The skinwalker is a notorious supernatural monster from Native American legends. They’re shape-shifters who were at one point normal human beings. They can transform into any animal they want, though sometimes the animal is twisted and demonically grotesque. The Navajo Tribe, in particular, have an immense amount of lore surrounding skinwalkers. A skinwalker could once have been a medicine man (priest/healer/shaman) that went dark side, or a practitioner of witchcraft, that has been initiated into becoming a supernatural monster through horrible acts of symbolism that show their devotion in leaving their humanity behind. These initiatory acts can differ, but they’re always extremely macabre. Like murdering a close family member, incest, or necrophilia. After the ritual of their transformation is complete, the person is then gifted with supernatural power, and an urge to do harm. There’s even ranks within skinwalker society. The highest being Clizyati, which translates to “pure evil”.
When they shapeshift, a skinwalker usually transforms into a wolf, coyote, eagle, fox, or crow. But, it’s really only because the abilities of those animals are needed at the time. There are no limits on what type of animal a skinwalker can transform into. If they need to get somewhere fast they’ll change into a bird. If they need immense strength they’ll turn into a bear. If they need to swim they’ll transform into an otter, ext. There are Navajo legends of skinwalkers stealing the faces of people too. Or if someone makes eye contact with one, it can absorb itself into a person’s body. Sometimes they freeze their victims with their demonic eyes. The person being consumed with paralyzing fear. Then, like a vampire, the skinwalker will absorb the person’s life force, giving the monster energy and power. When they’re in their human form wishing to go unnoticed, they are very hairy people who often wear the skins of animals as cloths. But, to the untrained eye, they can pass themselves off as regular people.
Being evil monsters bent on dominance and causing suffering, it’s obviously normal for people of a tribe to be polarized against their presence. There have been countless occasions where vigilant warriors of a tribe have discovered a skinwalker amongst them. Once discovered, the Native Americans have always hunted down and attempted to slay the entity in whatever beast form it may be in. Though, these hunts are rarely successful. Skinwalkers can easily evade hunters even while playing games with them and psychologically tormenting them. Like leading the trackers to their own homes for example, or the home of a loved one. See, skinwalkers take offense if they’re called out for their true nature. So attempting to kill one is recklessly brave, because they will go out of their way to take vengeance on a very personal level. And this vengeance won’t be quick. It can be dragged out for weeks or even years. Many times driving the would-be hunter or hunters insane, and everyone they know and love suffering in the process as well, before eventually being murdered by the skinwalker in an extremely painful fashion.
However, a skinwalker is not invincible and can be slain. Skinwalker’s necks are very vulnerable to weapons or bullets dipped in white ash. A solid way to kill one is to learn of the skinwalkers name it used back when it was still human. If the name is spoken to the monster, then three days later while it’s in human form it will grow ill or even die. While the skinwalker is sick is an ideal opportunity to attack it. A good trick to spot one is to simply wound it while in its animal form. When it shapeshifts back into its human form, it will have the same wound or a similar one. In human form, they are much easier to kill, but should always be taken by surprise and never confronted openly. A skinwalker disguised as an animal will move around unnaturally, stiffly, or just bizarrely in a manner, a real animal wouldn’t. Though sometimes it’s quite obviously a skinwalker because it may intentionally appear demonic in its animal form in an attempt to cause more fear in a victim.
While hunting a skinwalker one must have the utmost mental fortitude. Because they have insane power to mess with people’s heads, which they use strategically, always attempting to gain an advantage over victims. Skinwalkers are telepathic and know what someone will do before they do it by reading one’s thoughts (which can be used against them.) They can also perfectly imitate any animal or human noise at will despite what form they may currently be shape-shifted into. Mix that with reading a person’s mind, and there’s no end to the mental trauma and horror they can inflict. They can cry out from the woods saying they’re badly injured using the voice of someone’s lover, luring them out of their home to their doom. Or use the voice of the chosen victim’s child to taunt them in the darkness. They can literally drive people insane by doing this. Such as imitating a deceased close family member while reading the victim’s mind to say the most messed up stuff possible to them. Skinwalkers are utterly sadistic but they use these abilities for more than pleasure. Like when they are confronted by multiple people seeking to slay them at once. They’ll use their powers in an attempt to lure the hunters away from one another or attempt to cause infighting amongst them.
An interesting drawback these powerful supernatural monsters have is they aren’t allowed to enter anyone’s home without express permission. But they will use all of their dark magical powers to trick a victim into giving them permission to enter their home or to lure them outside of the safety within their walls.
Shapeshifting into animals may be the main calling card of a skinwalker, but they were originally practitioners of medicine, and still use their magic or witchcraft to their advantage. They’ll use spells and charms just as easily as they did while they were mortal. Usually, this magic is to instill fear or control over someone, but they still have all the knowledge they possessed before their transformation into a skinwalker. They will gather a victim’s hair or nail trimmings and perform dark rituals that will either aid them in their goals or help lead to a horrible fate for someone they chose to torment.
Skinwalkers also utilize a powder called corpse dust. Which is made from ground-up bones of infants, then given unholy power through accursed rituals. The skinwalker can blow this powder into a victim’s face, which makes their tongue blacken and swell. After painful convulsions and internal bleeding, the victim always dies. Corpse dust can also be used to get around the whole “not allowed to enter someone’s home without permission” thing. If they really wanna kill someone but can’t trick them to let them inside and they also fail to lure them out, then corpse dust can be dropped down the victim’s chimney or ventilation. Anyone inside who breathes in the dust will die a painful death shortly after.
While they do share many abilities a skinwalker should never be confused with a medicine man. Medicine men are practitioners of the mystic arts with no focus on evil in any way (for the most part.) They can also transform into animals, and perform supernatural feats. But medicine men are healers, spiritual guides, and are in-tune with nature. They’re shamans and priests of a sort. They don’t do evil for the sake of evil and are highly regarded in Native American culture. Skinwalkers, on the other hand, go out of their way to cause as much suffering as possible for their own sadistic pleasure.
It’s amazing there is so much known about skinwalkers as there is. Because when asked about them, Native Americans are almost always unwilling to speak about them to outsiders. This isn’t because of xenophobia or anything, it’s out of a sense of self-preservation. Because a skinwalker could be listening at any time, or could later read their thoughts that they talked about a skinwalker. So Native Americans usually refuse to speak about the supernatural monster to avoid its wrath. Which is a good idea… Angering a skinwalker could lead to a horrific demise any sane person should seek to avoid at any cost.