1. A skinwalker is a person with the ability to transform into any different type of animal at will.
2. They are most frequently seen as coyotes, wolves, foxes, eagles, owls or crows.
3. Some can also “steal” the faces of different people, and could appear as someone you know.
4. If you accidentally lock eyes with a skinwalker, they can “absorb” themselves into your body and take control of your actions.
5. Rare skinwalkers can also have the ability to enchant the powder of corpses and use the substance as a poison dust on victims.
6. The legend of the skinwalkers originates from the Navajo, a southwestern Native American tribe.
7. In the Navajo language, the word “skinwalker” is yee naagloshii and translates to “he who walks on all fours.”
8. Skinwalkers have only entered the public discourse relatively recently compared to other phenomenon. In 1996, a team of scientists ventured to a Utah ranch to investigate a series of bizarre phenomenon.
9. If their other powers weren’t enough, Skinwalkers are also said to be able to run incredibly long distances — some say over 200 miles in one evening.
10. Skinwalkers have a tendency to hang around graveyards, and can dig up graves at an impossibly fast speed.
11. While they can take many forms, many people who see them today describe them as “hollowed out” dog-like animals.
12. Skinwalkers are said to recruit more skinwalkers themselves. There is some dispute in how this happens, but some say that there is an official ceremony and that skinwakers only take their form with a gathering of people and specific chants.
13. With all of their advantages, it is said that you can kill a skinwalker if you call them by their true (human) name.
14. Skinwalkers are most commonly encountered near native reservations, though they have been seen all over the United States (Skinwalker ranch in Utah is the most famous. Some people believe the “Rake” which is commonly encountered in the northeast is similar to a skinwalker.
13 People Share Their Terrifying Encounters With Navajo Skinwalkers
We surveyed all of reddit for the most horrific and terrifying encounters with skinwalkers from Reddit.
1. Yenaldlooshi Is Watching Me
My grandmother on my mothers side has always been very Superstitious, for lack of better word, she’s not religious, but she does believe in a lot of paranormal stuff.
Her mother was full-blooded Navajo and her father was Irish. Either way, she’d never been anywhere east of Montana and she grew up in Nevada.
One year, when I was in grade school, we went to visit her, most of the visit was pretty uneventful, typical boring old people stuff, except she always kept her curtains drawn shut and would always peek out the window and when someone asked what she was doing, she would simply reply ” Yenaldlooshi is watching me”
This went on for nearly the entire visit until a few days before we were due to leave, My grandma and my (then) baby brother (he’s 19 now lol) were in the front yard that evening, planting flowers when all of a sudden, my grandmother starts shouting “Insert little brothers name here get away from that creature! It’s not safe!” of course, being in Nevada, we all assumed that my brother had found a scorpion or a rattle snake, so we all run outside, to see my Grandmother clutching my little brother and shaking in terror against the side of the house, standing out in the yard, was a large,black, great-dane sized dog, it was staring at my grandmother with an intensity I’d never seen before. It looked up at us, gave a little huff and bounded off, I don’t remember if it moved unusually fast or not, but do remember it had really deep yellow eyes.
When my mother asked my grandmother what had happened, she kept repeating ” The Yenaldlooshi has found me”. She moved a couple weeks after that.
2. On The Rez Alone At Night
My uncle and cousin saw a large deer on the side of the road. When they got closer it hopped over the fence like a bipedal man. One time driving back from Gallup, my dad saw an old navajo woman walking on the side of the road and when he slowed to offer her a ride she took off into the plains, quickly with inhuman speed. Once when I was a kid, my family was at my Aunt’s house which is in a rural secluded area when we were toyed with by a few entities. They would make animal noises and when we looked to the direction from which the noises were coming they would turn a flashlight on and off. The noises would come from all directions, in increasingly shorter succession. Usually when I’m there, on the reservation visiting, alone late at night I will feel the presence of evil and dread, panic and paranoia will wash over me and as sudden as it comes it will leave.
