|Powers and Abilities||Can morph into a canine at any time. Superior sense of smell.|
|Appearance||Human or canine|
|Episode(s)||6.08 All Dogs Go to Heaven|
Numerous cultures all over the world believe in some version of a Skinwalker, which is closely related to beliefs about werewolves and other were-creatures. The best documented Skinwalker beliefs are those of the Navajo yenaldooshi. The yenaldooshi are evil human beings who have gained supernatural power by murdering a close relative. The creature travels by night, spreading misery and desecrating holy things. He or she is usually naked, except for a coyote skin. The yenaldooshi is also said to have the power to assume the form of a coyote or other animal.
The yenaldooshi's power comes from its use of corpse powder, which is made from human cadavers. Touching the corpse powder curses a person with sickness or death. This is an inversion pollen usage, which Navajos sprinkle to produce blessings.In Norse folklore, a Skinwalker is a person who can travel in the shape of an animal or take on certain characteristics of an animal. The most well-known example is a warrior who takes on the strength and stamina of a bear, called bear shirt or berserker.
Skinwalkers are humans that can make a complete transformation into a canine. The particular breed of canine seems to vary depending on the person. They are similar to werewolves in that they can be killed with silver, they infect others with a bite, and they like to eat the hearts of their victims; however, their mutations are complete and are not limited by the phases of the moon. Like vampires and, more notably, canines, they seem to have a pack mentality. When they are killed in canine form, they revert back to their human form.
The Alpha Skinwalker was the very first skinwalker and, although not seen, he directs the actions of numerous packs of skinwalkers. Their main objective seems to be infiltrating families disguised as pets and then biting them at a signal in order to create more skinwalkers.
Skinwalkers are the suspected culprits in 1.02 Wendigo and 1.06 Skin, but turn out to be a wendigo and a shapeshifter, respectively, to the point that Dean admitted that he was 'rusty on the lore' when they found themselves facing an actual skinwalker in 6.08 All Dogs Go to Heaven..
Powers and Abilities
- Can transform into their canine alter ego at any time.
- Have a superior sense of smell, even in human form.
- Can infect others with a bite so that they become skinwalkers themselves.
Just got the low-down from Bobby. They can change anywhere, anytime. Skinwalkers infect you with a single bite. Otherwise, they're basically a werewolf cousin -- silver will drop 'em, they chow hearts like snausages.
Crowley wants Sam and Dean to capture another Alpha for him, and he puts them on the trail of deaths he thinks may be linked to the Alpha Werewolf. Finding that Cal Garrigan is a common link between the victims, Sam and Dean suspect that he is a werewolf until he, too, is killed. Cal's girlfriend, Mandy, becomes their next suspect until Sam witnesses the woman's dog, Lucky, change into a man. It seems that Lucky has been killing anyone who threatens Mandy or her son.
Sam chases him, but the man (in dog form) is hit by a car. Sam and Dean take Lucky from the vet hospital, bind him in rope and silver chains to restrain him, and interrogate him. It transpires that the man was homeless when he was approached and recruited to become a skinwalker; he was told that being bitten would make him strong and fast. Lucky then reveals that he knows of about 30 skinwalkers who have been recruited and are living with families as pets. On a signal from their pack leader, they are supposed to infect their families, thus recruiting more skinwalkers. He tells Sam and Dean that there are packs in many towns, but he knows nothing of the Alpha Skinwalker.
Lucky leads Sam and Dean to the pack leader, but he has kidnapped Mandy and her son and threatens to kill them unless Lucky turns them. Sam and Dean attack, and all the skinwalkers are killed except Lucky, who escapes despite being shot with a Silver bullet. Lucky, in human form, then goes to visit Mandy and tell her how much he appreciated her kindness, but she tells him to leave. Lucky transforms into a dog and dejectedly leaves.
Skinwalkers in Lore
In some Native American legends, a skin-walker is a person with the supernatural ability to turn into any animal he or she desires, though they first must be wearing a pelt of the animal to be able to transform. Similar lore can be found in cultures throughout the world and is often referred to as shapeshifting by anthropologists.