Graveyard Shift Terrifying Stories Of Skinwalkers, The Legendary Shapeshifters  

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List Rules Vote up the scariest skinwalker legends.

Every culture has its own spooky stories about mysterious beings and Native Americans are no exception. The legendary Native American skinwalker may be based on traditional myths, but what makes ghost stories about skinwalkers so scary is that many are based on real-life encounters with skinwalkers in the present day. Modern-day stories of encountering a skinwalker mostly take place on or near reservations, but they've also been reported as far away as Australia.

You may be wondering, what is a skinwalker and why are they so scary? The skinwalker is a frightening Native American legend of a being who specializes in shapeshifting and wields supernatural powers. Commonly confused for werewolves or wendigos, Native American myths about skinwalkers tell a different a tale of how corrupt humans can change into any animal they want just by using that animal’s skin.  

According to scary Navajo myths, the skinwalker (also known as yee naaldlooshii) is a Navajo witch or witchdoctor who has used his power for evil, to gain supernatural abilities to change shape and prey on others. Various tribal stories about skinwalkers teach that during times of war, witchdoctors learned to shapeshift in order to escape danger. The legend of the skinwalker is very real to many Native Americans. In fact, many refuse even to speak of them in fear of tempting them to appear.

Whether you are a believer or a skeptic, scary Native American stories about skinwalkers are thrilling. If you’re looking for a new nightmare, check out these scary skinwalker stories and decide for yourself whether or not the skinwalker legends are true.

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Tap Tap At The Window

Tap Tap At The Window is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Terrifying Stories Of Skinwalkers, The Legendary Shapeshifters
Photo: Smithsonian Institution/flickr/No known copyright restrictions

After reading this tale, you probably won’t sleep well tonight. Reddit user Navajo Joe's horrifying encounter with a skinwalker sounds like something right out of a horror movie. After collecting firewood, Joe (who was a child at the time) and his uncle got back into their pickup truck to head home. Joe felt something staring at him from outside his passenger window. As he was about to look out behind him, his uncle shouted to him, "Don't!" Instantly, there was a tapping on the window behind him.  

While the two continued their frightful journey home, the pickup truck suddenly dipped down in the back, as if something heavy had climbed into the truck's bed. All the while, the uncle kept repeating Navajo prayers and commanding Joe not to look behind him. Suddenly, the creature that climbed into the truck bed started tapping at the rear window. The tapping went on for a while until they finally felt the creature jump out.  

A few years later, Joe confronted his uncle about the events that transpired that night. The uncle confessed to him, "I didn't see faces, just eyes - it watched you." Uncomfortable with his uncle’s answers, Joe jokingly asked his uncle why didn’t he just brake-check the creature while it was in the truck bed. To this, the uncle eerily replied, "Because it wasn’t alone."

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Convinced I Saw A Skinwalker

Convinced I Saw A Skinwalker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Terrifying Stories Of Skinwalkers, The Legendary Shapeshifters
Photo: Thomas Gehrke/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Reddit user Nordic Alchemist was always skeptical of skinwalkers - that is, until he had his own frightening experience. While visiting his family in Shiprock, New Mexico, Nordic jokingly blurted out the question, "Are skinwalkers real?”

According to Navajo belief, asking about a skinwalker attracts their attention and can mark you as a target. Nordic knew this but wanted to see how his family would react. They were extremely upset, and he was scolded by his mother and grandmother. His aunt assured him, "They're real, all right," and went on to say how she had recently encountered some at her home. 

As the night drew to a close, they all settled down in the grandparents’ home to sleep. What happened next changed Nordic's opinion on the skinwalker myth. While drifting off to sleep, he says he heard a lot of noise, like something moving about outside the house. He got up from his bed and walked over to a window in the kitchen to get a better view from the lit porch. Suddenly, he heard a horrifically distorted scream outside. When he looked in the direction of the scream, he saw a terrifying creature standing there, staring back at him.  

Nordic describes the creature as looking awkward and having disheveled gray hair with glowing orange-red eyes. He also says that he felt evil vibes and could smell a strong scent of rotting meat coming off the creature.

Terrified, he quickly woke up his family. His grandfather started chanting Navajo prayers and armed himself with a rifle. After the grandfather fired off a few rounds into the yard, the creature disappeared. The following day, the entire family was blessed by a neighboring Navajo medicine man. As for Nordic, he was left forever believing that skinwalkers are nothing to joke about.

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There Were Two Skinwalkers

There Were Two Skinwalkers is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Terrifying Stories Of Skinwalkers, The Legendary Shapeshifters
Photo: via YouTube

A relaxing midnight stroll turned into terror for John when he came face to face with two skinwalkers. According to his chilling story, John was out late one cool summer night. While listening to music and enjoying the cooler weather, he walked near a large empty field that was adjacent to a college campus. Suddenly, he felt something staring at him. Shining his flashlight out into the darkness, he saw two sets of glowing orange eyes staring back at him. The eyes were at least seven feet off the ground and stared at him without blinking once.

John made a mad dash to safety. As he was running, he turned back to see one of the creatures chasing him. John became even more frightened when he got a better glimpse of the fast-moving creature behind him. It looked somewhat like a giant wolf. Quickening his pace, John reached his home safely, but he was forever fearful of the monsters he saw that night, which he is certain were skinwalkers.  

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Become A Skinwalker Or Die

Become A Skinwalker Or Die is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Terrifying Stories Of Skinwalkers, The Legendary Shapeshifters
Photo: The Shared Experience/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

In the book The Legends of the Wolfmen, author Betty Smith has collected some frightfully fascinating stories from people who have witnessed skinwalkers and lived to tell their tales. One horrific tale follows the day when a young boy witnessed his grandmother performing a secret skinwalker ritual that would transform her into the creature. When the boy was discovered spying, he was given two options: become a skinwalker or die. Somehow the boy managed to escape, but says he never saw his grandmother again.