Urban Legends, Witchcraft

The skin-walkers

female skinwalker

Deemed one of the most terrifying native American legends they are known as skin-walkers. These shape shifting witch doctors are able to roam freely altering their appearances. The Navajo Diné culture mentions a skin-walker can turn themselves into different disguises (in particular animals). The yee nahgloshii (skin-walker) can move around without detection by normal human eyesight.

skinwalker native

These Navajo witches can bestow curses and blessings as well. There are many stories about the skin-walkers. There was a deer along the side of the road, several men wandered over towards it. When they got close to it (checking to see if the animal was alright) the deer suddenly hopped up and jumped over the fence line. This wasn’t super unusual, except for the fact the deer was on two legs like a bipedal man. It continued running off into the forest.

Other stories include someones father who noticed an elderly Navajo woman who was walking along the side of the road. As he was driving by he offered her a ride. However the old woman took off quickly with super human speed running into the wilderness. She certainly was well into her 80’s and this wasn’t humanly possible.

Another instance someone mentioned was when they were a young child—they went to their aunts home. She lived in a secluded rural area, they heard strange noises around them coming from different directions. Everywhere they turned the noises came. This continued until the noises kept getting louder and louder. The ground would shake like a rumble of buffalo running by. They became overwhelmed with a sense of dread, panic and paranoia. Eventually they noises stopped but they remember the feeling they had on that day.


A man went out backpacking deciding to sleep under the stars. After smothering out his campfire, he fell fast asleep. When he awoke up he noticed paw prints all over his sleeping bag. Off in the distance there was a coyote which seemed to follow him back to his truck.

As he began driving away the coyote began to run along side of him. While this was quite strange the scary thing was it began to run on its two hind legs. The coyote seemed to have buckskin pants on. Whatever this thing was, it kept the pace of 35 miles an hour he claimed. After a while the coyote/man was gone.

In the Navajo language, yee naagloshii translates into “he who walks on all fours”.

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