3. It Moved Like A Toy Rocking Horse
My uncle is Mexican and Native American. This happened in the Mojave Desert in southern California. He was driving around with his girlfriend late at night and they saw something that looked like a huge black dog on the side of the road. He slowed down and the dog began crossing the road. Instead of walking like a normal dog would, this thing moved like a toy rocking horse. He said it stopped in the middle of the road and stared right at them and it’s eyes had a red glow. My uncle is the most badass person I know and it scared the crap out of him.
4. THEY RAN AWAY ON THEIR BACK LEGS
So this happened about twelve years ago. My family owns a farm in the heart of an Indian reservation. One Winter I was home for Christmas taking care of the farm while my parents were away Christmas shopping. As I was home by myself, way late in the night and I hear all our cows freaking out. I knew it had to be the wild dogs that are rampant in the area. So I throw on some boots, grab a shotgun, load it up, and head out to the field. This was a perfect scenario for a horror movie, it was cloudy but there was full moon, and it was breaking through the clouds just right to light up all the snow.
I ran out into the middle of the field, and just in time I see two dogs, they were standing up facing each other and fighting. I think “perfect two for one.” So I pump a shell into the chamber of Mr. 12 gauge and then it happened. The two dogs heard the rack, they both stopped, looked over at me, and ran away, ON THEIR BACK LEGS. Immediately I froze, and every ghost story about Skinwalkers and all the other Native legends I grew up with flew through my mind. Keep in mind I am a white guy, and up until then, these were all just boogie man stories the Native kids like to tell to scare us. That night, they became real to me.
5. IT HAD A DOG’S BODY BUT WITH HUMAN HANDS AND FEET
I was spending a month with my cousins at my grandma’s house. It was August and my cousin’s ages ranged from ten to fifteen, and I was the oldest (being fifteen). I was staying with a ten, thirteen, and fourteen year old. we stayed up telling scary stories often, but one night a few weeks in, we decided to make a campfire out back. My grandma’s house is in a rural suburb, the neighbors aren’t too far when you’re driving down the road to her house, but in the backyard, it’s thick forest with manmade paths through it. Each house is on a hill so only part of the basement was actually underground. That isn’t important until later though. So, we’re towards the east side of her yard, in a smallish patch of open land. You couldn’t see the neighboring yards from there, and there was probably three quarters a mile to each side of us that belonged to my grandma.
It was maybe eleven at night, and we were playing truth or dare after telling scary stories, and my fourteen year old cousin dared me and the thirteen year old to go walk through the paths for ten minutes or so. I said yes right away, as I wasn’t easily scared and rather level headed, but my younger cousin was a bit more hesitant. We didn’t bring a flashlight because it wasn’t pitch dark yet, and we could see enough to not die. We were walking through the paths for about five minutes and could barely see the fire through the trees when we decided to turn. In the middle of the path, was a large dog-like creature, hunched over with its front hands an inch from the ground.
What I remember most was how its eyes were so fucking bright white, and it was humanoid-dog shaped with a human like head but a dog like body but human hands and feet. It looked right at us and I know I was paralyzed with fear as it dashed away the opposite way from us, towards a creek that ran through the yard. Eventually my cousin and I screamed bloody effin murder and the other cousins and my grandma ran to us. I don’t remember much here because I was really disoriented and i couldn’t think properly, but I did wake up in bed, so I assume that I was brought up to the house. All the kids slept in the basement, in a big room with sliding glass doors to the outside, as the room was on the side that wasn’t underground. my bed was pressed against a big glass window, and I could see my cousins playing outside down below. the house is in Michigan so it gets slightly chilly even in the end of August, and there was a slight breeze so I put on a jacket and ran to join them outside, skipping breakfast, not wanting to miss out on anything fun.
