For the Navajo people, black magic is just another part of their spirituality and one of the “ways” of their lives. As such, “black magic” has long been part of their culture, history, and traditions. Skinwalkers exist alongside humans and are not supernaturals.
The Navajo believe there are places where the powers of both good and evil are present and that those powers can be harnessed for either. Medicine men utilize these powers to heal and aid members of their communities, while those who practice Navajo black magic, seek to direct the spiritual forces to cause harm or misfortune to others. This type of Navajo black magic is known as the “Witchery Way,” which uses human corpses in various ways such as tools from the bones, and concoctions that are used to curse, harm, or kill intended victims
The knowledge of these powers is passed down from the elders through the generations.
The Navajo are part of a larger culture area that also includes the Pueblo people, Apache, Hopi, Ute, and other groups that also have their own versions of the Skinwalker, but each includes a malevolent witch capable of transforming itself into an animal.
Among these tribes, a number of stories and descriptions have been told throughout the years about the Skinwalkers.
Its supernatural powers are uncanny, as they are said to run faster than a car and have the ability to jump high cliffs. They are extremely fast, agile, impossible to catch, and leave tracks that are larger than those of any animal. When they have been seen, they have been described as not quite human and not fully animal. They are usually naked, but some have reported seeing the creature wearing tattered shirts or jeans.
The Skinwalker kills out of greed, anger, envy, spite, or revenge. It also robs graves for personal wealth and to collect much-needed ingredients for use in black magic. These witches live on the unexpired lives of their victims and they must continually kill or perish themselves.