Brian Dunning of the Skeptoid podcast relates a short history of the Navajo legend of the skinwalker. While he covers a lot of ground in his piece, it seems remiss that he didn’t examine the legend in a shamanic context beyond a word or two in the final paragraph. Perhaps of particular interest to Disinfo readers is Dunning’s reference to a series of supernatural events on what has become known as the Skinwalker Ranch. Needless to say, the author dismisses any speculation that leans toward a supernatural explanation for the reported occurrences. Regardless, this is an interesting read.
From the plains of the American West comes a story with a history as long as that of the Native Americans themselves: the skinwalkers. Witches, a class of outcast criminals who practiced black magic, were said to have the ability to shapeshift into any animal they chose. Such people were called skinwalkers, and if one was suspected, it was legal to kill them on sight. Skinwalkers would take the hide of a wolf or coyote, put it on, and were said to physically transform into that animal. They would appear slightly too large, disproportionate, and have red glowing eyes. They left oversized animal footprints. When in human form, skinwalkers used various spells and potions to sicken and kill those around them. And as animals, they were fierce, vicious, and bloodthirsty. Hardly any creature in the folklore of the Native Americans was as feared as the skinwalker.
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