Monday, July 03, 2006

Chupacabra

The chupacabra (or chupacabras) is a creature said to inhabit parts of the Americas. It is associated particularly with Puerto Rico (where it was first reported), Mexico, and the United States, especially in the latter's Latin American communities.

The name translates literally from Spanish as "goat-sucker". It comes from the creature's reported habit of attacking and drinking the blood of livestock. Physical descriptions of the creature vary. Sightings began in Puerto Rico in the early 1990s, and have since been reported as far north as the Carolinas, and as far south as Chile.

Though some argue that the chupacabras may be real creatures, mainstream scientists and experts generally contend that the chupacabra is a legendary creature, or a type of urban legend.

History

The legend of el chupacabra began in about 1992, when Puerto Rican newspapers El Vocero and El Nuevo Dia began reporting the killings of many different types of animals, such as birds, horses, and as its name implies, goats. At the time it was known as El Vampiro de Moca since some of the first killings occurred in the small town of Moca. While at first it was suspected that the killings were done randomly by some members of a Satanic cult, eventually these killings spread around the island, and many farms reported loss of animal life. The killings had one pattern in common: each of the animals found dead had two punctured holes around their necks.

Soon after the animal deaths in Puerto Rico, other animal deaths were reported in other countries, such as the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Panama, Peru, Brazil, the United States and, most notably, Mexico.

Both in Puerto Rico and Mexico, "el chupacabra" gained urban legend status. Chupacabra stories began to be released several times in American and Hispanic newscasts across the United States, and chupacabra merchandise, such as t-shirts and baseball caps, were sold.

The chupacabra is generally treated as a product of mass hysteria, though the animal mutilations are sometimes real. Like many cases of such mutilations, however, it has been argued that they are often not as mysterious as they might first appear, and in fact, in a series of tests showcased by the National Geographic Channel in a show about the chupacabra, pointed to the obvious conclusion that every single "animal mutilation" can be explained by either people killing them or, more likely, other animals eating them. The loss of blood may be explained by insects drinking it.

Sightings

Certain South American rain forest natives believe in the "mosquito-man", a mythical creature of their folklore that pre-dates modern chupacabras sightings. The mosquito-man sucks the blood from animals through his long nose, like a big mosquito. Some say mosquito-man and chupacabras are one and the same.[citation needed]

Notable sightings in the United States include one reported by multiple eye-witnesses in Calaveras County, California, and at a recent birthday celebration of a Development Team member of a local charity in Houston, Texas.[citation needed] According to these reports, the creature was sighted for the first time in the early to mid 1990s, harming animals of different species. However, it is now thought that the people did this themselves.[citation needed]

In July of 2004, a rancher near San Antonio, Texas, killed a hairless, dog-like creature which was attacking his livestock. This creature is now known as the Elmendorf Creature. It was later determined to be a canine of some sort, most likely a coyote, with demodectic mange. In October of 2004, two animals which closely resemble the Elmendorf creature were observed in the same area. The first was dead, and the second was noticed by a local zoologist who was called to identify the animal while she was travelling to the location where the first was found. Specimens were studied by biologists in Texas. The creatures are thought to have been canines of undetermined species with skin problems and facial deformities.[citation needed]

The chupacabra has often been spotted in Michigan. A recent sighting occurred in Grand Haven, when a forty-two year old man claimed he saw it suck the blood out of a cat.[citation needed]

A famous appearance in the city of Varginha, Brazil, (the "Varginha incident") is sometimes attributed to the chupacabra, although cryptozoologists more frequently associate the incident with extraterrestrials. In 1997, an explosion of chupacabra sightings in Brazil were reported in Brazilian newspapers. One report came from a police officer, who claimed to get a nauseous feeling when he saw a dog-like chupacabras in a tree.[citation needed]

Recently, there has been a surge of chupacabra sightings in the United States, specifically in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and outside of the Philadelphia area. However, controversy exists whether these chupacabras sightings are legitimate. Some contend that this chupacabra is simply a beagle named Sophie Peanuts.Washington PostPhiladelphia Inquirer

In April of 2006, MOSNEWS.com, reported that the chupacabra was spotted for the first time in Russia. Reports from Central Russia as far back as March 2005 tell of a beast that kills animals and sucks out their blood. 32 turkeys were killed and drained overnight. Reports later came from neighboring villages when 30 sheep were killed and had their blood drained. Finally eyewitnesses were able to describe the chupacabra. This May experts are determined to track the animal down. The article can be read here Chupacabra Article.

