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Are Native American "Skinwalkers" Really Disguised Aliens?

By James Donahue

Jessie Ventura’s controversial third season of his Conspiracy Theory television show recently examined a place in Utah dubbed "Skinwalker Ranch," some property owned by billionaire Robert Bigelow that has an alleged history of paranormal and UFO phenomena.

Ventura and his team interview Bigelow and other interesting characters and suggest that the old mythological skinwalker, or shape-shifter stories told by the Native Americans of the Southwest may be based on actual visitations by extraterrestrial visitors.

As the stories are told, some tribal members with supernatural powers have the ability to magically make themselves appear in the form of various animals, creatures, or even birds. This is why the term shape-shifter is often used to describe such individuals.

The Ventura report suggests that these people are not human at all, but alien visitors who can make themselves appear human, or look like animals, as they mix among the human population. It is an interesting idea and one that is not impossible to imagine.

My wife Doris and I had personal encounters with real individuals who appeared to have the ability to shift from human to animal and even a "monster" form during the years we lived among the Navajo, Hopi and Apache people in Arizona. We were there by invitation, living in the home of a Navajo medicine man and his wife, and we had the distinct impression that because they trusted us, we were allowed to see the strange things that we did.

We were brought to a strange midnight event called the dance of the Ye’ii Bi’cheii. This involved an intricate web of dancers and chanters working to heal two men we were told were going deaf.

The dancers appeared to be men dressed in a strange, even frightening array. They wore brightly colored kilts, much like the Scots wear only brighter. Also like the Scots they wore matching purses with leather straps slung over their shoulders. On their feet the dancers wore tan leather boots that came up over their calves. Fox pelts hung from the waist. In the right hands they carried a large rattle made of gourds from which they produced an eerie rhythmic sound in time with each dance step. Even though the dance was held in the winter and the night was chillingly cold, the dancers chests were bare but smeared with a white clay that made them appear ghostly and surreal. On their heads they wore large turquoise, oval and distorted masks that covered their entire head. Tiny slits were cut for the eyes and at the bottom of what should have been the face hung a large dark purple bulb that looked something like a clown’s nose, except it was squared off at the tip.

Any one of these characters would have been frightening enough to encounter on a dark night but here, before us, was a large squadron of them, all moving in lock step to the sounds of their gourd rattles and deep chanting voices, in an open arena lighted by two large bonfires. The dancing continued throughout the night. It ended before dawn.

We thought of what we saw as men in costume. But later we met a powerful tribal man who we were told was a shape-shifter and able to take on the form of a Ye’ii Bi’cheii. We think he was among the dancers we had watched that night. They said that if we ever met him alone along the road we should flee because it meant we may be marked for something terrible . . . even death. This man appeared to have a powerful influence among the Navajo people. It was clear that he was either deeply respected or possibly feared. He seemed to befriend my wife and me, sold me his favorite rifle and even loaned us his pickup truck one day to haul some heavy items across the reservation.

Our personal encounter with what appeared to be a real shape shifter occurred one windy afternoon when Doris and I were alone at the house. We were living in the high desert where the ground was mostly sand. On windy days such as this, the sky took on a yellow appearance as the blowing sand formed clouds that partly obscured the sunlight. I was in our bedroom, writing at my computer and Doris was in the kitchen. Suddenly the dogs in the yard began barking excitedly. My wife looked out of the window and announced that there was a large wolf in the yard.

We both ran outside to look at the wolf, only to discover that both the creature and the dogs had disappeared behind an old Hogan that had once been used as the family home before the government built the conventional house we occupied. When we got behind the Hogan the wolf was gone. But we found large paw prints in the dirt. As we followed them they suddenly turned into human foot prints. The prints were small as if made by a petite woman wearing moccasins. We followed these prints until they disappeared at the wall of the Hogan.

It appeared as if the wolf had turned itself into a human form then miraculously walked through the wall of the locked Hogan to escape our pursuit. My wife ordered me back to the house to grab our camera. Capturing a picture of the foot prints was going to be the only proof we would have of having seen this strange phenomenon. Alas, by the time I returned to the scene with our camera, the blowing sands had all but erased the tracks.

The Navajo word for skinwalker is "yee nadlooshii," which means to walk or travel like an animal. The word shape-shifter more accurately describes what Doris observed. It appears to be a form a witchcraft in which the individual in some way transforms into the animal.

It should be noted that at the time this event occurred, wolves were believed to be extinct in the State of Arizona. The U.S. Forestry Service restocked wolves in the White Mountains of the state about a year later, but the odds of a real wolf appearing in the area we were living, not far from the Four Corners, were almost impossible.