“GHOST OF THE GIRL IN THE SNOW” and More Terrifying True Paranormal Stories! #WeirdDarkness
Help spread the darkness! VOTE FOR THIS EPISODE at https://weirddarkness.com/vote – you can vote up to 3X per day! Find Weird Darkness in your favorite podcast app at https://weirddarkness.com/listen. PLEASE SHARE WEIRD DARKNESS® in your social media and with others who loves paranormal stories, true crime, monsters, or unsolved mysteries like you do! Want to advertise in Weird Darkness? Visit https://weirddarkness.com/advertise for more info!
Listen to ““GHOST OF THE GIRL IN THE SNOW” and More Terrifying True Paranormal Stories! #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.
IN THIS EPISODE: Author Troy Taylor tells one of his favorite true ghost tales – it’s the haunting story of Marion Lambert, the girl in the snow. (The Girl In The Snow) *** A boy thinks he sees a man in his rearview mirror, but the figure disappears – just to reappear again. And it was then that the terrifying things began to happen to his family. (Angel of Death In The Rearview Mirror) *** Native Americans have a legend of a terrible skinwalker that not only can shapeshift, but also control its victims by thought. (Mind Controlling Skinwalker) *** A girl’s sleepover with friends turns into a literal nightmare. Weirdo family member Jacque Sicks tells her story. (Slumber Party of Horror)
SOURCES AND ESSENTIAL WEB LINKS…
“The Girl In The Snow” by Troy Taylor: http://bit.ly/2I5AgOW
“Angel of Death In The Rearview Mirror” by Zarza: http://bit.ly/2K9c0xM
“Mind Controlling Skinwalker” by Ellen Lloyd http://bit.ly/2HHNO3T and A. Sutherland http://bit.ly/2W293Bs for Ancient Pages
“Slumber Party of Horror” by Jacque Sicks, submitted to WeirdDarkness.com
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Weird Darkness theme by Alibi Music Library. Background music provided by Alibi Music Library, EpidemicSound and/or StoryBlocks with paid license. Music from Shadows Symphony (https://tinyurl.com/yyrv987t), Midnight Syndicate (http://amzn.to/2BYCoXZ) Kevin MacLeod (https://tinyurl.com/y2v7fgbu), Tony Longworth (https://tinyurl.com/y2nhnbt7), and Nicolas Gasparini (https://tinyurl.com/lnqpfs8) is used with permission of the artists.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
(Over time links seen above may become invalid, disappear, or have different content. I always make sure to give authors credit for the material I use whenever possible. If I somehow overlooked doing so for a story, or if a credit is incorrect, please let me know and I will rectify it in these show notes immediately. Some links included above may benefit me financially through qualifying purchases.)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” — John 12:46
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
WeirdDarkness™ – is a production and trademark of Marlar House Productions. © 2023, Weird Darkness.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
DISCLAIMER: Stories and content in Weird Darkness can be disturbing for some listeners and intended for mature audiences only. Parental discretion is strongly advised.
One of my favorite ghost stories takes place in February of 1916, when the body of a beautiful young woman named Marion Lambert was found in the woods near Lake Forest, Illinois. It became one of the most mysterious stories of the era in the Chicago region. Marion had just celebrated her eighteenth birthday and she had last been seen on February 9, when she had left for classes at Deerfield High School in Highland Park. She never arrived there, and was not seen again until her body was discovered the following day. She had been killed by a deadly dose of poison, although what exactly happened to her remains a lingering mystery to this day. And because of this mystery, there are many who do not believe that Marion Lambert rests in peace. Like other restless young women in the Chicago area, her ghost is said to be seen along the area roadways, not far from where she died.
I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.
Welcome, Weirdos – I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness. Here you’ll find stories of the paranormal, supernatural, legends, lore, the strange and bizarre, crime, conspiracy, mysterious, macabre, unsolved and unexplained.
