A question was put to me recently: what is the most dangerous supernatural creature out there? That's a good question. Some might say the Wendigo. Others, the violent Bigfoot-type creatures of South America. I say the Skinwalker. Accounts of the deadly, shape-shifting Skinwalkers date back a very long time. Indeed, they have been provoking mayhem, chaos, and even death, in their collective paths for centuries. Skinwalkers are often portrayed in Native American history as classic crones – wizened, old witches, in other words. The fact is, however, that the Skinwalkers can transform into multiple forms; one of them being that of a wolf. Or, perhaps more correctly, something that superficially resembles a wolf. Some might suggest – and have suggested – that the creatures take on forms that are far less like regular wolves and far more akin to classic werewolves: large and powerful beasts that can walk and run on both two limbs and four. Some, today, refer to them as Dog-Men. Other forms that the Skinwalkers are said to mutate into include coyotes, birds, and bears. Indeed, they are said to be supernatural masters of camouflage and subterfuge.
The process by which a witch can reportedly take on a completely new form is very complicated, to say the very least. Magical rites and rituals can allow a person to morph into an animal – by seeking to emulate the beast that he or she desire to become. In the bulk of such shape-changing, however, a witch will wrap around their body the hide of the very animal they wish to become. The more the witch wears the hide, the more they are likely to successfully transform. It’s not just the form that changes: a person who becomes a Skinwalker also taken on the keen senses of smell and sight that so many animals have. The same goes for their senses of hearing. And, their fast speeds, too. Without doubt the most dangerous aspect of the Skinwalker is its ability to supernaturally infect people with deadly diseases and life-threatening illnesses. Strangely, on more than a few occasions, those who have found themselves in the direct, close presence of a Skinwalker have –in mere days - succumbed to very rare medical conditions. Precisely how the Skinwalker can perform such a hostile thing remains unknown. It is, however, worth noting that the Skinwalker is said to have an expert knowledge of medicine, both ancient and modern. It’s no wonder that many Native Americans avoid these malevolent things at all costs.
Of course, there is one critical issue we have yet to touch upon: namely, why would anyone even want to become a Skinwalker in the first place? The answer, as you may have already deduced, is not a good one. Adopting the guise of an animal can, quite literally, allow a person to get away with murder. After all, if the target of the Skinwalker is violently slaughtered by a rampaging animal who would even – or ever - dream of the possibility that the beast was actually a transformed human? Almost certainly not many, to be sure. Although the phenomenon of the Skinwalker has been with us for a very long time, there is absolutely no doubt at all that much of the modern day knowledge and understanding of the creature comes from the publicity given to it by Colm A. Kelleher and George Knapp in their hugely popular book of 2005, Hunt for the Skinwalker. It tells of an absolute myriad of paranormal phenomena at a certain ranch located in Utah. As the blurb for the Knapp-Kelleher book states:
"For more than fifty years, the bizarre events at a remote Utah ranch have ranged from the perplexing to the wholly terrifying. Vanishing and mutilated cattle. Unidentified Flying Objects. The appearance of huge, otherworldly creatures. Invisible objects emitting magnetic fields with the power to spark a cattle stampede. Flying orbs of light with dazzling maneuverability and lethal consequences. For one family, life on the Skinwalker Ranch had become a life under siege by an unknown enemy or enemies. Nothing else could explain the horrors that surrounded them – perhaps science could." And, as George Knapp noted in Hunt for the Skinwalker, with regard to the many and varied phenomena that caused chaos and mayhem on the ranch: “…reality isn’t what it used to be."