Always Uneasy When I Visit

I was born 22 years ago in a small Colorado town an hour’s drive from both Farmington and Durango, just below Mesa Verde and a few miles from Ute Mountain. This was where I spent the first five years of my life before moving to Oklahoma. We still go back every year around summer for about a week or so to see family.

Now, the town being where it was, there was a heavy Native American population there and a reservation about ten miles away. Mostly Ute but a fair amount of Navajo as well. The culture was and still is very entwined into the town’s architecture and local art.

Now, as for the skinwalkers. As a child, I never learned the word or what it meant. Years later I came to learn that my mother (a white woman who had grown up well away from Native American culture and legend) always shuddered at the mention and hated the topic. She’s one of the ones who doesn’t necessarily believe in such things but she can’t be certain they aren’t real. I myself am a little more certain.

When I was younger (and even now, I think, because of these events) I had a crippling fear of the dark. The vulnerability of being in a place where you cannot see things that can see you just fine. The unknown.

One night, when I was about nine, I was over at another young boy’s house having a sleepover. The game room we fell asleep in had a large sliding glass door that faced out into an empty lot of dirt and scrub. It wasn’t uncommon to see a prairie dog town in full bustle there. But at night, the lot was a bleak and terrifying place. I had fallen asleep on the floor facing the window.

At some point I woke up to go to the bathroom, walking down the hall and doing so. On my way back to the small pallet I had on the floor, I looked out the door into the lot. Why I did, I don’t know, given my fear of the dark. From the faint moonlight I could make out a small form darting about from scrub brush to scrub brush, maybe a hundred feet away. Most likely a prairie dog or a rabbit. Dropping from out of the sky a hawk swooped down and pinned it just out of sight behind a patch of yucca. I was quite shocked by the sudden appearance of the bird, but not as much as I was by the man who crawled out from behind the patch on his hands and knees and stood up. In his hand was a small form dangling from its back leg.

Now, this man wasn’t dressed normally, as you may guess. From where I was I could make out that he was shirtless, wearing ratty looking pants and he didn’t appear to be wearing shoes. But most striking was his choice of headwear. On his head and going halfway down his back was what I could only imagine to be a full pelt of a coyote or a fox, with feathers tied to and dangling from the paws and tail.

He dropped the prairie dog/rabbit into a pouch on his waist and stood there for a few moments, looking around. He took a few steps away before stopping and turning to look at the house. At me. I don’t know for sure if he saw me standing there in the shadows of the room, but I know he looked directly at that glass door. He turned back the way he was walking, dropped to all fours and ran off, far more smoothly than most people would in such a manner.

I was frozen there for what seemed like hours but was more likely a few minutes. I heard my friend say my name behind me, him having woken up to pee and seeing me just standing there, staring out the door. He asked me what I was doing and I promptly told him it was nothing and laid back down. I didn’t sleep at all again that night. I could hear coyotes howling and yipping in the distance all the way to morning.

In the morning my friend and I went out into the lot, him to see prairie dogs and me to see what the hell happened last night. As I approached the yucca I noticed that there was blood on the ground and the leaves. Not much, but enough to notice at a glance. There was also fur and what looked to be a bird skull down at the base of one of the plants. But the thing I hoped I wouldn’t find was right there in front of me. In the dirt, there were very clear hand and foot prints leading out from the bush and away into the scrub, off toward Ute Mountain.

I never told anyone of this experience, and I never spent the night at that friend’s house again. Whenever we go back to visit family, we drive by that friend’s house on the way in. And every time, I shudder just a little bit when I think of that night.

I don’t know what I saw that night, but from everything I learned since then I think I saw what the Navajo call a Yee Naaldlooshii.

A skinwalker.

The Little People

I live in Canada, and am Anishinaabe-Ojibwe. The encounter I am sharing today is one of the many strange stories my family and I have to tell. I was going to tell the story of my dad’s spiritual guidance, who happens to be a Bigfoot, but that’s for another time. This is a person experience, but members of my family’s.

Ever since I can remember my siblings and I been surrounded by spiritual things and have had a good understanding of explainable things, as many of the elders in my family were medicine men/women. Little people are known to live on the reservation where I’m from, and as long as we don’t bother them, they don’t bother us. But that’s only on our reserve, agreements aren’t gonna be the same everywhere.

This encounter happened to my brother, who at the time was only three, and my father, twenty five. We’ll call my brother Jake. My dad had just put my brother asleep and decided to watch the television before he himself went to bed. In the living room was a hallway that lead to Jake’s room, and where the couch and television were placed made it so that you can’t see into the hallway.