Coming up in this episode…
A boy thinks he sees a man in his rearview mirror, but the figure disappears – just to reappear again. And it was then that the terrifying things began to happen to his family. (Angel of Death In The Rearview Mirror)
Native Americans have a legend of a terrible skinwalker that not only can shapeshift, but also control its victims by thought. (Mind Controlling Skinwalker)
A girl’s sleepover with friends turns into a literal nightmare. Weirdo family member Jacque Sicks tells her story. (Slumber Party of Horror)
But first… author Troy Taylor brings the haunting story of Marion Lambert, the girl in the snow. (The Girl In The Snow)
If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, my newsletter, enter contests, to connect with me on social media, plus, you can visit the Hope in the Darkness page if you’re struggling with depression or dark thoughts. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!
THE GIRL IN THE SNOW=====
Marion Lambert was a beautiful young girl, as photographs that remain of her clearly show. She was a pretty and vivacious senior at Deerfield High School. Her light brown, wavy hair was cut stylishly short and her minister called her the liveliest girl at the Lake Forest Presbyterian Church. She lived a happy life, usually with a smile on her face. She was the beloved only child of Frank Lambert, the head gardener employed by clothing millionaire Jonas Kuppenheimer, on whose estate the family lived. The Lambert family did well for themselves and times were good in Lake Forest. Many of the local tycoons were becoming wealthier by equipping the warring armies in Europe and they paid their employees well. Marion was starting to dream of going off to college in the fall.
But perhaps the one thing that made her happiest was the young man in her life, Will Orpet, a college student three years older than she was. Orpet’s father was also a caretaker; he worked on the estate of farm equipment tycoon Cyrus McCormick. The two families had known each other for years and were friendly with one another but the friendship between Will and Marion blossomed when he began sending her letters from Madison, where he was studying journalism at the University of Wisconsin. The letters were only flirtatious at first, but soon grew more serious. “I want to see you dearest, and want you badly,” he wrote to Marion on April 8, 1915. “If only I could get my arm around you now, and get up close to you and kiss the life out of you, I would be happy.”
It was later recalled that Will was not content with mere words. When he came to see her, he sat scandalously close to her on the sofa, insisting on holding her hand and daring to kiss her. Marion did not approve at first but Will refused to give up and slowly, she started to give in to his advances. In September of that year, he came to her home in Lake Forest, took her for a drive and stopped at the edge of the woods just south of the Sacred Heart Convent. They went for a walk in the forest and then sat down together in a remote spot, carefully hidden among the trees. Marion gave herself to him there and they made love in the quiet of the forest.
Marion began dreaming of a wedding but Orpet, apparently bored after getting what he wanted out of the pretty young woman, began to lose interest. His letters became short and often he told her that he didn’t have time to write. In November, when Marion confessed that she feared she might be pregnant, the letters grew even colder. Orpet was angry and stopped just short of calling her a liar. They had only been intimate once, he insisted, and he didn’t believe that it could have happened. In spite of his denials, he called on a pharmacist friend and sent Marion a potion that was meant to relieve her “delicate condition.” Orpet was determined not to let his dalliance with Marion became a trap. She wasn’t his only girlfriend – a college pal said that he had several others on the side — and he wasn’t serious about her. He was planning to marry another girl, a young chemistry teacher from DeKalb, and he wasn’t going to let Marion trap him into a marriage that he didn’t want.
By the time the holidays arrived, Marion undoubtedly knew that she wasn’t pregnant but it’s unknown whether or not she told Orpet about this. She wanted to hang onto him as long as she could, believing the two of them were meant to be together. On February 6, 1916, Marion celebrated her eighteenth birthday at a spirited party thrown by her best friend, Josephine Davis.
Two days later, while Josephine was visiting at her home, the telephone rang and Marion left her friend in the sitting room when she into the hallway went to answer it. The telephone call was from Will Orpet. Josephine later stated that Marion was uneasy when she returned to the sitting room, but later, at Orpet’s trial, she said that Marion was “confused” and became “greatly distressed and depressed.” She even testified that Marion confided in her that, “if Will throws me over and marries that other girl, I’ll kill myself.”
