Navajo Skinwalkers: Don’t Whistle Outside At Night

PLEASE NOTE: EVERYTHING IN THIS ARTICLE IS BASED OFF PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE AND TALES I HAVE BEEN TOLD. IF ANYTHING IS INACCURATE OR UNTRUE PLEASE FEEL FREE TO LET ME KNOW IN A KIND AND POLITE WAY! I HAVE THE UTMOST RESPECT FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE, THEIR TRIBES, AND BELIEFS! THIS ARTICLE IS NOT WRITTEN OUT OF DISRESPECT BUT TO HELP KEEP THE LORE ALIVE! I CONSIDER IT AN HONOR THAT I WAS BROUGHT INTO AND EXPOSED TO THE NAVAJO CULTURE WHILE IN HIGH SCHOOL! IT WAS A VERY SPECIAL TIME FOR ME! THANKS!

Depiction of a Navajo Skinwalker

Hello all. I’m sorry for my long absence but I was going through some personal things and needed to clear my head but I’m back! I decided to do something very different with this article. It’s not really a true crime special. I suppose it’s a haunted special? Or maybe a Nikki has lost her mind special? Call it what you wish and please enjoy. 

I believe in all things supernatural. I wholeheartedly believe that there is a world outside of our own. Does that make me weird? Maybe, but I believe in it nonetheless. I also believe that I have encountered a supernatural being on an occasion or two but that’s a story for another day. Needless to say, when my high school boyfriend who was of Navajo descent told me about Skinwalkers for the first time my interest was piqued. When he went home to New Mexico to visit his family on the reservation he would often come back with stories about someone he knew encountering one. When I was sixteen, he told me to never whistle outside at night because the sound will attract these creatures. I’m now thirty-two-years-old and still follow that rule religiously. In the eleven years, I have been with my husband he has not once heard me whistle outside after sundown, and he never will. Although my ex-boyfriend and I parted ways many, many, many moons ago that time and the stories that were shared will always hold a special place in my heart.

A Skinwalker is a supernatural being that can transform or shapeshift into various animals. While deeply rooted within the Navajo culture, this tale is also shared by other Native American cultures. Many customs hold steadfast to the belief that a Skinwalker is produced (or born) when a medicine man/woman abuses his/her magic for evil, corrupting the natural order of things. These medicine men/women become known as Sith Lords, gaining stronger powers by the chaos. I’m not making this up, I promise you I’m not. So basically, when medicine men go from Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader, they create Skinwalkers. The force is strong with this one. The Sith Lords now have the ability to control beasts, change into different animals, and possess people. Mainly from their tribe.

In other traditions, a Skinwalker is born when he/she is initiated into a secret society by performing one of the darkest deeds. They must kill a family member, often a sibling. After the killing the individual acquires supernatural powers, giving them the ability to shapeshift into animals. Most often, they are seen in the form of coyotes, wolves, foxes, cougars, dogs, and bears, but can take the shape of any animal. They will more often than not wear the skins of the animals they have shifted into. Hence the name “Skinwalker”. They might also be seen wearing animal skulls or antlers on their heads as a way to bring them more power. They choose what animal they wanted to turn into, depending on the abilities needed for a particular task, such as speed, strength, endurance, stealth, claws, and teeth, etc. They can also shift more than once in a short amount of time.

The Skinwalkers are also able to take possession of the bodies of human victims if a person locks eyes with them. After taking control, the witch can make its victims do and say things that they wouldn’t otherwise. You might be thinking ‘Nikki how do I know if I come across a Skinwalker?’ I’m going to tell you now. One way to identify a Skinwalker in animal form is by their eyes, as an animal they have more human-looking eyes which are very different from regular animal eyes. These eyes will also shine bright red when light falls on them. In their human form, a Skinwalkers eyes will look more like an animal. Kind of difficult if you ask me since you aren’t supposed to look them in the eyes.

Skinwalkers also have other powers including reading others’ minds, controlling their thoughts and behavior, causing disease and illness, destroying property, and even death. But have no fear there are ways to tell if a Skinwalker is nearby. They make sounds around homes, such as knocking on windows, banging on walls, and scraping noises on the roof. On some occasions, they have been spied peering through windows. More often, they appear in front of vehicles in hopes of causing a serious accident. Skinwalkers are also able to control the creatures of the night, such as wolves and owls, and to make them do their bidding. Some are able to call up the spirits of the dead and reanimate the corpses to attack their enemies.

Their supernatural powers are out of this world, they run faster than a car and have the ability to jump high cliffs. They are extremely fast, agile, impossible to catch, and leave tracks that are larger than those of any animal. When they have been seen, they have been described as not quite human and not fully animal. They are usually naked, but some have reported seeing the creature wearing tattered shirts or jeans. Skinwalkers have been blamed for all manner of unexpected struggles and tragedies through the years, including sickness, drought, poor crops, and sudden deaths.