Supposed appearances

Descriptions of the physical appearance of each specimen can resemble descriptions of other reports, or be completely different from other chupacabra descriptions. Differences in descriptions are too wide to be attributed to differences in the perceptions of the observers, causing cryptozoologists to speculate that chupacabra reports may in fact be attributable to several species. Although they have different appearances, chupacabra descriptions have several common traits. They are typically described as being 3 ft. (1 m) or taller, and roughly humanoid in shape.

Usually, chupacabras are said to appear in three specific forms:

  • The first and most common form is a lizard-like being, appearing to have leathery or scaly greenish-gray skin and sharp spines or quills running down its back. This form stands approximately 3 to 4 feet (1 to 1.2 m) high, and stands and hops in a similar fashion to a kangaroo. In at least one sighting, the creature hopped 20 feet (6 m). This variety is said to have a dog or panther-like nose and face, a forked tongue protruding from it, large fangs, and to hiss and screech when alarmed, as well as leave a sulfuric stench behind.
  • The second variety bears a resemblance to a wallaby or dog standing on its hind legs. It stands and hops as a kangaroo, and it has coarse fur with greyish facial hair. The head is similar to a dog's, and its mouth has large teeth.
  • The third form is described as a strange breed of wild dog. This form is mostly hairless, has a pronounced spinal ridge, unusually pronounced eye sockets, teeth, and claws. This animal is said to be the result of interbreeding between several populations of wild dogs, though enthusiasts claim that it might be an example of a dog-like reptile. The account during the year 2001 in Nicaragua of a chupacabra's corpse being found supports the conclusion that it is simply a strange breed of wild dog. The alleged corpse of the animal was found in Tolapa, Nicaragua, and forensically analyzed at UNAN-Leon. Pathologists at the University found that it was just an unusual-looking dog. There are very striking morphological differences between different breeds of dog, which can easily account for the strange characteristics.

Some reports claim the chupacabra's red eyes have the ability to hypnotize and paralyze their prey—leaving the prey animal mentally stunned, allowing the chupacabra to suck the animal's blood at its leisure. The effect is similar to the bite of the vampire bat, or of certain snakes or spiders that stun their prey with venom. Unlike conventional predators, the chupacabras sucks all the animal's blood (and sometimes organs) through a single hole or two holes.

Many residents of South America have reported sightings of La Chupacabra, and although various, the descriptions share some significant likenesses. In many reports, accounts include the visible inflation of the stomach region, after La Chupacabra has been feeding. The appearance of the animal changes when an internal bladder-like organ fills with the blood of its prey. Furthermore, with almost all the reported sightings witnesses have reported large portruding fangs. These fangs are suspected to be hollow and be the vehicles for the blood on which it feeds.

Theories

  • It has been described as similar to gargoyles, so it has been theorized that the creatures were seen in Medieval Europe. According to this theory, gargoyles were carved to resemble chupacabras, to keep the public afraid of any place with gargoyles.
  • Some cryptozoologists speculate that chupacabras are alien creatures. Chupacabras are widely described as otherworldly, and, according to one witness report, NASA may be involved with this particular alien's residency on earth. The witness reported that NASA passed through an area in Latin America, with a trailer that was thought to contain an incarcerated creature.[citation needed]Others speculate that the creature is an escaped pet of alien visitors that wandered off while its master was visiting Earth.
  • Some people in the island of Puerto Rico believe that the chupacabras were a genetic experiment from some United States' government agency, which escaped from a secret laboratory in El Yunque, a mountain in the east part of the island.
  • Some superstitious people with high levels of imagination might be seeing something innocous, like a dog in shadows, and think it's something else.
  • Mass hysteria

