Sunday, August 21, 2011

Who you callin' Goat Sucker?


LYRIC O' THE DAY:
I tried to keep her on a short leash
I tried to calm her down
I tried to ram her into the ground
--Seether, Veruca Salt

First order of business is to thank the lovely Laila Knight for this:
I’m thrilled to know that my ramblings amuse at least one other person than just me.  I stumbled upon Laila's blog one day and have been held spellbound ever since.  And she's a Nebraska girl, which means we are both Children of the Corn.  I hope to someday drink lots of Guinness with her and search for fairy mounds.
Speaking of Guinness, the other night I heard something hurling itself against our patio door.  At first I thought it was just our half-blind Siamese getting her grub on--the cat has a tendency to really enjoy her food.  My next thought was that it was a Chupacabra, so I grabbed the first thing I believed to be a weapon.  I stumbled to the window to see a ball of fur that was much larger than my familiar ball of fur.  But before I could dial the National Enquirer, I flipped on the porch light in time to see five pairs of masked eyes staring back at me.  They were playing street hockey with a bag of IAMS cat food using several stripped stalks of corn from our garden.  I tried to scare them away, but apparently me in a tank top and boxers shaking an Elmo slipper is just not that scary.  I think I heard them laughing as they lumbered across the yard into the night.
Damn raccoons.
Our corn is ruined, but I must thank Rocky and his buddies for my inspiration for this Sunday’s mythbusters:  let’s welcome El Chupacabra.
The Chupacabra is mostly a contemporary legend with the majority of reports of its existence beginning in the mid 90s in Puerto Rico.  However, there have been stories of creatures exsanguinating livestock since Coronado’s time.  The modern Chupacabra is felt to be a folkloric descendant of The Moca Vampire, a creature blamed for the gruesome deaths of farm animals in Moca, Puerto Rico in 1975 shortly after a UFO was sighted in the area.  

Coincidence?  I think not.  

The killed animals reportedly exhibited puncture wounds and were drained of their blood.  Apparently the beast had a taste for goat, so many locals referred to it as a “goat sucker.”  Which is far more poetic in the native tongue as “Chupacabra.”  Sightings died down until 1995 when farm animals again were showing up deathly anemic in Canovanas, Puerto Rico.  An eyewitness described seeing a creature so frightening that the mayor of the city led a hunting party in search of it--complete with crucifixes, rifles and a caged goat.  He did not find the creature, but he did get re-elected. 
The first American sighting was in Florida in 1995 when 27 chickens and 2 goats turned up dead near Miami, mutilated and drained of blood.  Chupacabra attacks have since been recorded from Hawaii to NYC to Russia.  In recent years, the Chupacabra has rocketed into Kardashian-esque popularity in terms of paranormal interest.  It even has its own Facebook page.
What is the draw of a creature that rarely attacks a human, but is notorious for killing livestock by draining their blood like a Homo sapiens-sympathizing sparkling vampire?  Perhaps it’s the visual:

Who you callin' goat sucker?
Although there have been many descriptions of the Chupacabra, most say it is a creature about 3 to 4 feet tall with black or red eyes, fangs, pointed ears, a wolfish face, spikes or fins on its back, and if you get close enough, the pleasant aroma of sulfur.  Actually, that sounds a lot like my college advisor.  I will never forgive him; I was supposed to be a theater major, dammit.
In some Central American myth, El Chupacabra can also have bat-like wings and blends into its surroundings by changing color just like a chameleon.  It moves by leaping on powerful hind legs or flying, and often emits a hissing noise when disturbed.  Whoever hears it experiences waves of nausea and pain, and possibly amnesia.  This is what I think it might sound like.  After looking through so many pictures, it’s hard not to think that the Chupacabra may have a relative on the cryptozoological tree, the gargoyle.  Certainly, some eyewitnesses describe the creature as gargoyle-esque.
There are many speculations on the origin of the Chupacabra. One theory is that the creature is the abandoned pet of some extra-terrestrial life form that came to Earth eons ago.  Which means that at some point, the Earth became the Humane society drop-off for irresponsible alien pet owners.  I present as evidence of this theory: 
If Stitch is a Chupacabra I totally want one.