When I got down I could tell they weren’t playing but rather running to get my grandma. Her dogs–both of them–were dead, ripped up. That night we went to bed early. I woke up at maybe two in the morning because I felt something hit my head. My cousins were all sitting on the double bed opposite me on the other side of the room. There was one bunk bed and two double beds, the double beds for me and my fourteen year old cousin. They were being quiet and staring at me. The thirteen year old noddded his head toward the window. I froze. They all looked afraid. I turned my head slightly to the side and I saw a really messed up looking face pressed to the window with gaping eyes looking down at me. I screamed so fucking loud, and it bolted. My grandma called the police after I told her what happened and they found nothing. I went home after that and I have never been there during the night again.
6. IT WAS NEITHER FULLY HUMAN NOR FULLY ANIMAL
In July 2004, near Gallup, New Mexico, I had my first and only encounter with a Skinwalker. Before this I use to say “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Well, I’m a believer now. What I saw was not full human nor full animal.
I was moving and had just completed the cleaning and was with my 10-year-old son. We had called it a night and were headed to our new place. As we walked out the front door, I saw a figure move from behind my neighbor’s car to a nearby tree that stood between our apartments. It didn’t have red glowing eyes, snarling teeth, or a rotten smell. It did move quickly, but not quick enough to avoid the light from a nearby light post and the porch lights. It didn’t look at me or come toward me…. It moved as if trying to avoid being seen. I was within fifteen feet of it, but I did not look back to fully inspect it. What I saw was a wolf-like animal that sort of resembled the beast in “Beauty and the Beast” just not cartoonish. It had brown fur that completely covered it, it wasn’t a pelt, it was a very large wolf. It didn’t have any human traits except that It walked on it’s hind legs. It cowered behind the tree as we got into our vehicle. When we got in, I asked my son, “did you see that??!” Thankfully, he hadn’t. My brother-in-law insists that it wasn’t a Skinwalker because I would have never seen it. To this day, I can picture what it looked like, know they exist, and pray I never encounter one again.
7. THE GROVE
This didn’t happen to me but a very close friend of mine. I’ve heard a lot about coyotes and Skinwalkers, and had a weird experience or two with coyotes (creepiest was waking up to my sleeping bag being surrounded in paw prints without ever hearing them during the night) but never anything paranormal so to speak. Patrick’s story, however, kept me from going back to a favorite backcountry secret stash.
He was leaving the area one morning, had been camping there a couple days and said there was a coyote that always seemed to be close by, like in his peripheral vision but never overt. He loaded up his truck and started to drive down the wash out to the fire road. At the end of the wash, he could see the coyote following him. When he pulled onto the road, it was running next to him. Now he was freaked out, so he sped up. He said he was going 35 or so, and it was running along beside him. Definitely not possible. When he looked back, the coyote was running on two legs and was wearing what Patrick said looked like buckskin pants. An instant later, it was a person wearing a coyote fur keeping pace with his truck. When he looked again… It was gone.
We never went back to the grove after that.
8. IT WAS LIKE IT KNEW WE KNEW WHAT IT REALLY WAS
I decided to join my bestie Karen for a three day stay at her grandmothers place on the Rez. Her Grandmother lives near a Place called Tuba City, Arizona. In the middle of nowhere but surrounded by rural homes.
We go to college together and I was kinda interested to know about Navajo tradition. The first day we stayed, it was pretty chill…nothing out of the ordinary but then her Grandma (Not that old, around 67) said that a stray dog came out of nowhere and wouldn’t leave. To me…it did act kinda strange and ugly looking. (Black, shaggy coat, looked like a mix between a German Shepard and a Lab)
That night, we were watching a movie in the living-room (had big windows that looked out into the front where the cars are parked, nothing fancy) with the curtains wide open, Grandma was in the kitchen cooking dinner and we were watching a movie. Next to the window is a medium bookshelf and where DVD’s are kept.
Karen went to put back a DVD we had just watched, but she freaked out because that stray black dog was staring at us through the window standing on-top of the wood-box outside. Not something normal dogs do from my point of view or hers. (Usually my dog which is a house Dog, scratches the door to be let in…Rez Dogs aren’t house Dogs and Dogs inside houses are frowned upon in Navajo Tradition; Meant to protect the house and owner.) The other dogs seemed to stay away from it. Karen opened the door and yelled at it to get it off the box. It ran off behind the shed.
