Many of the stories you still see today are inspired directly and indirectly from various myths. For the 2015 A-Z Challenge, I'm going to share mythology from all over the world - myths that are familiar and obscure.
I've seen several interesting supernatural/horror novels come out the last few years that give their own spin to the Skin-Walker tales. With its roots in Native American culture, I find the myth not just fascinating, but pretty terrifying.
Skin-Walkers originate from the Navajo, and they are not actually monsters. They're shaman who've developed enough power to shape-shift into other creatures and want to kill other people.
Okay, so maybe they are monsters. To the Navajo, they're more like evil sorcerers.
Skin-Walkers tended to shift into: coyotes, owls, foxes, crows, and wolves. These are all animals that were mostly associated with fear within the Navajo tribe. The transformed Skin-Walkers would often attempt to gain entry into someone's home, although they must be invited in (i.e. vampires and the Black Eyed-Kids).
They have the power to read human thoughts too.
Skin-Walkers were also known to use corpse dust to kill its targets. Corpse dust was finely powdered infant bones that would be blown into the face of the victim, and the poor person would start to have seizures before dying.
The only way to kill a Skin-Walker was to successfully track one down and then say their correct, full name. Three days later, the Skin-Walker will get sick and die as punishment for his sins.