Scary stories to tell on the Rez

The Navajo Reservation is located just north of Flagstaff and has sprawling landscapes and mountains Oct. 25. Occasionally, structures and architecture can be seen amid the desert.

On Native American reservations, there are often no houses for miles, and police officers can take hours to respond to calls. These circumstances make evil acts a likely occurrence. Three NAU students discussed the terrifying experiences they had on the Navajo Reservation.

Sophomore Edwin Mata recalled a story that makes him hesitant to drive at night on the reservation.

As a child, Mata was riding with his father at night on a back road to get to Window Rock, Arizona. Mata and his dad were talking casually when his dad glanced at Mata and started to speed up. Mata was confused and asked his dad what he saw.

“My dad told me not to look out the window and not to look into its eyes,” Mata said. “I wanted to listen, but I had to see what made him so scared.”

Mata did not take the warning and looked out the passenger window. At first, he saw nothing. Then, he looked into the side mirror and saw two glowing, red eyes following their truck. He continued to stare. He noticed the eyes were getting closer to the truck until they came around the right side and eventually disappeared. His dad was still driving fast, trying to get home quickly. Moments later, a creature ran in front of their truck. Mata’s dad swerved out of the way in an attempt to not hit it and nearly drove off the road. He regained control of the truck and tried to drive faster.

Mata said the creature looked like a coyote but was larger and looked deformed. Its gray fur was dirty and matted. Mata said the scariest part was that it was wearing clothes. It wore blue jeans and a black T-shirt that was torn and faded. When they got home, they quickly ran inside and locked all of the doors. They never spoke about what they saw, but Mata said he will never forget the image of the creature.

Sophomore Vernandria Livingston and her family were having a garage sale in Church Rock, New Mexico on the Navajo reservation. She was selling some of the clothes that she had outgrown, and her dad was selling clothes and shoes that he didn’t like anymore.

A man came to their garage sale and seemed very interested in her dad’s clothes, so he bought all of them. Livingston thought this was strange, because the clothes seemed like they would be too big for the man. Several days later, Livingston’s dad started having terrible dreams, and he said what he saw was too scary to tell anyone. After this, he started seeing sores all over his body that itched constantly.

“I was scared and told him to go to the hospital, crying,” Livingston said. “He told me that a doctor couldn’t help him.”

He didn’t bother going to the hospital, and he saw a medicine man instead — someone who practices traditional medicine. The medicine man said these symptoms were not a coincidence. Whoever bought the clothes at the garage sale was responsible for them. That person had used dark magic on Livingston’s father out of jealousy.

The medicine man also knew how to solve the issue. He said the buyer had put something on Livingston’s land to target the family. Near their house, the medicine man dug a hole, and inside he found a bundle of Livingston’s father’s clothes that were soaked in blood. The clothes were tied around a large stone that had strange carvings on them. The medicine man blessed the family and left with the findings. All of Livingston’s problems ended, but she remained skeptical of who she could trust.

Senior Anahí Montelongo Nevarez was driving home with her cousins near Window Rock on the Navajo reservation. Their truck was a single cab, and there were four people, so she sat in the bed of the truck alone. She said she did not mind because it was going to be a short drive, and there was plenty of light from the full moon above. She also did not believe in anything paranormal. To scare Montelongo Nevarez, her cousins turned onto a dirt road with no street lights.

After a couple of minutes, she started to hear a drum playing. She looked around but could not see where it came from. Then from out of the bushes, a man started running toward their car. He was incredibly pale and looked very thin. She started banging on the back window, warning the others of what she saw. The driver stomped on the gas pedal.

The man ran after the truck, and they started to drive faster. The drum was still playing, and it started to play louder and faster. As this continued, the man sped up and began laughing.

“When I heard his laugh, I froze and felt chills all over my body,” Montelongo Navarez said. “I didn’t want to think about what he would do if he caught up to us.”

The group finally made it back to their house. They all ran inside and locked all the doors. They didn’t see the man again. None of them could sleep that night from fright, but they heard footsteps on the roof of the house all night long.

“Everyone on the reservation has some sort of scary story,” Livingston said. “For me, telling them reminds me of home and gives a strange sense of nostalgia. That’s why I like hearing other experiences and seeing whose is scarier.”

No matter where a person lives, many grow up listening to and passing down scary stories. To those who have experienced them, they are real and terrifying memories.