We went to to Tuba City to get some groceries, came back to the house. The dog was nowhere to be seen, nothing unusual. Grandma went to visit some people so it was just Karen and I. About 5 o’clock we heard someone trying to open the door, both of us looked out since there had been no car heard and no dogs barking. Looking out the living-room window to the door and there was the DOG trying to open the door with its paws. Two paws wrapped around the brass door knob, standing on its hind-legs.
I though that was…weird but wasn’t really freaked out, Karen was. She opened the door and chased it off. Grandma came back later and Karen told her, Grandma didn’t like what she heard. Got ready to sleep, we slept in the spare bedroom since it had two beds. One window with curtains opened a little. We turned off the light, but there was a sound coming from on top of the roof.
Pitter-patter foot steps and scratching sounds and panting. It then sounded like it jumped off onto the large plastic water barrel they had. At first we heard what sounded like barking, but as it grew louder, the other dogs seemed to be barking at something also. But all of a sudden, something was running around the house barking and it was no DOG…NOPE….it wasn’t.
This barking sounded human, a deep male voice barking like it knew that ‘we’ knew it wasn’t a dog.
“Wuuuuff…wuff…wuff…Ruffff….Rrrrrrruuufff……….Arffffff….Arff Arff.” Just exactly like that, adding the W’s, R’s and A’s. Then panting again by the window and we started freaking out.
Karen decided to (in my opinion was stupid) open the curtains to look out, there was the stray dog on its hind legs looking into our bedroom but this time, it stunk and what I thought were two black holes in the neck, another pair of eyes twinkled (think of those ugly glossy spider eyes starring at you) and the paws were deformed looking hands with over-grown somewhat thick and sharp fingernails.
Again…both screaming and shutting the curtains closed, Grandma came running through the door and seeing it. First thing she did was grab ashes from the fireplace, load three shells into the shotgun from under her bed, bless herself in Navajo and went outside to shoot it. Yelling in Navajo about how the ‘thing’ wasn’t welcomed there and to get the hell outta there, for it go to linger somewhere else.
Them both being traditional, the next day they called a Medicine Man to come-over and put cedar in. He prayed over everyone with cedar smoke and an eagle feather, blessed the place…made us eat bitter herbs called ‘Eagles Gull’ or something and gave me an arrowhead. Apparently I needed to carry one for protection and a little pouch called Corn-pollen. Seems to work pretty well.
The Medicine Man said that dog was a Skinwalker (Which in Navajo is a long word but I call them Yoshi’s), the body of the stray dog (Which was killed by the Skinwalker) made an illusion so we wouldn’t know it wasn’t a real dog. He also said that Yoshi’s tend to harm people by using some sort of human bone straw to spit at someone (think…spitballs only deadlier) and get human bones into them. Doctors can’t detect it, but the Medicine Man that day pulled a piece of human skull out of Grandmas right shoulder, pretty big…about 2 inches long and 1 cm thick…it was real because we watched him pull it out of her…that was intense.
9. I USED TO BE A SKEPTIC BUT NOT AFTER THIS
I was visiting my grandparents out in Shiprock, New Mexico during last October to see family and to go to the Northern Navajo Nation Fair that week. Many Navajo people, including my own family, are very reluctant to speak about Skinwalkers because it is believed to attract their attention. However, I grew up away from the Navajo Nation and was very naive about the subject. When it came to Skinwalkers, I was an absolute skeptic. My mom used to tell a story of how back in the 80’s when she lived with her siblings and my grandparents (still in Shiprock, but the southern outskirts) about how she and my aunt saw a Skinwalker just outside their driveway under a street light. She described it as a black dog with dirty fur, a twisted noodle-like front leg, and these unnatural eyes with a soft burnt orange glow. Me being my own closed minded self doubted every word, but I never said my doubts aloud.