But was Josephine’s testimony the truth? Marion’s parents and several other of her friends claimed that the girl had been happy and untroubled in the days leading up to her death. This bit of testimony remains one of the lingering mysteries in the case.
On the morning of February 9, Marion, bundled up in a green coat, walked with Josephine to the Sacred Heart station, where they usually caught the train to Deerfield High School. But having arrived on the platform, Marion decided not to take the train. She told her friend that she had to go to the post office to mail a letter to her Sunday school teacher. That was the last time that Josephine saw her alive.
Later that night, Frank Lambert waited for his daughter at the Sacred Heart station. Marion had told her parents that she was going to attend a party after school and would return on the 8:05 p.m. electric car from Highland Park. When the train arrived, though, Marion was not on board. She was not on the next train either. Lambert waited for over an hour before he drove into Highland Park. He was told that Marion was not at the party and in fact, her friends told him, she had not come to school at all that day.
Confused and worried, Lambert returned home and he and his wife spent a sleepless night waiting for and worrying about their daughter. Finally, before dawn, he couldn’t wait any longer and he returned to the Sacred Heart station to search for any clues as to Marion’s whereabouts. He stumbled about in the darkness, looking for footprints in the snow by the light of burning matches. It was too dark to see anything so he left to go get a friend. When they sun came up, they returned and found a line of footprints leading away from the station in the snow. One of the sets of prints was small, like a girl’s, the other was larger. They formed a side-by-side trail that wandered out into the forest.
The two men followed the trail into a small clearing and there, beneath three winter bare oak trees, Lambert saw a bright patch of green in the snow. He let out a small cry and began to run toward it. He soon saw Marion lying there on her side, her school books tucked under her arm and the letter to her Sunday school teacher still in her pocket. Her right hand was ungloved and it stretched away from her body. In the palm of her ice-cold hand her father saw a smear of white, powdery crystals. Her lips were bloody and blistered as if they had been burned.
Marion’s autopsy was performed at midnight, as soon as her body had thawed from the bitter cold. A few hours later, Ralph Dady, the state’s attorney of Lake County, held a press conference for the horde of newspaper reporters that had gathered, seeking information about the tragedy. “We are confident Miss Lambert was poisoned,” Dady told the reporters. We do not know if the poison was taken with suicidal intent or whether it was administered by someone else. We believe a man was with her when she died. We are bending our efforts toward locating that person, and when we do, we believe the motive of her act will be explained.”
Although a search of the area by police detectives found no trace of a bottle, the coroner concluded that Marion had swallowed cyanide mixed into an acidic solution. That had caused the blistering on her mouth and had left behind the white residue on her hand.
Suspicion quickly fell on Will Orpet. A reporter for the Chicago Tribune was the first to track him down at his rooming house in Madison, Wisconsin. Orpet said that he was shocked by the news of Marion’s death. He told the reporter that he and Marion had corresponded, but that they had not been involved in a “serious affair.” In fact, he said he had just sent her a friendly letter wishing her good luck with some upcoming exams and expressing regret that he would not be able to come and visit her soon.
Orpet had indeed mailed the letter – but the rest of the story was a lie.
It was discovered that the affair had been serious and that Marion had thought she was pregnant after their rendezvous in the woods. He sent her drugs meant to cause a miscarriage, even though he claimed that he could not be responsible for her condition. The police searched the post office and found the innocent letter that Orpet had posted but at Marion’s house, they found a different one. “Dear Marion,” it read, “Jo has told me that you’ve been pretty sick. Just got word yesterday morning, hence the delay. I hope that everything is all right now and that you will soon be up and around. I’ll try to get down to see you, probably the 9th of February, and will call you on the evening of the 8th. Remember the dates… If everything is not all right by the time I see you, it will be, leave it to me.”
After this discovery, Orpet was arrested and subjected to serious questioning – first by a reporter who had arranged to have himself locked up so that he could share Will’s cell, and then by a collection of police officers, prosecutors and private detectives. They interrogated him for a full night in Madison, and then brought him to Lake Forest, where he was forced to walk for hours in the woods where Marion’s body had been found. They even forced him to stand by the side of the road and watch as her funeral procession made its way to the cemetery.
