Tommy shifting into a dog.
|Gender||Male & Female|
"They can change anywhere, anytime. Skinwalkers infect you with a single bite. Otherwise, they're basically a werewolf cousin -- silver will drop 'em, they chow hearts like snausages."
The Skinwalker (also known as yenaldooshi or mai-coh in the Navajo language) is a type of Witch or sorcerer in Navajo traditions. This witch practices black magic, and derives the name 'skinwalker' from his/her shapeshifting powers. By draping the hide of a certain animal (most often a coyote or a dog, but also bear or owl) over him/herself, the witch takes on the form and traits of that animal. In doing so, the witch gains that animal’s strength, speed, and endurance (magnified to greater levels through the power of the transformation). Usually, Navajo Shamans use this ability to travel quickly from place to place. However, the Skinwalker is usually evil, and gains its power by committing an unspeakable act, usually by murdering a close relative. The Skinwalker may only be killed by a silver bullet through the heart or the neck (since, in animal form, the head is lower)
A skinwalker is usually described as naked, except for a coyote skin, or wolf skin. Some Navajos describe them as a mutated version of the animal in question. The skin may just be a mask, like those which are the only garment worn in the witches' sing. The skinwalkers are described as being fast, agile, and impossible to catch. Though some attempts have been made to shoot or kill one, they are not usually successful.
Skinwalkers sometimes transform themselves into animals simply for the purpose of traversing great distances quickly. They may also transform in order to wreak havoc on others, as their identity will be hidden and they will be able to escape quickly if necessary.
A skinwalker typically wears the pelt of the animal he or she will transform into, usually with no other clothing. Because of their association with skin-walkers, wild animal hides are taboo in Navajo culture and rarely seen.
"They curse people and cause great suffering and death," one Navajo writer explained. "At night, their eyes glow red like hot coals. It is said that if you see the face of a Naagloshii, they have to kill you. If you see one and know who it is, they will die. If you see them and you don't know them, they have to kill you to keep you from finding out who they are. They use a mixture that some call corpse powder, which they blow into your face. Your tongue turns black and you go into convulsions and you eventually die. They are known to use evil spirits in their ceremonies. The Dine' have learned ways to protect themselves against this evil and one has to always be on guard."
Skinwalkers have a body temperature of about 108°F. This high temperature allows them to withstand very cold weather and makes it difficult for them to become overheated. It also makes it very difficult for vampires to harm them in combat, due to vampires being extremely sensitive to high temperatures.
- Shapeshifting: Skinwalkers can copy another animal's body and morph into an exact copy of that animal. The animal does not have to be a similar size to the shifter. To earn the ability to shift into a human a shifter must kill a fellow shifter family member. Capable of turning into any animal on earth (including humans). Shapeshifters also have a go to shift, which is a shift they find easy to copy.
- Telepathy: Skinwalkers are also telepathically linked with each other, enhancing their coordination during hunts and fights but allowing little or no privacy at any time. Skinwalkers can read other humans minds and conrtrol them. The Alphas of two different packs may communicate telepathically, and are able to choose what thoughts they share.
- Voice Mimicry: In Native American lore, skinwalkers can copy animal or human voices to lure victims to them to feed on. They generally copy the sound of a human that is in need of help.
- Mind Possession: In Native American lore, if a human looks into a skinwalker's eyes, the skinwalker can control their mind and can magically steal their skin for their own use.
- Witchcraft: Skinwalker use charms to control and kill their victms.
- Superhuman Strength: In human form, their strength is almost superhuman, and in animal form it is at its peak.
- Superhuman Speed: Skinwalkers reach great speed, up to a hundred miles per hour, which often allows them to outrun motor vehicles and have greater endurance than normal humans.
- Superhuman Agility: Skinwalkers possess superhuman agility. They can move, jump, climb, and run incredibly fast without difficulty or exhaustion.
- Superhuman Durability: A skinwalker's bodily tissues are much harder and more resistant to physical injury than those of an ordinary human. Their bodies are able to withstand great impact forces and blunt trauma that would severely injure or kill a normal human.
- Superhuman Senses: Their sense of smell is so adjusted to help them identify their one enemy, vampires. It is not clear whether it is heightened in other circumstances, but they certainly know vampires at a distance, finding their smell sickly sweet and repellent. Skinwalkers' eyes are extremely sharp and can see very far. They all have excellent hearing even in their human forms.
- Longevity: Skinwalkers have a slower aging process, and can live longer than normal humans.
- Healing Factor: Skinwalkers can heal and regenerate very quickly. While not invincible, these capabilities allow them to continue battling even after serious injury. In some cases, however, this accelerated healing can be detrimental.
Human Form: While it is virtually impossible to kill a skin-walker in human form, there are magical ways to protect oneself and even to kill a skin-walker.
Bullet Dipped in White Ash: In traditional Native American lore*, the only way to kill a skinwalker in it's animal form is to shoot it in the neck with a bullet, dipped in white ash. (*Native Americans did not have guns for centuries, while the Skinwalker Legend existed. This is likely embellishment, or a modification of the tradition of burning white ash in areas suspected of having Skinwalkers. The combustion from a gun may deliver a more direct anatheim, in an unwitting instance of accidental ingenuity.)
Silver: Skinwalkers are vulnerable to and can only be killed by weapons made out of silver. Ether silver bullet or knife in it's heart.