The Navajo may disagree with historians on the Anasazi’s origins and departure (according to Navajo legend, they simply ‘disappeared’ from existence, leaving behind plates, dishes, and food, and went into another dimension or some equivalent) but, whatever the history, the Navajo do NOT like to wander in Anasazi ruins. I never asked why, but figured it had something to do with disrespect, preserving history, etc. As such, none of the others cared a bit about these canyon ruins. They were more interested in shooting pistols.
I could see old beds, ladders, and even cave drawings on the cliffs with my naked eye. And I got this strange fixation on going over there. I am not Navajo, and felt that their rules didn’t apply to me. I set off down the cliffs without rope and decided I would climb down, cross the canyon floor, and then climb back up. This was a bad idea for a million reasons, but it was like some obsession. I can’t explain the feeling. It was like magnetism. I wanted to be in those ruins and it wasn’t just some tourist-like curiosity. It felt like I was meant to go there. I kept slipping and getting stuck on the rocks, and I was so frustrated I almost started crying. Finally, I was deterred by the unmistakable sound of a growl coming from the canyon floor below me.
There were trees down there so I couldn’t see what was making the growl, but “mountain lion” immediately rose to mind and I got my ass back up the cliffside.
I said nothing to the others, and we shot the guns for awhile. The only other strange occurrence was while Sarah was aiming; things got eerily quiet. We all heard a sound from behind us, maybe twenty feet away. It was almost a growl, then a hoarse laugh. Almost like a lion, and then a hyena. We had a clear view of the entire area and there was nothing there, certainly not on the clifftops where we heard it anyway. The creepy part was that while David, Sarah and I all heard it from a close distance, Luke heard the exact same noise right by his ear.
We ended up camping out there to see if anything would happen, and this is when I got completely terrified. Before, I was only scared of wild animals. We had guns though, and were sleeping with no bags or tents, just some blankets under the stars and a little fire, so I felt safe when we all laid down. I fell asleep pretty quickly, but woke up a few hours later to see everyone else laying with their eyes open wide, listening. The canyon was completely full of noises. The only way to describe it is people banging rocks together. There would be one “set” maybe 300 yards away, then another clacking 200 yards away, and then 50 yards away. The canyon echos, so it was hard to tell exactly how many “rock smacking rock” noises there were, but they sounded like morse code. We listened to this for maybe ten minutes. No other animal noises, no nothing. Finally David (who is kind of a hardass and the least superstitious of his family) shouted, “SHUT UUUUUUUUP!”
And everything immediately stopped. My heart was in my throat. We just sat there and stared at each other, wide eyed. It was dead quiet, and then we heard another super weird noise from the Anasazi ruins. I don’t know how to explain this one either, but it sounded kind of like a zebra noise. Like these squeaky trills. It got louder, and then the rocks/sticks/whatever started up again. But this was worse, because now OTHER animal noises came. We heard what sounded like wolves or coyotes barking, monkeys screeching (in my opinion, those were the most terrifying), owls hooting, and through it all that terrible zebra noises. We said nope, and got our happy little asses out of there immediately. It took us maybe ten minutes to douse the fire, pack our blankets, and speed away, and the noises were continuing that entire time.
That night I was obviously pretty shaken up. Before I could fall asleep again, my Navajo mother came and sat by me, and said that she could tell I had a rough day (we hadn’t mentioned the creepy shit, to avoid a lecture about fucking with the spirits). She asked me about it, and I ended up spilling my guts about not seeing the canyon ruins. It was something personal, it felt like. I wanted to go there, why couldn’t I go there? It would have been beautiful. After I told her all about it, I could see that she had a really concerned look on her face. “What is it?” I asked, totally confused, and she explained something I had no idea about.
“The spirits in the ruins like to lure people up. When they get up on the ground, the spirits push them off. That’s why we don’t go there.”
I remained creeped out for the remainder of the visit. The town has a public-accessible kiva, kind of a tourist trap for a little podunk place, but since I didn’t see the ruins up close I went down into the kiva. And I went alone, as of course my superstitious family refused to “enter other natives’ dwellings. I figured that nothing could push me off a cliff if I was in a kiva.
I was right, but something even worse happened. Fast forward to a few weeks later. I worked at a shitty call center in Salt Lake City, third shift. It was my first night alone and I was feeling jumpy ever since the kiva. My brothers already warned me that I had a skinwalker following me, but I, of course, didn’t believe it.
I don’t smoke, but I followed my coworkers out for smoke breaks because I like to chat. Tonight, I lurked in the doorway because I had this horrible cloud of dread hanging over me. I was peeping out the glass door and being a total weirdo. It hit me then how paranoid I had been. That’s what skin walkers do, they mess with your mind. While I was pacing in front of the glass doors I decided that this whole thing was fucking stupid and I was going to go outside, and stand there, for the rest of my ten minute break.
Most of the smokers were already filing back in, but I walked out and put my hands in my pockets. Looked at the sky, looked in the building, mentally patting myself on the back for not being a pussy. Then I saw something that I will never ever be able to give a rational or even halfway accountable explanation for. We have like, six parking lots. In one of the lots far away from me, maybe 100 feet, I could see something walking. It was a dog, obviously, but it was almost limping and walked like it was tired or hurt. Animal lover me forgot all about skinwalkers and I started walking toward it, making the “tch tch tch cmmeere doggy!” noises. And then I stopped abruptly.
The dog had the body form of a greyhound, and it was grey, but there was something very wrong with it. It had bloody legs and limped, but it walked more like a person would on feet and hands, its butt was moving to and fro if that makes any sense. When it heard me, it just stopped without turning (something I’ve never known any dog to do.) And finally, it looked over its shoulder at me and this is the freaky part. This dog was looking at me the way a person does. It had HUGE eyes, way too big for a greyhound, and its teeth were bared like it was considering biting me. Then it growled, but it was like a whistle/growl. Noises no regular animal makes. It almost sounded like it wanted to talk to me or was taunting me.
Somehow in the middle of all this I realized it didn’t have a tail, and I’d heard from all the Navajo stories that skinwalkers, when they appear as animals, don’t have tails. Forgetting all logic and rationality, I turned and jetted. I didn’t look back until I was back inside the building and had pulled the doors shut behind me, and by then when I looked of COURSE the fucking thing was gone.
When I described this to my brothers they were absolutely sure it was a skinwalker, and they went through the trouble of blessing me, my apartment, them, and their apartments. I never saw the creepy bloody dog again, and I have never since even slightly wanted to visit cliff ruins.