Tag Archives: skinwalkers

Short Follow Up: Alert – Cryptid Roaming Denver Suburbs

I caught this report on Phantoms and Monsters this morning after my own blog posted. The being described in this post sounds very similar to the thing that I saw snatching people off of pathways in the vision reported in my blog this morning. I think that this percipient is quite lucky that he did not become one of the missing and I will be interested to see the witness’ sketch.

In my own psychic impressions, I thought this being might be some predator out of the Faery realm (as I have often mentioned, the Faery can be entities of great power and not all of them take kindly to humans) but, in some ways, the speed and ‘shiftiness’ of the being remind me of the many skinwalker reports from the desert Southwest. The short black fur over black skin reminded me of the manwolf reports specific to people seeing the beings in their homes (this would be the ‘Anubis’ sort of manwolf).

In any event, I would not assume that this being and entities like it are harmless. Remember that some astral entities have the ability to wrap themselves in etheric substance as they come through and are therefore able to cause real physical harm. If you see something like the being described in the Phantoms and Monsters post, do exactly as this witness did, do not run (may invoke the predatory response) but move carefully and quickly away from the entity and out of its sight. Only try to record the event if you can do so safely. A spectacular video is not worth your safety.


Shape Shifting: The Real Scoop

Shape shifting is one of my areas of interest and one of the under explored areas in the occult, in my opinion. If I had the time for ritual and experimentation, I would write my own book but, in the mean time, here is a little primer for those readers interested in the topic.

First of all, let us set aside the topic that always comes up when the issue of shape shifting arises: is it possible for an individual to physically assume another form. While I am loathe to say that anything is impossible, the power outlay for a transformation of this sort would be enormous, in my opinion, and would require the interference of a major Power or tapping into an energy source of almost unlimited potential such as a major ley line. So, while I will not say that physical transformation is completely impossible, I think that power issues as well as the practicalities of returning to the original form make it practically impossible.

Nevertheless, there is very clear lore, throughout the world, indicating the idea of people turning into animals and animals turning into people. How do we explain these stories? Why is this such a wide spread belief? As I have indicated, one could write a book on this subject but here are some brief thoughts:

1) The Faery and other beings of the Otherworld. The beings of the Otherworld, particularly the Faery, are known for their ability to shift shape. Some of the shape shifting legends clearly derive from encounters between humans and Otherworld entities over the course of history. The Irish legend of the Selkie comes to mind – a seal that removes its skin and becomes a lovely woman or handsome man.

2) Astral Experiences. Some of the legends of shape shifting may actually derive from dreams and/or out of body experiences. One of the easiest ways to experience another form is to learn astral projection or one of the various forms of shamanic soul travel and then decide, once you are “out”, to move in the body of an animal. This may take significant practice on the part of the dreamer or out of body traveller or it may happen spontaneously according to events in the dream/journey. In either event, in cultures where the dream time is taken seriously and such movement from one form to another is common in dreams and out of body experiences, these episodes would be shared with others and settle into the legend and myth of the tribe or clan.

3) Glamour. Magicians, throughout time, have been known for the power to cloud human minds and make them see things that are not there. Star Wars fans will recall the famous “these are not the droids you are looking for scene”; Obi-Wan Kenobi could just as easily have made those storm troopers think that they saw the droids walking off in the distance and caused them to speed off in pursuit. Likewise, a strong telepath, using magical enhancement of his or her ability, might cause other humans to think they were seeing a human turning to an animal or part animal. Reasons for doing this might range from mischief to distraction so that the mage could escape a dangerous situation. Obviously, as Obi-Wan noted, these tricks work best on the weak minded.

4) Mental Shifting. Some people have such a strong affinity with an animal that they actually seem to be able to take on aspects of the mind of that animal. We see some connection to the idea of glamour here since people in the presence of this type of “shifter” will often report perceiving changes in the shifter’s appearance. I theorize that the person’s identification with their animal is so strong that they give off strong telepathic/magical energy that actually alters people’s perception.

5) Etheric Shape Shifting. There are a number of levels to the human energetic body. The level that is closest to the physical is called, in many esoteric traditions, the etheric. Think of the etheric level as the template on which the physical hangs, sort of an energetic lattice work that allows the physical to have and maintain a certain form. Magicians through the ages have been able to work with the etheric level by learning to project the etheric body, change its shape and even shape the etheric and use it as an overlay to their physical form. Interestingly, the etheric can even be “hardened” so that it looks and appears solid. Thus, the Northern legends of warriors who fought in semi-animal form and inflicted terrible damage with both their weapons and their claws/teeth.

6) Possession. In Voudou, the faithful are sometimes possessed by their Met Tet, the Lwa “of their head”, the ‘god’ that walks most closely with them and is their patron. I see no reason why an individual with a distinct shamanic bent who worked with animal spirits on a regular basis might not actually allow the spirit of a totem or power animal to possess them. Again, given the powerful energies involved, one wonders what the perception of an outsider witnessing such an act might be. We know that those possessed by the Lwa certainly change aspect and are capable of performing actions that an ordinary humans could not.

