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this is an essay entry in:

My Strangest Encounter with a Person, Place, or Thing in the West view contest page »

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Skin-Walker

by EAnglin — Jul 26, 2010
19 vote
2

A spirit medium describes her strangest experience of paranormal activity in the west.

I will not travel the shortcut road from Dolores to Durango through Mancos again, if I can help it.

My decision is not based on any particular frailty of my own in regards to either facing or naming the unknown forces of the paranormal, the misanthropic spiritual entities, or the historical, culturally misunderstood, ephemeral beings existing in the half-light realms, barely visible in linear time and space.

I have no problems with aliens, serpent demons, hamadryads, or their ilk.
I do have a problem with the thing that tried to attach itself to our car on the road from Dolores to Durango, Colorado - on the shortcut through Mancos.

On this particular trip I was a passenger in a friend’s jeep. Normally I drive a truck that has been blessed by an Apache medicine man. It has a feather, a precious gift from that medicine man, hanging from the rear view mirror, as well as other more covert objects of spiritual protection placed throughout the cab, along with more overt forms of physical protection – like the tire iron.

My truck is not decked out in so many forms of spiritual protection because I am afraid. I am not. My job leads me to have contact with more dead people on a monthly basis than most people have in an entire lifetime. Because of the work I do as an evidential spirit medium, work very similar to shamanism, I am prone to acknowledge the disembodied when I meet them. This makes the disembodied more interested in meeting me. The protection in my truck is really only for the disembodied who are miserable and want company. Luckily, those are few and far between.

My friend driving the jeep past Mancos on this occasion is also a spirit medium. We have both done professional work in science and engineering. We are not spiritual “believers.” We are experiment doers, data collectors and reporters. We have to experience things, usually several times, before we form an opinion one way or the other about them.
She becomes aware of the thing first, while I am still trying to figure out why the hairs on the back of my neck have suddenly stood on end, my blood stream coursing with the chemicals of alarm.

“What is that?!?” She turns to me, her face half twisted in newly felt terror.

I look. Using my skills, I focus on ‘seeing’ what it is that we are reacting to. I see a dark, malevolent form behind us, following us, trying to get into the jeep. I then focus on ‘seeing’ the specifics of this dark, malevolent form. What I see is hair-less, it has a dark gaping mouth of pointy, canine teeth, and yellow eyes that are intent, piercing and mean. It has yellowed, dirty fingernails extending long boney fingers until they are almost twice their natural length, and it is hungry.

The Apache medicine man who blessed my truck had once told me about the ways of skin-walkers when I admitted that I had long ago unknowingly been attacked by “something” just after I had hiked across a New Mexico ranch to an Anasazi ruin and picked up a potsherd to take home. I told him I had found it far easier to return the potsherd to the ruin than it was to remove the hairless, long nailed, long fingered, energy sucking entity attached to the center of my abdomen that came home with it.

“Skin-walkers don’t like people to become powerful.” He explained. “If they see you out there with a big light of love (power) around you – they will try to do something bad to you, to make you power-less.” I recognized his knowledge. The “thing” from the ruin had arranged for some very bad things to happen to me before I managed to become aware of it and remove it.

“Oh, Shit.” I gasp.

“What?” Her voice hits a higher pitch.

“It’s a skin-walker.” I answer.

“What’s it doing?” She asks, just before her foot hits the accelerator.

“Attacking our car.”

“Why?” My friend whines. At this point she is driving nearly ninety miles an hour.

“So we will crash.” I answer.

“It might be a good idea to take your foot off the accelerator and look out for deer.” I add.

She takes her foot off the gas and seems to work hard at willing herself to drive the speed limit. I think to myself, “Two spirit mediums in one jeep. I’ll bet our “light” looked really big to this creep while we were giggling our way down the road.”

“Do something!” she is panicked. We are both aware that the thing has now attached itself by its long fingernails to the jeep, and is slowly clawing its way forward, toward us, on top of the vehicle.

My Protestant spiritual upbringing kicks in. I start reciting “The Lord’s Prayer.”

“Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…”

After several repetitions, the skin-walker losses his grip and slips backwards off of the jeep.

Thinking we are finally clear, my friend speeds up to eighty miles an hour to pass a truck in front of us.

A mule deer walks into our lane, stops, and looks at us.

We miss hitting it by a hair.

The Skin Walker
Rob Corkran
Rob Corkran
Aug 04, 2010 11:04 PM
This story has convinced me I am not picking up any shards of pottery.
Strangeness rating
Rob Corkran
Rob Corkran
Aug 13, 2010 12:28 PM
If you read all the essays, maybe you should give each a strangeness rating. If we count stars up to four for the most strange story, this is no doubt, one of the few stories in this collection which is four stars. If you try imagining any of these stories as a movie scene, would not this one be the one you would see on the big screen?