But these doubts totally changed last year when I went to my grandparents’ house. Me and my family had just finished going to the carnival at the Navajo Nation Fair and called it night. The house was close enough where we could walk home in just 10 minutes, so we did. When we got there it was about 9 at night where we stayed up until about 2 catching up about family affairs and the local news. It was during that time that I just decidedly opened my mouth and blurt out the question, “Hey are Skinwalkers real?” “Guys?”, I asked. “You shouldn’t be speaking about that!” my grandma said with almost a disturbed yell in her voice. So she and my grandfather both decide to go to bed. After being scolded by my mom, one of my aunts chimes in with a very cautious tone and says, “They’re real alright, had a few start screaming outside of my trailer in Farmington just a few night ago. Your cousin had nightmares the whole night and woke up crying that morning.”
Not wanting to push the discomfort any further, we all decided to go to bed. Now the trailer/home is pretty old and it was a really nice night, so we slept with the windows open with screens to prevent bugs coming in. Everyone had drifted off to sleep except me, because my mind was still going a million miles a minute about Skinwalkers and wondered if I ever encounter one while here on the reservation. As a kid I was told it was taboo to think about Skinwalkers because it can still call their attention. That’s when the shit totally hit the fan.
Just as I was settling and finally getting relaxed for sleep, I started to hear something moving outside. I get up from the couch and start wandering over to the kitchen window. In the trailer, all of the rooms have the lights out so the only visible light that can be seen is from the porch light out front. I was thankful for this because I told myself if it really was a Skinwalker outside then hopefully it wouldn’t notice me seeing it. So I muster up the courage and take a quick scan of outside. From the porch light all I can see is the dusty ground and the vehicles that my family drove along with some old metal trashcans that stood beside the road. Looking for about a good 5 seconds, I wasn’t able to see anything so I was getting ready to turn around and walk back to bed thinking it was just a stray cat or something.
Only have taken two steps, I hear what sound like a distorted scream coming from outside, definitely close by. Fear rising, I look outside again and there I see it! A coyote-like figure was staring at my direction from behind the cars, just outside of the reach of the porch light. Only it looked, awfully wrong, and gave off an evil vibe just from seeing it. It was grey with very disheveled hair and a horrific orange-red soft glow came from its eyes. I noped the hell out and ran back to the bedroom. It was at this moment I had begun to also notice an awful stench in the air that smelled like rotting meat. I started trying to wake up my mom who was like, “oh my God, its almost 3am, what do you want?” I immediately began in a shaken voice, “there’s something scary outside!” Then she said (now annoyed because I woke her up), “Ugh it’s probably just a stray animal or something, it’s the rez, animals wander all the time at night.” She obviously wasn’t getting the drift of what I was saying so I screamed, “THERE’S SOME BLAIR WITCH PROJECT SHIT GOING ON OUTSIDE, MA!!!”
That got her attention.
“What?! What the hell are you talking about??” she asked. Then we heard it, the thing outside started making more of its dreadful like screams and started what sounded like thrashing outside on the ground. “Hear that?! That’s what I’m talking about!” So both her and I got back up looked outside the window and the coyote-thing was making its way to the door. It walked with an odd limp and dragged its back right leg as if it has handicapped. We could hear it start to scratch against the door and make this odd muffled moaning sound. My mom went and got my dad and they both started shouted in Navajo all sorts of words telling the thing to go away and saying it’s not welcome here.
Well all this commotion was enough to get the rest of the trailer up as they came out into the hallway. The only thing my mom did was turn to them and said “Skinwalker” while proceeding to point to the door (noises STILL happening). Apparently they already knew exactly what to do as my grandfather got out a handgun from a drawer and a bag of ashes. He coated a few bullets and loaded them into the gun and went straight to the door. Yelling out more Navajo that was too fast for me to comprehend he swung open the door and fired twice. Nothing. The thing managed to escape before my grandpa could put a bullet in it. “That’s the fastest one I’ve ever seen”, said my grandpa. Next thing you know my aunts and my parents are freaking out about what just happened saying stuff like, “What if it comes back tomorrow?” and “It saw us, does that mean we’re targets now?”. Afterwards my grandparents calmed everyone down (myself included) saying we’ll be fine and we all went to bed.