Skinwalkers are regularly seen or heard in the Appalachia region of the United States, people who live in that region have often said they will not go outside at night for any reason. They also say if you hear the sound of someone screaming in the woods do not venture out to help them as it is not a person. The same goes if you hear someone screaming ‘help me’. That’s clever on the Skinwalkers’ behalf since our human instant is to try and help someone who seems to be in danger. A lot of the people have also mysteriously vanished from the area, never to be seen again. Skinwalkers will often mimic the voice of someone to draw attention and attract people to them. I would have moved. I’m sorry but I would have packed my shit and got the hell out of dodge. My feet would have hit the ground running. There are a ton of videos being posted on Tiktok right now of people hearing or encountering a Skinwalker. If you want to see some good ones @that1cowboy has some videos posted where you can clearly hear the Skinwalker calling out to him. Yes, I believe it truly is a Skinwalker. I said what I said.

Now let’s talk about some encounters people have had with Skinwalkers. While sharing their stories I will omit their name, just a courtesy thing ya know? Okay, I know if the story is already on the interwebs their name is out there for the public to see but at least I tried to do my part to protect their privacy. In July 2004 while moving to Gallup, New Mexico a woman had her first and only encounter with a Skinwalker. While walking out of their old home to get in the car she saw a figure move from behind her neighbor’s car to a large tree. She said the creature didn’t have red eyes or snarling teeth. She said the creature did not look at or come near her and it seemed like it was trying to be avoided. She claimed that the creature was a wolf-like animal that resembled the Beast from the wonderful movie “Beauty & the Beast”. The creature had no human traits except for walking on its hind legs instead of on all fours. The creature stayed behind the tree until both she and her son got in the car and she sped off.

A young lady decided to tag along on her best friend’s three-day trip to her grandmother’s house in Tuba City, Arizona. The first day they were there the grandmother told the girls that a stray dog appeared out of nowhere by the house and wouldn’t leave. She said it had a shaggy, black coat and was a mix of a German Shepard and Labrador retriever. Stray dogs hang around people’s places all the time, no big deal, right? Wrong!

That night the friends decided to watch a movie in the living room while the grandmother cooked dinner in the kitchen. There were big bay windows that looked out towards the front of the house. The windows had curtains but they were hardly ever closed. The movie concluded and the girl’s best friend went to put it back on the bookshelf next to the window. She was about to set the disc down when she let out a scream. The stray dog from earlier that day was standing on top of a wooden box, staring at them through the window. That doesn’t sound like normal dog stuff if you ask me. Although my dog will stare down the shit out of you if you are holding anything remotely edible. Her best friend opened the door and yelled at the dog to get off the box. The dog ran off behind the shed.

The next day the grandmother went to visit some people so the girls were home by themselves. Around five o’clock they heard someone trying to open the front door, they didn’t hear any cars pull up nor did they see anybody so they decided to look out the window. That’s when they saw the same stray dog trying to open the damn door. Two front paws wrapped around the knob while standing on its hind legs. Her best friend opened the door and again yelled at the dog to leave, which again, it did.

Another Depiction of a Navajo Skinwalker

The best friend decided to open the curtains and peer outside. LIKE BISH WHATTTT!? Low and behold the same stray dog was standing on its hind legs looking through the window at this but this time it was different, this time the dog smell rancid like death. The girls also thought this time the dog had two black holes in its neck but they were actually a pair of eyes. The once cute paws now looked like deformed hands with sharp fingernails. Both girls screamed at the top of their lungs and the grandmother came running into the room ready for action. She grabbed some ashes from the fireplace, loaded three shells into the shotgun she kept under her bed, blessed herself, and went outside to shoot the creature. She never shared if the grandmother successfully killed the creature but after that night they never saw the Skinwalker again.

About twelve years ago a man went home for Christmas to visit his family. The family lived on a farm in the middle of an Indian reservation. One night he was home alone while his parents were out Christmas shopping. All their cows in the field suddenly started freaking out and knew the wild dogs that were rampant in the area were bothering them. He threw on his boots, grabbed his shotgun, and head outside to put an end to the commotion. He ran to the middle of the field and saw two dogs standing up, facing one another. They appeared to be fighting. He grabbed a shell out of his pocket and loaded it into the shotgun as soon as he racked the gun the fighting stopped. Both dogs turned to look at him before running off on their f hind legs. Oh no honey, you need to get out of there. After that night the man said the Skinwalker boogieman stories became all too real to him.

On a warm summer night in 1983 around ten o’clock a mother, father, son, and daughter were traveling south on Route one sixty-three heading to Flagstaff, Arizona. It was a moonless night and it was so dark on the desolate stretch of road that they could only see a few feet beyond the beam of the headlights. The mother, father, and daughter all sat squished in the cab of the truck, while the son rode in the bed, no doubt enjoying the balmy night air. The ride had peaceful and the occupants of the vehicle had been silent. All of a sudden a pair of headlights crested over the hill behind them. The daughter remembered thinking it was nice to have company on the empty road. If something went wrong neither vehicle and its passengers would be alone. As they continued to drive along thunder rumbled in the sky above and the parents thought it would be a good idea to cram the son in the cab of the truck with them so he didn’t get soaked by rain that might follow the thunder.

