In some Native American traditions (Navajo, Hopi, MIohawk..) the Skin Walker
or Yeenaaldlooshii is a human who is able to shape-shift into various animal forms through witch craft.
Skin Walkers age generally considered
frightening, evil, dangerous & difficult to
Yeenaeldooshi means literally "With it, he goes o all fours,"
in the Navajo language. The Mohawk Indian word "Limikkin" is
sometimes used to describe all skin-walkers.
Possibly the best documented skin walker beliefs are those
relating to the Navajo Yeenaaldlooshii (literally 'With it, he
goes on all fours' in the Navajo language). A yeenaaldlooshii
is one of several varieties of Navajo witch (specifically Practitioner
of the Witchery Way, as opposed to a user of curse-objects or a
practitioner of Frenzy Way. Technically, the term refers to who
is using his (rarely her) powers to travel in animal form. In some
versions men or women who have attained the highest level of
priesthood then commit the act of killing an immediate member of
their family, and then have thus gained the evil powers that are associated
The Yeenaeldooshi are human beings who have
gained supernatural powers by breaking a cultural taboo.
Specifically, a person is said to gain the power to become a
yee naaldlooshii upon initiation into the Witchery Way.
Both men/women can become Yeenaeldooshi and therefore
possibly skin walkers, but men are far more numerous than
women. It is generally thought that only childless women can
become witches (but not always), because they have the power
to assume the form of any animal they choose, depending on what
kind of abilities they need. Witches use the form for expedient
travel, especially to the Navajo equivalent of the 'Black Mass' a
perverted song (the central rite of the Witchery Way) used
to curse instead of to heal. They also may transform to escape from Pursuers.
or wolf skin. Some Navajos describe them as a mutated version of the animal
in question. The skin may just be a mask, like those which are the only
garment worn in the witches sing. The skin walkers are described as
being fast, agile and impossible to catch. Though some attempts have
been made to shoot or kill one, they are not usually successful.
* Like the werewolf, the skin walker is a shape-shier, human at times
and at other taking on the aspect of an animal, usually at night. In its animal
form, a skin walker may be virtually anything - including a wolf,
snow leopard, cougar, black panther,coyote, fox, bear, owl or crow.
Although skin walkers may have a favorite form that they customarily use,
they have the power to become anything they wish. In animal form, a
skin walker is very fast and impossible to catch.
*According to Navajo legend, Skin walkers can have can have the power to read
human thoughts. They also possess the ability to
make any human or animal
noise they choose. A skin-walker may use the voice of a relative or the
cry of an infant to lure victims our to the safety of their homes.
*Both humans animals can easily tell a skin walker from a real animal,
as the skin walker is unable to move completely natural in animal form. For
some unexplainable reason even a well seasoned skin walker cannot obtain
the perfect animal gait or leave the proportionally correct sized animal tracks.
*A skin walker can only be defeated if one can discover his/her human identity. This is possible if the skin walker is tracked back to his/her home or in some stories if a skin walker is wounded and the same injury is later noted on a human. It is also said that if a Navajo was to know the person behind the skin walker they had to pronounce the full
name by saying either NAME' or YOU ARE A SKINWALKER!' And about 3 days later
that person would either get sick or die for the wrong that they have committed.
Similar creatures can be found in numerous culture's all over the world. closely related to beliefs in werewolves also known as lycanthropes and others which can be
described a therianthropes. While the skin walkers are known mainly from Navajo
folklore analogies exist in the mythology of other tribes, including the Mohawk, Hopi, &
Aztecs. The Yaqui have a similar creature they called Morea-kame. This is a person who practices witchcraft or what we might call black magic. These creatures also change shape too. appearing as animals or even as ghosts. They kill using their thoughts or the evil eye.
In the lore of some Native American tribes, particularly the Navajo, the 'Skinwalker' if in a evil witch that uses the powers of darkcan shift into animal shape . Although generally believed to take the form of a wolf , coyote, crow, fox or owl, it is said that the skinwalkers can take any animal shape they desire. Those who report having seen a skinwalker say they are slightly deformed in their animal state with dull and unreflective eyes - the opposite of a real animal. In their human form, their eyes are said to shine with aninhuman animal glow.
Once in animal form, the skinwalker possesses the attributes of the animal whos e shape it takes.
Skinwalkers are the most feared for the power they are said to have to place curses on their victims. Some Native Americans believe that a skinwalker can use a persons spit, hair, clothing or shoes to put a curse on that person or to inhabit the person's mind and control his or her behavior. It is also believed that by locking eyes with its victim, the evil skinwalker can infiltrate the person'sbody, causing them to be sick and even to die. According to legend, skinwalkers are very fast and almost impossible to catch. However, when an injured skinwalker resumes human form, his telltale wound will give him or her away.
This is from a true story:
This story took place near Iron Bog Lake in Idaho around July, 2001. My family and I went on a survival trip, which is a simulation of getting lost in the woods with minimal and limited gear.
We arrived at the base at 6:30p.m.and we had a three-hour hike ahead of us. As we were walking up the trail, I noticed faint howling sound and I also heard rocks falling down the side of the trail but I couldn't see where they were coming from. The hike took longer than we thought, and we arrived at the site from 10:30pm. to 11:pm, so the sun had already gone down.
First, we got a fire going, made with a flint. Then we made a tent out of a tarp and a few sticks we found during the walk. At about 11:25, we got settled and then I noticed the howling again. I didn't think much of it, but five mins later, we heard the bushes moving; then we saw the wolf-like figures walking about 20 yards away from us.
My dad pulled out his 22 pistol, loaded it and put it in his pocket. By this time, by brother and I were kind of freaked out. It was about 11:46pm., and we saw a Native American dressed in fur walking where the dog had just been walking. He stopped in his tracks, right as I saw him. He stared at me with these big glowing brown eyes, then continued walking and soon vanished into the woods.
After that, my dad,brother and I talked it over and decided that he had probably lost his wolf and was searching for it, although I did think it was strange to have a huge and powerful animal like that, but I ignored the thought and we all went to sleep. I had these weird dreams about the wolf and the man living together forever in evil.
I woke up some time between 3am. and 4am to hear very deep breathing. At first, I thought it was my dad or brother snoring,but then it got louder and closer. I finally got enough guts to get up and investigate. But I wished I hadn't because the mere thought still scares me.
I saw the wolf 10 feet away from me eating the remains of a deer. When the wolf saw me, it sprinted into the bushes. I expected to see the wolf come out the other side, but instead the fur-covered Indian walked out!
I stood there staring into his eyes for what felt like two hours. He then suddenly ran into the
forest. I quickly got back in the makeshift tent, grabbed the pistol and stayed as still as I could until the sun rose. I have had dreams about it since. I have only told my brother and my close Native American friend about that horrific night.
My native friend told me it was a Skinwalker. .
Skinwalker in Idaho
By William Graham
They have made many different movies on the Skinwalker too.