Orpet’s story changed several times but it came down to him admitting that he had kept company with Marion and may have loved her once, but his feelings had changed. He said he had been intimate with her only one time and while she told him that she thought she was pregnant, he didn’t believe it. As it turned out, Marion’s autopsy showed that she was not pregnant.
In early February, Marion had harassed him into coming to Lake Forest to see her, hinting that if he refused, she might kill herself. He eventually agreed but came in secret because, he said, he did not want his parents to know he was in town. He called her from the train station that evening, but Josephine Davis was at the house and Marion told him that he couldn’t come over then. They agreed to meet the next morning in the woods near the Sacred Heart Convent. They walked in the woods for two hours before stopping near three oak trees. Marion pleaded with him to stay true to her, but Orpet refused. He planned to marry another woman, he told her, a chemistry teacher with whom he had fallen in love.
Marion was crying when Will walked away. “Is there no hope?” she called after him.
Orpet didn’t answer. He simply kept walking. After a few more steps, he heard the sound of a small cry. When he turned around, he saw that she had fallen into the snow and her body was violently shaking. In only a few moments, he could see that she was dead. Terrified of a scandal, he said he ran away and took the first train back to Madison.
Investigators doubted his story. Why had Orpet written that friendly letter to Marion that said he was unable to come to Lake Forest if he wasn’t trying to establish an alibi? And why had he purchased an empty medicine bottle from a pharmacy clerk just before he left Madison? But the real evidence of his guilt came when the police searched the greenhouse at the McCormick estate, where Orpet’s father worked as a caretaker. As they sifted through an ash heap in the basement, they found three large clumps of cyanide crystals. They were enough, State’s Attorney Ralph Dady said, “to kill a whole high school of girls.”
Will Orpet was arrested and locked up at the Waukegan, Illinois, jail. Three weeks later, a grand jury indicted him for Marion’s murder and Ralph Dady vowed to send the killer to the gallows.
From jail, Orpet continued to proclaim his innocence, although it was hard for him to explain the letter he sent to Marion and the fact that he had rumpled his bed in Madison on the night before her death to make it appear that he slept there. He had actually, unbeknownst to his family, spent the night in the garage next to their Lake Forest home. He had not done this to create an alibi, he claimed, and he swore that he did not take the medicine bottle that he purchased to the meeting with Marion. The authorities could not link him to the purchase of any poison but they insisted that he could have easily obtained it from the cyanide in the greenhouse where his father worked. However, some of the newspapers pointed out that the poison could also have been found at the Lambert house and also in the laboratory of Deerfield High School.
The case finally went to trial at the Waukegan courthouse on May 15 with Judge Charles Donnelly presiding. The formidable prosecution included Ralph Dady, state’s attorney of McHenry County, David R. Joselyn, who had been called in as a special prosecutor, and Eugene M. Runyard. They were opposed by a defense team that consisted of James H. Wilkerson, Ralph F. Potter and Leslie Hanna, who had been retained on Orpet’s behalf by Cyrus McCormick.
That the people of Lake County heartily believed in Orpet’s guilt was indicated by the fact that it took 23 days and more than 1,200 interviews to find a dozen men who said they could sit on the jury and review the evidence impartially.
In his opening statement, Ralph Dady stated that he would summon witnesses to prove that Orpet had murdered Marion Lambert because she was a threat to his future. He stressed that he would combat the suicide defense with testimony showing that the girl had left home on Wednesday morning in excellent spirits and happy with her life, not depressed or thinking of killing herself.
Then came setback after setback for the prosecution.
Dady’s star witness, Josephine Davis, changed her story, telling the jury that Marion had threatened to kill herself if Orpet left her for another woman. Special prosecutor Joselyn had called her confidently to the stand and was stunned by the turn of events, asking the judge to be able to refer to Josephine’s prior statements when interviewed by police. The young woman explained her change of heart by saying that he had originally been hostile and vindictive toward Orpet, blaming him for breaking her best friend’s heart, but now she saw things in a different light. Marion had been depressed after speaking to Orpet on the telephone on the night before her death, she said, and claimed she would commit suicide if Orpet left her.