Morning comes and my grandparents call one of their neighbors and explain to them what happened. Apparently one of them was a medicine man who used to partake in Yei Bi Chei’s (Navajo ceremonies used for healing and curing sickness) and came over to bless each family member and the grounds outside.
Today, I’m very convinced that what I saw was a Skinwalker. I still plan on going back for visits to the family and the Northern Navajo Nation Fair (fun stuff!). I just adamantly hope that I never have such an awful experience like that again.
10. IT WALKED UP AND DOWN THE RAMP ALL NIGHT
I was staying at my grandpa’s trailer in Arizona for a couple of days with my mom and dad and two brothers. I forget why we went out there but it had to be important because my dad never tagged along with us out there.
Anyways, come night time and everyone is asleep except me. I’m watching Nickelodeon on the tv in the living room when I hear footsteps walking up to the front porch. Since my grandpa was up there in years he had a long wooden ramp to his door. I was expecting something to come to the door and knock, but nothing happened except that it kept walking up and down the ramp.
My grandpa lived about 25 minutes away from the nearest town and the only neighbors around are other family members. I remember being really scared at this point and couldn’t think straight. My brothers were asleep in the living room on the couches near me and I couldn’t force myself to wake them up. Instead I calmly walk to the back bedroom where my mom and dad are asleep. I lay down on the floor and try to sleep.
Meanwhile whatever is walking around outside is still doing its thing. After a couple of minutes I hear my mom attempt to wake up my dad and see if he can hear it. This relieves me because I thought she was asleep the whole time. I tell her I hear it too and we lay there and listen. My dad is not the best at being coherent after sleep and he falls back to sleep right away. It stops after a couple of minutes. The next night the same thing happens except it’s coming up to the back door. I freak out again and this time just go to the back bedroom and lay down and go to sleep. So that’s all I remember. I also forgot to mention a weird thing my grandpa said that made sense later. Before turning in to sleep and he said something like, “don’t pay attention to anything you hear at night. You’re safe inside.” I should also mention that the next day I remember seeing boot prints and paw prints in the sand by the ramp.
11. THESE WERE NOT MY FRIENDS
This all happened about 5 years ago. One night, a few of my friends decided after a night of hanging out that we’d go on an adventure at about 3am. We took a ride about 50 miles to this old Spanish ruin called Quarai in New Mexico that was once the seat of the Inquisition. I can’t for the life of me remember what the place is called. So we jump the front gate to the place and start exploring.
One of my friends brought a flute with him and he started playing it and about 30 seconds into his (mediocre) playing, something started screaming really really loud on the tops of the long-destroyed walls of the place. It was going from wall to wall really quick, screaming the most blood-curdling scream you’ve ever imagined. We got the fuck out of there (one of my friends pissed his pants) and drove for a few hours to Bandelier National Monument where we planned to camp out at for the rest of the weekend.
We got to Bandelier at probably like 6 or 7am and set up our camp. After a few hours just talking about what the hell happened at the ruins, I went to talked a piss probably only like 300 feet from our camp. This is where everything starts getting a little fuzzy. I remember seeing two dust devils coming my way and when I turned around again, two of my friends were there and they were motioning me to follow them. I couldn’t help but to follow them, like I was being pulled behind them in shackles.
I followed them for what seemed like 10 or 15 minutes and then I snapped out of it. These weren’t my friends they had bright red hair, with my friends faces and cat eyes. Both of these friends were brunette. I stopped walking and they looked at me with the most terrifying gaze I’ve ever seen. Monsters in movies are nothing compared to this. I turned around and ran as fast as I could back the way I came from. After like 5 minutes of a full sprint, I got back to that rock that I pissed at and found our camp. Everyone was there, still sitting around talking and didn’t even notice that I was gone. I told them what happened with the look-alike Skinwalkers and we packed up everything and left probably within like 10 minutes and got the hell back to Albuquerque.
