Oklahoma, McIntosh County 1915
(The Sasquatch is not a skinwalker!)
...a skinwalker description...
When I was a teenager in the late 1970s we lived year-round in a remote area next to a large lake that was rapidly developing as a weekend getaway for urbanites at the time. The countryside was hilly and heavily wooded, with streams and ravines. The hills have rock outcroppings and caves. By the time I was 14 I was roaming all around out there, and often strayed miles from home. I can recall only one incident that "spooked" me personally. It would have been 1977. I was15 years old and at least 3 miles from home, out hiking, and was working my way down a fairly steep decline [probably 50 degrees or more] on a day in late fall. This area had several large outcroppings and caves, and there were a few massive trees growing on the slope, and many smaller ones.
What happened was all of a sudden, I got that proverbial "tingling" feeling at the back of my neck that I was being watched. Not only watched, but glared at. By that time in my life I had already spent many days and nights out camping in the woods and as I said, hiking, hunting and fishing. I had never had a sensation like this before. I glanced around a little, but I did not look up – whatever or whoever it was I did not want them to realize that I knew they were there. I "felt" like that might provoke an attack or something, as odd as that may sound. I had a hunting knife with me, and put my hand on the hilt. I also found a sturdy stick to use as a club if need be.
I quickly made my way down the rest of that slope. I knew that there was a forest trail at the bottom of it, and that the trail intersected a road a half mile away or so. When I reached that trail, something let but a reverberating yet somewhat high-pitched scream back up the hill
within 100 yards or so from where I was at. I didn't turn back to look, I just took off running. It let out another scream a few seconds later, but my impression was that it had not moved. As I said the scream was fairly high-pitched, but it had tremendous volume to it -- it just seemed to reverberate all down the hillside. It was lower pitched and too throaty to be a bobcat, which I had heard many times in the past. We weren't supposed to have mountain lions anywhere near our area, and again, the sound seemed lower-pitched than the screams I had heard them make on nature shows, but at the time that is what I chalked it up as being most likely. I told my family and several of my friends about it. Anyhow, I never went back to that part of the woods without having a loaded firearm with me.
A few years later  I related this story to an elderly 80 year old lady who lived in this area her entire life, she had literally been born within a few miles of where this is located. She was from a large Native American family. She got an odd look on her face and a very serious tone in her voice, and told me I had encountered a skinwalker. She said that when she was a young girl [probably prior to 1920] she had a brother a few years older than her that came in to their cabin one day very excited about having seen an animal he had never seen before. He had been out in the woods hunting squirrels. The best way to hunt squirrels is to stealthily make your way to an area with lots of large hickory trees, then stay very quiet, watching and listening for their movements.
He said that was what he was doing, when he caught a glimpse of something dark in one of the trees. He said at first he thought it was just a trick of light, because it seemed to be a shadow that had moved - on its own. He stayed quiet and hidden and watched and listened. The "shadow" began moving some more, and made its way down a tree trunk, fairly quickly. He described it as being ~ 4 feet tall, built like a human, but somewhat hunched over, covered in long dark black-brown hair. When the thing reached the ground the young man made some sound, perhaps a gasp or sigh and suddenly it stood completely upright, moving its head slightly side to side, looking over his way. He described the face as being somewhat humanlike but covered with dark hair and with something of a protruding snout, and the eyes as being very large and light colored. It had an extremely angry look; even menacing. The thing bolted behind the tree and was gone. A minute or so later the young man heard a high-pitched scream coming from high up in the trees, which was answered by another scream that came from elsewhere. That was what spooked him and caused him to rapidly leave.
After he told this story to his family, the parents got serious and very worried, and reminded and warned the children again about skinwalkers. They described them as being evil forest spirits, not as big as humans, but just as strong, and also cunning and very malicious. The skinwalkers are supposed to be masters of camouflage, their dark coloration and long fur/hair allow them to hide in the shadows under the trees very effectively, plus they have a tendency to only come out at night. The young man saw this thing just shortly before sunset. The skinwalkers supposedly hate humans, and will try to kill them if they can. Usually they target young children, luring them to stray away from their homes by mimicking the sound of a kitten or puppy, or sometimes mimicking the sound of a baby crying, or kids laughing. If the skinwalkers can get a young child alone in the woods, they will strangle them. Another tactic is to get older children or even small adults alone and into water, like a creek or pond. Then the skinwalkers will spring upon the victim and hold them underwater, drowning them. The elderly lady said that their parents warned them that if they ever see a "shadow" move independently while out in the woods, you must keep your eyes down and pretend like you didn't notice, but to go ahead and leave the area quickly, getting back to more lighted and open spaces.
As an adult, I have heard and now researched a little about skinwalkers, and realize that the term is generally used to describe myths of shape shifters among the Native Americans of the southwest, like Navahos and Hopi. But I am just telling you the story exactly as it was told to me. Again, this was in eastern Oklahoma back in about 1984 and describing an incident that would have occurred in the area around 1915-1920.
When I was a young child, my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents warned me and other kids in our family to never stray into the woods by ourselves and especially not if we heard what we thought was a kitten or puppy. My family called it the "booger man" or "child-catcher" and basically said that there was something out there that would kill young children if it could catch them alone, but never gave any more description than that it was big and dark. I realize that folks tell their children such things to scare the kids to keep them from wandering off and getting lost or hurt, but still, it makes you wonder if there might not be a kernel of truth behind the stories.
ONE LAST THING ABOUT THIS STORY -- the elderly lady told me that later on in life she had seen television shows about wildlife from other parts of the world, and had seen "howler monkeys" from South America. She had always thought those monkey images were somewhat like to what her brother had described to her.
August 20, 2012
Note: What I found interesting in this story was the description of a "snout," coupled with the aggression. It reminds me of the dogman descriptions. It is NOT the typical Bigfoot description.
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