The whole time my dad kept hearing little steps in the hallway but thought nothing of it since he owned a cat, Emily. Thirty minutes in to watching a movie, my dad began hearing the little footsteps again, leading into my brothers room. This time, just as quick as the footsteps started, they ended. About 10 seconds later my dad heard this strange and startling gurgled whooping, kind of like a hyena but toned down, and all the while my brother was crying and screaming.

The sound of this chilled my dad to to the bone, and as he was grabbing the nearest blunt object he heard whatever scared my brother jump off his bed and run out his room. When my dad reached my brother, Jake began rapidly repeating “There was a little man on me” while making a gesture showing how tall the little man was.

My dad seems to think that the little man is Jake’s spiritual guide, ever since my brother told us the little man isn’t hostile, but friendly, as he has had more encounters with him since then. Jake’s now twenty four and hasn’t seen the little man for a couple of years now. I hope I don’t meet this little man.

 

Navajo Skinwalker in Colorado

My story begins in Colorado. I was 14 years old at the time. My family was taking a trip to visit my grandmother, who lives deep in the country. We were planning to stay over a few nights and enjoy the peace and quiet of the country. I’ve always been more of an in-doorsy person, but I did love taking a nice hike through the woods from time to time.

The highway drive was long and uneventful, but once we finally got there, I was super excited. After all, I had my own room in the beautiful cabin my grandmother lived in, with an amazing view of the lake and forest surrounding the property. I exchanged greetings with her, and, after a few minutes of idle conversation, headed to my room. I pulled out my laptop and began to get setup for a quality gaming session when I first heard the howling.

It sounded like a wolf’s cry, but slower, almost distorted. Like, if you recorded the howl, played it back at half the speed, and lowered the pitch. It was creepy, but, having little to no experience living in the country, I brushed it off, mentally categorizing it as a different animal.

Soon, the sun began to set, and I was indeed tired, partly to the long car ride. I began to get settled into bed, and, despite the thick comfortor, something didn’t feel right. It’s a feeling hard to describe – like something was misplaced, or missing. I didn’t know what it was, but I brushed it off, telling myself it was just weird to sleep in an unfamiliar place, and eventually I drifted off.

I woke up around 10 in the morning, feeling well rested. Looking through my window, I could see it had gotten foggy, as there were billowing clouds of mist drifting through the trees. It was raining too, and heavily, as it was hard to see through the windows due to the excessive amount of water droplets. I threw on some pajamas and went to grab some breakfast. When I walked in. there was a note on the kitchen table. According to it, my family left the house to grab some medication for my grandma, and they’d be back in a couple hours.

Eating my frosted flakes, I was sitting on the comfortable couch directly under the living room window, watching the rain and fog. Then, I heard that eerie howl. Again!. It was slow, and thick, almost sounding deliberate. As that happened, I just noticed a figure creep forward in the fog. Of course, foggy weather in the country can be extremely thick, and I couldn’t see anything over 5 feet from the window. I could barely make it out, but it looked like a wolf. Almost. The feeling that something was wrong, very, very wrong with the animal hit me. Then, the realization. The creature was standing on its back legs. It’s back legs.¬†I was shocked, confused. When I finally could think clearly, I looked at the creature in more detail. Its legs were twisted, bent in weird ways. Almost like it was hit by a car. Of course, up here by the cabin, the closest road that’s often used is a good mile away.

As I looked on, in horror, the creature spun around, and, on its two hind legs, sprinted. Straight up sprinted, dissappearing instantly into the thick fog clouds. As it turned around, though, I could see it had no tail. Literally, no tail. Like it was ripped off. I instantly ran back to my room, shut and locked the door, and hopped on my laptop, trying to forget the horrific sight I just saw.

When my family finally got back, around 3, I waited till my parents were out of the room to tell my grandma. My parents wouldn’t believe me, anyways. I knew she was native american, but not that she was Navajo. She told me that what she believed I saw was a Skinwalker. Supposedly, it’s a shapeshifting spirit, or witch, that takes the form of animals in order to harm people, however, it can never perfectly replicate the animal it takes the form of.

When we left, 3 days later, I was happy to get out of those woods. After researching the legend of the Skinwalker further, I honestly believe that that is what I saw. So, to all those listening, be careful when you go deep into the countryside of Colorado. If I met that creature when I was outside the cabin, I may not have  been here to tell this story.