Although Joselyn managed to get Marion’s parents and some of her other friends to refute this testimony, the damage had already been done. And there was more to come… A classmate testified that just before Marion’s death, he had found her alone in the high school chemistry lab where cyanide was stored.
The prosecution bounced back with testimony from Dr. Ralph Webster, a toxicologist with Rush Medical College, who said that Marion must have taken the fatal dose in liquid form because the cyanide residue had been found in the palm of her hand. This went along with the theory that Orpet had mixed up a deadly concoction with poison from his father’s greenhouse.
When Will Orpet took the stand, Dady was convinced that he could break the young man’s story. He and his co-counsel were merciless, cross-examining him for nineteen hours over a four-day period. Orpet spoke in a subdued, monotone voice and admitted to terrible things. He had romanced, seduced and tossed away a fragile young woman and he was a liar, denying everything until the facts were thrown in his face. He was also a coward, he confessed, and had abandoned his one-time lover’s body in the woods rather than seek help for her because he was worried about a possible scandal. But, he remained adamant, he was not a murderer. Marion had taken her own life when he told her that their relationship was over; he denied he had given her poison.
But for all of the drama that surrounded Orpet’s testimony, the case really turned on the facts offered by three chemists that had been hired by the defense. Marion had been killed by potassium cyanide, the kind, it turned out, that could be found in her high school chemistry lab. But the poison that had the police had recovered from the greenhouse where Orpet’s father worked was sodium cyanide. Sodium cyanide, it was brought out, had replaced potassium cyanide on the open market several years before but this had not been known to the general public – nor the state‘s expert, Dr. Webster. Recalled to the stand, Webster had to admit that he had not tested the Orpet poison for anything but its cyanide content. He had taken for granted that it was potassium cyanide, the type that had killed Marion.
This small fact clinched the case for the defense. The jury took three ballots, the third of which was unanimous, and on July 15, Orpet was declared not guilty. “I’m going to the country,” he told reporters, “I’ve had a bad time but my nerve is still with me. I’m just going to start in where I left off and make good.”
Will Orpet almost immediately vanished into obscurity. Within three months, he had left Lake Forest. Records show that he enlisted in the military and served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War I. Some stories claim that he later became an oil wildcatter and a cowboy in Wyoming. In 1920, under the assumed name of W.H. Dawson, he was briefly in trouble in San Francisco after he abandoned a nineteen-year-old bride whom he had lured from Detroit. After that, Orpet stayed out of the newspapers until he died in 1948. He was buried in a military cemetery in Los Angeles.
In spite of what the jury decided, the story of what really happened in the woods that day remained a popular subject for speculation. Many feel the case has never really been solved. Several pulp detective magazines recapped the story as an unsolved mystery. The death of Marion Lambert left an unsettling mark on the annals of true crime in America – but it also left a mark on supernatural history as well.
Over the years, a strange story had circulated about a stretch of Sheridan Road in Lake Forest, near the site of what used to be Barat College. It was close to this spot in 1916 that Marion’s frozen body was discovered by her heartbroken father. The story of the roadway involves a young woman who appears in the headlights of passing cars – and leaves a terrifying impression on the drivers who are unlucky enough to encounter her.
For instance, a woman was traveling along Sheridan Road one stormy night when she saw a rain-soaked, barefoot girl in a blue dress on the side of the road. As the driver approached, she started to telephone for help, believing the girl might have been in an accident, but before she could dial, she saw something truly out of the ordinary. The lights from her car seemed to pass right through the girl, as if she was not even real. When the car pulled up next to her and the driver slowed down to peer out of her water-streaked window, the girl smiled, displaying ruined teeth inside a blackened and burned mouth – almost as if she had swallowed a burning acidic poison.
The ghost stories have continued for years, often recounting such frightening details as the spectral girl’s short brown hair or the terrifying burns around her mouth and lips. Is this chilling specter that of Marion Lambert, refusing to rest until her case has finally been solved? Or does her ghost still wander in search of redemption for taking her own life on that bitter February day?
