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El Chupacabra - Cryptid Vampires of Latin America
Have You Heard of El Chupacabra?
Have you ever heard of a strange, blood-sucking creature called el chupacabra? We may think that we know everything that there is to know about our planet Earth, but in fact there is still a great deal for us to learn. New species are regularly being found in the remoter, less explored parts of the world, and it is said that we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the depths of our oceans. However, there are reportedly some strange creatures and monsters roaming our world today that have so far not been positively identified by science. These beasts are known as cryptids, and one of the newer cryptids to spring onto the scene is known as el chupacabra, a fearsome beast that attacks farm stock and drains them of their blood. Many cryptid sightings have been reported for centuries, such as the Yeti and various lake monsters, but el chupacabra only hit the media and started to be discussed in 1995. So what started these stories and where did this blood-sucking monster come from?
First El Chupacabra Sightings in Puerto Rico
Reports of el chupacabra attacking, killing and draining the blood of farm animals started in Puerto Rico in March 1995, when eight sheep were found with what were to become known as the typical wounds inflicted by one of these beasts, which are small circular incisions that look like they have been made by sharp teeth and the corpse being drained of blood. Having a vampire in your backyard does not tend to go down well with the local population, so the story soon spread and in August of that same year a lady called Madelyne Tolentino reported seeing a chupacabra in the town of Canóvanas at a time when around 150 animals were found dead and mutilated. The early descriptions of this creature were that it was around the size of a large, solidly built monkey or dog and that it had a row of spines running the length of its back from its neck to the base of its spine. It was a strange beast that needed an identity and the Puerto Rican businessman and comedian, Silverio Pérez, coined the name ‘el chupacabra’, which literally means ‘goat sucker’ as it was the unfortunate goat population of the island that was supposedly taking the biggest hit from the blood sucking varmint.
Sightings of the Goat Sucker Spread to Latin America
Sightings of el chupacabra soon started to be reported in Mexico and then spread into South America as far south as Chile and into the United States where there have been reported sightings as far north as Maine. However, in the US there still seems to be a link between reported sightings of this mythical blood-sucking beast and areas that have a large Hispanic population, and the belief and fear of the chupacabra seems to have really penetrated deeply into the psyche of these communities and it have been tagged as the ‘Bigfoot of the Latin culture’. Also in the US there has been confusion as to whether some of the attacks on livestock have been down to chupacabra depredation or whether the animals were actually the victims of the equally mysterious ‘cattle mutilations’ phenomenon, where often quite large numbers of cattle or other farm animals have been found dead often having had their blood drained and their organs excised.
What Does El Chupacabra Look Like?
And as the range of the cryptid expanded, so did the variations of its description and behaviour. There have been el chupacabra sightings where the beast was described as a resembling a gargoyle or strange humanoid, some have feathers and could fly and some could bounce and jump great distances. In fact, one of the descriptions often used is that it looked like a strange type of kangaroo. There are also huge variations in the type of skin and hair covering that the chupacabra have, as some reports say that they are completely covered in hair, some that they are totally smooth and hairless, some that the skin is mottled and reptilian, and others that they are only hairy on certain parts of their bodies. The physical characteristics that have been most agreed on are that the creature possesses large glowing eyes that are red or orange in colour, generally walk on two legs although quadruped sighting have been reported, have fearsomely sharp teeth and claws and have the signature spines running down their back. To add to its already fearsome reputation, some of those who have experienced a chupacabra sighting have said that they have a very strong smell like rotten eggs or sulphur, so have these cryptids really sprung straight from the pits of hell itself?
Do You Believe in El Chupacabra?
El Chupacabra Theories
So could a blood sucking monster really have sprung out of nowhere in 1995? Let’s have a look at some of the theories that have been doing the rounds about where el chupacabra came from?
Alien Pet – wherever you get an unidentified creature, you are going to find claims that the beast is an alien. The appearance of the chupacabra has been likened to that of an extraterrestrial race commonly known as the ‘Greys’, because of its oval head and large, staring eyes. Could this beast be an alien pet that got left behind when the mother ship went home?
Result of a Genetic Experiment – again almost inevitably there are conspiracy theories going around that the chupacabra is the result of genetic experiments undertaken by US scientists. Some believe that these experiments involved crossing an alien with a terrestrial species and were undertaken by NASA. In Puerto Rico where the legend of the chupacabra was born, it is rumoured that the beasts had escaped from a secret US government research facility in the mountains of El Yunque in the east of the island. There is also a scientist in South America who has asserted that they are a type of giant vampire bat, which kind of mirrors the story that the novelist Justin Cronin tells in his novel ‘The Passage’. Interestingly, there have been reports of fossil giant vampire bats being found in several locations in the southern states of the US and Central America.
Diseased Dog or Coyote – it has also been speculated that these mythical beasts are actually no more than diseased dogs or coyotes that are forced to start attacking livestock because, due their illness and weakness, they cannot find food as they usually would. One of the possible conditions these dogs or coyotes could be suffering from is a skin disease called sarcoptic mange where mites that resemble microscopic spiders burrow under the canine’s skin causing great discomfort and itching. Eventually the organs become involved causing the skin and fur to deteriorate further and deformities to develop in the limbs. One such parasite infected coyote was found to be the culprit after a fatal livestock attack in Texas in July 2011, so could this be the answer to the chupacabra mystery?
Hoaxes or Practical Jokes – with any of these things you do, unfortunately, have to consider whether there have been some elaborate hoaxes staged, that have allowed a belief in chupacabra to grow in some communities, so that any strange or unexplained animal death is laid at the door of these blood suckers.
Just An Ordinary Animal – there are also many who think that el chupacabra is just an ordinary, regular animal that has evolved on planet Earth, but hasn’t been identified by scientists yet. It is thought by some to be a close relation of the aye-aye, a species of lemur native to Madagascar, and evolved their blood sucking feeding habits as a totally natural adaptation to survive.
Cryptid Brought to the Americas from Europe – there is also a theory that el chupacabra is a monster that has much earlier origins than 1995, and was in fact a European import shipped in on the Spanish galleons of the Conquistadors. Just like the smallpox and other fatal diseases brought into the Americas by the European invaders, the chupacabra was another killer who found a home and stayed.
Evidence for El Chupacabra
But is there any real evidence for the existence of el chupacabra? In this age of instant media, the internet is awash with photographs, videos and reports of sighting of this mythical beast. There have been corpses found that have been claimed to be those of the blood-sucking monster, but in at least one instance, despite the strange appearance of the carcass found on a ranch outside San Antonio in Texas in 2007, DNA analysis showed it to be the remains of a coyote. Cryptids come in and out of fashion just like clothes and pop stars, and El Chupracabra’s star has dimmed a little in the last couple of years, but there was a recent report in March 2012 from Mexico that the blood- sucking beast had claimed another thirty five victims. A Mexican farmer tending his sheep during the night in the small town of Paracuaro apparently witnessed strange creatures with sharp teeth and wings killing these sheep and leaving the telltale wounds on their necks. So the legend of El chupacabra lives on and no doubt more reports of strange livestock killings will continue to find their way into the press. But will the mystery of this blood-sucking cryptid ever be resolved? Just because some of the slaughter can be attributed to diseased coyotes or packs of wild dogs, does not mean that there isn’t an authentic Chupacabra out there somewhere, hunting in the darks shadows of the night, just waiting to be discovered?
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