Sixteen years ago, a book was released that detailed the harrowing ordeal of a family living on a remote Utah ranch. While there, they witnessed a host of bizarre and unnerving phenomena that was truly terrifying. Large wolf-like creatures that preyed upon their livestock. Aerial phenomena that could only be described as otherworldly. Doorways to other realms of existence were opened on the property. Researchers of anomalous phenomena called this kind of activity high strangeness and nothing else could possibly describe it.
The family’s encounters with the anomalous were detailed in the book The Hunt for the Skinwalker which explored how they lived in unrelenting dread of the activity that threatened to destroy their sanity. When they sought answers for what plagued their property, they looked to the local Native American people for answers. One shaman explained their property lay in the path of the Skinwalker. He went on to explain that the Skinwalker was an entity of pure evil found in the folklore of the indigenous people of the American southwest. According to tribal knowledge, the Skinwalker was a being to be avoided at all costs.
To the Apache and Navajo of all the creatures in their folklore, none is more nightmarish than, Yee Naaldlooshi, the dreaded Skinwalker. This creature is one of pure evil and madness. The Skinwalker is not a creature in the strictest sense of the word. Rather, it is a human being that has attained an unnatural amount of power through black magic. Using this power, Skinwalkers can shapeshift into grotesque beasts with a taste for human blood and flesh. They have also been known to bring pestilence and curses upon the land. A number of tribal villages have incurred the wrath of the Skinwalker and paid the price dearly. But all we have is folklore, is there any historical proof to back up these tales of terror? Apparently, there is.
Looking back on history, we assume only European settlers were guilty of hunting down and punishing alleged witches. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the 19th century, settlers heard a frightening story of a Navajo war party attacking and annihilating a village of their own people. When the matter was investigated, the Navajo believed the village was populated by a clan who practiced the Witchery Way and were known Skinwalkers. During a single night, over 100 people were rounded up, beheaded and their bodies were burned. The wickedness that cursed the land was dealt with harshly.
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It was always believed that the Navajo and Apache only feared the Skinwalker. That was until settlers from the east discovered there was much to fear in the deserts of the American southwest. One family on vacation in New Mexico claimed a man-like creature followed them home. The creature hammered on the walls while howling like a wolf. Inside the home the family endured poltergeist activity that included plates being shattered and furniture being tossed around. Relief from the entity came when a Navajo holy man exorcised the entity with a lengthy ritual.
Police officers who patrol the region have also come across these creatures of nightmare. One patrolman approached what he thought was a drifter on the side of a dark road. When the strange man lifted his head, the officer found himself staring into the eyes of a monstrous being. When the officer drove off at top speed, the being managed to keep pace with his car and even tried getting in. The creature finally broke off its pursuit leaving the veteran cop with an experience he would never forget.
Skinwalkers as witches are believed to attack and murder their victims using powerful incantations. A suspected Skinwalker who was captured was in possession of a beaded necklace made from human bone and covered in a mysterious powder. He confessed the necklace was used to cripple his victims. Another Skinwalker used voodoo dolls to attack his victims. He would hold the dolls over a fire causing his victim pain that was so great, they eventually ended their own lives. If you haven’t guessed, Skinwalkers are nothing to balk at.
The Yee Naaldlooshi is so feared among the Navajo, they believe even mentioning the being would invite swift retribution and even death. The indigenous people of the American southwest live very close to the land and are intimately familiar with doorways to other realms. Dark realms, where the Skinwalker roams, spreading chaos and bloodshed and occasionally appearing to the residents of the deep desert.
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