We may never know.
Is it possible that a boy saw the angel of death in his rearview mirror? You might think so after hearing what followed his sighting.
We’ll look at the Native American legend of the skinwalker, but with a slight twist – this version apparently can control you with its mind.
And Weirdo family member Jacque Sicks tells about a sleepover with friends that will leave them sleepless for years.
These stories when Weird Darkness returns.
ANGEL OF DEATH IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR=====
So this took place around 21 years ago. My cousin, who was 24 at the time, was out for a drive one night and when he came home he was spooked by something that had happened. He told his mum, and as he often played a lot of pranks and would like to joke around, his mum didn’t want to believe it and told him to stop trying to scare her.
What he had told her was that when he was out for a drive that evening, he looked in his rearview mirror and saw what looked like a man standing in the middle of the road. He stopped the car as he was concerned the man was lost or needing help as there was nothing close by, and no other vehicle in sight which he could have travelled in. It was simply just a long stretch of road. When he got out his car he noticed the man was no longer there, so he shouted out things such as, ‘are you OK?’, ‘do you need any help?’. There was no response and my cousin couldn’t understand where the man could have gone. As a result, he got back into his vehicle and as he was about to drive away he looked in his rearview mirror again and saw the man standing in the same original spot. He told his mum that his heart started to race and he pressed on the gas and left as quickly as he could.
I’m not sure if this was the next day or within the same week, but my cousin’s brother noticed that the neighbour’s dog was howling a lot recently and he joked and said, ‘oh no I hope that isn’t a sign of death coming’ (both brothers had a bit of a dark humour). Again, the mum said please stop joking like this… God forbid.
Following these events, the mother woke up one morning and could not stop crying. She lay on her son’s bed (the one who was out on the drive that evening) and she hugged him from the back while crying her heart out. He joked and said, ‘Mum, that’s no way to wake someone up’. She told him that she was getting a bad feeling.
The next day my cousin was out for a drive again. That day, the police came knocking on the door and informed my auntie and uncle that their son had died in a car accident.
Till this day our hearts are breaking as it was such a tragic loss.
After this heartbreaking event, his mum told us what he had been scared of that day when he saw the figure on the road, and the events that occurred in the same week. I have since wondered what it could have been and if it means anything?
In some myths of the Algonquian tribes of North America, there is a mythological creature – Wendigo – that takes different forms.
It is a cannibal, a monster, when there is nothing left to eat, it starves to death. When it sees something, it wants to own it. No one else can have anything. This illness feeds on a spiritual void.
The Wendigo is a danger that surrounds us. It is not only a creature from myths and legends of the ancients.
The Algonquian Native Americans represent the most extensive and numerous North American groups, with hundreds of tribes speaking several related dialects of the language group, Algonkian.
They lived in most of the Canadian territory below the Hudson Bay and between the Atlantic Ocean and the Rocky Mountains.
Their rich mythology and their beliefs survived many generations and so did the Wendigo, a monster and bogeyman.
This cannibal monster (also known as Windigo or even Widjigo), is an evil man-eating spirit. However, his abilities and evil doings vary depending on the locality where the legends were gathered.
Generally, the wendigo has certain characteristics of a human or an evil spirit. By possessing a human being, the wendigo can change his or her to become a cannibal.
The Wendigo – a malevolent, supernatural being – is associated with cannibalism, murder and voracious greed and this kind of behavior has always been condemned in these indigenous communities.
In some myths and legends of the Algonquin-speaking peoples, those who commit sins such as selfishness, greed, or cannibalism, are turned into a Wendigo – as punishment.
Among the peoples of Canada, around the Berens Lake, located in Manitoba, Canada, along the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg the Wendigo is an amphibious being like an alligator with bear’s feet or cloven hooves.
In the beliefs of the Chippewa Indians, also known as the Ojibwe, this evil creature is an ogre, which is focused on children to obtain their compliant behavior. Along with other indigenous tribes such as Eastern Cree, Westmain Swampy Cree, Naskapi, and Innu, the Ojibwe descrive the wendigo as a giant, many times larger than human beings.