12. TO THIS DAY I REGRET LOOKING TO MY RIGHT THAT Night
It was 1995, I had just graduated High School, an old friend who I haven’t talked to in 7 years now and I were hanging out and I said, “Let’s go to New Orleans.” And we did. We had $140 between us and back then that was more than enough. We made it New Orleans, almost died from culture shock, and turned around and headed to Magnolia, MS to get some sleep. We stayed at Magnolia Inn, it was a shit hole, but it was nice and cool. It was May or June, in south MS; cool was the only adjective that mattered. We stayed up that night playing poker, drinking Gordon’s vodka, and talking about who knows what. Probably girls, college, and college girls. At some point I said, “Ever been to Texas?” “Nope.” “Pack your bag and let’s roll.” We had a road atlas; Marshall, TX was right across the border from Shreveport.
We arrived in Shreveport, made a phone call to another friend, who we were actually supposed to be staying with. Both of our mothers had called looking for us. The only person that knew where we were was the buddy on the phone. It was no big deal; we would be home in a day or two.
I’m being short on details because if I don’t this will turn into a novel length story about chasing armadillos and being chased by the boogeyman.
Before we left that rest area in Shreveport where we made the call we saw an armadillo. Let me tell you something about armadillos, those bastards will hiss, jump, and turn into Tasmanian Devils if you corner them. They also carry leprosy. We were 18; we chased that armadillo around for an hour. Now let me tell you about Shreveport. I don’t know how it is now but in the summer of 1995 it looked and smelled like a place where oil and metal went to die. It was dirty. It was a shit hole. We crossed a bridge and saw people fishing a 100 yards from where a drainage pipe from a factory was spewing forth waste upriver from the fisherman. The locals reminded me of the locals in Adamsville, bald headed women and cross eyed men. A lot of bald headed, cross eyed kids. I’m sorry but it was a Rob Zombie movie come to life. I felt like I was going to be raped because I had a full head of hair and could see straight. The best part of Shreveport was an armadillo that might possibly have leprosy. Marshall, TX was 40 miles away. We rolled on.
Marshall was a decent little town. Home of the Fire Ant Festival. We stopped at a little bar-b-q joint and had a coke, a smile, and some pulled pork. It was getting late, and the sun was setting, we looked at the map and decided to back track a bit and head up rural route 43, through Karnack, and past Caddo Lake. We would eventually run into Hwy 59, head to Texarkana and then head back home. When we left the bar-b-q joint and headed towards 43 it was dusk. Hwy 43 wasn’t well lit, it was almost as dark as Natchez Trace Parkway (I’ve got a good story about using a pair of pantyhose as a fan belt for an old diesel Mercedes. Do not EVER get stuck on the Trace after dark. Ever.) My friend was driving and we were doing about 45 mph, any faster would have been reckless even for a couple 18 year old dumbasses.
This road was kind of like Christmasville Rd. (The locals reading this will know what I mean. The non-locals just have to use your imagination) It was dark, winding, full of hills that ended in curves; there were beady and glowing eyes on both sides of the road. You could hear the crickets and the bullfrogs over the sound of the wind rushing by that old Sentra. It was peaceful and creepy at the same time. The humidity was a real thing, tangible. The air was thick. It smelled like pastures, hay, and swamp. We drove for what seemed like hours, it was after midnight, and I saw a sign that informed me that Bivins was the next town of any size. I was hypnotized by the yellow lines on the road; we hadn’t seen another car in at least an hour, sleepy. I rolled the window down and lit a cigarette. There was music coming from the radio, the tape player, it was either Tupac or Bob Seger. I smoked my cigarette, absent mindedly flicking ashes out of the window. I took one last puff and flicked the Camel Short off into the woods. Then I saw it.