If you like conspiracy theory, there’s the assertion that Chupacabra is a NASA gene manipulation experiment gone bad.  The most vocal supporter of this argument is Jorge Martin, a self proclaimed UFO researcher and Puerto Rican journalist.  Martin claims that a Chinese-Russian scientist named Dr. Tsian Kanchen has done multiple experiments splicing the genetic code of different creatures, creating what he calls Anomalous Biological Entities, or A.B.E's.  Martin--although without corroboration by Dr. Kanchen--has asserted that the Chupacabra is the result of one of these experiments, which should not be confused with R.O.U.S.'s of The Princess Bride notoriety.
Artist's depiction of a Chupacabra from blueroadrunner.com
Rodent of Unusual Size.  Uh, wait a minute. . .something looks familiar.
There are also those concrete thinkers out there who believe El Chupacabra is nothing more than a wild dog or other animal getting an easy meal via livestock.  So far, they may be right.  In 2009, a taxidermist in Blanco, Texas, thought he had a chupacabra--turned out it was a type of hairless dog native to Mexico and Central America called a Xoloitzcuintle.  Also known as a Xolo, this breed is over 3000 years old and was revered by the ancient Aztecs as a sacred animal, charged with leading its owner through the underworld when the time came.  They also raised it for its meat, which tells me that sacred to the Aztecs might not have been all it was cracked up to be.
Please don't eat me!
When carcasses of creatures believed to be Chupacabras have been found and studied, none have revealed a new species.  Most are identified as coyotes or raccoons with mange.  Other unusual creatures that have been accused of being Chupacabras include an albino civet cat with a skin disease and in one case, an ocean skate.  The most recent sighting of a Chupacabra (outside a Maryland hospital) actually ended with the animal being lured into a trap and videotaped.  “Prince Chupa” was described as a kangaroo-rat-dog mix, but was ultimately identified by Maryland Department of Natural Resources as a fox with mange.  Apparently this was the same week that the hospital instituted a smoke-free policy.  Nicotine withdrawal can be a bitch.

Benjamin Radford, a paranormal investigator and deputy editor of the science magazine Skeptical Inquirer, believes he has debunked the myth of the Chupacabra in his book, "Tracking the Chupacabra, The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction and Folklore".  After extensive study of the all of the sightings and stories (including a personal trek in a Nicaraguan jungle to find the critter), Radford traced the physical description of the monster back to Canovanas, Puerto Rico to the original eyewitness account by Madelyne Tolentino.  After talking with her, Radford thought Ms. Tolentino described a creature that was eerily similar to the 1995 human/alien hybrid in Species.  Turns out, she had seen the movie only weeks prior to her run-in with El Chupacabra.  
This is Ms. Tolentino's original description of the creature, thanks to skepdic.com.

And this is Sil from Species.
Could the Chupacabra just be the subliminal creation of one woman’s mind and spread throughout the world by those who want to believe?  Ms. Tolentino was convinced she saw something that day in 1995, but the beast may have been from Hollywood, not from places unknown.

32 comments:

  1. Crazy stuff, I have never heard of a goat-sucker except as a fairly mild form of trash talk. At least I think that's what he said...

    But no matter, really interesting post. I love conspiracy theories, me. Now if we could just find a way to link the chupacabra to the church of Scientology my Sunday would be complete.

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  2. great lyrics! (love that song)
    scary nasty pics! ucky!

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  3. These things are hideous. Myth sounds better than reality.

    Joyce
    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

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  4. Fascinating! And, given my current assignment, a bit inspirational ( have to do a scary drawing) ;)
    What a great post!

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  5. My husband loves to joke around about the chupacabra. He has a t-shirt with a band by the same name that I always used to pinch and wear when we were first married. I'm gonna go dig that thing out of the back of his closet!

    As for the genetic experiments that have gone awry. This reminds me of the author of 'Behold, a Pale Horse.' I believe his name was Bill Copeland. Anyway, he was a speculative theorist who wrote on all kinds of topics though one of his favorites was how the U.S. government was keeping the existence of aliens who had crash-landed to earth who were now in top-secret holding cells from the general public. At the end of his life, he was assassinated, he recanted those assertions and replaced them with the claim that the creatures were not extra-terrestrial in origin but rather genetic mutations devised in labs.

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  6. I certainly don't believe it's a fox with mange.
    Try shaking a Barney slipper at the racoons next time.

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  7. Christine--I do believe goat-sucker will enter my lexicon as an insult now. Actually, if the UFO thing is true, Chupacabras should be the patron saint of the Church of Scientology.

    Tara--I love Veruca Salt. The shear amount of awesome Chupacabra pics on the internet blows the mind.

    Joyce--Yep, not wanting to meet one of these guys in a dark alley. Even if it is just a mangy coyote.

    Elizabeth--I certainly hope this will give you good material to scare the bejeezus out of someone with your project.

    Suze--I read this back around when Oliver Stone's JFK movie came out and all the conspiracy theories were revisited. I remember there was quite a bit of controversy about the actual event surrounding Cooper's death, too.

    Alex--You mean mange can't make you grow bat-like wings and spines on your back? Crap, I rolled around in that fox den for nothing. And Barney is one big, bad, purple mofo.

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  8. The pics alone are enough to cause nightmares! Hehe!

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  9. I loved that! You covered everything. Were they raccoons outside, we don't have them or skunks in the UK?
    Brilliant post!
    Di
    X

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  10. Those mischievous raccoons!
    I'm glad it wasn't a Chupacabra. Elmo would have been dead meat.

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  11. My kids love to torture each other by saying the big El C will get them when they pass by a base near the school. It's become a game from what I've heard.

    As for those pesky furry bandits, boy do they stink when they mess everything up!

