Native Skeptic

Native Skeptic
Apache Crown Dancers 1887:

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Navajo Skinwalkers

"There is little documented information about the details of “witchcraft” among the Navajo—or Diné, as they call themselves. What is relatively well known is their term “Skinwalker,” or “yee naaldlooshii,” which means, “with it, he goes on all fours.” This is a reference to the special ability to transform into a four-legged animal. While there are many self-published books and websites that offer some insight into this world of Navajo witchcraft, much of the information is obscure and does not provide any sort of real account for how these stories and their details came into being." (Nez 2012)

I have written a few articles for the Skeptical Briefs ranging in subjects from cryptozoology (the study of hidden animals) to witchcraft. I try to offer a more critical look that is often not found as another resource for those interested in putting together a more accurate representation of what the evidence suggests and what Native American beliefs actually depict. The excerpt presented above was based from the full article that originally appeared in Volume 22.1 of the Skeptical Briefs 2012 spring edition, which is now available over on the CSI website simply titled, Skinwalkers.

Not only does CSI offer a network of people interested in seeing paranormal investigations (or anything considered to be "fringe" ) using science appropriately, but it also publishes an official journal, Skeptical Inquirer magazine. The list of founding members of CSI includes some rather well known scientists, academics, and science writers such as Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, Philip Klass, Paul Kurtz, Ray Hyman, James Randi, and Martin Gardner. If you needed another reason to join, CSI also offers the Skeptical Briefs, a special newsletter with articles featuring regular columnists and different skeptical groups from around the world, exclusively to its' *Associate Members. Those at CSI have graciously made some past articles available online, not just from the Skeptical Inquirer magazine, but the Skeptical Briefs newsletter as well! 

1 comment:

  1. Noah ... hope you will keep writing. Don't give up!

    You mentioned Navajo beliefs, but it would be helpful if you also talk a little about the Nde tribal beliefs. It's actually quite hard to get the Nde people to open up and discuss their thoughts about the supernatural world and life-after-death religion. I don't blame them for holding these things private, but surely some discussion is possible?!

    On a side note ... if a Medicine Man can be corrupted by absolute power and become a Skinwalker - does this mean that a Stockbroker can be corrupted by absolute power and become a Wall Street Banker??? I see definite parallels between the Native and non-Native worlds :-) HAHAHA!

    Have fun!

    Pete, California