I never looked to my right; I didn’t even kinda peek to the right. Maybe I did a little when I flicked the cigarette away. I don’t know. What I do know is that in my periphery there was something running alongside the car. It was just behind my window, behind where the edge of the door ends and before where the back window begins. I looked over at the speedometer, 40 mph. I looked at my friend, he was looking straight ahead, I looked straight ahead. I could still see it. I could see one huge arm, matted hair, reddish brown, sticky looking, primal. I eased my right hand over and rolled up my window. My friend was still looking straight ahead, his jaw was clenched, and he put both hands on the wheel, he sped up.
No words were said. I looked straight ahead and still out of my periphery I could see that arm moving, muscles and tendons visibly rippling beneath that matted hair. As the car gained a little speed the thing running alongside us lost pace, slightly, I then saw the hand on the end of that nightmarish arm. The hand was clenched into fist the size of a cantaloupe, a big cantaloupe. It was covered in the same hair but slightly darker around the fingers, like it was stained with something. Suddenly the hand unclenched and then I saw the claws, black as this damned after midnight Texas night. Those claws were at least two inches long, sharp, like an animals. This wasn’t a hand so much as it was the killing paw and claws of some beast whose only purpose was to kill and eat.
I looked back at my friend; I looked at the speedometer, 50 mph. I looked straight ahead, it was still there. I lit another cigarette, didn’t roll the window down, and simply said, “Shit.” The music had stopped. I finally broke the silence and said, “Hey, do you…” and before I could finish my buddy said, “I see it, I’ve been seeing it. I can’t even see you but I can see whatever the hell that shit is.” “How much do you see?” “More than I want to.” “Speed up, John, just speed up. It can’t keep up forever.” I looked over, 55 mph, whatever was chasing us, silently, was starting to lag behind. I finally looked to my right, just a bit, imagine the scary part of the movie where you put your hands in front of your face but still peek through. In 37 years I have two regrets, one is picking up that first cigarette and the other is me looking to my right that night. This beast was huge, its chest was above the top of the car, and all I could see was that matted reddish brown hair. Then it bent forward as it ran, I saw the face of this thing, all reality stopped. We were no longer driving down some country road in Texas. We were now trying to escape from the depths of a monster inhabited hell.
This thing’s face is beyond my powers to describe. It was evil. The eyes were black and the pupils were red. It flashed its teeth at me in a snarl, yellow and huge. Saliva dripped from its mouth. It opened its eyes wide and it looked hungry and pissed off. Then it opened its mouth, the skin pulled back until all you could see were black gums and yellow teeth. Immediately I could feel the car accelerate. “Fucking hell, John, just go!” I prayed. I cussed. I lit a cigarette. Then like sunshine breaking through the clouds the road straightened out. “Don’t you slow down.”
We drove through Bivins, and we drove to Texarkana. Then we drove home. We never said a word. It was years later, 11 to be exact, before we ever even talked about it again and we didn’t talk about it much. He said he’d never told anyone and I hadn’t either. I told the story a few years back for the first time while I was parked out on a gravel road, doing the things you do when you’re parked out on a gravel road with a good looking woman. I told it a year or so ago to a couple of kids who wanted to hear a scary story while they sat around a camp fire. They didn’t sleep for a day or two but they asked me a dozen more times to tell them the story. I never told anyone until now that I saw its face.
I’ve been scared for my life exactly two times. Once was on that road and once was looking at a grizzly bear in front of me with a terminal velocity inducing drop to the side of me. Call it what you will, call it bullshit if you want, but look me in the eyes and let me tell you this story and you’ll know. Never doubt that there are things in this world that defy explanation and logic. The boogeyman is real. Some 16 or 17 years after this happened I ran across a story and a movie called The Legend of Boggy Creek. Fauke, Arkansas (Where the aforementioned story and movie takes place) isn’t that far from Bivins, TX, as the crow flies. Invite me over, buy me a beer, sit on the porch with me and I’ll tell you the story, over a pack of Marlboros and a few of those beers.
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