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What is a Skin Walker?

Updated on June 17, 2013

I had never heard of a skin walker until I happened to be doing some research and came across it, it sounded interesting to me, I hope you think so too.

In Native American culture a skin walker refers to someone who has special abilities that allow then to transform themselves into an animal of their choosing, the catch, they already have to be wearing the pelt from that animal. The best known documentation of the skin walker is from the Navajo tribe where a skin walker is called a yee naaldlooshii which translates to “with it, he goes on all fours.” It is believed that the yee naaldlooshii is a Navajo witch, specifically an ’ánt’įįhnii which are human beings who have gained their supernatural powers by breaking a cultural taboo believed by the tribe.

Although both men and women can become skin walkers, they are most often thought of as male as it is generally believed that only a childless woman of the tribe can become a witch therefore then become a skin walker. It is also said that a skin walker can steal the skin, or body, of a person if they lock eyes, the skin walker would then be absorbed into the person. Other lore that describes the skin walker is that their eyes will glow (like an animal’s) in the dark but only when they are in their human form never when they take the animal form. There is also a belief among some Navajo that a skin walker can read the thoughts of humans and that they also have the ability to make any sound they wish, human or animal.

The skin walker has often been described as a mutated version of the animal they are said to be portraying and since animal skins are used by the skin walker the use of animal skins other than sheepskin and buckskin are prohibited by many Navajo tribes. Skin walkers are also described as being as agile and fast making it almost impossible to catch one of these creatures. There are many conflicting stories related to the skin walkers, some state that the skin walker will run if discovered and virtually disappear and others that state the skin walker will break into homes and attack the people inside or will try to lure people from their homes to attack them.

It is also claimed that it is virtually impossible to kill a skin walker, the lore is that in order to kill the skin walker you must first dip the bullets into white ash, even then it is almost an impossibility to catch or kill one of these skin walkers. It is believed that if you happen to recognize the skin walker all you have to do is speak their full name and within three days they will either become very ill or die if they truly were the skin walker.

Do you think skin walkers are real?

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      Dan 3 years ago

      My daughter of 15 seems to have NDPH for 2 1/2 years. She was so alive until this hit her. We think this setratd from the Chicken Pox or maybe Mono. Her whole nervous system has been messed up. We have been to every type of Doctor you can think of. Her headaches start out around 4-5 in the morning and increase to level 7-9 at night before bed. We have tried every migrain medicine on the market but not one help the headache. We go to the emergency room sometimes 2 times a week. The doctors won't even admit her any longer. Some narcotics work the first time bringing the levels down from 9-10 to 3-4. The next time we go it does not work. She seems to get resistent to the drugs after first use. She is nauseous all the time and is no longer going to school. We are going to look into a spinal leak or possibly neck issues. She had a nerve caterized in her next with no luck. One treatment we hope to try is a lidocain or ketamine infusion. I was wondering if anyone has tried these for their headaches. The Childrens hospital in Seattle is using lidocaine infusion with some successs. There is a pain clinic in Salt Lake City that is using the Ketamine Infusions because they last longer (up to 3 months). We have tried the triptons, erogots, and every other type of medicine. She was put on a pain patch this last week but I don't think it will help at all. Her pain tolerance has been affected also. She had an out patient surgury to remove the galblader that should have been an out patient procedure. She was in the hospital for a week with so much pain. I will never stop looking for an answer to this. There has to be one. I am so tired of the doctors where we live. They think it is in her head and don't think she is in as much pain as she portrays. Make me so mad. I am glad i found this site but it made me even more sad and hopeless.

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      Kailan 3 years ago

      That's way more clever than I was exenpticg. Thanks!

    • JesadaB profile image

      JesadaB 5 years ago from Home!

      Thanks Rob! Glad you enjoyed it!

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      Very interesting. I've always been very interested in Native American spirituality and mythology. I enjoyed the read,

      Well done,