Ep. 34: Skinwalkers


Today we bring you a hybrid episode. Skinwalking in two different ages.

In the first part, we finally deliver on the classic Navajo yenaldooshi. We share the details on how and why a person might gain the evil powers of a Skinwalker, from cannibalism to sibling murder to elaborate skin-suit gizmos. In the second part, we discuss Munchausen by internet: a practice wherein people fake illnesses or even death online for fun and profit. By the end of the episode we draw some interesting lines connecting the ancient magic of animalistic transformation and people who tweet about cancer from sockpuppet accounts.


Skin-walkers and Naguals

Skin-walker via Wikipedia

Selkie via Wikipedia

Navajo Witchcraft” by Clyde Kluckhohn. Beacon Press. Boston. 1967.

Navajo Skinwalker Legend” via navajolegends.org. 2016.

Skin Walkers thread started by ChrisStrickler on the unexplained-mysteries.com forums. Originally posted 23 August 2001. Other posts through 15 November 2005.

Nagual via Wikipedia

Nagualism: A Study in Native American Folk-lore and History” by Daniel G. Brinton. MacCalla & Company Printers. Philadelphia. 1894.  (As an aside: this resource concerning the folklore and practices of various indigenous civilizations throughout the North American Continent is a particularly fascinating read as much of the analysis in its conclusion is couched in the spiritualism of the Late-Victorian era. -J. J.)

Munchausen by Internet

Munchausen by Internet via Wikipedia

Dr. Marc Feldman’s Munchausen Syndrome, Munchausen by Proxy, Malingering, and Factitious Disorder Site. munchausen.com. 2015.

Munchausen by internet can be bad for your health forum” by Marc D. Feldman. http://www.theguardian.com. 19 October 2012.

Munchausen By Internet: Faking Illnesses Online” by Maia Szalavitz. healthland.time.com. 30 November 2012.

Munchausen by Internet: Current Research and Future Directions” by Andy Pulman and Jacqui Taylor.  Journal of Medical Internet Research. 2012 Jul-Aug; 14(4): e115.

Pseuicide via Fanlore.org.

MCY or the zombie yarn that didn’t dye!” by The Teal Deer. thetealdeer.blogspot.com. Originally posted: 4 April 2010. (Note: I recount the jist of this story from memory during the podcast. I have since dug up this account of the Mystical Creations Yarn scandal. It is a more detailed and accurate account. -J.J.)

The Lying Disease” by Cienna Madrid. http://www.thestranger.com. 21 November 2012.

Reports of my death” by Howard Swains. http://www.wired.co.uk. 17 June 2009.

Laurel Rose Wilson via Wikipedia

Additional Resources:

Hoax Hunter: I bust people who fake illnesses online” by Taryn Wright. fusion.net. 14 September 2014.

Music used in this podcast:

Skin Illustration by Polar

Danger by myuu

Munchausen Syndrome (remix) (Katabatic) / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


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