A Skin Walker, also known as a "yee naaldlooshii" (Navajo for "by means of it, he/she/it walks around on four legs") is ''usually'' a person with the supernatural ability to [[{{Shapeshifting}} change their form]] into either [[{{Animorphism}} an animal]] or [[{{Doppelganger}} another human being]].

Being very similar to [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent Werewolves]], and other paranormal shape changers, most skin walkers' abilities are largely powered by [[BlackMagic dark ritual]], and the breaking of native taboos (such as cannibalism, incest and murder, especially of family members) or are heralded to create them. Each tribe's version differs in details. Most Skinwalkers are differentiated from their brethren by being able to take multiple shapes, but are not free-form shapeshifters. The myths usually describe them as humans who wear only an animal skin, or an abomination of human and animal forms.

Primarily detailed in many Native American tales, these entities are sometimes portrayed as either practicing witches, or aspects of the trickster deity (Coyote) or something [[EldritchAbomination worse]], from the shared mythology of many indigenous American peoples. Skinwalkers are considered one of the most fearsome monsters from Myth/NativeAmericanMythology. In those myths, they have a few extra powers, including {{Telepathy}}, VoiceChangeling (mimicking animal and human sounds) and the creation of poisonous/disease ridden "Witch Powder" or the MagicalEye. Some cannot fully shift into their animal forms and have a [[GlamourFailure deformity]] (awkward gait, over-sized feet, etc.) revealing their true nature.

Killing one is either simplified to accusing the creature in public while in human form (which robs it of power and it dies in 3 days) or an involved, lengthy ritual.

Related to VoluntaryShapeshifting, MagicalNativeAmerican. See also OurWerebeastsAreDifferent. Of late, it's been connected to Berserkers and more often than not, used as a shorthand by writers for "American Werewolf."



[[folder: Anime And Manga ]]

* In the anecdotes of ''Manga/SaintSeiyaTheLostCanvas'', there are the [[OurWerebeastsAreDifferent Beast Warriors]].


[[folder: Fanfic ]]

* John Manuelito from the FanFic/AlexandraQuick series is a fairly well-researched depiction of this.
* In Fanfic/ForLoveofMagic Harry goes to America specifically to hunt down and talk to a Skinwalker so that he can learn his unique magic.


[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/{{Werewolf}}'' (1996) purports to be a skinwalker, instead of "the white man's {{werewolf}}." No, it's the white man's werewolf, complete with silver bullets.
* Same as the film ''Skinwalker'' (2006).
* Beorn, in ''Film/TheHobbit'', is a "skin-changer" who dislikes (most) dwarfs, but ''hates'' orcs/goblins. As a man, he can be reasoned with, but not as a bear.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* Part of the Navajo cultural background of some of Creator/TonyHillerman's Leaphorn and Chee mysteries, particularly the novel ''Literature/{{Skinwalkers}}''.
* The protagonist of the ''Literature/JaneYellowrock'' series is a skinwalker of Cherokee descent. The first book is, appropriately enough, called ''Skinwalker''.
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles''
** A skinwalker appears in the novel ''Literature/TurnCoat''. While it was mentioned that the term can refer to the the classic version, the human witch, the synonymous term "Naagloshii" formally refers to the entities which teach them the trade: quasi-divine beings that effortlessly shapeshift, grow more powerful the more they are feared, and have an innate ability to know how to cause the maximum suffering in their victims. "Shagnasty", the Naagloshii who shows up in that book gets into a CrazyAwesome ShapeshifterShowdown with [[MagicalNativeAmerican Listens-to-Wind]] (who kicks its ass in a manner most [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome righteous]]) at the end of the book.
*** Morgan, a veteran Warden, mentions that he also fought one in his time, though he had to use an alternative method to bring it down. He had to resort to luring it into a nuclear testing ground, and give the Skinwalker the slip by opening a portal [[NukeEm right before a bomb test.]]
** The [[Series/TheDresdenFiles TV Show]] also had a Skinwalker -- which literally [[{{Squick}} stole skins]] to assume its new forms.
** ''Literature/ColdDays'' revealed that [[spoiler:there are at least six more skinwalkers currently imprisoned in the minimum security level of the supernatural prison under the Demonreach island -- and that whatever else is imprisoned below them is ''even worse'']].
** ''Literature/SkinGame'' has [[spoiler: Goodman Grey, who is part-skinwalker (apparently on his father's side). Unlike the one seen in ''Turn Coat', Grey is at least trying to be a decent person, as is shown by his helping Dresden make it out of the underworld for the [[ComicallySmallDemand massive sum]] of one dollar.]]
* Mentioned, but never seen, in the ''Literature/MercyThompson'' novels. They are evil shamans who wear the skin of an animal to assume its form, and spread disease and death. They can also KillAndReplace anyone, [[LifeDrinker extending their lives]] and [[CannibalismSuperpower gaining the knowledge and magic of their victims]]. They can only be permanently killed by a shaman's magic or [[KillItWithFire burning the corpse]]. [[spoiler: One shows up as the villain in ''Burn Bright'', initially looking for a werewolf it had tried to control a century ago for his power, but then gets the idea of replacing Bran]].
* A mutant at SuperheroSchool Whateley Academy in the ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'' has this power, only he can move his consciousness into an animal and take it over. He can do the same to any person he sees. He even uses the codename 'Skinwalker'. His dormmates had to devise a protocol to keep him from doing this to any of them.
* Two skinwalkers are the primary antagonists for the fourth book in the ''Literature/IronDruidChronicles''. The protagonist is tricked into dealing with them by [[PhysicalGod Coyote]], who doesn't want to risk dealing with them himself in case he fails and they get hold of his skin.
* Featured as the main antagonists in Preston and Child's ''Thunderhead''. However, [[spoiler: it ends up being a case of DoingInTheWizard as the skinwalkers gain their powers from creative use of poison and [[PsychoSerum drugs]].]]
* ''Literature/TheInvisibleLibrary'' features one of those, but doesn't use the name. [[spoiler: However, since he actually skins his victims, and uses their skin as disguise, there's little else one could call that ...]]
* {{Averted}} in ''Literature/HarryPotter'''s [[AllThereInTheManual extra materials]], which specifically states that, unlike werewolves, skinwalkers aren't real, they were just a myth invented to defamed Native American wizards. Ironically, this led to some InternetBackdraft, since some felt that writing off a real Native American belief so casually was insulting.