In Algonquian folklore, however, the Wendigo is the spirit of a lost hunter who now mercilessly preys upon humans in a cannibalistic manner.
The Wendigo is never happy; he is never satisfied with his killings and consuming of the bodies; he is constantly searching for new victims. His hunger is limitless.
As we said earlier, when there is nothing left to eat, it starves to death. When it sees something, it wants to own it. No one else can have anything. This illness feeds on a spiritual void.
The Wendigo is a danger that surrounds us. It is not only a creature from myths and legends of the ancients.
But for the Navajo and other tribes of the Southwest, the tales of skinwalkers are not mere legend. Many are convinced these evil creatures are real.
Native Americans’ belief in skinwalkers has survived until today and remains especially strong among the Navajo and Quileute Indians.
The Wendigo is not the only evil shapeshifter mentioned in Native American mythology. Another fearsome creature is the skinwalker.
Skinwalkers are regarded as very dangerous. They are cursed, evil humans who use magic to change shape. Basically, it’s a creature that is created via supernatural rituals.
Although the being resembles an animal it is essentially a spirit-based doppelganger of a shaman. The skinwalker is sometimes described as an evil with that using supernatural powers transforms into an animal, like for example a coyote, owl, fox, wolf or crow.
There are countless legends about the skinwalkers who are undoubtedly one of the most feared creatures among Native Americans.
“In the American Southwest, the Navajo, Hopi, Utes, and other tribes each have their own version of the skinwalker story, but basically they boil down to the same thing—a malevolent witch capable of being transformed into a wolf, coyote, bear, bird, or any other animal.
The witch might wear the hide or skin of the animal identity it wants to assume, and when the transformation is complete, the human witch inherits the speed, strength, or cunning of the animal whose shape it has taken,” Colm A. Kelleher writes on the book Hunt for the Skinwalker,
The Navajo regard skinwalkers as evil and they are convinced these beings do exist. The Indians fear the skinwalkers so much that they refuse to discuss them publicly for fear of retribution. It is believed that skinwalkers move freely about the tribe. They cannot be noticed because and go their human shape is often devoid of any markings or signals that would expose them.
One of the reasons why the skinwalkers are considered so frightening is because they possess the ability to kill a person with just one look. It’ possible to recognize a skinwalker by looking into the creature’s eyes that give off a strange luminescence, but as soon as you confront their gaze you die. In Navajo mythology, skinwalkers, also known as Yenaldooshi are shamans and necromancers who spread sickness by means of a powder made from corpses.
In the book, The Supernatural Book of Monsters, Spirits, Demons, and Ghouls author Alex Irvine explains that “the yenaldooshi gains supernatural power by violating a serious cultural taboo, in this case murdering a relative.”
Skinwalkers are believed to be very violent and physical strong. They can attack not humans, but also vehicles and they can run sixty miles per hour.
“The Navajo skinwalkers use mind control to make their victims do things to hurt themselves and even end their lives,” writes Doug Hickman, a New Mexico educator. “The skin- walker is a very powerful witch. [It] can run faster than a car and can jump mesa cliffs without any effort at all,” Kelleher explains.
According to the Navajo, a skinwalker can die, but these evil beings are very difficult to catch. One can track down a skinwalker and uncover its true identity but killing the creature is not easy. It can be done though by pronouncing the evil skinwalker’s name of the in full. When it happens, the skilwalker can become sick and eventually die.
STORY: SLUMBER PARTY OF HORROR=====
Weirdo family member Jackie Sicks sent us our final story…
A few years back, I had a couple of my girl friends over during spring break. We spent the day kind of messing around. Movies, popcorn, girl talk. Nothing too crazy. We stayed up kind of late watching a scary movie, Texas chainsaw massacre of course. After the movie ended, we went upstairs to my bedroom. I had an air mattress all set up for my friends, so the three of us climbed in and got settled for the night. We giggled for a while, until one by one we fell asleep. I remember being the last one awake, hearing the gentle snores of the girls around me. After eventually dosing off, I remember having an awful dream.
