This week in the most delightfully dark and demented tomb of digital audio tales comes a story by Jesse J Saxon called “The Blackest Curse.” Accompanying his tale is my artwork. I went back to my comfort zone on this one, soulless white eyes in an cross-hatched skin of ink. [Which those of you who were around for CoffinHop would be very familiar with].
You should listen to the story: www.thewickedlibrary.com/606 and then return to see my artwork from its various stages of completion and hear more about the skin-walkers this story reminds me of.
There are many cultures that have shape-shifter legends, and ones where the shifter is bound or controlled by an animal skin. One of my favorite books growing up as kid was an eerie tale about Silkies, which is the Irish version of shape-shifters. Although, may the unnamed gods of the deep help me, I can’t remember what the name of that book was. If I saw the cover art I’d be like, “That’s it! That’s it!” Words are shifty slithering things when it comes to my memories, but images nestle themselves deep into the folds of my brain. Memory is funny that way, isn’t it?
So, since the specific silkie I seek eludes me at the moment, I wanted to bring you some tantalizing tidbits about the the tales of animal-skinned shape-shifters from Navajo traditions, Skin-walkers.
In the Navajo language they are called yee naaldlooshii – meaning “with it, he goes on all fours.” A skin-walker is a person who can transform into an animal whenever they please by donning an animal pelt. This is one of several styles of witchcraft recognized by the Navajo. They believe that, in order to gain these powers of transformation, the witch has to have committed the most heinous of crimes. Their humanity can be altered by committing the act of murdering a close blood relative, incest or necrophilia. For more information on the subject I recommend checking out this article on navajolegends.org
It’s actually quite difficult to find an example of a skin-walker story told by the Navajo, because they believe that if they speak about it, the skin-walker will retaliate in horrific ways. But I did find one that was floating around in the internet ether, so here’s the link to someone’s personal story about their experience with a Skin-Walker. yourghoststories.com