In fiction

  • In episode 1-01 ("Dia de los Dangerous") of The Venture Bros., the chupacabra is said to be an urban legend at first, but appears later in the episode; after it was disposed by Brock Samson, Dr. Venture asked, "What the hell was that?!?" and Brock replies "Chupacabra, Mexico's crawling with them."
  • The episode "El Mundo Gira" of the TV series X-Files is about a man believed to be El Chupacabras (an issue of the Topps comic book based on the FOX series also featured the chupacabras).
  • In November of 2005 the Sci-Fi Channel aired a movie called Chupacabras, about a beast killing on a cruise ship.
  • An episode of Dexter's Laboratory had the Chupacabras as one of Dexter's experiments (which he named Charlie) that escaped to South America. Throughout the episode, Dexter could not remember the creature's purpose until the end, when he realized that he created Charlie to scare Dee Dee.
  • In an episode of Jackie Chan Adventures, the Chupacabras only came out at night, and attacked the live-stock in its area. If the Chupacabras bit or scratched a person, he or she would become a chupacabra, similar to the mythical Werewolf.
  • Canadian punk-pop bank Chixdiggit recorded a song named "Chupacabra".
  • Psychedelic Welsh rockers the Super Furry Animals released a song called "Chupacabras" on their 1997 album "Radiator".
  • The experimental rock band M.I.R.V. has a song titled "Chupacabras" on the album "Feeding Time on Monkey Island".
  • A monster named El Chupanibre appeared in an episode of the TV Series Futurama. It was portrayed as a large bipedal/primate like reptile which lived in the sewers and preyed on mutants.
  • In an episode of Maya & Miguel, the twins claimed that they had a Chupacabras as a pet, and tried to trick the whole town into believing them, before realizing that the real chupacabra was there.
  • In an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Billy found a supernatural video documentary on the Chupacabras which summoned the chupacabra from the T.V. screen to suck out the viewer's brain.
  • In Scooby Doo and the Monster of Mexico, the gang attempted to track down a chupacabra which was terrorising Veracruz and the nearby villages. instead of the correct reptilian beast, a bigfoot was incorrectly used.
  • In an episode of Mucha Lucha, The Flea tried to use a hair grow formula to sport a new hairstyle, and ended up being mistaken for the chupacabra, angering the real chupacabra, which resulted in a fight.
  • In an early episode of Red vs Blue, "Chupathingy" (a derivative of "Chupacabra") is suggested as a name for the Warthog.
  • In the episode "Game Slave 2" of Invader Zim, Gaz told Dib that there was a chupacabra in the parking garage of the mall to get rid of him, to which Dib replied, "But there isn't a goat to feed on for miles."
  • In an episode of American Dad, Stan and daughter Hayley engaged in back-and-forth insults, with Stan eventually resorting to calling Hayley "Chupacabra!" Hayley's response was to ask "I'm the Mexican Bigfoot?"
  • The chupacabra was mentioned in the 2006 iTunes Video Podcast of "Ask a Ninja, Deciding like a Ninja."
  • A comic book version of The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror featured a story of a chupacabra that escaped Professor Frink's lab and killed off almost all of the regulars at Moe's Tavern.
  • In the episode "Bite Me" of Charmed, while looking in the Book of Shadows for a creature that flies and bites (later found to be a Vampire), Piper found an entry for chupacabra, which said that while Chupacabra's fly and bite, they only attack livestock.
  • In an issue of The Onion, an online satirical newspaper, there was a fictional article by the president of Mexico, Vincente Fox, titled, "The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is The Chupacabra."
  • In the short story "Kiss" by Steve Berman, the Chupacabra plays a role in a young gay man's search for his own identity.
  • In the book "The House of the Scorpion" by Nancy Farmer, the stories about the chupacabra are used to frighten the protagonist as a young child so that he will not leave the house at night.
  • In the horror anthology "Tropical Tales of Terror" by writer Roberto Guzman (published by Bookman publishing (www.bookmanmarketing.com) in 2004) the short story "The Elderly Xeno Hawks of El Yunque" suggested that the chupacabras legend was based on a hidden race of intelligent creatures descended from prehistoric hawks.
  • The chuapabra appears quite frequently in the Castlevania series of videogames

most commonly encountered in underground areas and attack by sticking out an elongated tongue

Naming convention

"Chupacabra" can be roughly translated as "goat-sucker." It is known as both "chupacabras" and "chupacabra" throughout the Americas, with the former probably being the original word, and the latter a better regularization of it. The name can be preceded by the masculine definite article ("el chupacabras"), or the plural masculine article ("los chupacabras").

The term was supposedly coined by Puerto Rican television personality Silverio Pérez, who intended the name to be a joke. This claim is doubtful, since the word had already been used in Michael Crichton's 1990 novel Jurassic Park, making an earlier origin more likely.

Hoaxed Chupacabras photo

The hoaxed chupacabra museum photo.

The hoaxed chupacabra museum photo.

At the height of the chupacabra craze, there were many "Goatsucker Home Pages" on the Internet. The web site of radio host Art Bell posted an alleged photograph of a living chupacabra, depicting a creature later exposed as a statue from a museum exhibit.

(Via Wikipedia.)

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