Skinwalker Podcast

History Uncovered Episode 39:
The Native American Legend Of The Skinwalker

Published October 3, 2023

A wolf-like humanoid with glowing red eyes, the skinwalker is said to perpetrate unspeakable horrors ranging from cannibalism to necrophilia.

In Navajo lore, there’s one creature so terrifying that the Navajo themselves rarely dare to even utter its name. That creature is the skinwalker, also called YEED NARD LOSHI, or “with it, he goes on all fours,” and it’s perhaps the most bone-chilling monster in the entirety of Native American mythology.

However, the skinwalkers actually aren’t monsters at all — they’re people, often former healers or medicine men who have crossed over into darkness. Able to transform into animals and wear their skins, skinwalkers are said to be pure evil, capable of spreading disease, disaster, and death.

By day, they might seem like a normal member of the tribe. But once darkness falls, they transform, taking on the form of an animal like a coyote, cougar, or, bear.

Skinwalkers are also imbued with supernatural abilities that allow them to run fast, jump high, and move without leaving tracks. They’re believed to gather in dark spaces, where they commit cannibalism, necrophilia, and incest, as they perform dark ceremonies and curse people from afar.

Navajo Medicine Man

Wikimedia CommonsThe Navajo believe skinwalkers were once benevolent medicine men who achieved the highest level of priesthood, but chose to use his power to inflict pain.

“They curse people and cause great suffering and death,” one Navajo writer explained. “At night their eyes glow red like hot coals. It is said that if you see the face of a NARD LOSHI, they will have to kill you… they use a mixture that some call corpse powder, which they blow into your face. Your tongue goes black and you go into convulsions and you eventually die.”

If you’re ever facing down a creature as chilling as this, how can you kill it? Legend states that skinwalkers are mortal, but can only be killed with a bullet or knife rubbed in white ash. But what’s scariest about these supernatural creatures is that they’re not merely confined to legend.

Many witnesses have claimed to see skinwalkers and their glowing red eyes in real life. There’s even a hotbed of activity in Utah called Skinwalker Ranch, where some have reported unsettling encounters in the depth of night. There, people claim to have seen enormous, wolflike creatures.

This is the legend of the skinwalker, the elusive, violent creature that the Navajo won’t even mention — lest they conjure it straight to their door.

Learn more about the legend of the skinwalker and the secrets of Skinwalker Ranch.

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