An evil shape-shifting witch in Navajo folklore. Skinwalkers roam the night dressed in animal skins looking for victims, and have the power to turn into the animal whose skin they are wearing. They can control people's minds, run faster than a car, jump from mesa to mesa, and cause people to sicken and die by hiding "witchcraft bundles" near their homes or even placing cursed objects within their bodies.

Too Good to be True, a collection of urban legends by Jan Harold Brunvand, contains a transcript of several Navajo boys recounting a common urban myth ("The Boyfriend's Death") which they of course believe to be absolutely true. In their version, a skinwalker is the perpetrator rather than the standard homicidal maniac.

Skinwalker isn't just Navajo. The Navajo had Yeenaaldlooshii ('walks like an animal'), but the Mohawk Indians had a skinwalker they called limikkin. The Hopi had the Ya Ya. And across the sea, the Norse had hamfarir, and a bunch of extra names depending on the animal, like a bear "ber sarkur", or a wolf "ulfheðnar". And hundreds of other cultures has stories about people changing into animals.

The Navajo said that the skinwalker was a witch in animal form. A witch had to do something evil before they could become a skinwalker, but that didn't necessarily mean that they were dangerous while walking. Witches used their skinwalking powers for travel and escape. Some witches might have stolen their forms from other people or animals, rather than actually transforming themselves, but usually it was transformations just like the European werewolves.

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