Skinwalkers, evil shapeshifters, are a mainstay in Navajo tradition and legend. Although the Navajo tend to keep their culture to themselves—and indeed consider it dangerous to speak openly about the mythical creatures with outsiders—some of the eeriest facts about skinwalkers have managed to creep out into the culture at large. These are some of the freakiest skinwalker facts we found.
1. Skinwalkers are actually known as witches in Navajo culture, and they used to be humans.
2. Yeah, they want your face, some traditions suggest they'll steal your very skin. Skinwalkers can transform into any kind of animal. Including you.
3. Don’t even think about looking at a skinwalker in the eyes. That’s how they absorb themselves into your body and then control your every move.
4. The Navajo tribe is notorious for not talking about skinwalkers to outsiders. They are frightened of supernatural repercussions if there’s too much discussion.
5. Though it’s scary to think of them as humans, skinwalkers are seen most frequently as wolves, coyotes, foxes, eagles, owls, or crows. Be careful the next time you stare down a wolf.
6. There’s a ranch in Utah called Skinwalker Ranch because there have been so many sightings. Spring break, anyone?
7. The word for “skinwalker” in the Navajo language is yee naaldooshii. The word translates to “he who walks on all fours,” which really makes the next fact that much more horrific.
8. Skinwalkers can run far greater distances than normal people—they’re said to be able to run for 200 miles at a time.
9. Stay away from graveyards. Skinwalkers like to hang out there while they dig up graves quickly.
10. But why dig up a grave? Some skinwalkers can take the powder from corpses and then use the dust as poison on their victims.
11. When they’re not transformed into animals, witnesses have described skinwalkers as “hollowed out” creatures that look a little like dogs.
12. Skinwalkers aren’t allowed to enter a home unless invited. It’s common decency, people!
13. So you want to become a skinwalker … there are many different theories on how they come to be, but the most prevalent speaks of an official ceremony where people become skinwalkers through a gathering with specific charms and chants.
14. One of the ritual acts to become a skinwalker involves killing, and then eating, someone close to them. By performing this act, the soon-to-be skinwalkers lose any humanity left in them. Beware: once you’re a skinwalker, you can’t undo it.
15. If you can get past their endurance, shape-shifting abilities, and possible coven, it’s said that you can kill a skinwalker by calling them by their true, pre-skinwalker name.
Featured still via: KRQE / YouTube