wendigos become monsters after resorting to cannibalism. They gain an insatiable desire for human flesh and become an inhuman monster after eating human flesh. See the game, “Until Dawn” to give you a pretty good idea, or watch the episode of Supernatural that covers them. Skinwalkers are like, shamans that turned to the dark side and are shapeshifters. Also, Wendigos can’t change their shape once they change.

On the contrary, Skinwalkers are people or witches usually, who by black magic can change form into an animal. These creatures retain some of their humanity (which can be seen in their eyes, no matter what form they take) however Wendigos lose all trace of the human they once were, which is going to make the movie Antlers epic! 

Skinwalker Ranch (2013)

This movie reveals the fate and sights of a special team from Modern Defense Enterprises who were sent in to investigate an unexplained disappearance of a Utah rancher’s young son. 

Skinwalker Ranch (or Skinwalkers in UK) is a 2013 American footage science fiction and horror film directed by Devin McGinn. Loosely based upon folklore surrounding the titular Utah-based Skinwalker Ranch, it is rumored to be the site of several UFO sightings. In 2010 “Skinwalker Ranch” received media attention after experiencing a wide range of unexplained phenomenons such as reports ranged from UFO sightings to livestock mutilation, and most notably the disappearance of a Utah ranch owner Hoyt Miller’s (Jon Gries) 8 year old son, Cody (Nash Lucas). Modern Defense Enterprises (MDE) sent a team of experts to document and investigate the mysterious occurrences.

Skinwalkers (2006)

A mother and her 12-year-old son become the victims of two groups of werewolves, who believe that the approaching red moon may change the boy into a powerful enemy or a great leader of their pack.

Missing 411: The Hunted

A National Park Ranger told a writer David Paulides his troubling story. As he gets  involved with numerous search and rescue operations at several locations in National Parks, he detects a trend that he cannot comprehend.

The Ranger explained that during the first 7 to 10 days of a disappearance he would gain massive Search and Rescue activity and significant press coverage. But after the efforts of the initial week there was almost always an immediate halt to the coverage, a discontinued search for the victims and no explanation from the search authorities.

The Dark Wind (1991)

When a Navajo policeman (Lou Diamond Phillips) finds drug smugglers who are dead and a mutilated corpse on his reservation, he needs to find out why. 

Skinwalker: Curse of the Shaman(2005)

A mythology student seeking to produce a documentary about six students who were rumored to have fallen victim to a deadly curse finds that she may have underestimated the power of the supernatural in director Steven Stevens’ horrific frightener.

Skinwalkers (2002)

Faced with the murder of three medicine men, the Navajo police must find the killer. The murders appear to be the work of a Skinwalker, or bad medicinal man which stifles and illuminates the detective’s work.

Skinwalker dog

The Skinwalker is a shapeshifting witch that uses enchanted animal hides to initiate a transformation into any animal that they desire, but the most common animal forms the Skinwalker take are those of a wolf or dog, a coyote, a fox, a cougar, a bear, a crow, or an owl. The shape taken by the witch depends on the sort of abilities that it may need for a given period of time. The skins of the wolf, the coyote, the dog, and the fox provides stamina and enhanced senses with an ability to traverse great distances at speed, while a bear gives great strength, endurance, and formidable claws and teeth. 

While a cougar bestows speed, stealth and grace, the form of the crow and the owl gives keen vision, sharp talons, and the ability to soar through the air without alerting anyone to its presence. 

The Skinwalker may use its abilities to fight off or escape pursuers, with the power of each animal giving it decisive advantages in a life-or-death situation. To the Navajo, Skinwalker are considered to have a preternatural degree of strength, speed, endurance, agility, and animalistic cunning whilst in animal form, in addition to having human intelligence. This creature is said to be able to run faster than a car, and is able to jump mesa cliffs with little effort. In addition to being a dark adept (that is, a practitioner of the dark arts), the Skinwalker may be regarded as a sort of werebeast, one that is very similar to the European Werewolf.

Signs of a skinwalker

The Skinwalker and most Navajo witches are usually active at night, when they are less likely to be seen and they may conduct their profane rituals in secrecy. These rituals are the Native American equivalent of the European Black Mass, which undoubtedly involves bloodletting, sex, and desecration of religious icons. The four basic ways of Navajo witchcraft are “Witchery, Sorcery, Wizardry, and Frenzy.” These ways have no connection to European witchcraft, but are merely additional pieces of Navajo spirituality. 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 evil shamans (like the Skinwalker) who use witchcraft to direct and control supernatural forces 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.