So, the next time you read a story about a skinwalker speeding across the Arizona desert or hear of a report of a werewolf trolling a forest in England, don’t be so quick to dismiss.


In my perusal of all the things that go bump in the night, I ran across this Phantoms and Monsters blog the other day. Lon Strickler, the proprietor of the blog, does a great job of keeping people up to date on the latest events in the paranormal and I am always finding items of interest there. One of the advantages to reading P&M is that Mr. Strickler has been in business for some time and people seem to be constantly sending him stories of varying sorts. This post is a collection of terrifying narrations from people who have encountered something that they believed was a skinwalker.

I do not like the term “black” or “dark” magician since this has racist overtones and because moral choices are seldom as clear cut as black and white. Some cultures refer to these practitioners as sorcerers or witches but those terms have variant meanings and do not always refer to the magic user who does not have the evolution of the human race as a goal. I’ve already named magic users with a more positive slant as mages so I will call those who are of a less positive bent conjurors.

Conjurors appear in the folklore of every race that I have ever read about and none is more debased than the yee naaldlooshii, the Dine’ (Navajo) skinwalker. This “witch” is so feared amongst the Dine’ that those persons found to be skinwalkers are considered to have forfeited their humanity and may be killed on sight. There is a host of beliefs constellated around the skinwalker that make cultural anthropologists certain that this conjuror is simply a myth created by the Dine’ to explain some of the terrible hardships that these desert people face. The anthropologists can continue to believe this, ensconced in their ivory towers, but the average traditional Dine’ understands that the yee naaldlooshii is all too real.

In order to become a skinwalker, one must be initiated by breaking one of the Dine’ cultural taboos, most commonly the killing of a blood relative with strong hints of cannibalism. Once this initiation, accomplished with the assistance of those who are already skinwalkers, is undergone, the individual becomes capable of shifting to a variety of animal forms, of moving at terrific speed and of placing curses on those that have slighted the skinwalker in any way amongst a variety of other attributed abilities including the ability to imitate any voice or animal sound. The yee naaldlooshii is anathema in a tribal culture because he, or rarely she, looks only to themselves and has become a skinwalker for their own advantage.

If one reads the stories from the Phantoms and Monsters blog referenced above, one begins to get a strong feeling for the deep dread engendered amongst the Dine’ by these conjurors. Interestingly, although it is true that some skinwalkers were killed as a result of their depredations, one never saw full scale “witch hunts” on the reservation. Rather, the Dine’ person who believed that he or she had encountered the yee naaldlooshii would seek out the services of a healer who could prescribe the right ceremony to cleanse and counter any possible difficulty that might be derive from the encounter. In my view, this is a much more enlightened approach than that taken by the terror ridden Europeans of the Middle Ages.

From a magical perspective, I have no trouble at all believing the stories of the Dine’ about their native conjuror. One has only to look at the stories of the berserkir and ulfhednar in Norse culture to see similar themes with a European flavor. These warriors, like the skinwalker, were said to take on the traits and/or appearance of their “totem” animal (bear and wolf, respectively), to be able to move with the speed and strength of that animal and to be virtually invulnerable in battle as the result of the magical protection afforded by the animal skin that they wore. While the yee naaldlooshii is not specifically a warrior, I can draw some parallels from my research into the werewolf traditions of Europe.

Shape shifting is one of those magical traits that pops up in a huge number of cultural contexts. While the yee naaldlooshii is feared for the ability to curse, a commonality amongst practitioners of the self-centered magical arts, it is most feared because of the ability to change forms. While most mages do not take seriously the idea of a human literally changing to an animal (although I reserve the right to think it could happen given a great enough magical energy source), there are a couple of ways in which a human being might appear to take on the form of an animal and both involve etheric projection.

In the first method, the shape shifter sinks into a deep trance and actually extrudes a carefully crafted animal form. We find a classic example of this in the Norse Saga of Hrolf Krake “where Bödvar Bjarki, in the shape of a huge bear, fights desperately with the enemy, which has surrounded the hall of his king, whilst his human body lies drunkenly beside the embers within” (Sabine Baring Gould, The Book of Werewolves). Note please that the bear thus extruded did tremendous damage to the enemy forces until some idiot wakened Bjarki to come and fight. The bear promptly disappeared and the battle was subsequently lost so this was not a case of some ethereal appearance on the battle field but of a very solid and deadly manifestation wreaking havoc in the enemy lines.

The second way that a human might be considered to change shape works in a similar manner, only, rather than sinking into deep trance, the practitioner remains conscious, extrudes the animal form and actually settles it in a shell around him or her. One can easily see how some poor peasant, coming upon a person working this magic, might believe that he is seeing an actual transformation from human to animal. Interestingly, too, both of these types of shape shifting often seem to be dependent on a clear link between the human and “their” animal. Most often this link takes the form of the animal’s skin and again, with the proper skill, the form extruded as shell can be quite physically present.

Stories of shape shifters are not the sole province of the Dine’. Many indigenous people of North America have similar beliefs about their medicine people or those that oppose them. It is quite possible that the yee naaldlooshii and other shape shifting magical practitioners could be the cause of some of the “interesting” sightings that we see logged in the annals of high strangeness.