The daughter opened the back slider window and her younger brother crawled into the cab, wedging himself between the other passengers. When the daughter turned back around to close the slider, she noticed the headlights from the other car were still behind them and figured it must have been traveling to Flagstaff as well or maybe to Phoenix. She thought the group might meet up when her family stopped to fuel up in the town of Kayenta. The car behind them crested up a hill and began its descent back down, the headlights disappearing from view. The daughter waited for them to reappear but they never did. Her father suggested that the might car might have slowed down but that made no sense to the daughter since it was very late at night and the road was isolated, not to mention it was pitch black outside. She turned around every few minutes checking for the headlights but she never saw them again.

After glancing for the headlights one last time the daughter turned her head to look outside the passenger window when her parents gave out blood-curdling screams. Her young brother began freaking out and all she could think to do was hold down the door lock button on the door. Her father flipped on the interior light and she could see that he was petrified. He was white as a ghost and the hairs on the back of his neck were standing on end. He even had goosebumps. Her mother was so terrified that she started shouting in her native Japanese, in a high-pitched voice. Her brother started crying hysterically. The truck began to round a corner a bit too fast and had to slam on the breaks to stop the truck from swerving into a ditch on the side of the road. As the truck slowed to a stop something leaped out of the ditch and lunged at the side of the vehicle.

It was black, hair and eye level with them all. If it were a human, it was like none the daughter had ever seen before. Whatever it was she noticed it was wearing men’s clothing. The creature remained next to the window until the truck sped off. When the family stopped for gas the mother and father checked the side of the car for damage and were stunned to find none. The desert dust that settled on the vehicle hadn’t even been disturbed. They found no blood, no hair from an animal or human, they found nothing. The car following them earlier that night never did show up again. They drove the rest of the way to Flagstaff with the cab light on and the doors locked.

A few nights later while sleeping at their house the siblings were woken up by drumming sounds around eleven o’clock at night. The daughter went to her brothers’ room and they both looked out his bedroom window into the fenced-in backyard. At first, they didn’t see anything but the undisturbed forest beyond the fence. Suddenly the drumming grew louder and three men appeared. It looked like they were trying to climb over the fence and into the yard but couldn’t get their legs up high enough to make it over. After they were unable to get into the yard the men began to chant. The siblings were so scared after the experience that they both slept on the floor in the same room.

Sometime later, the daughter turned to her friend to help her figure out what these strange incidents were about. The friend told her that it was a Skinwalker that tried to attach itself to her family. The friend told the daughter that it was unusual that a Skinwalker tried to attack them as it had been a long time since anyone mentioned anything about the creature’s activity in the area. Later that day, the friend blessed the perimeter of the property, the house, the vehicles, and the family. They have not encountered any Skinwalkers since.

In 1994 Terry and Gwen Sherman purchased land just southeast of Ballard, Utah, boarding the Ute Indian reservation. The couple built property and gave it the name Sherman Ranch which is now better known by the more popular name, Skinwalker Ranch. Between 1994-1996 the couple along with their two children experienced numerous cases of unexplained paranormal activity while living there. from seeing peculiar, inexplicable lights on the horizon, to finding perfect circles of flattened grass, arranged in intricate patterns, strange impressions in the dirt around their ranch, and a series of terror-inducing animal disappearances and mutilations. Sightings of unidentified flying objects of all shapes and sizes have been reported numerous times.

Terry Sherman reported that he often heard men speaking from unknown places in an unrecognizable language. The unusual sounds were usually linked to missing or mutilated cattle. Terry once found a cow dead in the field, with a weird hole in the center of its left eyeball but otherwise untouched with no trace of blood. No footprints or evidence of predators were found nearby. Shortly after moving in the family noticed an abnormally large wolf with red eyes hanging around the outside of the house. One evening Terry shot the animal at close range but the bullet didn’t seem to harm it. The animal ran off into a wooded area near the house. The Sherman’s sold the ranch in late 1996 but rumors of other-worldly happenings going on still thrive today.

We all know the first rule about fight club, right? Never talk about fight club. Some tribes and individuals follow this rule when it comes to Skinwalkers. The first rule about Skinwalkers is never talk about Skinwalkers. Some believe talking about evil begins is a bad omen and can even make their appearance all the more likely. Similar to Beetleuice, if you say his name three times he shows up uninvited. But if you do happen to come across a Skinwalker (which I hope you never do) there are ways to kill it, even if it’s nearly impossible that the attempts will actually work.

Well, have a pleasant day and sweet dreams, everyone.
Oh, and only whistle outside at night if you dare. I for one as I mentioned before am not that brave.

Sources:

“Navajo Skinwalkers – Whitches of the Southwest – Legends of America

“Skinwalker Ranch” – The Beehive

Bradley W. – High School Boyfriend

“The Terror of the Skinwalker” – River City Ghosts

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