[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]

* An early episode of ''Series/TheXFiles'' called ''Shapes'' features a Native American werewolf which, during its transformation, sheds its skin in a snake-like manner. Had the episode been made today it seems likely that the monster would be called a skinwalker, but the writer instead called the beast a Manitou. This is a case of SadlyMythtaken, as a Manitou is a class of Algonquin nature spirit, while the episode treats the term as referring specifically to a lycanthrope.
* An episode of ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' has another Wolf-shifter named after these creatures, but...yeah. Not really.
* ''Series/LostTapes'' devotes an episode to it, and it is both chilling and surprisingly accurate to the legend.
* Skinwalkers are brought up in ''Series/TrueBlood'' among the "Shifters" who can change into animals they have touched. True Blood skinwalkers are shifters who have killed an immediate family member. From then on, they can take on the appearance of other people, but using this ability more than a few times is invariably fatal.
* Skinwalkers also show up on ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' as people who can turn into various dogs and can be killed by silver.
* ''Series/{{Haven}}'' has a SerialKiller known as the Bolt Gun Killer, who has the ability to wear other people's skins after killing them and then transform into that person. The main characters suspect that the Native American legends of the Skinwalker may have been based on the Bolt Gun Killer's ancestors, as Trouble abilities are hereditary.


[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' has an undead creature called an "Ecorché'', named after a drawing of a skinless person. They're able to steal a persons skin and wear it to look like them.
* ''TabletopGame/SavageWorlds'' has a horror campaign, ''Skinwalker'' based on this mythology
* In ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'' fiction, there's the 17th Recon Regiment, formed from planets settled by people from Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. One sociopathic 'Mech pilot, Bobby Begay, named his giant robot "Skinwalker" after this myth, much to the disgust of the rest of the regiment--it's so overtly and intentionally offensive they consider it the equal of a pilot from a Christian denomination naming their 'Mech "Baby-Eating Satan Worshipper."


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* [[spoiler:The Hag]] in ''VideoGame/ThiefDeadlyShadows''.
* There is a videogame created using RPG Maker called ''Skinwalker'' about the eponymous creature. A let's play of it (and link to its download location) can be found [[http://youtube.com/watch?v=Yokky1yLIJ4 here]].


[[folder: Webcomic ]]

* They appear briefly in ''Webcomic/BadMoonRising'', being exterminated by Hunter Madsion and Born-Werewolf Chloe.


[[folder: Web Original ]]

* Mentioned by name in a story in Wiki/TheWanderersLibrary.
* {{Wiki/SCP|Foundation}}-[[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-2750 2750]] is the collective designation for skinwalkers, who still live a pre-Columbian hunter-gatherer lifestyle and shun modern society. [[spoiler:Thanks to the superstitions of Navajo {{muggle}}s and the [[DeliberateValuesDissonance political motivations]] of a Foundation predecessor group, SCP-2750 was nearly wiped out in the 19th century, and now suffers from inbreeding and loss of hunting grounds.]]


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* When a werewolf-like alien appears on a reservation in ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'', the "Yendaloshi" is mentioned repeatedly.