The history of mankind is riddled with the weird and the wonderful; bizarre people, strange places and odd events. For centuries, we’ve told each other fantastic stories around campfires and in darkened rooms. Tales of ghosts, UFOs, and conspiracies, but are these stories exactly that: Stories? There’s only one way to find out! Join me as I dive down the rabbit hole and into… the Unexplained Files.
This week: El Chupacabra
Sometime in August 1995, I was a fully paid up member of the Wide Awake Club, which is to say I was no stranger to the curse of insomnia. Hours of lying wide awake when you love sleep as much as I do is horrible, and one trick I'd started using to help me drift back to off to sleep was putting the radio on. The background noise helped divert my attention from whatever thoughts would keep my up at night. So on this night, I'm finally getting drowsy when the top of the hour rolls around. All good, until I heard what remains to this day the single strangest news report to ever seep into my earholes. Farmers in Puerto Rico had found large numbers of their livestock drained of blood, bereft of life, in vampire-like attacks.
A vampire story on Radio 1?! It wasn't April Fool's Day, so what the hell was going on?
No chance of me going back to sleep now! I had to wait until the next news report! Then I could find out more about this mysterious dog-like creature they called "The Chupacabra". When the next hourly news update came at 5am, there was nothing. Not a word.
Now I'm REALLY interested!
So what was it?
According to the report, the Chupacabra (from the Spanish chupar = to suck and cabra = goat (that's right: Goatsucker)) had farmers across Central and South America experiencing huge losses in livestock. Stranger than that, the loss of life was due to an animal that killed, but didn't eat, their animals. In March and August of 1995, there were reported attacks on over 150 farm animals. The news report captured the panic that was spreading around the island like wildfire.
Some even claimed to have seen it. When I heard what they reported it was easy to understand the levels of fear. A reptilian-like body, an oval head with bulging red eyes, and a long, tongue which darted between fanged teeth. Eventually, the panic reached such insane levels that Canóvanas Mayor Jose Soto actually had volunteers hunting the monster every week for just short of a year. Their vigils yielded no success.
Yeah, but what is it really?
Naturally, theories abound. From hysteria induced mistaken identity, to government experiment gone bad. From dogs or coyotes infected with mange, to alien creature. Sightings since 1995 have spread and there have been reports of blood draining animal deaths in the US, Russia, China, the Philippines and Mexico and Peru.
The problem was, the original description of El Chupacabra, from eyewitness Madelyne Tolentino, was remarkably similar to that of monster Sil in the sci-fi/horror film Species. According to Tolentino, Sil was "[A] creature that looked like the chupacabra, with spines on its back and all… The resemblance to the chupacabra was really impressive," which, it has to be said, makes Tolentino's report infinitely less impressive.
But Tolentino was convinced. She said that the creepy monsters and events of Species were actually happening in reality in Puerto Rico.
So? What do you think?
Government experiment gone bad? It did kinda pop up out of nowhere. Who the hell knows what goes on at those top-secret military bases. There are plenty of stories going around of hybrid experimentation, if you care to believe half of what you read on the internet.
For those who don't believe that, then it's not quite so straightforward. I saw one news report where 30 goats had been killed. 30. If it were a regular dog, I'm not sure how he'd get around thirty animals without getting mortally wounded himself, and why he'd kill them if not to eat them.
But of course to counter that, there's the old cryptid argument of 'how come we haven't found a dead one?' There have been a few reports from people claiming to have got their hands on a dead chupacabra. All of which seem to end up being dogs/coyotes with mange.
Is El Chupacabra real?
RATING: 1=Bollocks 2=Not convinced 3=Possibly… 4=Compelling stuff 5=Holy shit it's real
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In this blog I'll be bringing to you short tales of things that go bump in the night, true stories of weird and unexplained events, and the real-life news of all things odd and macabre, and entertain you along the way.