; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Harrowing Skinwalker Encounter in San Juan County, Utah

A Navajo man is attending a ritual ceremony when he decides to take a break. When outside the hogan, he encounters a frightening entity that was no doubt a Skinwalker.

The following account was recently referred to me:

"To start with, I am a white female. I was adopted seven years ago by a Navajo family and we've always been close despite obvious cultural differences. Still, I learned about skinwalkers firsthand and they've since become an accepted part of my life. I left Utah at the end of 2012 and was surprised to see enthusiasm for skinwalker stories.

The first incident happened to my adopted uncle. He was driving through the canyon area (they live in Blanding, Utah in San Juan County, a spot not quite notorious for skinwalkers, but full of them nonetheless) at night and got that familiar feeling. It was dark outside, but the moon illuminated the canyon and brush enough for him to see out of his side vision that something was running across the desert night. He was in his 40's at the time, and a police officer, so a full-grown man. He started singing/praying in Navajo and kept his eyes on the road in front of him. But he was driving at least 55-60 MPH so the shape running through the desert was keeping pace with him despite his high speed. He said that it looked vaguely human-shaped, but paler than any human he'd ever seen. Still, he didn't look directly at it. And despite his singing he was getting more and more scared. One thing my Navajo family always taught me was that these creatures feed on your fear. This one certainly seemed to. My uncle was shaking and sweating when the running 'thing' picked up speed, outpacing his truck, and then when it was maybe thirty yards ahead of him, it made a sharp right and began to run toward the road. He knew it was going to directly intersect him and he made up his mind to put his foot on the gas, because being braked out in the middle of that road in the dark alone was a death sentence. So, it got closer, he sped up, and just as the two crossed paths, it jumped onto the road.

So he saw it for the first time then. He described it as a skinny man in jeans and a plaid shirt (typical rez wear) with a long face and big yellow eyes that looked like cat eyes. It's arms were thrown up over its head and its hands were kind of flying out behind it. The worst part was that its mouth was open and seemed to be disconnected from its jaw, its chin was just flapping around about a foot below its "nose". It leapt onto the road and then just as quickly jumped out of the way of his truck, and he didn't see it again. He prayed the whole way home and they had a ceremony shortly after that.

Another encounter happened to my adopted brother, who is one of the most level-headed and unshakeable men I've ever met. He was 30 when this happened. He was at their Dad's house, partaking in one of these ceremonies, which happens in a hogan. The rule is that you never leave the hogan alone, because the magic and energy that you make during those ceremonies is kind of like a supernatural beacon, and you never know what kind of creatures you're attracting. Still, my brother, was a pretty rational guy and wasn't afraid of the dark.

He'd been in the hogan for hours, chanting and praying and all that good stuff, and he needed a smoke break and to take a leak. So against the general rule, he edged out of the roundhouse and out into the night. There was nothing around except fifteen or twenty parked cars, all close to the ceremony area. It was a large gathering. So he did his business with no incident, and lit up a cigarette. He was standing there staring off into space when he got that feeling of being watched. To shake it off, he walked away from the hogan, about twenty feet, and scanned the desert. Everything was quiet, except the drums coming from the hogan and the singing within. Just as he was about to shrug off his weird feeling and chuck his cigarette butt, he saw it under one of the vehicles, a dark shape and two shining eyes. The eyes were like animal eyes. They didn't glow on their own, but they had reflective light in them, and they glinted right at him. They were yellow.

The creature didn't have the shape of any animal he recognized though. He explained it to me that it "was shaped like Gollum, really skinny with a round human head." He was not scared of something that would make me sh*t my pants instantly. He walked toward the vehicle and bent down to get a closer look. Dust scrabbled around and he could hear a skittering noise. One bony arm shoved some gravel his way and the next thing he knew, the creature was gone and the vehicle was empty. But then he smelled this disgusting, puke-worthy stench, and he got scared then, because that's one of the worst things in the Navajo culture; bad smells are treated very seriously (when they're assumed to be supernatural.)

So he straightened back up and then he realized the source of the smell. A shadow fell over him, covering him from behind. He is around 6'2'' so this thing he said he estimated at 7.5 feet at least. He was shivering and didn't move as it approached him from behind, until it was standing inches away. He could feel it, smell it, see its shadow, and then the worst thing; he felt it breathe on his neck. Eric said that it sounded like a horse or cow when it snorts, and its breath was warm. When he looked at his feet, he saw his own shoes, and behind his right foot, a big hoof.

So he closed his eyes and started to sing, and right at that moment his dad and uncle got a terrible feeling from inside the hogan. They bolted up and exited, calling his name. They found him shivering outside, too terrified to talk and too terrified to stop singing in Navajo. It took him months before he shared this with us and he did so expecting us to laugh or call him crazy. But I completely believe his story." RH

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