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  12. Oh My Gosh! I had a Chupacabra moment this week too :) My kids watched a show about them on the Discovery Channel and now my 6 year old is terrified.

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  13. Sorry about your corn and the laughing raccoons.

    Those pictures are frightening. Well, not Lilo.

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  14. Nisa--Come on, admit it, Stitch is kind of cute.

    YONKS--you don't have raccoons? They're made out to be all cute and cuddly like those cartoon characters, but they are actually pretty feral. They won't be sitting for tea with me any time soon.

    Kelly--I'm thinking Elmo's a lover, not a fighter.

    Alleged--No corn for us this winter unless it's out of the can, I guess. El C will get you must be the new Freddy Krueger chant.

    Angie--I had to keep my little one from looking over my shoulder, too. He's in a phase where he likes to look at scary stuff, but then has bad dreams and ends up curled up next to me at 2 in the morning.

    Theresa--I'm just sadly disappointed that my cat is not a better guardian. What am I saying, she probably was laughing with them.

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  15. Yeah I would've freaked if I saw all those eyes too. BTW...congrats on your award.

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  16. I love raccoon, those masked critters are adorable. (Then again, they can be darn mean too.) But the pictures that you shared on this post - eww. Nasty. And if a goat sucker looks anything like Stitch, keep it away from me... can't stand that little cartoon.

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  17. I always love reading your posts. You make me laugh! I'm still chuckling over "sacred to the Aztecs not all it's cracked up to be." Fascinating theory about a pet from another planet that got left behind! That's a pretty cool theory. I hadn't heard that before. Makes me want to write a story...

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  18. Sightings of Chupacabras make the news here in San Antonio a few times a year. Amazing how no one has ever caught or killed one.

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  19. ohh chupacabra. Any time anyone finds an animal with mange, it's a chupacabra. Le Sigh.

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  20. OMG, you are hilarious. You made my afternoon, thanks! As for mr. chupa—euww!

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  21. I kinda like the NASA or alien theory myself! Fun stuff :)

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  22. Though I haven't read anything else on the chucacabra, this was by far the most fun piece I've ever read on that beast. I can't imagine anyone could top this, and I loved your link to the Macarena. Nicely done. Great details.
    xoRobyn

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  23. Copyboy--Thank you! I was spazzing when I saw them, I'm a coward at heart.

    Aleta--how can you hate on Stitch? He surfs! He's Hawaiian! He's an alien! What's not to love?

    Jennie--the more I read about what happened to sacred things (i.e. animals and virgins) the less I want to be either one.

    Carol--It's like the yeti--so many people see it, but why don't we ever find a carcass? Maybe when a Chupacabra dies, it turns to dust, like a vampire.

    Falen--There's still hope it's an alien. With mange.

    Linda--Glad to give you something fun to read! Chupa is kind of growing on me. Even the ugly need love.

    Jemi--If they can clone a sheep, it's not a far stretch to make a Chupacabra.

    Robyn--Thanks so much! It was a ton of fun to research it. And the Macarena will steal your soul. Why do you think we have all these reality dance shows now?

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  24. I'm so sorry I'm late. With the Trek thing yesterday it's been impossible to get around. You're very welcome for the award! You deserve it. Unfortunately, Guiness tastes like earwax to me, but would be willing to do Heffenweisen...I know I'm killing that...it's German beer. If you haven't tried it, they sell it at Hyvee. My hair's too dark to be a child of corn. :)

    Siamese getting her grub on..LOL. This is why I love you.

    Goat sucker is an excellent insult guaranteed to camouflage most others...just yell it out the car window one day. A woman's mind can go pretty far in creating many things.

    Darn that creature is ugly. They had something in the news recently about a new critter that could pass for chupacabra. :)

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  25. Great! Something else I don't have repellant for.

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  26. Congrats on your award, it looks like you deeply deserve it along with your fellow bloggers loyalty and admiration. Kisses

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  27. Very entertaining post. Love the pics. I think I've met a few of these creatures before down here in Mexico...;)

    Congrats!

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  28. Absolutely fantastic blog!!! Glad I found it! Love it!!!

    Lola x
    http://lola-x.blogspot.com

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  29. There sure has been a lot of chupacabra in the news lately. They even put it in an episode of Bones.

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  30. I'm not going to get all preachy here, but Carl Sagan's descriptions of Alien and Angel sightings (in his book, A Demon Haunted World, I think) probably make a pretty good rational on the chupacabra sightings as well. I love your posts.

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  31. The older boy has fun telling his younger sister that every creature seen in the bushes around our house is a Chupacabra. She is too smart for him and not buying it though. She got back at him a few weeks ago when a neighbor hid a watermelon in the boy's pumpkin patch. He is still trying to figure out how that be green fruit grew in his little area pumpkins.

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  32. Congrats on your award! I don't know how to ward off Goat Suckers, but I have heard that Coyote Urine is helpful in chasing away raccoons. I have a family living under my deck that I would love to get rid of. Julie

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