Skinwalker

A society of WEREWOLF-like witches of the southwestern United States.

Etymology: From the Navajo (Na-Dene) yee naaldlooshii, "those who trot about with [a wolf skin]."

Variant name: Yendalooshi. Physical description: Height, 3 feet-5 feet 7 inches. Black hair. Reddish eyes. Face is nearly featureless. Long arms.

Behavior: Scrambles on all fours. Runs very fast. Cries like a baby. Wears skins of the wolf, coyote, cat, dog, or bear to take on the appearance and powers of the animal.

Distribution: Arizona; New Mexico. Significant sightings: Scattered accounts of HAIRY BIPED-like creatures in New Mexico from 1965 to 1970 have been attributed to the Skinwalker. In January 1970, a hairy man about 5 feet 7 inches tall kept pace with a car driven by four youths near Whitewater, New Mexico. They increased the speed from 45 to 60 miles per hour, but it still kept up. Finally, one of them shot it, and it fell down.

Sources: William Morgan, "Human-Wolves among the Navaho," Yale University Publications in Anthropology, no. 11, 1936; Patrick Walsh, "The Skinwalker," Affword 4, no. 1 (Spring 1974): 20-22; Loren Coleman, "The Abominable Werewolves of the Southwest," Strange Magazine, no. 7 (April 1991): 40-41; Joanne Teller, The Navajo Skinwalker, Witchcraft, and Related Spiritual Phenomena (Chinle, Ariz.: Infinity Horn, 1997).

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