By now, most people have heard about a strange new phenomenon known in Spanish as "Chupacabra. The term chupacabra literally means "goatsucker.
Reign of Terror
The victims reportedly have deep puncture marks around the neck or back of the head. Often, much of the blood is drained with no signs of it on the ground. Occasionally, internal organs are missing. There are rarely signs of struggle.
Many of the attacks and sightings have taken place in an area called "El Yunque", a vast impenetrable tract of Puerto Rican jungle set aside as a park. In fact, much of Puerto Rico is dense jungle, areas which could hide many secrets.
In more recent months the chupacabra phenomenon has spread beyond Puerto Rico and is now being reported in Miami, San Antonio, San Francisco, southern California, Costa Rica, Mexico and Brazil.
A Classic Eye-witness Report
The first sighting took place in the second week of August 1995, at 4pm in front of their house in Campo Rico, south-east of San Juan. Her mother was also present in the house at that time.
While in her house, Madeline noticed someone had driven up in front and so went to the window to see who it was. She saw a man who was a neighbour, standing by the passenger side of his car, speaking to a female sitting inside. Suddenly the man stiffened, a startled look on his face as he started backing away from something. Madeline then saw he was staring at a strange creature which was walking down the sidewalk towards him.
The creature stopped right in front of her window, its progress blocked by the man's car which was parked partly on the sidewalk. The creature was no more than 6 feet away. She described it as 3 to 4 feet tall, covered in a coarse dark brown/black hair, wearing no clothing. She did not notice genitalia. Its arms, which it kept pulled up close to its body, were long and thin, ending with three long claws. It had what appeared to her to be a long "comb" of feathers down its back .
It also had several bare circular patches on its skin which were purple in colour and looked as if they were burn marks. Its jaw was prominent, it had a slit for a mouth and two holes for a nose, small ears and large slanted eyes which were grey in colour, lacking the whites. She described the eyes as being moist or gelatin-like. When it moved its head, it seemed to be in slow jerky mechanical motions. The upper body was thin and small and its lower body was thick and strong.
All this transpired in just a few seconds. The startled man jumped into his car and took off in panic. Madeline at this point screamed for her mother. The creature then ran across the street, its feet moving so fast that it appeared they did not touch the ground. It then headed for a small field of high grass next to her husband's auto repair shop.
Trying to catch the creature...
Later, Madeline's husband Miguel admitted to her that he had seen this creature early that same morning but didn't tell her at the time for fear she would think him mad. He said he was starting the engine of his 1984 Chevrolet station wagon. Suddenly, he heard a loud banging noise coming from under the hood and then saw a strange creature running out from under the car. It jumped over a fence and disappeared. He described its running motion much like Madeline did.
When he opened the hood of the car, he noticed all three belts broken.
One of the sheep, a large ram, was missing and the other two, a female and young male were alive but had been badly wounded in the neck area. They appeared to be in shock. Closer examination of the neck wounds revealed multiple punctures. Some of these punctures were deep and a fair amount of blood was found in several corners of the compound. We looked for footprints as well as other evidence but there was nothing obvious. I collected blood and hair samples to be analysed later.
At the time of the attack no one was home, but a retired couple who live next door keep their eyes on the house every day while the owners are away at work. Neither heard or saw anything. They said there was no sound from the sheep nor from the 3 guard dogs which are chained at various locations outside the house. These dogs were not suspect since they could not reach the sheep pen.
Had there been an intruder the dogs would normally have caused a great deal of commotion but for some reason this time, made no sound.
Searching for evidence
Something noxious detected
Experiences similar to this are frequently reported in cases of chupacabra attacks, although an unpleasant odour is usually associated with the breathing difficulties.
One of the scientists looking into the Chupacabra affair phoned me one day at my hotel to say a friend of a friend of hers was very interested in this phenomenon as well as UFOs etc. and would like to talk with me. I said "sure." The friend called the day before I had arranged to interview witnesses Madeline and Jose.
During my conversation with him, he asked if he could come with me to that interview. Since he spoke fluent English as well as Spanish, and Madeline and Jose spoke only Spanish, I agreed. It would make the interview much easier for me. I phoned the couple later to ask if I could bring another person with me and they said that would be fine.
Next day "Miguel" (I won't use his real name) picked me up at my hotel and we drove to the small town where the couple lived. Just before we left my hotel I was putting my pack into the trunk of his car and noticed a black plastic bag which felt very heavy when I pushed it aside. Toys for his kids, he said.
When we arrived at the house it was already dark. Madeline and Jose welcomed us into their house and we introduced each other. At this point, Madeline and Jose's expressions froze as they looked at each other. The conversation then became cool and hesitant. Stage fright perhaps, I thought.
Miguel started talking very fast, trying to get things rolling. I couldn't follow most of it because it was too rapid but within 10 minutes Madeline and Jose relaxed and became very hospitable. They served us tea and told us their story.
The plot thickens...
Next evening I was to get together with him to make sure I had a proper English translation of Madeline and Jose's story. However, the case with the three sheep came up and I went to that instead.
Pounding on the door!
Time to leave
He made some small talk and then started asking which airline I was flying with, what time my plane departed, was I flying direct or did I have a stop-over in the US, was I carrying any agricultural products with me? I lied about everything. This was too much. I began to worry.
I divided the samples I took at the farm between my carry-on and check-in luggage and then proceeded to the airport, still not feeling well. Checking in and getting on the plane was uneventful. "Just get me out of here", I thought.
Home at last!
A month later, the sample results came back from the lab, - all samples identified as that belonging to the sheep family of ruminants. Nothing unusual.
On the other hand, what is very bothersome to me is that this phenomenon seems to be limited to Spanish-speaking communities. Is this a coincidence or does it point to the possibility of a social phenomenon?
Also, despite all the eye witness reports, fantastic claims and recent reports of the creature having been captured, there is as yet, no bird in the hand.
Did this whole thing start as an erroneous report which was whipped into a national sensation by fear and hysteria and then exploited by the media until it became part of the social psyche, or is it based on reality? More research needs to be done.
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