I had walked into my bedroom to get dressed. I was staring into my full length mirror, leaning against the wall at the time, when I noticed the reflection in the mirror wasn’t in sync with my movement. I looked myself in the face, confused and concerned. She, or I was smiling sweetly back at me. She reached out and touched her hand to the mirror. I hesitantly reached up to touch her hand against the cool glass. There was a moment of silence, like a wave of calm had washed over me. When suddenly, she intertwined our fingers and pulled me through the glass. She let me go as I fell onto my stomach into my very same room.
By the time I had scrambled off my stomach, I turned to see her standing on the other side. I panicked and grabbed the mirror off the wall, I shook it hard while yelling at the mirror, yelling at myself. “Where am I? Why are you doing this?” as the mirror shook and bounced against the wall. When I suddenly woke up, sitting up quietly and looking around my room.
It was still dark, my friends were still asleep. I shook it off as a bad dream and settled back down, cursing the scary movies before bed. I fell asleep not too long after finally convincing myself it was just a bad dream.
The next morning my friends and I had gone through our morning routines, and we were all sitting around just talking, when my youngest friend, Summer, said she had gotten really freaked out last night. My other friend and I stopped and looked over at her, sitting shyly on the edge of my bed. We egged her on, poking and prodding to get a further explanation. She eventually shook off whatever unnerved her and she look over at my mirror. “I woke up last night, to a weird noise.” She looked back at us, shook her head and shrugged. “I looked around the room to see what it was, when I saw the mirror shaking against the wall. It wasn’t like a little shake though.”
She stood up and walked over to it, grabbing the sides and pulling it away from the wall, before she shook it, smacking it against the wall, almost slamming it. Exactly like I had shaken it in my dream.
My stomach dropped as she said “It shook like this!” She then leaned it back against the wall and I looked at her in disbelief. I went on to tell them about my nightmare.
A little thing to know about this mirror, it just leaned against the wall, sitting gently on the carpet. It was no where near any of us that night, not on the air mattress at least. It was across the room, almost in the corner on the wall that shared my bed, that no one had slept in that night. We all sat uncomfortably for a moment, before I got up and grabbed that mirror. I marched it out of my room and stuck t in my grandma’s room down the hall.
To this day that mirror makes me uncomfortable. I eventually took it to my new apartment and hung it by the front door, firmly bolted to the wall.
Ironically, ever since that day, I kind of fell down a rabbit hole of madness. I lost many friends, went through a really tough time in my life, bounced between houses. Here there, everywhere. It’s almost as if I’m trapped in the “bad side” of the mirror. Every time something weird/shitty happens in my life, I’m brought back to that nightmare. It’s constantly in the back of my mind. I’m going home to sage it tonight. Wish me luck.
Thanks for listening. If you like the show, please share it with someone you know who loves the paranormal or strange stories, true crime, monsters, or unsolved mysteries like you do! You can email me anytime with your questions or comments at email@example.com. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find all of my social media, listen to free audiobooks I’ve narrated, visit the store for Weird Darkness t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, phone cases, and more merchandise, sign up for monthly contests, find other podcasts that I host, and find the Hope in the Darkness page if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or dark thoughts. Also on the website, if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, you can click on TELL YOUR STORY. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
All stories in Weird Darkness are purported to be true (unless stated otherwise) and you can find source links or links to the authors in the show notes.
“The Girl In The Snow” by Troy Taylor for American Hauntings Ink
“Angel of Death In The Rearview Mirror” by Zarza at YourGhostStories.com
“Mind Controlling Skinwalker” by Ellen Lloyd and A. Sutherland for Ancient Pages
“Slumber Party of Horror” by Jacque Sicks, submitted directly to Weird Darkness
WeirdDarkness® – is a production and trademark of Marlar House Productions. Copyright, Weird Darkness.
Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… 1 Corinthians 1:25 = “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”
And a final thought… “If you stay positive good things and good people will be drawn to you.”
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.