Student Corner

The Skinwalker

Written by: Sonic Smrit Shrestha - 25061, Grade XI

Posted on: 04 December, 2023

The Skinwalkers are an ancient folklore and myth that originated in America in the 1800s. The origins of encounters of the Skinwalkers first came from the Navajo tribe. The Navajo tribe is a tribe of Native Americans whose earliest settlements lay in the southwestern parts of the United States. The Navajo people tell stories about strange things that creep and crawl around the wild desert expanses and the forests of America. One of the famous stories of their people is of the legend about evil witches. They call these witches “Venaldooshi” in their native language. The Venaldooshi are those types of witches that walk on all four legs which are also called Skinwalkers. Such a creature is considered half person and half animal. The legend starts with a medicine man or woman who once used to use their power of healing for good but for some reason, they turned evil and murdered and ate the flesh of their human victims and so they were cursed. Due to that reason, they are believed to be immortal and the only way to kill them is to destroy their animal form.

The Skinwalkers are considered to bring pain and suffering to their victims and in the legend the Skinwalkers crawl into a person's mind and control them. They can make them hear things and see things that are not really there. While the Navajo people have passed down their myths and legends throughout the generations there are some modern-day people who say that they have seen a Skinwalker. The Navajo people say that in the morning the Skinwalker acts like a normal person but at night they change back to a man-animal hybrid who looks like an animal but walks on two legs and is as smart as a human. 

In one of the stories shared by a native American, The man says that he saw a Skinwalker during one of his hunting chores. The man claims that when he was hunting deer he saw a wolf standing on two legs. He proceeded to shoot the wolf for safety because his house was near that area as well as for the wolf's fur. But when he shot the wolf down and approached the wolf or what he thought was a wolf, he saw an animal-man hybrid in front of him. The man said that he looked like a dog in a man's body. The man was scared because he thought that he had killed someone so he buried the body in a hole and ran. 

The man told that story on his deathbed. 

The Navajo people said that the story that the man told was probably true because a Skinwalker can only die in animal form and their curse gets lifted when they die. The legend of the Skinwalkers is not well understood outside of Navajo culture. This is mainly due to the Navajo people's unwillingness to talk about the Skinwalkers because they think that if they talk about them they will attract the Skinwalkers to them. Traditional Navajo people are reluctant to reveal skin-walker lore to non-Navajos or to discuss it at all among those they do not trust. Due to this, the lore behind the Skinwalkers is not completely known and the whole legend is like a puzzle with missing pieces and mysteries.