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A relatively new arrival in the family cryptids is the chupacabra, which is Spanish for "goatsucker." The legend of the chupacabra seems to have begun in small Puerto Rican villages in 1995, rapidly spreading to Mexico and Hispanic communities in the United States, receiving a great deal of media attention along the way. In March of 1995, Puertan Rican farmers near the towns of Morovis and Orocovis began to find the carcasses of goats, chickens and other farm animals, seemingly drained of blood. The first sighting of the creature believed to be responsible came in September, and the animal was described as a combination of the features of a grey alien, a gargoyle, and a kangaroo. It was about four feet tall, hairy, with a large round head, a mouth without discernable lips, sharp fangs, and large, lidless red eyes. The body of the creature was small, with thin arms that appeared to be webbed, and prominent, muscular hind legs. A series of spikes ran from the top of the creature's head along its backbone. As it was found near the body of a goat, it was named chupacabra. Sightings continued in Puerto Rico throughout the fall of 1995. The media picked it up, and the chupacabra quickly became an Internet sensation. Before long, the cryptid had migrated into Mexico and crossed the border into the United States, nearly all of the sightings being from the Hispanic communities of these areas. Although historical reports have been attributed to Taino Indian legends, and a creature that might arguably be considered the same type of creature was reported in 1974, there is little credible history for the chupacabra prior to 1995. There is a legend in New Orleans of a lane called Grunch Road, said to be frequented by "grunches," which are described as being similar in appearance to the chupacabra. United States reports of killed or dead chupacabras were found to be that of dogs and coyotes with mange, and Mexican Hairless dogs have also been mistaken for chupacabras.

 

 

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Chupacabra


chupacabra

While most of the real or unreal creatures found in cryptozoology have a long history of reported sightings, the chupacabra is relatively new on the scene.

Primarily Hispanic American in origin, the legend of this monster first arose in small villages in Puerto Rico in the mid-1990s, and quickly spread to Mexico and border communities in the United States.

In March of 1995, goats, chickens and other small farm animals were found dead, and drained of blood, near the Puerto Rican towns of Morovis and Orocovis. The first reported sighting was in September of that year, and several sightings followed.

The creature was reported to have the haunches of a kangaroo and the upper body of a gargoyle, with facial features that resembled the aliens known as the grays, particularly its huge, lidless red eyes, and lipless mouth, with sharp fangs. It was said to be hairy, with a small body, about four feet high, with thin, clawed, and seemingly webbed arms. Its legs were muscular, much like a kangaroo. The creature was also reported to have a series of pointy spikes running from the top of its head and down its backbone. Some reports described the creature as having wings like a bat.

Since its prey included goats, who were drained of their blood, the animal was called a "chupacabra," or "el chupacabra," which translates to "the goatsucker" in English.

Carcasses of livestock, drained of blood, continued to be reported in parts of Puerto Rico throughout the fall of 1995, and the animal was sighted at various times.

These reports made it into several newspaper stories, and a segment on chupacabras was aired on Christina, a Spanish-language talk show equivalent to the Oprah Winfrey Show. Many have attributed this media coverage to the chupacabra's migration into Mexico and the United States.

More significantly, the chupacabra may be the first cryptozoological creature that the Internet can claim as its own. In 1995, the Internet was gaining a foothold in society, and the chupacabra was part of it. Sketches of the creature circulated throughout the Internet, and stories of the chupacabra spread throughout the Hispanic-American world.

Websites were created, some of which are still around today, including one on the Princeton University website. The radio host, Art Bell, posted a photograph of what was purported to be a living chupacabra on his website, which was later found to have been of a statue in a museum exhibit.

North American cryptozoologists began preparing a backstory for the chupacabra, claiming that modern reports began as early as 1974, and that the folklore of the Taino Indians includes reports of similar creatures.

In the United States, sightings were reported from Florida, Texas, and Arizona, particularly in border communities or areas with heavy Hispanic populations. However, descriptions of creatures reported to be chupacabras differed widely, and many were found to have been coyotes or dogs with several mange conditions.

Actual photographs said to be of the chupacabra tended to be of the hairless coyote variety, and several were proven to have been coyotes with severe cases of mange. Even this is not without contention, however.

On August 28, 2013, the Science Channel aired a show about the chupacabra, showing video of the creature captured from the dashboard cam of a police cruiser, a creature that was later captured and found, through DNA testing, to be half coyote and half Mexican wolf, but with three toes on its front paws and two pouches on the sides of its tail.

However, these animals don't at all resemble the original descriptions of the chupacabra, or the sketches that were drawn, so proving that many reported chupacabra sightings were actually that of coyotes with terrible skin conditions does nothing to disprove the sightings of an animal whose characteristics combine the haunches of a kangaroo, the upper body of a gargoyle, the wings of a bat, and the teeth of a vampire.

What was the creature that harassed the farming villages of Puerto Rico in the 1990s? Imagination? Perhaps, but it was probably not a coyote. There have been no reported sightings in Puerto Rico in more than a decade, so we may never know.



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