Skinwalkers are said to group in small groups in dark caves in order to initiate new members, plot their activities, kill people from a distance with black magic or to commit cannibalism, incest, and grave robbery. 

At grave sites 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 to curse their victims. 

The Skinwalkers use bows carved from human shin bones 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 that you can look out for. 

In most cases, the leader of the Skinwalkers is usually an old man, who was maybe a very powerful and long-lived Skinwalker. A small feast may take place, during which the participants eat coyotes and owls, as well as a type of ground-up blue lizard. Skinwalkers will sit around in a circle and walk or run on all fours, singing or howling like wolves.

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. 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 may make strange sounds, like banging on the walls, knocking on the windows, and scraping noises on the roof. These noises are all signs that the Skinwalker is out and about, trying to gain the attention of its victim.

Sometimes an animalistic or beastlike figure may be seen standing outside of a window, looking inside with glowing yellow eyes or red, and a fanged snarl on its face. This ferocious creature will attack vehicles in hopes of causing a serious or even fatal accident. The Skinwalker is described as being extremely fast, agile, and impossible to catch. Shooting or otherwise kill the Skinwalker is usually unsuccessful and the Skinwalker itself may even seek revenge for the attempt on its life.

Skinwalker stories and Skinwalker encounters 

There are stories of shape-shifting creatures across Navajo Nation, the 24k-plus reservation land encompassing most of northeastern Arizona and the adjacent corner sections of New Mexico and Utah. A taboo subject amongst natives, Skinwalkers are seldom discussed with members outside the tribe, and rarely even inside it. 

Skinwalker ranch

This movie reveals the fate and sights of a special team from Modern Defense Enterprises who were sent in to investigate an unexplained disappearance of a Utah rancher’s young son. 

Skinwalker Ranch (or Skinwalkers in UK) is a 2013 American footage science fiction and horror film directed by Devin McGinn. Loosely based upon folklore surrounding the titular Utah-based Skinwalker Ranch, it is rumored to be the site of several UFO sightings. In 2010 “Skinwalker Ranch” received media attention after experiencing a wide range of unexplained phenomenons such as reports ranged from UFO sightings to livestock mutilation, and most notably the disappearance of a Utah ranch owner Hoyt Miller’s (Jon Gries) 8 year old son, Cody (Nash Lucas). Modern Defense Enterprises (MDE) sent a team of experts to document and investigate the mysterious occurrences.

Plot

Inspired by true events that shocked the paranormal community around the world, the movie follows a research team that investigates and documents the supernatural phenomena surrounding the disappearance of a 10 year old child. 

Strange occurrences have been happening on the Skinwalker Ranch, which have culminated in the disappearance of the ranch owner’s son. So, a dispatch of an investigative team to document the activity by way of cameras set up throughout the ranch. The cameras record a series of increasingly eerie events and a warning by a Native American man, who tells the crew that their lives are in danger.

Critical Reception 

Skinwalker Ranch’s reception was mixed to negative. Common criticism centered on the plot, which Shock Till You Drop considered to be due to the over familiarity of films of this nature and of movies purported to be based on true events. Libertas Film Magazine and the Salt Lake Tribune both gave positive reviews for Skinwalker Ranch, with the Tribune praising the movie’s visual-effects work. Dan Callahan of RogerEbert.com gave a mixed review, remarking that “There is no point in “Skinwalker Ranch” when it seems as if this could actually be found footage, but it does garner a few scares and even a few honest laughs in its rather short running time. If you’re looking for a neat little Halloween movie, you could do worse.” 

Film critic Roger Ebert said “The somewhat charming thing about “Skinwalker Ranch” is that it takes itself seriously. Even though the style is very much paint-by-numbers, with handheld footage alternating with static surveillance shots of various locations on the ranch, the core of the film is sincere. When Hoyt speaks about how sweet his young son was, the movie gains a core of emotion that helps us to care about whether or not the boy gets rescued. 

Toward the end of the film, other children are seen who are stuck in some kind of video time warp; people of a certain age and generation will probably be reminded of one of the more frightening live action Walt Disney movies, “The Watcher in the Woods,” where a blindfolded girl is trapped in some in-between world and keeps reaching out for help.

The handheld footage keeps breaking up, which is an expected trope of this genre, as if the scariest thing of all for us today would be technological blackout. There is no point in “Skinwalker Ranch” when it seems as if this could actually be found footage, but it does garner a few scares and even a few honest laughs in its rather short running time. If you’re looking for a neat little Halloween movie, you could do worse.” 

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